Tag Archives: travel books

Favorite Reads in Year Five–And Book Giveaway

world cake

Wow! Another Birthday.  A Traveler’s Library is Five Years Old.  As is the habit on our birthday, we’ll review the year and there will be presents.  But YOU get the presents. Read on for a Book Giveaway.

Photo by Sergey Melkonov

Photo by Sergey Melkonov

A Traveler’s Library hit the 1000 mark of published articles, and this one makes it 1,175. (You all go ahead and have some champagne while I take a nap.)





1.Besides my own book and movie reviews, you loved to read the contributions from


  • Kerry Dexter (Music Travel),
  • Jane Boursaw (Movie Travel,
  • Brette Sember (Food Travel),
  • Jennifer Close (Family Travel),
  • Pamela Douglas Webster (Pet Travel),
  • and Jessica Voigts (Cultural Travel).

Next year you will see some changes, as Brette Sember, Jennifer Close and Pamela Webster Douglas all had to leave ATL for other new exciting projects.

Perhaps you have met our new Family Travel contributor, Powell Berger. If not, read an interview with Powell here. She has already written a piece with suggestions on best family travel books.

Everybody on the team wants to contribute a bit of Food Travel, so we’ll all pitch in for a while, and the Pet Travel slot is not yet filled.

2. Some bad some good in the Spring.

We had a bit of bad luck in April and the site kept disappearing.  Everything is fine now, so we hope you’ll dig back in the archives and see if you missed anything during the “blackouts.” For guidance, see my list of Best Travel Books of 2013.

Also in April, A Traveler’s Library got a sister site, when I started Ancestors in Aprons. That’s where I write about family stories and share food nostalgia and vintage recipes. Come visit any time.

Okay, but didn’t you mention presents?

3. You stick around when you come to visit.

We feel gratified that when you come to A Traveler’s Library, you keep reading.  The length of time that people stay on the page is much longer than for an average site. We take that as a compliment.

Yeah, yeah, where are the presents?

4.  Did you say, “Where did we go?”

My travel was rather limited in 2013, but I did share with you a fantastic road trip to Oregon.

Through books and movies and music, we have traveled to a dozen states this year–several of them more than once; and to at least 28 countries and International regions, including places like Mongolia and Afghanistan and the South Pacific.  Paralleling American travel interest, we have visited Italy 7 times, France 5 and England, Vietnam, Canada, Japan and Scotland each more than once.


Here are the 20 new posts you liked the most in 2013. (Boy, you surely do love those “Best of” lists, don’t you?)

Traveling to the Bates Motel (in Canada) (on TV)

Best New  Books of 2012 to Inspire Travel

10 Great Websites to Inspire You to Travel with Your Pet

5 Best Movies of 2012 to Inspire Travel

Seven Children’s Books to Inspire Travel

Father and Daughter Travel

10 Best Travel Food Experiences

Best Music for Journeys Real and Spiritual

Father Son Bike  Across Japan

Ten More Books To Make You  Pack Your Bag

Cara Black Invites You to Paris

Hot Days Hot Jazz

What Happens at Disney World After the Family Goes Home?

Ten Perfect Gifts for Travelers Who Read (2013)

Irish Music for St. Patrick’s Day

Win Harry Potter Posters

Julia Child’s Cats

Exploring Scottish Food One Bite at a Time

Hudson River Valley Novel Takes New Look at July 4

Wyoming and a World Seen in a Flock of Sheep

NOW can we open the presents?

Yes, if you have finished your virtual cake and champagne, here’s the way you can enter the book giveaway where you choose from those we have reviewed that are still available…

YOU get to choose a book from This List if your name is drawn from among those who

  • subscribe to our updates,
  •  comment on any post,
  • tweet mentioning A Traveler’s Library and @pen4hire,
  • or mention Vera Marie Badertscher on Google +  .

Up to five people’s names will be drawn each week for the book giveaway.

  • Simple way to win–one chance per week: leave a comment or subscribe and in a comment, tell me you’re subscribed.
  • Better odds/more work: enter all four ways each week.
  • Each person can enter (and win) up to 4 times but only once by each method in one week.
  • Each person can enter each week  during January 2014.
  • If you already subscribed by e-mail and want an extra entry as a subscriber, be sure to tell me that in the comments.
  • See all the contest rules  about four ways to enter here.
  • You can comment on this post or on an earlier post. To be among the first week’s winners,  do it before Monday morning January 13 at 6:00 a.m. MST. All the deadlines for the book giveaway are listed in the Contest Rules.

Ten Perfect Gifts for Travelers Who Read 2013

Each year, comfortably before Black Friday, A Traveler’s Library offers suggestions for the Ten Perfect Gifts for Travelers Who Read. You can see prior suggestions here. Now here’s what we’ve spotted this year, for everyone on your list, gifts in many price ranges. We’ve provided links to Amazon on several gifts. When you shop through our links (or use the Amazon search box) whatever you purchase earns us a few pennies. It costs you no more, so thanks for showing your support. Shop Amazon – Countdown to Black Friday Deals Week

Prop Up a Reader

Perfect Gift: Thai PadThere are some webstores that reader can just get lost in. Levenger, purveyor of a multitude of temptations for readers, is definitely one of those sites.  I had a hard time deciding which of their amazing products to recommend.

But what won me over to the Thai-Pad was the fact that this gift is hand-made in Thailand and that Levenger donates to a fund for literacy in that country with every purchase.  The Thai-Pad consists of rolls of beautiful material cleverly hinged together, so that you can make a stand for an electronic reader or a light-weight book.

If you want to know more about the source of your gift, here’s a Levenger blog that visits the women in Thailand who make the product.

Price: starting at $29.99 at the Levenger site. (Sale price for the teeny-tiny shown here). Other prices vary by size, do a search for Thai Pad at the site to see all sizes.

Feed the Curiosity of Traveling Readers

The Atlantic magazine I have had my affairs with various magazines over the years, but there’s one I just can’t live without–The Atlantic.

Of course the traveler who reads who is on your list would like a travel magazine like Travel & Leisure or National Geographic Traveler, but I’d like to suggest taking a broader view.  For someone curious about the world, for someone who wants to be informed by intelligent reviewers about the best books–try The Atlantic, one of America’s oldest continuously published magazine.  They have a great presence on line, too, but I like having the magazine around so I can dip into it when the spirit strikes.  Subscription prices vary widely depending on promotions. Check it out at Amazon or The Atlantic site.

Camp and Dine with Your Dog

Ruffwear Highlands Pad And now for people who readers who travel with pets –must be hard juggling the book and the leash and the map all at once–but back to business.  Pamela Douglas Webster, who has been our Pet Travel expert this year at A Traveler’s Library , suggests a terrific idea.  A kind of placemat for dogs!

It starts out as a Ruffwear Highlands Bed for camping and travel.  A lightweight (14 oz) sleeping pad for camping dogs that rolls into a sack that comes with it.  Taking that one step further, the Dog Jaunt blog suggests cutting it in half to fit under a table so you can use it when your dog accompanies you out to eat. (I think I might just fold it in half rather than cut it and sew it.) Read about her experience in Paris with the dog mat and restaurants that welcome dogs.

Just under $75. Cllick on the Photo to go to Amazon.

Organize Your First Aid Supplies

Perfect Gifts Sometimes things go wrong when you travel.  Like stuffed up nose, itchy eyes,  achy tooth.  Wanting to keep forging ahead, the organized traveler always has some first aid supplies along.  But when you get that pesky insect bite and need something to cool the itch, how quickly can you find what you need?  

Jeanine Barone of J, The Travel Authority, to the rescue. She has invented Doc in a Bag. Besides being a writer, Jeanine is an artist and a creative thinker. So she came up with a set of extra heavy see-through bags, each labeled with a cartoon (like the one for eyes, nose and tooth), to let you know quickly which of your own favorite products you have packed inside. The kit includes money-saving coupons for many of J’s favorite products. Best of all, she includes with her first aid organizer laminated cards suggesting the most common things you need to carry on your travels.

$14.99 for the women’s kit and $11.99 for the men’s.

Keep Kids Healthy While Flying

We’ve pretty much all figured out how germy airplanes are, and they’re probably getting worse with shorter time on the ground and therefore less time for cleaning.  Here’s a great product for kids who fly–trayGUARDS+–antimicrobial  sleeves that fit over the airplane tray table. You can let kids eat and play to their heart’s content, and not worry about wiping them down every few minutes. $10 for one and $20 for a pack of two at their website.

Keep Your Phone Dry

Perfect Gift: Dandy Case I’m not a big swimmer or scuba diver, but I’ve always envied those who are, and thought how cool it would be to have a waterproof camera. Now that most of our vacation pictures are taken on a phone, here’s a quick way to waterproof your phone that allows you to take pictures underwater or in wet conditions. (Not recommended for deep diving). This recommendation comes from the great bloggers at Beers and Beans, so I’ll let them tell you all about the Dandy Case, a waterproof case for your phone.  $11.99 at Amazon (click on the photo to go there).

Take A Musical Tour Around the World

Perfect Gift: Music Kerry Dexter suggests this gift for music-love, reading travelers:The Mando Chronicles by Peter Ostroushko [Red House Records] Peter Ostroushko leads a journey by mandolin through Americana, folk, and jazz tunes, tunes from his Ukrainian heritage and other parts of the world including including Finland, Italy, and Ireland, and his favorite bits of classical music including works by Vivaldi and Bach. His original music is woven in along the way. No words to the music here — sometimes those who love to read need a break from words, I think –but  in the booklet that comes along you may read thoughts on music from this musician who’s worked with Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Taj Mahal, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra  among others. Amazon price for album $21.84 or buy MP3 tracks at $.99 each.    (Click on the album cover to buy)

Read in the Armchair or on the Airplane

Perfect Gifts: Best Women's Travel Writing Our newest contributor, Powell Berger says, “One of my favorite reads is the Best Women’s Travel Writing anthology every year, and this year’s is particularly terrific. The stories are terrific, and an anthology is the perfect airplane read since you can read a story or two then land.” Best travel writing certainly makes a Perfect gift for traveling readers, doesn’t it? Prices at Amazon: Paper back $14.70, Kindle $9.99.    (Click on the book cover to go to Amazon)

Pop Kid’s Music in the Car CD Player

Perfect Gift for KidsKerry Dexter has a suggestion for music-loving kids, too: Happy You Made it by Matt Heaton [Eats Records]

If you have young children or people who love them on your gift list, Matt Heaton’s new album Happy You Made It is a fine choice. Last  December you met Heaton though a seasonal album he made with his wife Shannon. This time out, he applies his musician’s skill, wry sense of humor, and experience as a father to a set of songs, some familiar and some original, all certain to get you — and the kids in your life — laughing, singing, thinking, and enjoying yourselves.

All of which could be a fine gateway or compliment to reading together.

$15 at the artist’s site for the  perfect gift for kids in the car.

Splurge on a Family Vacation

Perfect Gift: Family VacationWe’ve saved the best for last. So far, we’ve given you suggestions for perfect gifts for anyone in the family, particularly if they are travelers who read, and we’ve tried to mix up the values, so you could choose how much you wanted to spend.  But maybe we haven’t shown you the very BEST of the Perfect Gifts for Travelers Who Read.

A Holiday Memories Ski Package from Resorts West and FAO Schwarz. What traveler would not want to sit in her family’s private chateau, curled up by the fireplace with a book as snow blankets the ski trails, and the kids open their gifts from FAO Schwarz that come along with the vacation package?

Perfect Gift from FAO SchwarzYou will stay seven nights at a ski-inn home managed by Resorts West, Park City Utah. You don’t have to do any Christmas shopping or wrapping or decorating, because Resorts West and  FAO Schwarz does it all for you. When you arrive the kids will rush into the holiday-bedecked home and see that Santa has already arrived– the gifts are arrayed around your tree– and when you are ready to leave, the concierge will pack up everything and ship it to your home.

$40,000 for the Most Perfect Gift of All for Travelers Who Read.


So tell us, please. We’re all dying to know.  Which of these recommendations for the perfect gift seems to fit someone on YOUR Christmas list? 

Historic USA in 8000 Picture Books

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park, Tucson

Destination: USA

Books: Series by Arcadia Publishing (1993-present)

Bookstores can provide a window into a community when you travel. In San Diego I wandered in to a large downtown bookstore in search of a section on local authors. Instead I found shelves of Arcadia books. There were books about the railroads, books about the fishing industry, books about the Chinese immigrants, books about baseball–you name your interest and there was a book about San Diego for that subject. Continue reading