Bookshelf: Two books to pick up on the islands

Caribbean For Dummies, 3rd Edition

Darwin Porter and Danforth Price

Wiley Publishing

548 pages, $21.99

What this book is not: An exhaustive guide to the Caribbean. Dont look for the Grenadines or Trinidad or the Dominican Republic or little islands in between. (The Bahamas is covered in its very own Dummies book.)

Caribbean for Dummies covers nine of the most popular sun-and-fun destinations: Aruba, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Grand Cayman (but not Cayman Brac or Little Cayman), Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Maarten/St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The information is basic -- where to stay, eat and have fun.

Within the basics, however, is a lot of good stuff to help the reader decide where, why and when to go and the best way to get there, from package deals to airfare specials. 

The authors list 14 categories of best, from beaches to golf courses to restaurants and nightlife.

Separate chapters, which include detailed maps, explore each island. Special icons alert readers to kid-friendly attractions and warn of potential disasters with a Heads Up graphic.

The book is but one in the global phenomenon of the For Dummies series. Its full of practical advice and straightforward recommendations written in a breezy, readable style that appeals to dummies and the not-so-dumb.

Caribbean Escapes, First Edition

Caribbean Escapes Cooperative Marketing

400 pages, $40

Holding this oversized book is akin to cradling a newborn after a very long gestation, labor and birth. The sizable volume represents far more than the collaboration of a team of Caribbean-savvy writers penning personalized descriptions of 100 top Caribbean resorts in 25 islands and countries.

Caribbean Escapes is the focal point of the Caribbean Escapes Cooperative Marketing program, founded in 2003 by Glenn Harris to promote luxury travel to the Caribbean.

The program includes a Web site with a booking engine as well as a series of 15 television episodes that showcase the resorts and destinations covered in the book. Each resort in the book gets a two-page spread, accompanied by stunning photographs; the authors personal appraisal and observations; plus fun-to-read details and contact information.

The review of the Golden Lemon Inn and Villas in St. Kitts, written by Paris Permenter and John Bigley, is a typical example. In describing the dining options, the authors wrote: Its at dinner that the Golden Lemon truly radiates the atmosphere of a beautiful tropical home. Evenings begin with drinks and discussion on the front terrace ... and progress to either the chandelier-lighted dining room or the garden aglow with candles, the strains of a classical symphony and the accompaniment of tree frogs.

About Curacao, Greg Oates wrote: I always seem to end up in Otrabanda at the Cafe Gouverneur de Rouville, a traditional Dutch pancake house, says the menu. Ive never had a pancake here, but the lamb kebab with curry and cumin salsa is very tasty.

Personal insights and nuances based on having dined at the resort, slept in the bed, walked on the beach and probably downed a glass of rum or two with other guests at the bar sets this luxury compendium apart from many others. Its a great read and well worth the price. And if you like the book, youll love the TV show.

Order online at www.caribbeanescapes.com. Special pricing is offered to travel agents and industry professionals. -- Reviews by Gay Nagle Myers

 

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected]

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