For Book Lovers
I don't review books I don't like!
*****= An all-time favorite
**** = Outstanding
= Above average
= Good, with reservations
**Italy in Mind
edited and with an introduction by Alice Leccese Powers
Reviewed November 18, 2004.
Vintage Books (Random House), New York, 1997. 349 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (810.8032 ITA).
Italy in Mind is a collection of essays, stories, and novel
excerpts about traveling or living in Italy, about experiencing Italy and
all its wonders. The blurb on the cover reads: “From Lord Byron
and Edith Wharton to Susan Sontag and Michael Ondaatje—Two centuries of
writers celebrate their love affairs with Italy.”
I love the idea of this book. After all, probably my favorite travel
book of all is For the Love of Ireland,
with writings by Irish writers arranged by the section of Ireland they are
from. However, in practice I found some of the writings difficult
to slog through. I read this book a little at a time, and it took
me a very long time to get through the whole thing.
Still, there are gems. One of the last chapters (and one that sticks
in my mind) is a wonderful story by Edith Wharton set in Rome. Mark
Twain’s meditations from Pompeii are thought-provoking still today.
Don’t read this book if you want a quick guide to Italy. Many of
the older writers are slower about getting to the point than we are accustomed
to today. This is a collection for atmosphere. Dip into this
book to give yourself a leisurely taste of Italy.
Copyright © 2004 Sondra Eklund.
All rights reserved.
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