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New Books for the Caribbean Traveler

So much history, such diverse nature and landscape, so much living culture to explore – it’s all part of the kaleidoscope of the Caribbean waiting to be discovered. Some books and writers are out there, exploring deep into some of these many sides of past and present life on Caribbean islands.

Finding an island’s foods, and more:

Daniel Orr went to the island of Anguilla to become an executive chef at the elite CuisinArt Resort and Spa.  His experiences in the kitchen, among Anguillians and the wider Caribbean all come together in his new book,  Paradise Kitchen: Caribbean Cooking with Chef Daniel Orr.  Now back in the U.S., this book is a compilation not only of what he discovered on Anguilla about its foods and cooking style, but a wider account of Caribbean living and his everyday encounters both inside and outside the kitchen.  So you can expect some wonderful recipes drawing on both Anguillian and wider Caribbean influences, but also some great insights on the history and culture of the region.  This is much more than just a fine cookbook.

Paradise Kitchen: Caribbean Cooking with Chef Daniel Orr, by Daniel Orr (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011).

Finding quality experiences that are affordable:

In these times, more than one type of traveler looks to the value in the experience and not just the price tag on it to understand the value you come away with.  Miami Herald editor and world traveler Jane Wooldridge together with former travel editor Larry Bleiberg have a book that’s timely in this regard but one fit for any traveler who seeks quality and some type of active engagement in a destination.   For instance, in the USVI the book gives suggestions on touring sustainable farming, luxury camping, or on Puerto Rico discovering some of the fine small town and countryside unspoiled natural wonders.  For every type of activity and destination, the authors also provide plenty of breakout tips, contact information and more sources to access to help you pursue your passion affordably.

100 Best Affordable Vacations, by Jane Wooldridge and Larry Bleiberg (Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2011).


Finding the hidden legacy of an island:

It’s unusual for a book to open up an entire dimension of an island in the way that Michael Connors’ new book The Splendor of Cuba manages to do.   This extensive and vivid journey into Cuba’s wealth of historic buildings and homes brings to life in architecture and decor a vast background to a period that doesn’t get examined often.  Yet it’s there in abundance – and the spectacular photography and description of this book reveals that.

Dr. Connors has already chronicled with similar care and engagement the architecture and interiors of historic properties elsewhere in the Caribbean in such recent books as British West Indies Style (Rizzoli, 2010).  This in-depth account of the stylistic influences and the circumstances behind them that shaped Cuban public building and grand private homes from colonial times to the 20th century is a visual and narrative revelation of a rich legacy.  From governor’s palace to country estate, city building to urban mansions, here is a side of the Cuban story that is rarely focused on.  Readers will come away with a thorough background not only on the landmark properties of the island, and the cultural/social/historic story behind it, but hopefully an inspiration of what they can view some future day themselves first-hand on this magnificent Caribbean island.

The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors, by Michael Connors (New York: Rizzoli, 2011).

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