A charming homage to upscale travel through Italy.

SEE YOU IN THE PIAZZA

NEW PLACES TO DISCOVER IN ITALY

Italy satiates a couple’s wanderlust.

Since her bestselling book Under the Tuscan Sun appeared in 1996, poet, novelist, and travel writer Mayes (Women in Sunlight, 2018, etc.) has been testifying to the glories of Italy, a country, she writes in her latest celebration, that offers “an endless surprise.” For a year and a half, she and her husband took to the road in search of towns, food, and landscapes exemplary of the nation’s rich gifts, joined for part of the trip by their teenage grandson, who was able to find information on the internet and shares his grandparents’ tastes. Although Mayes writes that “the most vivid pleasures of Italy are often the simple ones,” the hotels, restaurants, and shops that enchant her require a travel budget that points to a particular demographic: sophisticated, well-heeled tourists who share the author’s delight in restaurants with “crisp table linens, good cutlery and crystal, understated flowers,” a stool for her handbag, and solicitous wait staff. Throughout their journey, the travelers seek out the gustatory pleasures of regional wines, cheeses, and prosciutto, staying in well-appointed rooms in elegant hotels with picturesque views, where they can sip prosecco on verdant terraces or in a town’s lovely peach and ochre piazza. Days are spent browsing (and buying) in “curated shopping streets,” taking walks around a lake, reading at poolside, and visiting museums, castles, and churches. Mayes has arranged her memoir geographically from north to south, rather than chronologically, to allow readers to peruse the sections randomly, perhaps using the book as a companion guide to their own trip. Her descriptions are painterly and alluring, and she includes recipes for memorable dishes—grilled prawns with fennel and olives, sea bream poached in special seasoned broth, lemon ricotta tart, gnocchi with wild hare, and crispy octopus—that are likely to whet the prospective traveler’s appetite.

A charming homage to upscale travel through Italy.

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-451-49769-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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