Canadian Rockies, 9th ed., by Andrew Hempstead (2018)

Nonfiction
Adult

Canadian Rockies: Including Banff & Jasper National Parks, by Andrew Hempstead

This is the second of two book reviews this week, encouraging you to travel British Columbia. Moon travel guides are known for their extensive and off-the-beaten-track approach, and this latest edition of the Canadian Rockies guidebook is no exception. The Rockies are big, and you can spend a lifetime exploring park trails, lakes, and parks, and not see it all. This book is best for those who are relatively new to the parks. Hampstead lives in Banff and knows his Rockies. He starts with an overview for first-time visitors, including the 12 best day hikes (I’ve done only three), offering one-week and two-week itineraries that showcase the region’s highlights.

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Camping British Columbia, the Rockies, and Yukon, 8th ed., by Jayne Seagrave (2018)

Adult
Nonfiction

Camping British Columbia, the Rockies and Yukon, 9th edition, by Jayne Seagrave

This is the first of two reviews this week. Both are on travel in B.C. and the Rockies, as I hope to inspire you to plan a road trip in our beautiful region. I have an earlier edition of this book, so I was happy to discover an updated version on the New Books shelf at my library. With more than half the 100,000 B.C. Parks campsites reservable online, guides like this help you discover exactly what you are looking for, whether that’s a destination park for the family or a hidden getaway as a backpacking haven. Seagrave opens with an introduction aimed at first-time campers, from reserving to selecting a spot at a first-come-first-served campground and setting up your temporary home.

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See You in the Piazza: New Places to Discover in Italy, by Frances Mayes (2019)

Nonfiction
Adult

See You in the Piazza: New Places to Discover in Italy, by Frances Mayes (2019)

The woman who introduced readers to Italy with Under the Tuscan Sun more than two decades ago returns with another love letter to Italy, focusing as usual on the smaller towns. This is a travel guide, but a highly personalized one. Mayes, who also published the fictional Women in Sunlight last year, describes the smaller towns where she and her family have eaten, cycled, played and shopped. It’s presented from north to south, rather than as a chronological memoir, giving travellers a chance to delve into an area such as Piedmont, Umbria or Sardinia, among others. In my digital advance reading copy, a table of contents listed all the regions and towns, but there was no map, though I understand one is included in the print edition.

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Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour, by Alan Titchmarsh (2016, 2018)

Contemporary Fiction
Adult

Mr Gandy's Grand Tour, by Alan Titchmarsh

How has life come to this for Timothy Gandy? Forced into early retirement at just 55, he is facing the fact that his marriage is in trouble, even if he’s the only one who realizes it. They’ve grown so far apart Tim wonders if Isobel would even notice if he left. At least a pending grandchild offers promise of future joy. But when Tim is unexpectedly made free, he struggles to find his role. Stumbling across an old journal, he decides to take a Grand Tour of Europe, having never been able to indulge his dreams of travel. Youngest daughter Rosie is glad for him and son Oliver strongly objects to wasting the future inheritance. Middle child Alice? The distant daughter is rarely in touch, so who knows?

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Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips, by Rick Quinn (2018)

Nonfiction
Adult
Arizona and New Mexico: 25 Scenic Side Trips, by Rick Quinn
I love road trips! Having travelled a lot in the southwest, I know this area well for a Canadian; in fact, I estimate I’ve been on more than a third of the trips listed in this book, and for sure I will be back, thanks in no small part to the interesting places described here. There is so much to explore in this area, from historic Native cliff dwellings and the Very Large Array of radio telescopes to alien kitsch and stunning mountain scenery. As GPS has replaced mapbooks, books like this are ever so helpful for making your roadtrip an awesome one. How else are you supposed to discover Pie Town or Slide Rock State Park? Read More »

Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind, by Darlene Foster (2017)

Mystery
8-11
Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind, by Darlene FosterTwelve-year-old Amanda and her new friend Cleo are headed to New Mexico with several Grade 6 classmates from Calgary. An artistic bunch, they will be exploring the history and culture of the area, taking time to document the trip through drawings, photographs, and words. Amanda doesn’t believe in ghosts, and neither does her photographer buddy Caleb. But when strange occurrences start happening to Cleo, and then to others in the group, Amanda finds herself wondering if ghosts really do exist. I commend Foster for the meticulous research; readers will learn a great deal about the history and culture of the Ancient Puebloans, early settlers, and modern American natives in the area. Read More »

The Lauras, by Sara Taylor (2017)

Contemporary Fiction
16-Adult
The Lauras by Sara TaylorAlex’s mother hits the road in the middle of the night after a final fight with her husband. It’s not the first time she has taken off, but this time it’s with pubescent Alex, who struggles with Ma’s decision to leave without telling Dad where they are going. It is the start of a years-long journey crisscrossing the United States as Ma reconnects with significant people and places from her past, settling debts and scores and fulfilling long-ago promises. The title refers to the Lauras Ma has known throughout her life, giving Taylor a useful device for slowly revealing key events in Ma’s own story. The book is narrated in the first person by Alex, some 30 years hence, though it is set in this century. Read More »