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England As You Like It: An Independent Traveler's Companion

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A book by Susan Allen Toth

Those familiar with Toth's My Love Affair with England (LJ 8/92) will readily acknowledge her charming, conversational writing style. Her new book is an excellent combination of guide and autobiographical travel writing that will benefit both armchair … see full wiki

Author: Susan Allen Toth
Publisher: Ballantine Books
1 review about England As You Like It: An Independent Traveler's...

Objective theory, subjective application

  • Mar 23, 2006
Having just finished Susan Allen Toth's earlier collection of essays "My Love Affair with England," I knew her travel-tastes run to gardens and rural pathways, and her writing-tastes run to lengthy descriptions of gardens and rural pathways. So I didn't have any hesitation in harvesting from "England as You Like It" a bunch of useful ideas, resources, and destinations, and then skimming over (or skipping entirely) yet more essays about gardens and paths. Other readers may well enjoy those parts of the book too -- I'm not slighting them: they seem popular enough with other reviewers. They're just not my particular cup of Twinings.

What I found most memorable -- and pertinent to my own pending trip to England -- were things like the "thumbprint theory of travel," her methods for making long flights in the economy section more bearable, and her defense of the virtues of packing heavy instead of light. Her M.O. of staying in one set of lodgings for a week or two at a time, and using that as a base from which to explore nearby areas, certainly seems both more restful (as a vacation) and more worthwhile (as a means to get to know a place) than a frenetic rush from hotel to hotel as you check off one "must see" attraction after another. And her comment that the first thing she does on arrival in London is to hit a bookshop to stock up on good, detailed maps is an idea I definitely plan to appropriate.

The first chapter, "How to Be Your Own Travel Agent," also had many useful ideas and recommendations for thing to look into. Since the book was published in 1995, however, many of the specifics she gives could be replaced by a red rubber stamp reading "Use the Internet!" Still, for giving a traveler enticing ideas of places to see and ways to see them, anyone England-bound could find this book worth spending a little time with.

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