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Bella Tuscany : The Sweet Life in Italy by Frances Mayes

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Reviews
                    Amazon.
                     Work's still not completely finished on Bramasole, the Tuscan house that
                     California-based poet and bestselling author Frances Mayes bought a
                     decade ago and has been fixing up every summer since. Nevertheless, in
                     Bella Tuscany, she goes out--in search of Italy and Italian life. The
                     sequel to Under the Tuscan Sun is awash with sensual discovery, from
                     Sicilian markets with "rainbows of shining fish on ice" to the aqueous
                     dream of Venice "shimmering in the diluted sunlight." Wherever she is,
                     Mayes celebrates everyday rituals, such as picking wild asparagus, "dark
                     spears poking out of the dirt ... stalks as thin as yarn" and driving through
                     country rains, as "the green landscape smears across the windshield" for
                     buffalo mozzarella and demijohns of sfuso--bulk wine kept fresh with a
                     slick of olive oil on top. Mayes also ventures into the world of the locals,
                     some "bent as a comma" and others throwing six-hour communion feasts
                     where half a dozen cooks in a barn continually send out heaping platters
                     of pasta with wild boar sauce, roasted lamb, and even the thigh of a giant
                     cow--wrapping up the festivities with honeyed vin santo, grappa, and
                     dancing to the accordion. Capturing the details that enrich the
                     commonplace, in Bella Tuscany Mayes appears less like a visitor and
                     more like someone discovering in Tuscany a real home and a real life.
                     --Melissa Rossi

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                     From Kirkus Reviews , February 1, 1999
                     Yes, la dolce vita, but only for some. In the nearly 40 years since Fellini's
                     film first ushered the expression into our lexicon, said vita has been
                     drained of all its original sardonic content, its biting irony, and its social
                     criticism. This sequel to Mayes's bestselling Under the Tuscan Sun, about
                     her second home and life reborn in Tuscany, doesn't preserve Fellinis
                     spirit either, though her account is inevitably charming. Sometimes, too, a
                     tad annoying. For the author does occasionally come off (along with her
                     husband) as cantankerous or supremely unself-conscious. Not
                     appreciating the cold spring rains in Tuscany, for instance, the lucky pair
                     decides, on a whim, to fly to balmy Palermo; on arriving in a hotel room
                     without a view of that city's justly famous palm trees, gli Americani just
                     march down to the lobby and demand one. To the accidental Italophile
                     tourist, gathering water at a scenic town's small fountain may appear a
                     quaint and rustic practice yet for the ancient women who must daily fetch
                     and carry large jugs of water balanced atop their heads, the habit is
                     laborious and boring, alleviated only slightly by the prospect of gossip.
                     Yet we are finally won over by Mayes. Who could fail to affirm this poets
                     lush descriptions of the rolling Tuscan hills, with their timeless olive trees
                     and patient oxen? Equally beautiful are Mayes's evocations of Italians as
                     sincere and welcoming. She realizes that, despite their fame for sweets,
                     the natives actually enjoy foods with a bitter taste or, as husband Ed
                     remarks, they "seem to have acquired more tastes than many of us."
                     Other factual tidbits include a survey of the etymology of the Sangiovese
                     grapeused for Chianti, Brunello, and Vino Nobileas deriving from the
                     "blood of Jove." Lovely, and no small consolation to anyone who's far
                     from Tuscany. (Second serial to National Geographic Traveler;
                     $175,000 ad/promo; author tour) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus
                     Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
 

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        Book Description
                     Frances Mayes, whose enchanting #1 New York Times bestseller
                     Under the Tuscan Sun made the world fall in love with Tuscany, invites
                     us back for a delightful new season of friendship, festivity, and food there
                     and throughout Italy.

                     Happiness? The color of it must be spring green, impossible to
                     describe until I see a just-hatched lizard sunning on a stone. That
                     color, the glowing green lizard skin, repeats in every new leaf. The
                     regenerative power of nature explodes in every weed, stalk, branch.
                     Working in the mild sun, I feel the green fuse of my body, too.
                     Surges of energy, kaleidoscopic sunlight through the leaves, the soft
                     breeze that makes me want to say the word "zephyr"--this mindless
                     simplicity can be called happiness.

                     Having spent her summers in Tuscany for the past several years, Frances
                     Mayes relished the opportunity to experience the pleasures of primavera,
                     an Italian spring. A sabbatical from teaching in San Francisco allowed her
                     to return to Cortona--and her beloved house, Bramasole--just as the first
                     green appeared on the rocky hillsides.

                     Bella Tuscany, a companion volume to Under the Tuscan Sun, is her
                     passionate and lyrical account of her continuing love affair with Italy.
                     Now truly at home there, Mayes writes of her deepening connection to
                     the land, her flourishing friendships with local people, the joys of art,
                     food, and wine, and the rewards and occasional heartbreaks of her villa's
                     ongoing restoration. It is also a memoir of a season of change, and of
                     renewed possibility. As spring becomes summer she revives Bramasole's
                     lush gardens, meets the challenges of learning a new language, tours
                     regions from Sicily to the Veneto, and faces transitions in her family life.

                     Filled with recipes from her Tuscan kitchen and written in the sensuous
                     and evocative prose that has become her hallmark, Bella Tuscany is a
                     celebration of the sweet life in Italy

 

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                     Synopsis
                     Best of the Best. In this follow-up to her bestselling account of her love
                     affair with Tuscany, Mayes carries forward the concerns and people of
                     "Under the Tuscan Sun", while exploring new themes: gardening, travel
                     throughout Italy, deepening friendships with Italians, and primavera, a
                     new season. Interweaving sections on language, art, food, and wine with
                     her journeys in Italy, this audio captures what Mayes has called "the
                     voluptuousness of Italian life" in the lyrical, sensuous style that
                     distinguishes her previous work. --This text refers to the audio cassette
                     edition of this title

                     From the Back Cover
                     Critical Acclaim for Frances Mayes and Under the Tuscan Sun:

                     "Tuscany may have found its own bard in Frances Mayes."
                     --New York Times

                     "This beautifully written memoir about taking chances, living in Italy,
                     loving a house, and always, the pleasures of food, would make a perfect
                     gift for a loved one. But it's so delicious, read it first yourself."
                     --USA Today

                     "So enchanting that an armchair traveler will find it hard to resist jumping
                     out of the chair and following in her footsteps."
                     --Publishers Weekly

                     "Graceful . . . at once joyful and full of common sense . . . as intimate as a
                     lover's whisper, honest and true."
                     --San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

                     "Irresistible . . . a sensuous book for a sensuous countryside."
                     --Minneapolis Star-Tribune

                     About the Author
                     Frances Mayes is author of Under the Tuscan Sun, an Italian memoir;
                     The Discovery of Poetry, a text for readers; and five books of poetry,
                     most recently Ex Voto. A frequent contributor to food and travel
                     publications, she divides her time between Cortona, Italy, and San
                     Francisco, where she is Professor of Creative Writing at San Francisco
                     State University. She is currently at work on a novel.

Bella Tuscany : The Sweet Life in Italy by Frances Mayes

 


Click on the down arrow and select books,
type in
Frances Mayes and click the GO button to go directly 
to the
Frances Mayes book section of Amazon .com

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