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Down the Book Lane

December 06, 1987|DON JAMES | James is a Los Angeles free-lance writer.

Finding a place south of the border to drop a baited hook will be much easier with "Angler's Guide to Baja California," by Tom Miller. This fourth edition offers first-timers or old-hand gaffers an insight on where, when and how to fish the water surrounding the Baja California peninsula. Illustrations show what can be pulled in and the calendars show when and where the fish are running (Baja Trail: $7.95).

Pamela Lanier describes more than 600 kinds of accommodations throughout the United States. There are one- and two-bedroom places, some with kitchenettes. In many cases the price is almost the same as a motel, while others, with more amenities and nearby recreation and sights, may cost a little more. For finding a place to be able to stretch out in, the guide is worth $11.95 (John Muir).

Following retirement, Robert W. Harris decided to spend 10 years living in a camper or a boat. At that time he and his wife, Megan, began traveling around the world. They chronicled their explorations in "Gypsying After 40." (John Muir, $12.95.)

Visitors to Great Britain most always want to share the conviviality of joining the locals with a glass of ale. "The Pub and the People," introduced by Godfrey Smith, takes you into the heart of social life, including a glimpse of the pub drinkers and their conversations (Cresset Library/David & Charles: $13.95).

Frommer's 1988-89 edition of "A Shopper's Guide to the Caribbean," by Jeanne and Harry Harman III, offers advice on how to obtain items of the best quality and value. It describes the local artisans' skills and even the challenges of getting your purchases through customs (Prentice Hall: $12.95).

"Europe 101," by Rick Steves and Gene Openshaw, boils down European history and art. The tangle of people and events from Picasso to Homer to Hitler is sorted out in a fun-to-read book. Visitors or armchair travelers will find a new view of today and the past in this approach. Includes maps and illustrations (John Muir: $11.95).

"Fisher's World--West 1988," revised and updated by Frank and Elfriede Riley, has no photos, but it's crammed with lots of good information that covers Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah. It also puts you in touch with where to stay or eat. The maps will help you get there. Well worth $14.95.

"Mary Stuart's Scotland" by David and Judy Steel is an intriguing examination of the sites and events during the reign of that ruler. It relives the 16th Century by taking the reader through castles and ruins still remaining. The text and color photos reflect the turbulence, passions and religious changes faced by an ill-prepared ruler. The quality of this compendium makes the $19.95 tab an exceptional investment (Harmon/Crown).

Without getting off your chair, you can virtually visit four places with the Armchair Traveler Series: "East Along the Equator--A Journey Up the Congo Into Zaire" by Helen Winternitz; "Cooper's Creek--The Opening of Australia" by Alan Moorehead; "Where Nights Are Longest--Travel by Car Through Western Russia" by Colin Thubron, and "Under a Sickle Moon--A Journey Through Afghanistan" by Peregrine Hodson. Each is an informative account of people, places and events, including the dangers, adventure and thrill of exploration (Traveler/Atlantic Monthly: $7.95 each).

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