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Leafing Down the Book Lane

April 12, 1987|DON JAMES | James is a Los Angeles free-lance writer.

When visiting the Sunshine State, try staying at a real homespun inn, or a lodging steeped in history with as many as 500 rooms, or an 18th-Century guest house. Herbert L. Hiller's "Guide to the Small and Historic Lodgings of Florida" will put you on the right track to those on a back road, alongside coastal waters or in the peninsular heartland. The 92 places selected are well-described and offer a sense of place. Send $12.95 (plus $1.25 handling) to Pineapple Press, P.O. Box 314, Englewood, Fla. 33533 or see your bookstore.

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The traveler will find that "Scandinavian Guide--1987" offers most of the essential information needed for Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. It is a compilation of business and travel tips, politics and arts, including places to stay, eat and see (Zoetrope: $12.95).

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"Border Towns of the Southwest" by Rick Cahill is an inside look where Mexican and American cultures blend.

Cahill selected and details special places to see, shop or dine from Tijuana to Juarez. The maps and photos are sufficient to pique the interest (Pruett: $9.95).

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If you have visited the area and want to recall the taste of oseleti scapai or soglique sapore, Betty Evans explains how, plus other goodies in a collection of recipes in "Venice, Italy Cooking." The four-color cover is probably why the booklet is a tad expensive at $6.95. However, the serious will want to try the flavorful recipes. Available at stores using the Bower System or send $8.40 to Betty Evans, 1769 Valley Park Ave., Hermosa Beach, Calif. 90254.

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What could be the last travel bargain in the world may be found in Frommer's "Eastern Europe on $25 a Day" by Morris H. Hadley and Adam Tanner. Countries such as Bulgaria, East Germany, Romania, etc., are well outlined for sights, lodgings, dining and much more. For an example of the low costs, the Club Med in a beautiful area has full room and board for $30 a day. In a romantic cafe in Poland you can order roast pheasant with baked apple and the trimmings for only $3.85 (Prentice Hall: $10.95).

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For $8.95 each, the American Express Pocket Guides have four handy references for "Greece," "Florence--Tuscany," "Washington, D.C." and "The South of France." The facts are brief and concise but detailed enough to project the more important advice. These hard-cover editions are presented with key symbols, maps and good information sidelights.

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Pat Dickerman has a knack for outlining the more adventurous vacations, and her "Farm, Ranch & Country Vacations" is another good example. Besides a large selection for the United States, she includes many for country vacations abroad. The book also lists rates for teens and under, where you can fly in, where to take your own horse or golf clubs, and a lot of other helpful information. It's $11 postpaid from Farm & Ranch Vacations, 36 East 57th St., New York, N.Y. 10022.

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If you're tired of the sometimes plastic main-road stopovers, here are several above-average guides that could offer a change of pace. "America's Wonderful Little Hotels and Inns 1987--Eastern Region" edited by Sandra W. Soule (St. Martins: $12.95), Egon Ronay's "Cellnet Guide: Hotels, Restaurants & Inns--Great Britain & Ireland" (Salem House: $19.95) and "Bed & Breakfast U.S.A. Plus Canada--1987" by Betty Rundback and Nancy Kramer (E. P. Dutton: $9.95).

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The advertising support in Woodall's "The Campground Directory--1987 North America Edition ($12.95) or "California, Nevada and Mexico Campground Directory--1987" ($3.95) adds to the directories' information. Private and public campgrounds, RV locations and selected attractions should appeal to those who answer the call of the open road and outdoor living (Simon & Schuster).

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The second edition of "Special Places--For the Discerning Traveler" by Fred and Mardi Nystrom has expanded from Oregon, Washington and British Columbia to include Idaho, Montana and the California wine country. The book is a professional compilation in text and black-and-white and color photos. It offers an opportunity for the visitor to capture the best of each region. It's $13.95 at stores or direct from Special Places, 391 Sycamore Creek Lane, Issaquah, Wash. 98027.

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Fielding's demonstrates how to do it for less in "Economy Caribbean--1987" ($8.95) or go all out in "Caribbean--1987" ($12.95). Margaret Zellers describes how to best visit these places in the sun and includes an assessment of the ever-changing balance of visitor and resident in the guide. As companion guides they would be a good investment (William Morrow).

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