Anyone contemplating a trip to Naples would do well to keep this very useful, accessible book close at hand.

THE ESPRESSO BREAK

TOURS AND NOOKS OF NAPLES, ITALY AND BEYOND

In her debut travel guide, Zaragoza puts together the ultimate companion for readers planning a trip to Naples.

In this readable, entertaining information guide for tourists, Zaragoza takes readers from the heights of Mount Vesuvius to the ruins of Pompeii and beyond. Part atlas, part history lesson, part epicurean review, this comprehensive handbook to Naples is without peer. The only thing missing is information on lodging, a subject outside the book’s purview. Zaragoza clearly has insider’s knowledge obtained by spending a great deal of time in the regions she describes. She knows that anyone who wishes to see “The Sanctuary of Mithras” in Capua needs to see a custodian off premises, where he or she will grab a key and beckon travelers to follow the route to the actual site. It’s tips like these that make this guide so special. Zaragoza starts off with a background history lesson before providing directions to the places she describes—some off-the-beaten-path destinations would be difficult if not impossible to find otherwise. When it comes to local cuisine, Zaragoza takes time not only to describe the food, but its origins as well. Some of the first pizzas, for instance, were made in Naples; the author informs the reader of the two main types of pizza and the best places to sample them. Coffee drinking in Naples is an altogether different experience than elsewhere. The amount is much less per serving—typically about a shot’s worth—but the sheer variety of formulations boggles the mind. Italians seem to take the idea of a coffee break seriously; it’s common to take pause from a busy workday to grab a quick pick-me-up at one of the city’s abundant cafes. Zaragoza’s explanation of the etiquette of coffee drinking is just another example of her ability to immerse readers in the culture and everyday lives of the people who inhabit the city.

Anyone contemplating a trip to Naples would do well to keep this very useful, accessible book close at hand.

Pub Date: March 22, 2012

ISBN: 978-0983509929

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Merchant's Press

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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