Monday, December 7, 2009

Armchair Travel

I was just in the car for about 20
minutes picking up a son from his
classes.Just in time to hear Fresh Air
on NPR and a literature college
professor and that term "armchair
travel" that she used made me smile
and nod my head! Get your cup of tea,
sit in that armchair , pull out a book
and go somewhere ~~ here is her list.
She made me want to look for some of the
books. I've read Laurie Colwin's book
and highly recommend them.

Here's a bit from the short article on
Florence, where Maureen does her
arm chair travel: (James is P.D., new
book on dectective mysteries by this

James, of course, lives in England, which would be my #1 fantasy choice for where to spend the holidays. Not going to happen anytime soon, but armchair travel is cheap and profoundly pleasurable. I received lots of intriguing suggestions for good books about place — Pico Iyer on Japan; Ishmael Reed on Oakland — but the one recommendation I found irresistible was Mary McCarthy on Florence — because I find any occasion to read Mary McCarthy in all her tart brilliance irresistible. The book is called The Stones of Florence and, in it, McCarthy unveils what was then, in 1956, one of Italy's lesser tourist cities. She loves the handmade shoes, puts up with the then mediocre food, and winces at the "sugary" vision of the city crafted by Victorians like the Brownings.

Maureen Corrigan's complete list:

1. Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin, paperback, 208 pages, Harper Perennial, list price: $12
2. More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin, paperback, 240 pages, Harper Perennial, list price: $12.99
3. Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith, hardcover, 320 pages, Penguin Press, list price: $26.95
4. Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James, hardcover, 208 pages, Knopf, list price: $22
5. The Stones of Florence by Mary McCarthy, paperback, 252 pages, Harvest Books, list price: $14
6. Why Architecture Matters by Paul Goldberger, Yale U. Press, list price: $26
7. Here is New York by E.B. White, hardcover, 58 pages, The Little Bookroom, list price: $16.95


melissa said...

Love your header. :) And, btw, thanks so much for your sweet comment on my blog today.

About Laurie Colwin...I've always wanted to read her Home Cooking books, but the library doesn't have them here, but have read her fiction books. Thanks for the reminder of her. She's good stuff.

Nan said...

I love E.B. White's essays. And you know how I love Laurie Colwin. If Melissa comes back, I'd just say it is worth it to buy Home Cooking. Your header looks like the house in The Holiday, my dream place!