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Going by the Book

July 27, 1986|DON JAMES | James is a Los Angeles free-lance writer. and

In "Permanent Parisians" by Judi Culbertson and Tom Randall, one can understand why Europeans flock to cemeteries. This illustrated guide reveals the dramatic sculptures, natural scenic beauty and reflections of history. George Plimpton rightly describes the guide as "a fascinating stroll through a most unexpected quarter of Paris" (Chelsea Green: $15.95).

Some new titles from Fodor's "Fun In" series are "Las Vegas" by Stephen Allen, "Orlando Area" by Joel Glass and "Paris" by Paul Ross. For $5.95 each, they offer observations and some interesting trivia.

For those who enjoy being on the water but still close to land, "Kayak Trips in Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands" by Randel Washburne will place you in a different dimension of exploration. The guide is complete with all the how-to and what-not-to information including the basics with good maps and brief photos (Pacific Search: $9.95).

Frommer's "Motorist's Phrase Book--French, German and Spanish" is described as "good for all your motoring needs where the three languages are spoken." And it's not all that shabby for communicating on many other subjects, right down to explaining the need for a safety pin. It's a worthwhile buy for $4.95 (Simon & Schuster).

"Country Inns" guides capture the spirit of those who enjoy a restful homelike atmosphere in a scenic location. For a good pocket-size source of lodges and historic hotels, the following are neat guides for "New England States," "The South," "Canada," "The Midwest and Rocky Mountain States," "California" and "Mid-Atlantic States" by Anthony Hitchcock and Jean Lindgren; also "Great Britain" and "Ireland" by Eileen and Eugene O'Reilly. Burt Franklin is the publisher and the guides are $7.95 each.

Rizzoli's "Alaska--Southeast to McKinley" is one book that will be opened and enjoyed many times. The magnificent and awesome beauty of the state is presented in dramatic color photos, many of which required hours or days of waiting to catch the right blend of elements, land, water and nature. It's a large breathtaking compendium worth the $35 hard-cover tab, or $19.95 for a soft-cover edition.

The maps are good, but the photos offer little. However, the information in the 736 pages is comprehensive and fascinating. Most of the traveler's questions are answered--getting around, where to stay or eat, with bases touched on history, currency, etc. If you're headed that way, "The China Handbook" by Fredric Kaplan, Julian Sobin and Arne deKeijzer is one of the better guides (Houghton Mifflin: $14.95).

Lewis and Kay Green's "Classic Resorts and Romantic Retreats" is basically a guide for the discriminating traveler. Of the hotels, resorts, inns and guest houses selected, a number appear to cater to those who enjoy the live-it-up approach, tuxedoed waiters, etc. There're plenty of others described, however, where casual is the norm while enjoying the dramatic scenery of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. The black-and-white photos are sufficient to pique the interest (New Horizons: $8.95).

One thing about San Francisco is the scores of restaurants, attractions, bars and places to stay that are conveniently clustered in a comparatively small area. "The Best of San Francisco" by Don and Betty Martin is their guide to top 10 selections for people who want to enjoy the good life. The city's food, smells, tastes, atmosphere and mystique are well projected (Chronicle: $7.95).

Walking puts you close to the scene and for those into this leisurely pace of getting around here are four books for the road: "Six New Testament Walks in Jerusalem" by I. Martin (Harper & Row: $12.95), "America's Greatest Walks" by Gary Yanker and Carol Tarlow (Addison-Wesley: $10.95), "Walking From Inn to Inn--San Francisco Bay Area" by Jacqueline Kudler and Arlene Stark (East Woods: $8.95) and "Greece on Foot--Mountain Treks and Island Trails" by Mark S. Dubin (The Mountaineer: $9.95). The guides furnish most of the details, directions and suggestions necessary for happy hoofing.

For years, Michelin Guides have served as good companions to seasoned travelers. The 1986 editions, "Main Cities Europe" ($13.95) and "France" ($15.95), are no exception. They supply a wide variety of top authoritative information, rated services and professional quality maps.

Luxurious color photography laced with good text can be enjoyed in two large books, "The Historic Hotels of London" (Holt, Rinehart & Winston: $19.95) by Wendy Arnold with photos by Robin Morrison, and "Coffee Houses of Europe" (Thames & Hudson: $14.95) introduction by George Mikes with photography by Manfred Hamm. These excellent books place the reader inside or next to historic locations of ambient grandeur and leisurely living.

If you have had difficulty obtaining Vickie Leon's three outstanding and colorful books "California Wineries--San Luis Obsipo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties" ($13.95), "Scenic Highway One--Monterey to Morro Bay" ($7.85), or "The Monterey Peninsula" ($5.85), they are available directly from Blake Publishing, 2222 Beebee St., San Luis Obsipo, Calif. 93401. The handling is $4.50 additional for all three books, or $2 each for single copies. As gifts or for the travel library they are worthwhile publications.

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