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A wicker pagoda. A camel saddle. Carved wooden elephants from India. Japanese pearls, Hong Kong silks, Thai “princess rings.” The things my father carried home from his military trips abroad were tokens of love, glimpses of places we would probably never see for ourselves. We treasured them, played with them, wore them. But Kathy Borrus would say we missed out, because we didn’t experience the joy of exploring other cultures firsthand. Aside from the occasional platitude, however, Borrus’ book, The Fearless Shopper: How to Get the Best Deals on the Planet, is a model travel guide: brisk, funny, full of practical tips on selecting, bargaining for, and bringing home the goods. As a former buyer for the Smithsonian’s museum shops, Borrus brings considerable expertise—and no taint of greed—to the topic. Start your family’s collection of heirlooms by hearing her read and answer questions at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 4801 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda. Free. (301) 986-1761. (Caroline Schweiter)