Jan Morris, . . National Geographic, $20 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-7922-6523-8

With simple elegance and grace, renowned travel writer Morris (Pax Britannica) reflects on her home in Wales, its beautiful setting and the nature of being Welsh. First in a series of literary travel memoirs, this slim and charming volume offers a crisp account of the turbulent history of the Welsh and their battle to maintain their language and culture in the shadow of their more powerful neighbor. Weaving in some Welsh poetry and lore along the way, Morris leads readers on a winding road ("didn't I say we were long-winded?") to her home. "We called the building Trefan Morys, partly after the estate, partly after the Welsh spelling of my surname; and so it was—I told you to be patient!—that this modest old structure, built for livestock, became instead a Writer's House in Wales." Morris delivers a jaunty tour in lively, lighthearted prose. From the scent of burning wood to the bilingual weathervane atop the cupola, readers are transported by rich, romantic detail and the author's warmth. Sweetened with her observations on the architecture, countryside, neighbors, the past and the future of her country, this little book is a satisfying brew. Trefan Morys is vividly and lovingly described: the cat Ibsen, the book tower, the "untidy yard," the mystical woods surrounding the property. Via her home, her writing and her beloved Wales, Morris defiantly preserves her identity in the face of a rapid-fire communications culture. The book is humble yet astute, homespun yet profound. (Jan.)

Forecast:Fans of Morris will be thrilled to have another small volume to add to their collection, especially since she claimed that the publication of this year's Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere (Forecasts, Aug. 20) was to be her last.