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Going by the Book

May 24, 1987|DON JAMES | James is a Los Angeles free-lance writer.

Baedeker's Guides present above-average information. Good text, beautiful color photography, definitive four-color city maps and a large fold-out map are featured in their most recent guides to "San Francisco," "Jerusalem," "Paris," "Hong Kong," "Athens," "Bangkok," "Amsterdam" and "Moscow." The guides are a bit wordy, but they do offer good observations and answers. Vignettes of history and culture are included with suggested sightseeing, hotels and restaurants (Prentice Hall: $10.95 each).

A first-timer would feel comfortable with "The Cruise Answer Book" by Charlanne F. Herring, "Adventure Traveling" by T. J. Hill and "Smart Travel" by Martin Binder. In order, the guides fill you in on: ships and ports of North America, where package tours won't take you, and getting there in style at little cost and effort (Mills & Sanderson: $9.95 each).

Fielding's newest guide, "African Safaris," by Jane and Leah Taylor, contains most details needed to take a trek. Planning, costs, local customs, accommodations and much more are outlined for 65 safaris in 16 African nations (William Morrow: $17.95).

"Keep One Suitcase Empty: The Bargain Shoppers Guide 1987-88" directs you to what Judith H. McQuown considers the best factory outlets in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Those described may be one- or two-person operations, or individual designers and artisans. The merchandise is mostly name brand that can be purchased direct for greater savings. Travelers looking for quality for less will find the guide most useful (Arbor House: $7.95).

It's possible to enhance your skills and intellectual and culture awareness by taking a new direction to your future. The "Vacation at College Directory--1987," edited by August G. Fromuth, explains how you can, with more than 700 courses in 62 institutions in 28 states offering short-time opportunities. The guide furnishes all the how-tos regarding tuition, lodging, credits. For $8 plus 75 cents handling you can get a copy from Darrow Publishing, 911 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Morrisville, Pa. 19067-2023. To get a copy quickly, call (800) 255-4221.

"The English Country Town," by Anthony Quiney includes a plethora of splendid color photography by Robin Morrison and offers an insight to the monuments, markets, medieval spires, inns, ruins and much more. The hardcover book places you next to architectural ensembles crated well over 1,000 years ago. A travel library would be enhanced by its presence (Thames & Hudson-W. W. Norton: $24.95).

George H. Drury's "Guide to Tourist Railroads and Railroad Museums" is a directory with lots of photos of more than 200 railroad attractions in North America. Tourists can climb on board for a ride on many of those described. The 1987 schedules, fares and special events are well detailed along with six pages of discount coupons (Kalbach: $7.95).

If second best is not your bag, you'll want a copy of "The World's Best--A How to Source Book for Travelers," edited by Marian V. Cooper. The selections for most every country, including the United States, cover a potpourri of the best restaurants, hotels, markets, ruins, beaches, night life. The book also takes in cruises, and business and adventure opportunities. There are no photos in this well-printed guide, but the text is well detailed. Some bookstores may not have it in stock yet, but it's available for $19.95, including handling, from Agora Inc., 824 E. Baltimore St., Baltimore, Md. 21202.

Four "Rough Guides to" are available for "New York" ($9.95) by Martin Dunford and Jack Holland; "China" ($12.95) by Catherine Sanders, Chris Stewart and Rhonda Evans; "Kenya" ($12.95) by Richard Trillo, and "Paris" ($10.95) by Kate Baille and Tim Salmon. The guides are excellent compilations of more-than-expected information, including time- and money-saving suggestions (Routledge & Kegan Paul).

For comprehensive insight, either Salem House guide--"The New Shell Guide to Britain" ($22.95), edited by George Speaght, or "The American Guide to Britain" ($24.95), edited by Esmond Wright--are among the top references. Purchased as a pair, these hardcover compendiums, complete with photos and detailed maps, would complement each other.

If you enjoy dropping a baited hook for that big one, you'll want a copy of "Rand McNally's Fishing Hotspots--Midwest Region" ($7.95). The guide covers the gamut: tackle, bait, motels, campgrounds, boat rentals and more. A worthwhile guide.

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