Books for travelers
Try these tomes if you want to see the grand homes on islands in the St. Lawrence River, work on an Italian farm, relive the literary lives of Paris and more.
"The Summer Cottage: Retreats of the 1000 Islands" by Kathleen Quigley (HANDOUT / April 25, 2010)
Retreats of the 1000 Islands"
The relatively unknown Thousand Islands is an archipelago of nearly 1,900 islands in the St. Lawrence River on the U.S.-Canadian border in northern New York and southern Ontario. Ever since Chicago railroad car magnate George Pullman invited President Ulysses S. Grant to visit the area in 1872, Thousand Islands has been popular with the moneyed set, many of whom built Americanized castles and elaborate compounds. Those buildings are still there and remain privately owned. This handsome, four-color book captures the houses' rich architectural details as well as the area's pristine natural environment. Many of the houses are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One of the structures, a 120-room castle, was commissioned by a Prussian immigrant and successful hotel businessman (he was president of the Waldorf-Astoria) as a birthday present to his wife. Another residence is said to resemble Napoleon's hat.
"The Italian Farmer's Table:
Authentic Recipes and Local Lore from Northern Italy"
Three Forks/Globe Pequot Press, $19.95
The family farms of rural Italy are the focus of this lovely book. In 1985 the Italian government developed an ingenious way to attract tourists while bringing in revenue to small farmers. The "agriturismi" system allows farmers to open their doors to visitors and provide the guests with home-cooked, regional Italian cuisine. "Strict laws mandate that a certain percentage of the food served be grown on the property," write authors Matthew Scialabba and Melissa Pellegrino, "with all other ingredients sourced from nearby farms." After graduating from culinary school, Scialabba and Pellegrino spent a year working in the fields and kitchens of farms in central Italy, experiencing firsthand the agriturismi experience. After four months of traveling, they have chosen 30 farms in northern Italy that they believe best represent the agriturismi of the area. The book includes 150 fully illustrated recipes as well as evocative anecdotes that bring the farms and their residents to life. Sample recipes include Swiss chard and ricotta tart, chocolate hazelnut souffle, goat cheese gnocchi with walnut butter sauce, crepes with apples and gorgonzola, Prosecco mousse with peach puree, sugar-smoked duck breast, stuffed chuck roast and a breakfast treat known as sweet pancake. A must for lovers of Italy and foodies alike.
"Writers in Paris: Literary Lives
in the City of Light"
Paris has always been known as a haven for writers, but did you know that more than 400 streets, squares or promenades honor them? The writers are not just French either. The non-French are celebrated here, too, including Dante, Lord Byron, Charles Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, Edgar Allan Poe and Ernest Hemingway. Author David Burke divides Writers in Paris into three broad areas: the Left Bank, the River and the islands, and the Right Bank as well including a few places around Paris in his picaresque and ambulatory journey through the city's winding streets in search of literary sites. From George Whitman's Shakespeare and Company, the famous bookstore that still hosts poetry and fiction readings "and maintains a crash pad upstairs for aspiring writers" to Hemingway's first residence in Paris (a "plain, old apartment building"), Burke comments on the cafes and cabarets frequented by writers, the hotels where they stayed, the magazines that published their work and the cemeteries where they lie as permanent residents. This enchanting book is illustrated with more than 100 black and white photographs and maps.
"Outdoor Medical Emergency
Handbook: First Aid for Travelers, Backpackers, Adventurers"
Though many of us have become accustomed to a largely sedentary lifestyle, a significant share of the public has turned to adventure travel as a healthy and exciting alternative. The authors are two doctors, Dr. Spike Briggs and Dr. Campbell Mackenzie, who consider this trend a good thing — but with risks. They fear that the more "vulnerable explorers — less fit, younger and older — will venture beyond the ready reach of appropriate hospital care." And so they have put together the "Outdoor Medical Emergency Handbook," a portable reference book and literary companion for travelers. It discusses ailments and treatments that cover all age groups and all types of outdoor travel, from minor problems to more severe illnesses and injuries. What's more, it anticipates what could go wrong: There is a section, for example, on preparation and planning that the authors insist travelers should read before departure as a preventive measure. The book is divided into six sections: preparation, emergencies, environmental risks, accidents and trauma, medical disorders (from abdominal disorders to motion sickness) and treatments, and emergency medical procedures. The useful appendices include a medical-screening questionnaire, a vital-signs monitoring chart, an immunization guide, a medical kit list and a guide to commonly used drugs. In addition, the inside back cover contains an antibiotic guide. It comes in a practical waterproof cover. An essential and important guide.
"Secret Portland Oregon"
Arranged in alphabetical order by subject, from "aboriginal" to "yurts," this quirky little book captures the charm and unpredictability of one of America's most walkable cities. Other topics include books (Portland is a very literary town), brews (it also appreciates a good beer now and then) and caffeine (from independent coffee kiosks to the ubiquitous Starbucks outlets).