Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Great Progressive Dinner

By this time next month, I will be in Zurich, maybe even Vienna already. Maybe I will have already taken the thirteen hour train ride. The engine a hot needle pushing through the frozen fabric of the Alps. And after the appropriate amount of days steeped in the city that "discovered" coffee for the West, I may actually float on a mediterranean zephyr down the gentler spine of the Apennines until there is nothing else but toss myself into the Adriatic, hoping to wash ashore some Greek spittle of an island.

Since the longing for this trip precipitated into a plane ticket (complete with layovers in Helsinki and Paris), I have been about the business of feeding my imagination for the land, the history, the people, and the food. I see this as an exercise in enlarging my appetite for a great progressive dinner (hm, maybe that should be more than a metaphor. should i be pre-eating too?). In my previous travels to other parts of the world, the less I've soaked in materials related to those places, the less I've been able to understand them, or at least express my understanding (which may be the same thing).

As Serendipity has proven herself time and again through the mouths of both familiar and unknown book advisors, I return to her altar again, seeking a kaleidoscopic, but somehow distilled, collection of golden pages and passages.

This is the list on which I have heretofore nibbled, gnawed, gnashed, and noshed: 
Henry James/ Italian Hours
Italo Calvino/ Road to San Giovanni
Ernest Hemingway/ A Moveable Feast
The Name of the Rose/ Umberto Eco
I, Claudius/ Robert Graves
Bella Tuscany/ Frances Mayes
Florence, Venice, and the Towns of Italy/ City Secrets
The Stones of Florence/ Mary McCarthy
Venice Observed/ Mary McCarthy
Enchanted April/ Elizabeth Von Arnim
Postwar/ Tony Judt
Where Angels Fear to Tread/ E.M. Forster 

This is the list of recommendations on my still growing "To Try" list:
Poems of Catullus
Poems of Sappho
The Decameron/ Boccaccio
What is Art/ Tolstoy
Art Objects/ Jeanette Winterson
Meditations/ Marcus Aurelius
The Pillars of Hercules/ Paul Theroux

I would like more. 
Anything: fiction,non-fiction, poetry, travel, guides, cookbooks, music, movies
Friends! Romans! Countrymen! Recommend me your reads!

No comments: