Thursday, July 30, 2015

Middle East (Multi Country Travel Guide)

Nobody knows the Middle East like Lonely Planet. From Egyptian oases, hidden gorges in 'the other Iraq' and hamams in Istanbul, to the old city of Jerusalem and the labyrinth of Aleppo's souq, we've got the whole region covered.

Lonely Planet guides are written by experts who get to the heart of every destination they visit. This fully updated edition is packed with accurate, practical and honest advice, designed to give you the information you need to make the most of your trip.

In This Guide:

Expert authors share their best experiences in Middle East Stories chapter
In-Depth itineraries that take you from country to country
Unique Green Index highlights the best eco-tourism options

As usual the guidebook standard is set by Lonely Planet-- Outside

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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful.
5Middle East on a Shoestring
By Davis Good,am
When one takes the initial steps of such an exotic trip as the middle east, a guide is needed to educate yourself on everything. Even the experienced traveler will find their trips to Europe did little to prepare them for the Middle East. This is why this guide does so much for the independant, and is so invaluable. Lonely planet has a history of helping people travel on a meagre budget, however gives a warm and caring introduction as to why indulging yourself occasionaly in the more expensive treasures can make your vaction. The authors expell the myths of all around violence in the region and firmly warns you where not to go. The religion and customs sections are so informative that I found myself prepared for the basics of Islamic life and ready to learn more. This book inspired me to take the unbeaten path and to still take in the wonderful tourist draws. Ive browsed through the two other major guides on the middle east, they dont compare to the thorough down to earth writing that Lonely Planet produces. Occasionaly, there could be more entries on Long Distance Travel (getting there and away) and there could have been more mention of the smaller budget tours that are offered in the region, however I still contend that this is the best pick for Middle East travel guides for all traveler of all Budgets.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
4Good for my purposes
By El Cid
Traveling to Egypt and Jordan and wanted a single guide to take with. This one will fit the bill, but missing some detail on the smaller sites we are going to see. I'm sure the individual country books have had more info.

I like the additional tips scattered throughout that point out curiosities as well as practical information.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
2First time Lonely Planet was so inaccurate
By damionwagner
Wow this book is out dated! I went to the Dead Sea in Israel in May 2010. The owner of the bungalows I thought to stay at laughed at the quoted rate that was about 10% of what he wanted. This happened in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and of course Palestine. I use Lonely Planet all the time and this is the first time I have been disappointed.
The general knowledge seemed up to LPs normal quality.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lonely Planet Tunisia (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Tunisia is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. See the huge, undulating dunes of the Sahara, lunch among perfect rock pools in El-Mansourah, or marvel at the roman mosaics in the Bardo Museum; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Tunisia and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Tunisia Travel Guide:

  • Colour maps and images throughout
  • Highlights and itineraries show you the simplest way to tailor your trip to your own personal needs and interests
  • Insider tips save you time and money and help you get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots
  • Essential info at your fingertips - including hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, and prices
  • Honest reviews for all budgets - including eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, and hidden gems that most guidebooks miss
  • Cultural insights give you a richer and more rewarding travel experience - including customs, history, religion, art, literature, cinema, music, dance, architecture, wildlife, and cuisine
  • Over 76 local maps
  • Coverage of Tunis, Cap Bon, Tabarka, Bizerte, Ain Draham, Kairouan, El-Jem, Gabes, Matmata, Tataouine, Medenine, the Sahara, Douz, Jerba, Tozeur, the Jerid, Carthage, and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Tunisia, our most comprehensive guide to Tunisia, is perfect for those planning to both explore the top sights and take the road less travelled.

  • Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's Africa guide for a comprehensive look at all the region has to offer.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Donna Wheeler, Paul Clammer, and Emilie Filou.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in.

TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2012 and 2013 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category

'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times

'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' - Fairfax Media (Australia)

Born in Sydney, and brought up a fishing rod's flick from the harbour, Donna Wheeler knew her Darlinghurst days were numbered when she first set eyes upon a fog-clad St Kilda Pier as a teenage art student. There have been stints in New York, London and rural Ireland, but Melbourne's art scene, bands, bars, coffee and wry sense of self has held her wandering eye for almost two decades. Donna has commissioned food guides and online features for Lonely Planet and has wored as a digital producer, content strategist and art director. She has studied visual arts, English literature and is a graduate of RMIT's Professional Writing and Editing program. She now devotes her time to freelance writing and editing.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful.
3A guidebook of mixed quality
By Martin Ternouth
There is a lot of information in this guide, but the quality and tone varies from the serious and well-informed to a fluttery gushing: there is no sense that the production has been coordinated by a strong editorial personality. The chapter on Tunis (no doubt unfairly, but that's what it reads like) gave the impression that it had been written up after a weekend's visit to some old college friends who'd been living there for a few months as ex-pats and wanted to show the researcher the clubbing scene to the exclusion of much else. Four examples may illustrate my point.

At one restaurant we are advised not to expect Frankie Knuckles in the early 80's disco, and the decor is patronised as "endearingly eccentric". No mention of it being an attractive, extremely well-run and friendly place with excellent food. Another is is described as a "buzzing place . . . heavily curtained from the street so punters can tuck into the alcohol on offer with impunity." I'm sure it's busy when Millwall are playing an away game in Tunis in the Europa League, or there's a New Order concert at the Parc des Sports, but outside of these invasions it is a pleasant cafe to chat with the locals and eat wonderful fish. There is, despite assurances in the book, no view from the bar at the the best retsaurant/hotel in Carthage: the view is from the restaurant, the terrace outside, and some of the rooms. And the zoo is written off with a brief reference to parrots and monkeys in cramped and old-fashioned cages. The charm of the zoo is in the family groups of locals that visit it: groups such as married couples in their very early twenties with children, pairs of young men or women walking arm in arm, or little toddlers holding on to a grandparent's hand and listening gravely to what they are being told - four species of human grouping that that are almost entirely extinct in 21st Century Britain.

The book also predates the Jasmine Revolution of 14 January 2011 and although the city feels perfectly safe, there is razor wire and Armoured Personnel Carriers and you might get warned off sensitive sites at gunpoint. On a more complex point, some of the purportedly Western music videos (often Lebanese with European production) are far beyond what would be allowed on MTV in Europe or the USA and imply a routine acceptance of violence and paedophilia in Western culture. Some of the guidebook's praise of "edgy DJs" might have been tempered by some understanding of the view of the West that this is giving to ordinary Tunisians.

And finally, the French and Arabic phrasebook pages would be worse than useless outside the holiday camps. You'll get very little out of Tunis as an independent traveller if you don't speak reasonably fluent French or Arabic.

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
4Useful guide
By kboz
This was informative and well written. I found the DK Eyewitness Guide did a slightly better job of covering the things I was most interested in, but the two Guides complemented one another.

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
3Very useful book
By Susan Marx
I am finding this book extremely useful in planning an upcoming trip to Tunisia. The only thing missing is an index like other Lonely Planet guide books have.

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The Walker Conspiracy

It was supposed to be a dream family vacation, but when Kevin Walker is violently kidnapped in front of his family in the south of France, the trip turns into an unimaginable nightmare. Enter Damon Forewell, Chief of Security at the powerful American bank for which Walker, the head of Information Technology, is employed. Forewell, a distinguished ex-CIA operative who had his celebrated intelligence career cut short by a serious injury in the line of duty, is suddenly thrust into the spotlight. Working alongside the investigators and a talented Interpol agent named Gisele Lamarche, Forewell helps to uncover a potential cyber-plot that threatens the bank’s financial stability. But is everything really as it seems? In their desperate quest to return Walker to his family and expose the shadowy organization that took him, the truth behind the kidnapping proves elusive. And is Forewell up to the task? Battling his own confidence issues from so many years out of the field, he and Lamarche follow a trail that takes them from Europe to the Caribbean and back again. As the pressure mounts and the end game nears, they find themselves embroiled in a conspiracy so heinous that their own lives are imperiled even as they work frantically to save Kevin Walker from his ruthless abductors.

Matt Finden was raised and educated in Halifax, Canada. An economics and business graduate, he also played on the basketball team at Dalhousie University during his years there. Finden now resides in North Vancouver with his wife and two children. A love for family and adventure provided the impetus for writing several travel articles, all of which were published in major newspapers. The Walker Conspiracy is Finden’s debut novel.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
5A quick pace finishes at a surprise ending
By CapRiskMan
A timely and fast paced thriller at the intersection of banking and technology that highlights how nefarious actors might hold our financial institutions hostage. As the story move swiftly around the world, the reader is left with bated breath for the next plot twist that concludes with a unexpected ending.

The main story line is driven by characters to which the reader can easily relate, particularly those that have worked for large corporations. At moments in the story the familiar reader can sympathies with the characters as the deal with not only with police bureaucracy, but corporate bureaucracy. While some of the corporate interactions are more stereotypes than typical, they serve the purpose of moving the story along. The quick pace of the narrative is sometimes sacrifices character development, but not to the point of limiting the appeal.

This debut novel serves the genre well and combines the pace and technical detail of Tom Clancy with the familiar character types of Clive Cussler. A solid entry into the adventure thriller genre with compelling protagonists.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
5This book was a thrilling adventure!
By Margaret Philip
This book was suggested to me by a friend, and as an avid reader I'm pretty picky about my reading selections. I must admit that I was highly impressed with Finden's work, especially for a first time author. There were numerous unexpected plot twists, marvelously in-depth character descriptions, and most impressively, thoroughly detailed descriptions of the many international locales that the story meandered through such as Havana, Antibes, Siena and felt like Finden was a long time resident of each city, sitting in person describing the mood, scenery and action while it was all happening right then and there.
I gave the book to my husband Andrew when we went to the cottage, and he had a tough time putting the book away, finishing the last page on the top deck of the BC Ferry on the way home after our 4 day trip as the sun was setting over the mountains....he loved it!
Congratulations to the author for a great first novel, and we'll be sure to buy his next book when it's published.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
4The ending was a surprise
Although outside of my usual genre, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the way the story line pulled me along. The way the author switched between characters kept the story very interesting. I loved the surprise ending.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

High Altitude: Mountaineer, Airline Pilot, Modern-day Adventurer

Mountaineer, pilot, ultra runner, and ordinary guy, Mike Allsop is an adventurer of the truest kind

Most people who survived an almost unsurviveable plane crash would be tempted to sit back, take a good hard look at life, and take things a little bit easier. Mike Allsop is not most people. Almost losing his life in a Twin Otter crash off the coast of Hawai'i awakened Mike's zest for life and his thirst for adventure. Mountaineering became Mike's passion and climbing led to him almost getting shot in Russia, narrowly missing a fatal avalanche in Peru, returning a replica of a stolen Yeti hand to a Nepalese monastery, and then attempting the biggest climb of them all—Everest. Not content with being an exceptional climber, Mike decided to take up running. Before long he was attempting to run the world's highest marathon on the slopes of Mt. Everest. Then an even bigger challenge—seven marathons, in seven continents, in seven days. He's currently planning his next big adventure – a journey to the North Pole. Whatever happens, one thing's for sure—he won't be sitting on the couch wondering "What if?"

Mike Allsop is a commercial airline pilot, adventurer, and speaker.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
5High Altitude
By Stephen
I enjoyed reading this book. Plenty of excitement as well as some good humour that kept me reading and entertained.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
5Loved this book
By Valerie
If you like a good mix of adventure this book has it. It is so gripping, I even slowed down at the end as i didn't want the book to finish. If you enjoy Bear Grylls books, you'll love this more. Best read of 2013.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
5Great book...a must read!!
By Steffan Fuller
Excellent book! Really inspiring.Very interesting and very well written.This is a great book for everyone.Once I started reading it.....I couldn't stop!!

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lonely Planet Florence & Tuscany (Regional Travel Guide)

“Home to some of the world’s most recognizable tourist icons, Tuscany has been enticing visitors with its cooking and culture ever since the Etruscans arrived over two millennia ago.” – Virginia Maxwell, Lonely Planet Writer

Our Promise

You can trust our travel information because Lonely Planet authors visit the places we write about, each and every edition. We never accept freebies for positive coverage so you can rely on us to tell it like it is.

Inside This Book…

2 expert authors
29 driving tours and itineraries
42 Renaissance masterpieces
4000 years of art and architecture
Eat & Drink Like a Local feature
In-depth background
Pull-out city map
Feature coverage of top sights
Comprehensive planning tools
At-a-glance practical info

After working for many years as a publishing manager at Lonely Planet's Melbourne headquarters, Virginia decided that she'd be happier writing guidebooks rather than commissioning them. Since then she's written or contributed to Lonely Planet books about nine countries, eight of which are on the Mediterranean. Virginia has covered Rome and Florence for Lonely Planet's Italy and the north of the country for Western Europe. She is also the coordinating author of Lonely Planet's Tuscany & Umbria.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
By Harry Cheung
I don't like its viewing system and index
Unlike its paper version, I found it very inconvenient to locate the part I want to read

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
5Great guide book for Tuscany
By Betsy L. Smulyan
I am just finishing a trip through Tuscany, Florence and the island of Elba. This book had great suggestions and good format, I highly recommend it!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
5Very helpful in finding the best places to stay
By Steve A.
Very helpful in finding the best places to stay. Good solid information. Will know more after our trip. Contains both sightseeing info and general background info on history, food etc

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sammy's Next Move: Sammy the snail is a travelling snail

Sammy's Next Move is a wonderful story about a snail named Sammy who lives around the world with his parents. He is a ‘third culture kid’, TCK or global nomad. He often moves to new countries and has to change schools and make new friends. Sammy experiences the feelings and thoughts common to children in similar situations. Sammy is a snail and so he carries his home with him wherever he goes, just as a third culture kid does by knowing that home is where their heart is! Look for more Sammy stories coming soon!

Helen Maffini is a ‘third culture kid’ herself who lived in Japan as a teenager. Since then she has lived in nine countries and has two third culture kids herself, Alexandra and Francesca. She is married to an Italian chef who loves to travel as much as she does! She can be reached at

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
5A REQUIREMENT for Moving Parents!
By Emmanuel
I bought this book for my 8 year old son as he was quite nervous about our upcoming move overseas. He really enjoyed reading about Sammy and he seems a lot more excited about the move now. Great book! I recommend parents buy it if they are facing a move to a new country.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
5Sammy's Next Move
By S O
Sammy the snail is none too chuffed when his parents announce they are moving to Japan.

He's only just got used to living in Italy and he's really going to miss his playmates, so the prospect of having to make new friends in yet another country is distressing and upsetting.

But thankfully young Sammy's an accomplished traveller and when his mum reminds him about their previous postings and how much he's enjoyed living in different countries, he warms to the idea of moving again.

Sammy's Next Move is written by seasoned expat and mother of two Helen Maffini and tells the story of what it feels like to be a Third Culture Kid, in a way that children will identify with.

It's a simple tale, engagingly written and very nicely illustrated and at less than 20 pages long, it's ideal bedtime reading for children and their parents.

With two pages of tips and project ideas for parents of TCKs, this is the perfect little book for any expat child about to embark on a new adventure.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
5Just what every family on the move needs
By Nicole Andrews
We have longed to live an expat life for years. Now as that is looking more and more like a reality, we have wondered how we would prepare our child for the moves...plural. This book is perfect! And when I say perfect, I mean that the length is ideal for a bedtime or anytime story and the character, Sammy, perfectly embodies our ideals: home is where the heart is. Between our determination to treat this experience like and adventure and having Sammy to refer back to, it looks like the expat experience will be a positive and exciting experience for everyone involved.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Lonely Planet Oman UAE & the Arabian Peninsula (Multi Country

Nobody knows the Arabian Peninsula like Lonely Planet. Whether it’s exploring the alleyways of Old Muscat, bargaining in Abu Dhabi’s atmospheric souqs, diving in the Red Sea or finding the best spot for a desert safari, we bring you the most extensive coverage of the region.

Lonely Planet guides are written by experts who get to the heart of every destination they visit. This fully updated edition is packed with accurate, practical and honest advice, designed to give you the information you need to make the most of your trip.

In This Guide:

In-depth advice on safe travel in the region
Expat chapter packed with insider tips from our resident author
Only guidebook to cover every country in the Arabian Peninsula

Writes the author: "History", said T E Lawrence when pulled up by his biographer on a point of fact in the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, "is all lies anyway, so why worry". Why worry indeed, but I did worry: I wanted to be sure that ostriches didn't use their tails as sunshades (as one 18th-century travel writer would have us believe), and that Nile crocodiles were indifferent to the religious persuasion of their dinners. So began thirty years of independent travel that has taken me to 84 different countries on four different continents. Which is my favourite? Well I have fond memories of being lost in a rain forest in Costa Rica and nearly losing a leg in Panama; of beetles hatching in police custody in Sudan and the art of micro-copying in Pakistan; there was a wayward camel in Xinjiang and editing of books on Indonesian travel modes at the University of Hong Kong. I have slightly less fond memories of riding with herdsmen in Mongolia ? or at least of the wooden saddle: after that, the long trans-Siberian crossing through a grey Gorbachov winter, being pinched all night by Cossack women in pink nylon vests, was a 'standing room only' experience. But, in the great tradition of travel literature, I digress. If I had to choose a favourite country it would have to be England. A raw day in winter, with copper light on the beech trees of Surrey to be exact. As everyone knows, it's only when you've been to one or two other places that home and birthplace wins the top spot. A close second, however, would have to be my second home of the past 7 years, the Sultanate of Oman. Apart from its raw natural beauty and legendary hospitality, this is where, after six months travelling the silk route compiling a book on contemporary artists, I met my beloved husband. It is also where, while sitting eating egg sandwiches on a windswept escarpment in the Hajar mountains, I thought "What a lonely planet". It was only logical, then, to write up the experience for the publisher of the same name in Middle East (4th edition) and Arabian Peninsula (1st edition). All in all, I've had a long association with the Middle East: entomological field trips with parents in Saudi; a dissertation on Doughty and Lawrence (BA, Stirling University); a thesis on the perception of the Arabic Orient (MPhil, Oxford University); milking goats in Syria; watering poppies in Jordan; covering Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait for Arabian Peninsula. The connection continues with an off-road driving guide of Oman, for Motivate Publishing, and an academic writing skills course, akin to the work I produce for Oman's Ministry of Health, due for publication in 2006. So did they have sunshades? Did they eat heathens? "Actually yes"; factually no. But who's worried? My top travelling tip would be to pack some "willing suspension of disbelief", and be surprised when it delivers some universal truths.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
5Review of UAE Book by Lonely Planet
By Fred
Of the seven books I've recently purchase prior to my trip to the UAE, Oman, Quatar, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, this was by far the best reference book. The maps are not a fancy as in some other books, but the B&W maps they had were the most useful. The tourist guide provided was also the best of the books. I highly recommend it!

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
5Great Guide
By sunshine608
Good travel guide for the region. I enjoyed the history of each country and some of the tips provided by the author. I used this book for travel to Doha, Qatar and Dubai, United Arab Emirates and found most of it pretty spot- on. I had another book that focused just on Dubai, but I really enjoyed this book for the depth of information about the entire region. Hopefully one day I'll make it to some of the other countries.

As with any guidebook, changes ( especially in such a growing area) occur rapidly and some of the information in this book was outdated, but that was my only complaint.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
5Lonley Planet-Oman
By Blumenmom
Like all of the other Lonely Planet books, this one is a storehouse of knowledge for any traveler. Before our recent trip to Qatar, I had a number of questions one of which was , "which adapter plug should I take?" It was a simple matter to turn to the appropriate page in this book and find that Qatar uses the "English-3-prong plug" and with that I was good-to-go! No detail is too small for the Lonely Planet series...and if anything, they may include too much. But I would be hard pressed to suggest what to leave out; just skip what is not of interest.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Being a Christian: a Study Book for Children

An exciting Bible Study book, teaching children and teens, how to become a Christian and can be used to witness to their friends. This book is also available in Spanish.

This is the best book I have seen for youngsters on explaining Christianity, simple yet profound. At our church thirteen children commited themselves to Christ after studying "Being A Christian." Seven children in our church became commited Christians after reading you book "Being A Christian." We printed 2,000 Romanian copies of "Being a Christian." They were sold out within a week, despite the high price the local Romanians had to pay. -- From the Publisher

David Walters has authored eight books. He travels through the U.S. and abroad, preaching at churches, camps, crusades and conferences. His area of ministry is to children, youth, parents, nursery workers, youth and children's pastors, and senior pastors. He has spoken at many national conferences along with many well-known charismatic and evangelical speakers. Rev Walters has also written in Christian magazines such as Charisma, Ministries Today, and Homeschool Digest.

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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful.
5Being a Christian: a Study Book for Children
By A Customer
This book is very helpful to explain to children just what a christian is. The chapters are short and easy to explain. The questions at the end of each chapter summaries the content very nicely.

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
4Balanced, Basic and Biblical
By clara's opinion
"Being a Christian" by David Walters is a well thought out workbook style edition for kids. It is kid friendly with a high gloss cover, large varying, pink/purple/black print and cute cartoon illustrations.

The explanation of the Christian life directs the reader to think and understand without corny Christianese. It includes scripture verses ( some with explanatory paraphrases), stories to help teach and a "quiz" at the end of each "chapter". It is not a lengthy workbook but it packs in powerful Biblical facts. It even provides a good representation of the Holy Spirit's role in the Christian life.
One thing to note, it is clear this book is written for kids. It speaks about the child's need to choose to believe God for salvation and not rely on parents or family church going as his/her identity as a Christian. This is an exciting challenge which kids need to hear so that as they enter teen years and adulthood they have a personal faith in a personal Savior.
Also, please note contrary to the one low review there is no judgmental "black&white" teaching other than the obvious; there's only one way to heaven. If that is upsetting to someone then its doubtful that person has experienced the grace of God herself.
Don't hesitate to purchase this book if you're looking for a simple, clear way to reach a kid with the gospel.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
5Being a Christian: A study book for children
By Vickey V. Ellis
This is a great and wonderful book to help with your younger student classes at sunday school. The children enjoy the lessons and they remember why we are called a christian.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Rough Guide to Thailand

This is the most practical and informative guide to Thailand. Features include in-depth coverage of all the sights, from the Northeast's Khmer ruins to Bangkok's glittering temples and the beaches and islands of the south. The Rough Guide also contains up-to-the-minute reviews of accommodation and restaurants plus first-hand advice on Thailand's adventure opportunities (trekking and white-water rafting, kayaking on the Gulf Coasts etc). It also serves as an incisive guide to Thailand's history, religion, art, music and wildlife.

Paul Gray has been a regular visitor to Thailand since teaching English for a year in 1987. He now works as a managing editor at the Rough Guides office in London. Lucy Ridout has spent most of the last decade travelling in and writing about Asia. She is also the co-author of the Rough Guides to Bali and Bangkok.

When to go The climate of most of Thailand is governed by three seasons: rainy (roughly June to October), caused by the southwest monsoon dumping moisture gathered from the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand; cool (November to February); and hot (March to May). The rainy season is the least predictable of the three, varying in length and intensity from year to year, but usually it gathers force between June and August, coming to a peak in September and October, when unpaved roads are reduced to mud troughs and whole districts of Bangkok are flooded. The cool season is the pleasantest time to visit, although temperatures can still reach a broiling 30C in the middle of the day. In the hot season, when temperatures rise to 40C, the best thing to do is to hit the beach. Within this scheme, slight variations are found from region to region. The less humid north experiences the greatest range of temperatures: at night in the cool season the thermometer occasionally approaches zero on the higher slopes, and this region is often hotter than the central plains between March and May. It's the northeast which gets the very worst of the hot season, with clouds of dust gathering above the parched fields, and humid air too. In southern Thailand, temperatures are more consistent throughout the year, with less variation the closer you get to the equator. The rainy season hits the Andaman coast of the southern peninsula harder than anywhere else in the country - heavy rainfall usually starts in May and persists at the same level until October. One area of the country, the Gulf coast of the southern peninsula, lies outside this general pattern - because it faces east, this coast and its offshore islands feel the effects of the northeast monsoon, which brings rain between October and January. This area also suffers less from the southwest monsoon, getting a relatively small amount of rain between June and September. Overall, the cool season is generally the best time to come to Thailand: as well as having more manageable temperatures and less rain, it offers waterfalls in full spate and the best of the upland flowers in bloom. Bear in mind, however, that it's also the busiest season, so forward planning is essential.

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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful.
4Good Guide except for the Bangkok section...
By fdoamerica
I just returned from Thailand and I took four guides: Thomas Cook's, Lonely Planet, Let's Go, and this guide (see my reviews on the others guides, and do seriously consider Lonely Planet Islands & Beaches IF you are only going to spend time as a sun lizard).

`Thomas Cook Thailand' is a special niche guide, best suited for those with tour groups and `Let's Go Thailand' is the guide for those backpackers that are `on the cheap'. This leaves Rough Guide to face off with Lonely Planet and in some areas it is superior to L.P and in one big area it is not.

Rough Guide's restaurant recommendations are by far the best of any guide I reviewed; they are both reliable and informative, giving great descriptions and dish recommendations, "the grilled river prawns with chili, the matsaman curry and the delicious durian cheese-cake." The restaurant prices are listed as: Expensive, Moderate and Inexpensive.

The hotel accommodations recommendations are also descriptive, very reliable and most have either webpage addresses or email. Sadly, Rough Guide still uses the user 'unfriendly' price codes, instead of just saying in dollars (or Bahts) what the cost for the hotel is. Thus you need to memorize the table where the number 4=400-600B and 5=600-900B etc., then you can convert to either dollars or euros to get the price. Also, since the Guide is published in 2004 (thus the information is from 2003) you add 10-20% for inflation. Both Lonely Planet and Let's Go just tell you what the price is. "Duh".

The Guide has excellent information that tells you the nitty-gritty that prepairs you for your trip. It also has great history, religion (Buddhism of course), environmental and cultural sections. Not to be missed is the additional reading recommendations (six pages).

Where it bombs is BANGKOK. The Guide says that Bangkok is "sprawling, chaotic and exhausting" and that is exactly how I experienced the 115 pages that covered this mega-city. The layout is dysfunctional. It has no logical consistency between any two points. Bangkok is the home of 11 million people; it is huge and spreads out like greater Los Angeles. It needs to be broken down into regions and then sections and those need to be logically kept together. But, this guide will give you information on one area, like Thanon Sukhumvit, then 60 pages later the accommodations for that area, then 20 pages back will be the Thanon Sukhumvit map; but wait, the restaurants for that area... you guessed it, will be located some where else. Hello! Who laid this out? What herb, pray tell, were they using? So, if you plan to spend any significant time in Bangkok, then Lonely Planet is a better guide.

Maybe the 6th edition Rough Guide will improve the Bangkok section and hopefully increased the guides paltry index (8 pages for all of Thailand - Bangkok alone could be 8 pages) and make this an outstanding guide. Bangkok aside this is still a strongly recommended guide.

42 of 51 people found the following review helpful.
2Rough Guide to Thailand
By Lucy Warner
Fed up with the traditional Lonely Planet I turned to the Rough Guide for an alternative view. While this guide gives detailed historical/background knowledge it severely lacks in the essentials, notably transport prices and detailed maps.@There were just too many times when this book became a more of a frustration than a help. This book is best read before you go and left at home.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
5Much better than other reviews here would indicate
By Amazon Customer
I was reading Lonely Planet Thailand (Country Travel Guide) and the book has many positive reviews, but the Rough Guide to Thailand has much worse reviews. I can recall reading some Rough Guides to other countries many years ago, and I came away from that experience feeling confident in the series.

If you read the reviews on Amazon U.S. almost all of them denigrate the Thailand Rough Guide. However, if you look at the reviews, you will see that almost all of them predate this edition. If you judge a travel series by an out-of-print edition, it probably won't seem that good.

Then I took a look at Amazon U.K. The reviews of the Rough Guide were much more positive, and were more recent as well. I bought a copy so I was able to review it. Amazon must love me :)

And here is my take on the book - it's as good as Lonely Planet. Both of the current versions (in Summer 2011) were released in 2009, and so seem to be a little dated. I would suggest that both travel guides take a leaf from Nancy Chandler's Maps of Bangkok or Chiang Mai (both available here on Amazon) and keep a web site with updates every few months. The web is now a necessary tool for backpacking journeys, especially when just about every place to stay and many places to eat (and a whole lot of other attractions) have their own web sites. That saves you hunting around for accommodation in the wee small hours after you arrive, because the place you were headed for no longer exists.

But you cannot plan without a book. Reading either of these books is like having a long conversation with someone who has been there, so that you can find out what you'll expect to pay, whether it's a noisy place or comfortable and quiet (tripadvisor is a good site for this as well). When I was getting information I had both guides available, and I found myself using them interchangeably. The information was no better and no worse, in my experience, and the Rough Guide was definitely not the write-off the reviews claimed.

However, both guides should be up for revised versions in Spring 2012. I hope that they will embrace the web, rather than see it as a competitor. Maybe you won't take your paper guide with you and rely on your tablet or netbook, but I'd still feel happier with a book as well. I've spent around 40 hours on-line with the books at my side, and an abstract idea ("Why don't you backpack around Thailand?") turned into a pretty complete itinerary for a three-week trip. You could google Thailand Travel Blog which in my case threw up several good suggestions.

Unfortunately, the trip isn't for me. I'm wheelchair-bound and such a trip would be so much hard work. However, one of my aides is interested in going with her boyfriend, and since both are around 20 they're fine for all the effort (including bare-back riding an elephant!). I am confident that it will turn out well for them.

So, don't overlook the Rough Guide. I'd suggest you get both it and the Lonely Planet, but the Rough Guide alone is a great resource. Let's hope that the 2012 revisions keep up the good work.

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Let's Play Hopscotch

In the 1950s, I lived under apartheid in South Africa, with a Catholic, Lebanese mother and an English father. I was one of six. I grew up playing games like hopscotch, totally oblivious to the apartheid regime. Fast forward to 1994, and I'm forty-one years old and waiting in a long queue for hours to vote for Nelson Mandela. In her lighthearted and adventurous memoir, Ellie Levinson takes readers to the small, gold-mining town of Welkom, South Africa, where she and her five siblings attend school and give up sweets for forty days every Lent, as if queuing for the loo every morning isn't enough to atone for their sins!

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
5Real people with a wonderfully rich life.
By Zig & Zoe
This is a really fun read. So often you read books that say "the names have been changed" They are real people with real names. What could be a more precious gift to give your family than these memories lasting for many generations. How blessed is a family that has a mum who is willing to spend years recapturing and putting those memories in chronological order. I'm looking forward to the next book because this author is surely destined to live over 100 yrs, yielding plenty of time to write a sequel.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
5Funny, entertaining and fascinating life story
By Mo
I loved Let's Play Hopscotch. I laughed out lot so many times reading this book, especially about Ellie's childhood, as one of six children. What an incredible life she has led so far. Her experiences living in South Africa and Zimbabwe are fascinating as are the stories of her travels within Southern Africa and overseas. What a wonderful mother she is. She has brought up four children, always maintaining her fantastic sense of humour. Ellie's book gives a wonderful insight into life in South Africa. I highly recommend this book and look forward to her next book.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
5Bringing back memories
By Sharon
For anyone who treasures his own childhood memories, "Hopscotch" is a "must read"! The warm-hearted, entertaining and "laugh-out-loud" anecdotes will keep the reader glued until the very last page. Having grown up "around-the-corner" from Ellie Levinson, attended the same school and having spent many fun-filled weeks together during our varsity vacs, I was more than curious to read this book. How I enjoyed every page! Ellie's writings triggered many happy memories of our carefree childhood in Dagbreek, Welkom. They also filled in the gaps of "Ellie's life after marriage". It was an inviting and engaging read, as I felt as if Ellie were sitting around the table with her friends in the warm kitchen in Nassau Street, relating all her exciting adventures. Thank you, Ellie, for enabling me to relive those happy years!

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