Free Winter Vacation – Library Style

Flee winter. Forget plane fare or gas money. Indulge in a library card. Yep, a tiny piece of plastic and a drop of imagination is your ticket south, no passports or security checks required.Vacation at the library

At home, dig out your flip-flops and beach towels and crank up the heat. Head out to pick up coconut-scented candles; mangoes, bananas, pineapples and oranges for a tropical fruit salad. Never mind the sunscreen. Then stop and see us at the library — the sun-drenched Bahama and Caribbean islands await.

Start in our CD area with our fine World Music collection. My favourites include Calypso and Island Songs, Steel Drums from The Caribbean, and The Music of Trinidad. Look out for reggae superstars Jimmy Cliff and Peter Tosh; they have a couple of Jamaican hits on Putumayo Presents World Hits. You might need, Soak Up The Sun from The Very Best of Sheryl Crow.

Shuffle over to the DVD shelves. Every year movie scenes are shot on location in The Caribbean and The Bahamas. Take home your slice of island life. Choose from Cool Runnings and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Jamaica); My Father, My Hero, Casino Royale (Paradise Island, Bahamas); Open Water (Virgin Islands); The Silence of the Lambs (final scenes in Bimini, Bahamas); The Thomas Crown Affair (Martinique).

Then grab a straw (oops, green) basket and wander into the stacks. Enjoy an intimate account of a Canadian couple’s Caribbean sailing adventures in sixteen countries (47 individual islands) chronicled by Ann Vanderhoof in An Embarrassment of Mangoes and The Spice Necklace. By the way, there’s an excellent recipe for Crab Cakes on pages 30-31 in An Embarrassment of Mangoes.

For fiction buffs, consider these picks set in locales far south: Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway (Bimini, Bahamas and Havana, Cuba); A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffet (Caribbean);  Sea Hunter by Paul Garrison ( Tortola, British Virgin Islands); The Reef by Nora Roberts (Caribbean); Still Summer by Jacqueline Mitchard (Caribbean); A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie; The Goat Woman of Largo Bay and The Man Who Turned Both Cheeks by Gillian Royes (Jamaica).

Once you’ve made your selections, scoot back home where it’ll be a balmy 20ºC (bless you, furnace!). There you have it — your winter escape, thanks to a St. Thomas Public Library card and a little imagination.


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