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1. Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons
2. The Discovery of Poetry: A Field
3. In Tuscany
4. A Year in the World: Journeys
5. Swan
6. Under the Tuscan Sun
7. Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life
8. Bringing Tuscany Home: Sensuous
9. A Year in the World
10. Sous le soleil de Toscane
11. Greek Expectations: The Adventures
12. Under the Tuscan Sun 2011 Engagement
13. Ex Voto
14. Bella Tuscany
15. Bringing Tuscany Home (Conran
16. The Best American Travel Writing
17. Bella Toscana (Spanish Edition)
18. Bella Italia
19. All Out of Faith: Southern Women
20. Under the Tuscan Sun / Bella Tuscany

1. Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life
by Frances Mayes
Hardcover: 320 Pages (2010-03-09)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$11.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767929829
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In this sequel to her New York Times bestsellers Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany, the celebrated "bard of Tuscany" (New York Times) lyrically chronicles her continuing, two decades-long love affair with Tuscany's people, art, cuisine, and lifestyle.
Frances Mayes offers her readers a deeply personal memoir of her present-day life in Tuscany, encompassing both the changes she has experienced since Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany appeared, and sensuous, evocative reflections on the timeless beauty and vivid pleasures of Italian life. Among the themes Mayes explores are how her experience of Tuscany dramatically expanded when she renovated and became a part-time resident of a 13th century house with a stone roof in the mountains above Cortona, how life in the mountains introduced her to a "wilder" side of Tuscany--and with it a lively  engagement with Tuscany's mountain people. Throughout, she reveals the concrete joys of life in her adopted hill town, with particular attention to life in the piazza, the art of Luca Signorelli (Renaissance painter from Cortona), and the pastoral pleasures of feasting from her garden.  Moving always toward a deeper engagement, Mayes writes of Tuscan icons that have become for her storehouses of memory, of crucible moments from which bigger ideas emerged, and of the writing life she has enjoyed in the room where Under the Tuscan Sun began.
With more on the pleasures of life at Bramasole, the delights and challenges of living in Italy day-to-day and favorite recipes, Every Day in Tuscany is a passionate and inviting account of the richness and complexity of Italian life.Amazon.com Review
Kim Sunée Reviews Every Day in Tuscany

Kim Sunée is the author of Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home.

"The Bard of Tuscany" (New York Times) is back and better than ever.Two decades have passed since the purchase of Bramasole, Frances Mayes’s first Italian adventure into the meaning of home, made famous in Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany.In Every Day in Tuscany, her third beautifully rendered memoir, Mayes generously serves up another delicious helping.She continues to contemplate the satisfaction of a life created by one’s own hard work, but also celebrates the joys of the piazza, reminisces on her South Georgia roots, reveals her love of architecture and painting, and is especially hungry to follow the trail (which she has generously mapped out for us) of Renaissance painter Luca Signorelli.

After transforming Bramasole, you’d think that Mayes would have had enough of repairs and renovations, but she expands the idea of belonging with the purchase of a mountainside cottage.One day, as she and husband, Ed, are picking blackberries on a rugged slope above Cortona, Mayes writes of being "fatally attracted" to a "lonesome beauty," a partially collapsed stone-roof cottage. This new home becomes a place of comfort, especially when something shifts, when "one glorious summer evening at Bramasole," Mayes writes, "something unexpected intruded on this paradise."

Enchanted by the simple life, a life lived in accordance with the cycles of the sun and moon, Mayes tells her story through the seasons of a country and those of the heart. Winter is about restoring privacy, summer for reading, moonlight swims, watermelon and plum crostata. Mostly, though, the seasons are made up of days meant for being.She admires the Italians for their ease and grace of pure existence."How do Italian friends naturally keep the jouissance they were born with?" she wonders.

Since Mayes is a poet first, her prose is infused with startling and indelible moments, and she will always inspire you to cook something.Luckily, there are recipes for everything from Melva’s Peach Pie to Risotto with White Truffles, as well as mouthwatering menus, including Roasted Garlic with Walnuts and Guinea Hen with Pancetta.Of the choreography of the kitchen, she writes, "meat glistens, lettuces float, you sneeze, I sing oh, my love, my darling, and dough rises in soft moons the size of my cupped hand as planet earth tilts us toward dinner."

People are always eating in Mayes’s world, and eating well.But good food is essential for a good life, which includes travel and the private discovery of something no less significant than a new star.On watching a couple from Milan eat a midday meal consisting of a full antipasto platter, risotto, then steaks, she writes, "Those are delicious moments for the traveler--a fine lunch with someone you love, poring over the The Blue Guide and Gambero Rosso, a weekend to explore a new place and each other."

More than anything, Every Day in Tuscany is a book for all travelers, those hungry hearts craving a lesson in living life to the fullest, whether at home or on the road."It is paradoxical but true," she tells us, "that something that takes you out of yourself also restores you to yourself with a greater freedom.... The excitement of exploration sprang me from a life I knew how to live into a challenging space where I was forced--and overjoyed--to invent each new day."

With Mayes as our luminous North Star, we can navigate our way to a place where--if we are lucky--we will choose the road less-traveled, find our own rugged mountainside, and become part of the landscape, perhaps even find a sense of self, if not a place to call home.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (98)

1-0 out of 5 stars not worth reading
I have read all of Frances Mayes books about Italy and in particular Cortona.This book just fell flat.She seemed to be rambling and had no focus except for the chapters about the Luca Signorella trail.The writing itself is not at all comparable to Under the Tuscan Sun.I would never had wanted to go to Italy if I had read this book.She knows a lot of people in Cortona, but we never find out anything really important about them.I did finish the book, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.I borrowed it from a friend.

5-0 out of 5 stars More Tuscany: the Piazza, Recipes, and Art
Like many people, Tuscany captured my heart and imagination years ago. Frances Mayes is one of a thousand expatriates who bought an old farmhouse, restored it and lived to write about it. With one exception, she's by far the most popular contemporary writer on Tuscany.

Her first book on the subject, Under the Tuscan Sun, was a big hit, which she followed up with other "Tuscany" books. Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life is her latest offering. Filled with vivid imagery of life in Tuscany, Mayes takes the commonplace flower, grassy field, and loaf of bread and turns it into something magical. In this book Mayes tells of chance encounters, shopping in the piazza, and dinner parties. She shares her recipes for a dozen Italian dishes, some of which I recreated at home. All was not rosebuds and vino for Mayes in her twenty years in Tuscany, as she relates in a darker tale first revealed here.

The book follows life in Tuscany through each season of the year. Built around the quirky country folk, day trips outside Cortona to track down the under-appreciated art of Renaissance painter Luca Signorelli, and challenges of rebuilding an ancient farmhouse.

If you appreciate gardens, Italian cooking, and Tuscan scenery, then stop and smell the roses with Every Day in Tuscany. I came away with a renewed appreciation of the simple pleasures and beauty that surrounds me, where I live. Although, in my mind's eye I see another trip to Tuscany on the horizon.

3-0 out of 5 stars Seasonings lacked pizzazz
It's been years since I visited Tuscany and unfortunately, my travel taste buds were not stimulated much by Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life.Perhaps it is the season of my own life that taints my perspective, but Mayes' love affair with Tuscany has left me wanting.Although the highlight for me was the recipes, it's far from the top of my culinary list.As it was rather rambling in format, perhaps the book would be appealing to blog followers.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Dolce Vita" in Irrisistible Tuscany
Frances Mayes provides a welcome assault on the senses with her poetic and lyrical descriptions of every day life in Tuscany . Her words create unforgettable visual, gustatory, cultural and aural imagery making the reader desire to experience the author's lifestyle firsthand. For those who are unfamiliar with her books, about twenty years ago this author bought an aging house that was in disrepair on an Etruscan mountainside overlooking the town of Cortona in Italy . The house had originally been built and owned by Francescan monks in the 1200s. She wrote her first book. "Under the Tuscan Sun" which was about the adventure of remodeling this house which she named "Bramasole" and getting used to living in Italy. It became a bestseller and was made into a film (by the same title) which starred academy award nominee Diane Lane . All of her books stand alone and can be read without knowing the contents of previous ones. Each is a "must read" for anyone interested in travelogues and the joys and challenges of living in a different culture.

This most current book provides new insights into living in a foreign land. It is filled with descriptions of neighbors, the local habit of passing time drinking coffee in the piazza and catching up with the latest gossip and news and other everyday happenings, such as what vegetables are growing in the garden,plus there are road trips to nearby towns and seaports along with some outstanding recipes, for example, a mouth watering kale, white bean and sausage soup and an out-of-this world delicious sounding seafood stew. The reader becomes fascinated by the personalities of the neighbors and the seasonal changes which bring new culinary delights to the table. Additionally, the author delights in trying out local wines and describes trips to wineries of the region. Of note, the author shares a unique clash of cultures when she started a petition against building a swimming pool at the end of a historical road that led to a mountainside. To her surprise, few locals supported her publicly in this endeavor although they privately and personally shared her viewpoint on the subject. The author discovered an uniquely Italian way of handling conflict which resulted in a personal threat to her and her family. It nearly made her rethink her decision to live in Italy but fortunately, the matter was not as serious as it originally appeared. This story adds a dimension of reality to the book which makes it all the more palpable andhonest.

Frances Mayes and her husband Ed are now well established residents of Italy and are welcomed by both local Italians andmany part-time residents who come from such places as the US , Britain and France to enjoy the dramatic landscapes and unrivaled culinary and cultural delights of the region. They return to Italy several times a year for 3 - 4 months at a time from North Carolina where they live in the US. I was pleased to learn the author has friends from Tampa, FL who also own homes in her Italian locale and that the author had contemplated retiring to Sarasota, FL, both cities with which I am familiar.

In this book, the author does an excellent job of introducing the reader to Luca Signorelli a Renaissance painter who was born in Cortona , Italy . She enjoys discovering his paintings in churches on her many excursions to local cities and towns. She describes his most famous paintings and style of art in such a manner that the reader wants to view them in the original setting, the churches where they are displayed. This book is a gem on so many levels that it is impossible to describe the enormous impact it leaves on the reader who is given a view into the rich historical, artistic, culinary, vinticulture and every day life of modern Italy where the old and new live intertwined side by side with minimal conflict. Erika Borsos [pepper flower]

5-0 out of 5 stars A Charming Diary of Italian Life
Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life by Frances Mayes.
Very similar in style to all of Frances Mayes's other books, Every Day in Tuscany is a charming diary of Italian Life. You will find notes on the various seasons in Italy, recipes (which all looks delicious and must be tried out!), daily life at Bramasole, funny stories about neighbors and friends, new and old ones, family, touristic escapades in the footsteps of Frances Mayes's favorite painter (Luca Signorelli)...It also gives valuable information on some places and restaurants to visit if you were to travel to Tuscany. There is no particular order to the stories and each one can be read independently, which makes it a light, enjoyable read. ... Read more

2. The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems
by Frances Mayes
Paperback: 512 Pages (2001-11-09)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$6.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0156007622
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun brings poetry
out of the classroom and into the homes of everyday readers.

Before she fell in love with Tuscany, Frances Mayes fell in love with verse. After publishing five books of poetry and teaching creative writing for more than twenty-five years, Mayes is no stranger to the subject. In The Discovery of Poetry, an accessible "field guide" to reading and writing poetry, she shares her passion with readers. Beginning with basic terminology and techniques, from texture and sound to rhyme and repetition, Mayes shows how focusing on one aspect of a poem can help you to better understand, appreciate, and enjoy the reading and writing experience. In addition to many creative and helpful composition ideas, following each lyrical and lively discussion is a thoughtful selection of poems. With its wonderful anthology from Shakespeare to Jamaica Kinkaid, The Discovery of Poetry is an insightful, invaluable guide to what Mayes calls "the natural pleasures of language-a happiness we were born to have."

... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Covers all the bases
This book covers it all, from how to better read and interpret poetry and all the techniques required to write it. Meter, rhyme, the use of imagery, free verse, traditional forms and more. Not only is it great as an instructional tool, it also contains a lot of classic poems and has an easy to use by author index as well as by title. At the end of each section within each chapter are helpful excercises that make teaching from it a piece of cake.

I don't know of a single writer or student that could do without this book or one like it. Just as great musicians need to be reminded of the importance of basic skills, writers return to basic excercises again as well. Even great writers need to return to poetry 101 from time to time. This book teaches the daunting subject of poetry, its execution and appreciation, with tact and simplicity.

5-0 out of 5 stars great help for the poetically illiterate
I have no desire to write poetry, but merely wanted some insight into understanding and appreciating it. I enjoy literary fiction, but poetry seemed inaccessible. The Discovery of Poetry demystified for me the technical frameworks on which poems are built, and also gave me some insight into various artistic techniques as well. As the author mentioned somewhere, there will always be something indefinable about a great poem which defies analysis. Her explanations have removed some of the barriers I felt before. The book was a success for me because I now have an interest in exploring some poets examined in the book, particularly such giants as John Keats and Dylan Thomas.

5-0 out of 5 stars Learning how to write poetry
This product was very helpful. My professor actually required it for an intro to poetry writing class, and the text is very well organized and understandable. It helps you to write all kinds of poems from free verse, to sonnets, and helps break down certain tools and poetic devices used in all poems. It's definatly a well written guide to poetry, and all of the poems used as examples are very interesting and fun to read!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Helpful Field Guide for Poetry Lovers
As a poet who has been writing poetry for about 5 years, I find this book very helpful. It is not only a guide to writing poetry, but to reading poetry as well. The book includes many selections of inspiration poems that coincide with the topic covered in each chapter. A great guide for beginning poets and for those who desire to increase their skills in reading and writing poetry.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to poetry
This book has made poetry accessible to me for the first time in my life. The descriptions and explanations are easy to understand and are, on many occasions, lyrical. The author has helped to unravel some of the mystery of poetry for me. Indeed, I am now beginning, from the varied pieces of poetry in the book, to identify particular poets whose work I will explore further. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has always felt daunted and intimidated by poetry. ... Read more

3. In Tuscany
by Frances Mayes
Hardcover: 272 Pages (2000-10-31)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$14.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767905350
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
From the bestselling author whose memoirs Under the Sun and Bella Tuscany have captured the voluptuousness of Italian life comes a lavishly illustrated ode to the joys of Tuscany's people, food, landscapes, and art.In Tuscany celebrates the abundant pleasures of life in Italy as it is lived at home, at festivals, feasts, restaurants and markets, in the kitchen and on the piazza, in the vineyards, fields, and olive groves.Combining all-new essays by Frances Mayes and a chapter by her husband, poet Edward Mayes, with more than 200 full-color photos by photographer Bob Krist, each of this book's five sections highlights a signature aspect of Tuscan life:

La Piazza--the locus of Italian village life.With photgraphs of the shop signs, the outdoor markets, medieval streets, people, their pets and their cars, and snippets of conversations overheard, Mayes reveals the life of the Piazza in her town of Cortona as well as out-of-the-way places such as Volterra, Asciano, Monte San Savino, and Castelmuzio.

La Festa--the celebration.Essays and photos of feasts and celebrations, such as the Christmas dinner for twenty-seven at a neighbor's house and a donkey race around the church at Montepulciano Stazione, illustrate how the Tuscans celebrate the seasons--their open ways of friendship, their connection to nature, and most of all, their sense of abundance.

Il Campo--the field.Here Edward Mayes evokes the deep sense of the shift of seasons as he picks olives before he and Frances head off to the olive oil mill and enjoy the first bruscette with new oil.

La Cucina--the kitchen.An intimate view of the all-important role of the kitchen in Tuscan culture, including photographs of her own kitchen and gardens, menus from great local cooks, the elements of the Tuscan table, dishes with cultural and culinary notes on each, and, of course, delectable recipes.

La Bellezza--the beauty.From the quality of the light falling on sublime landscapes in different seasons and Tuscan faces in moments of laughter to a silhouette of cypress trees in the early evening and a wild bird perched on a neigbor's head, In Tuscany features views of beauty that reveal the singular splendor of one of the world's best-loved and most artistic regions.

Amazon.com Review
Frances Mayes continues her love letter to Italy in thissequel to Under theTuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany. Therestoration of her home, Bramasole, is complete, but Tuscany keepsunfolding. While the earlier books chronicled her and her husband'sfirst years in Italy, this one is less full of stories thanmeditations on the elements of Tuscan pleasures, accompanied byphotographs that give color to the place Mayes has described solovingly and well.

"What makes the people so friendly, no, notjust friendly, so genuinely kind and generous?" Mayes asks an Italianfriend, then turns her intense attention to answer the questionherself. Her answers range from baci (kisses), an intimateexpression that "keeps alive the joy we all are born with," to lapiazza, the navel of Italy's intense sense of community, to a deeplove affair with food and seasonal delights. (Mayes shares the latterand once again gives recipes from the traditional to the idiosyncraticwhile her poet-husband Edward treats us to a description of the oliveharvest). Then there is the Tuscans' territorial attachment to theland.Place, Mayes writes, makes you who you are and it is by readingthe landscape that you find the story of how the people lived. Like aguidebook written by a good friend who reveals to you all the secretplaces they've found, Mayes leads us from out-of-the-way towns togreat frescoes to tiny restaurants with exquisite delicacies (and evengives you their addresses).Turn down any one of Mayes's streets andthere is something to contemplate.

In the distance yousee villages crowning a hill or protectively stacked against aslope. Every one pulls me toward its altarpiece, special triptych,arched gate, gothic window, or fountain.Every one has itsopinionated, eccentric, friendly, and intrinsic characters who makeeach place deeply itself.

Once again, Mayes presentsTuscany as an irresistible place where the pleasures are unexpected,sumptuous, and downright enviable. Immersing yourself in InTuscany is the next best thing to being invited home toBramasole. --Lesley Reed ... Read more

Customer Reviews (29)

4-0 out of 5 stars An Italian Experience
This is a fantastic and beautiful book. The photographs of the people identified in all her previous books add a touch reality missing from her previous books. It would have been a great book (5 stars) if there had been a map or maps of the areas that she writes about. In Australia it is not easy to get your hands on detailed maps.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very pleased
This book came in perfect condition and I've enjoyed reading about the customs, recipes & lifestyles of the land and people that are the basis of one of my favorite movies, "Under the Tuscan Sun".Very happy with my purchase!

5-0 out of 5 stars book---In Tuscany
It was good to find this hard-to-find book for a reasonable price
on Amazon.Thanks!

5-0 out of 5 stars Brings You Right To The Heart Of Tuscany!
Another of my Frances Mayes "treasures" in books and one that has a special place on my non-fiction shelves. If you have never been to Tuscany (like myself), nor can't afford to travel there...grab this book and enjoy an armchair travel you will not soon forget. I love it!
Anna Marie Fritz, author of FUNNY FELINE FOTOS and other books on Amazon.com

5-0 out of 5 stars A Gift of Simple Beauty
One of the greatest experiences in my life was my time in Tuscany a few years ago going to cooking school and knocking around Florence (apparently, anyone who was ever important was buried in a Florentine church). This book is certainly true to my memory and it is the perfect amalgam of photographs, descriptive text, and recipes. As usual, Frances Mayes writes only what she knows and has experienced first-hand.Plus, and this is a big plus, she includes loads of pictures of Bramasole, the Tuscan villa she and her husband restored more than 10 years ago. Her descriptions in "Under the Tuscan Sun" and "Bella Tuscany" are loving and thorough, but there's nothing like a picture. The place is truly stunning.

But that's just one part of the book. This is an expansive effort that seeks to encompass not only the Mayes' personal stake in Tuscany but also the lives of the Tuscans as defined by their piazzas, festivals, crops, kitchens, and the general beauty of their surrounds.

It's an ambitious work of nearly 300 pages done in thick paper with a patterned background velum effect for the text.And the recipes are simple and straightforward.I've been working my way through them and my favorite so far is the Pappa al Pomodoro, the Tomato Bread Soup.But next up is the Zuppa di Cipolle Aretine (Onion Soup in the Arezzo Style) and it looks like a contender. Frances has even included a section at the end that tells where to get the best local produce and goods.Of course, you have to actually BE there.It probably won't do much good to order fennel over the internet.

I'd recommend this as a self-indulgent treat, an affordable gift for your favorite lover of Tuscany (or Tuscan lover), or for any occasion that requires a gift of simple beauty.

P.S. the Zuppa di Cipolle Aretine was divine!! ... Read more

4. A Year in the World: Journeys of A Passionate Traveller
by Frances Mayes
Paperback: 448 Pages (2007-03-13)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$2.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767910060
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The author who unforgettably captured the experience of starting a new life in Tuscany in bestselling travel memoirs expands her horizons to immerse herself—and her readers—in the sights, aromas, and treasures of twelve new special places.

A Year in the World is vintage Frances Mayes—a celebration of the allure of travel, of serendipitous pleasures found in unlikely locales, of memory woven into the present, and of a joyous sense of quest. An ideal travel companion, Frances Mayes brings to the page the curiosity of an intrepid explorer, remarkable insights into the wonder of the everyday, and a compelling narrative style that entertains as it informs.

With her beloved Tuscany as a home base, Mayes travels to Spain, Portugal, France, the British Isles, and to the Mediterranean world of Turkey, Greece, the South of Italy, and North Africa. In Andalucía, she relishes the intersection of cultures. She cooks in Portugal, gathers ideas in the gardens of England and Scotland, takes a literary pilgrimage to Burgundy, discovers an ideal place to live in Mantova, and explores the essential Moroccan city of Fez. She rents houses among ordinary residents, shops at neighborhood markets, wanders the back streets, and everywhere contemplates the concept of home. While in Greece, she follows the classic Homeric voyage across the Aegean, lives in a bougainvillea-draped stone house in Crete, and then drives deep into the Mani. In Turkey with friends, she sails the ancient coast, hiking to archaeological sites and snorkeling over sunken Byzantine towns. Weaving together personal perceptions and informed commentary on art, architecture, history, landscape, and social and culinary traditions of each area, Mayes brings the immediacy of life in her temporary homes to the reader. An illuminating and passionate book that will be savored by all who loved Under the Tuscan Sun, A Year in the World is travel writing at its peak. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (65)

2-0 out of 5 stars boooooring.
I wanted to love this book- I really did. I read 'Under the Tuscan Sun' & 'Bella Tuscany' by Mayes, and loved them both. I had had high hopes for this one. But, those hopes crashed and burned by the end of the first chapter... and then proceeded to turn to ash by the second, third, fourth, and finally the 5th where I had to give up entirely on it.

It's rare that I simply do not finish a book, but A Year in the World was one of those rare cases. Mayes focuses WAY too much on irritatingly endless description of food and not enough on adventure. This book just drones on and on and on. You read each page hoping that the next one will be better, hoping that maybe it's just a tough book to "get into" but that something will give and you'll be sucked into this fabulous world of travel. But that never happens. And slowly, painstakingly, page by boring page, like a bad marriage- you are forced to come to the realization that it WONT get better.. and you now have a decision to make; hang on until the bitter end, or simply cut your losses and run. I cut my losses.

Sorry Francis. I had to divorce your book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book to Savor
Thank you Frances Mayes for giving me hours of pleasure with this marvelous book, A Year in the World. This is my fourth Mayes book, with Bella Tuscany being a favorite. Her novel falls short of her Tuscany/travel books but this one is a book I will hold on to for a long long time.I have deliberately read it slowly, taking notes on occasion and underlining some especially poetic phrases or insights. I love the richness of her work ... the history, the literary allusions, the thorough descriptions and details. She took me to places I'd never dremed of visitng,,, like northern Turkey, and made them magical yet relevant. I now look at my evil eye bracelet, a gift from my airline hostess cousin, with new understanding. My brief visits to Ireland, Scotland, Tuscany and Capri have been made fuller and richer thanks to Mayes' Journeys. (My only criticism is that she confused the details of Lord Byron's death with that of Shelley. An editor should have caught that.)I was surprised at the number of negative reviews of this book. For anyone who enjoys traveling to foreign lands, this book is a must read.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Bit Judgemental Ms. Mayes?
I really enjoyed Francis Mayes' "Under the Tuscan Sun" when she was an unknown...she wrote from the heart.Then something happened, it started with "Bella Tuscany", continuing with "A Year in the World". I believe money has skewed her vision of the world. Oh, she writes very prettily, but how come she has to be so condescending if it isn't up to her standards? God forbid she can be truly judgemental! For example, the whole chapter, "The Islands of Greece" when she is on a free cruise. Couldn't she just be happy? Just knowing there some of us who would give our first born male child to go on a cruise of a lifetime?Instead, she comments on her room, "the size of a coffin", or what about how some of the passengers are dressed? "Ed likes a three-tiered muu-muu with enough fringe around the hem to bind a five-by -six rug. Following her, on the arm of her handsome husband, a red-haired beauty who looks as though she has somehow been expanded by a bicycle pump wears white Lycra so tight it fits like a plaster cast over her blimp-sized buttocks." She adds how perfect she and Ed are, "in our anonymous Italian black". Who cares what someone is wearing? Maybe that was all they could afford, or maybe they thought they looked good.I wonder if she is still getting free cruises? Dear Ms. Mayes, maybe it's time you settled in Georgia where your roots are, leave San Francisco (my city of birth), you're way to judgemental for this multi-generational Californian, and maybe a bit too old to be travelilng.

5-0 out of 5 stars A delicious book
I loved this book and read it slowly to savor each piece. While it was not uniformly wonderful, there were so many pieces that deeply reflected the place of which she was writing. It made me want to anchor myself more in traveling, renting a place to really learn a new locale as opposed to remaining removed in a hotel. This was the first book of hers I have read and highly recommend it for anyone who travels to learn more about how others live as opposed to simply checking off places on their list.

2-0 out of 5 stars A disappointment
I liked Under a Tuscan Sun, loved Bella Tuscany, but A Year is one solipsism after another. Frances Mayes, you are FORBIDDEN from using the following words again: limpid, emerge, taproot. Enough! Overall, the book is little too precious. Some metaphors ring true, while others are mediocre. Mantova is built as if with a child's building blocks. Uninspired. ... Read more

5. Swan
by Frances Mayes
Paperback: 336 Pages (2003-08-26)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$2.44
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767902866
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
By the #1 bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun, Bella Tuscany and In Tuscany, Swan is a haunting novel set in the deep South -- a resonant tale of long-buried family secrets and mysteries brought suddenly to light.

In her celebrated memoirs of life in Tuscany, Frances Mayes writes masterfully about people in a powerful and shaping place.In Swan, her first novel, she has created an equally intimate world, rich with striking characters and intriguing twists of fate, that hearkens back to her southern roots.

The Masons are a prominent but now fragmented family who have lived for generations in Swan, an edenic, hidebound small town in Georgia. As Swan opens, a bizarre crime pulls Ginger Mason home from her life as an archeologist in Italy:The body of her mother, Catherine, a suicide nineteen years before, has been mysteriously exhumed.Reunited on new terms with her troubled, isolated brother J.J., who has never ventured far from Swan, the Mason children grapple with the profound effects of their mother's life and death on their own lives.When a new explanation for Catherine’s death emerges, and other closely guarded family secrets rise to the surface as well, Ginger and J.J. are confronted with startling truths about their family, a particular ordeal in a family and a town that wants to keep the past buried.

Beautifully evoking the rhythms and idiosyncrasies of the deep South while telling an utterly compelling story of the complexity of family ties, Swan marks the remarkable fiction debut of one of America’s best-loved writers.

From the Hardcover edition.Amazon.com Review
It seems like there's a law that every novel set below theMason-Dixon Line must feature a family secret, a beautiful dead mother, anda contested paternity. Also, iced tea. Swan, the debut novel frommemoirist Frances Mayes (Under the Tuscan Sun, Bella Tuscany), is pretty standard stuff. J.J. Mason lives like a hermit in the woods outside the town of Swan, Georgia; his sister Ginger Mason works as anarchaeologist in Italy. Their family has been in Swan forever; the wholetown mourned when Caroline, Ginger, and J.J.'s mother committedsuicide. Now the town joins in shock when Caroline's body is mysteriouslyand crudely exhumed. Ginger returns from Italy; J.J. comes into town. Overthe course of a week in July 1975, and against a backdrop of townspeople,relatives, gossipy old biddies, and mill workers, the siblings explore thedark history of their mother's death. The book is competently done, andMayes is clearly enjoying her break from the Tuscan sun--she especiallyseems to enjoy folksy-yet-Gothic Southernisms: "Who'd ever thinksomeone that pretty could up and die? ... Just goes to show how quick it isfrom can to can't." Despite the book's grisly grave-digging, though, Mayes unearths nothing new. --Claire Dederer ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars SWAN... a work of fiction but Frances Mayes
I'm still reading this fictional mystery book based in the southern US but enjoying the vivid detail Frances Mayes is known for in her works. Ones, like I enjoyed by her such as, Under The Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany, by this famous US authoress, France Mayes.Although this is a different work for her from the books about travel and food, her books of poems, her writings about her experiences in divorce, remarrying and buying and restoring a home and living in Italy when not teaching at a college in San Fransico, I believe it to be only her first mystery novel...I believe she will do this type of book again since this one was received well by the literary community and fans of mystery and suspence as well.Amazon has great sellers of used books as well, buy some if you don't want to soak a lot of money into new books, if you haven't. With our economy still sinking, this has helped save money for me. Since I started purchasing from Amazon and Amazon sellers, I've dropped out of Movie and Book clubs!

Satisfied Carol in Virginia USA

4-0 out of 5 stars One small "technical."
Beautiful writing.Perfect description of Georgia in the 1970's except for one small error.Southerners don't "make" dinner, they "fix" it. :-)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, Solid, Well-Written Story - Very Enjoyable
I'll admit that I didn't really get into the story until about page 110 or so, but at that point, I couldn't put the book down.The writing is very well done, and Ms. Mayes has many turns of phrases, or little descriptions, that so capture the romantic part of the South, that it makes the story all the more enjoyable.And the ending is absolutely beautiful.Just excellent.I can't imagine a better ending, especially since you so sincerely care about the two main characters - J.J. and Ginger.

A couple of points for the prospective reader:

1.This really isn't about a mystery, it's about the impact of a mother's suicide has upon her grown children and their relationships.

2.If you read this expecting a mystery that will keep you up all night, you'll be sorely disappointed.

3.Recognize that this presents the rural South in the 1970s from the standpoint of the white middle class; you'll have to work hard to find any mention or hint of discrimination or race relations, so if you're looking for a fuller portrait, this is not the book for you.

4.The last half of the story - it's pacing, the story's evolution, etc., more than make up for what I felt was a bit of a slow beginning.

All in all, this is a very enjoyable book - one well worth reading.

3-0 out of 5 stars sent back
I returned both of my amazon book purchases because they took to long to reach meHow do I get my money back since I did not open them?

4-0 out of 5 stars Coming home to Swan
This is a book by my favorite author, Francis Mayes.Francistook me back to a fascinating but sad, fictional story about a family that could have been from her own deep Southern roots.Her creativeness came forward as she wove a mysterious multi-generational long held secret into a place where the characters were able to accept the outcome and move on. I loved the descriptive, colorful contrasts between Mayes own life in Italy and her native Georgia. I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. ... Read more

6. Under the Tuscan Sun
by Frances Mayes
Paperback: 304 Pages (1997-09-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$2.26
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767900383
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Now in paperback, the #1 San Francisco Chronicle bestseller that is an enchanting and lyrical look at the life, the traditions, and the cuisine of Tuscany, in the spirit of Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence.

Frances Mayes entered a wondrous new world when she began restoring an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. There were unexpected treasures at every turn: faded frescos beneath the whitewash in her dining room, a vineyard under wildly overgrown brambles in the garden, and, in the nearby hill towns, vibrant markets and delightful people. In Under the Tuscan Sun, she brings the lyrical voice of a poet, the eye of a seasoned traveler, and the discerning palate of a cook and food writer to invite readers to explore the pleasures of Italian life and to feast at her table.Amazon.com Review
In this memoir of her buying, renovating, and living in an abandonedvilla in Tuscany, Frances Mayes reveals the sensual pleasure she found livingin rural Italy, and the generous spirit she brought with her. She revels inthe sunlight and the color, the long view of her valley, the warm homeyarchitecture, the languor of the slow paced days, the vigor of working hergarden, and the intimacy of her dealings with the locals. Cooking, gardening,tiling and painting are never chores, but skills to be learned, arts to bepracticed, and above all to be enjoyed. At the same time Mayes brings aliterary and intellectual mind to bear on the experience, adding depth tothis account of her enticing rural idyll. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (467)

2-0 out of 5 stars could not even finish, no plot
I had hoped that I would read the book and quench my thirst to visit Italy. All I was left with was the feeling that I am glad there will be no remodeling in my near future. I didn't know it was possible to describe something so mundane and boring. I was dying for something to happen.

1-0 out of 5 stars disappointing
I had to come to Amazon to see what others thought of this book. I borrowed it from my local library; they have little displays and this one said "Love Eat, Pray, Love? Try these," or something similar. I returned it without finishing. Under The Tuscan Sun is a great movie, and one I happen to personally own. Frances Mayes comes across as materialistic, shallow and over-privileged. Someone else wrote "Martha Stewart does Tucany," and that sounds about right. In this case, I highly prefer the book--it's a story of redemption when Frances serendipitously purchase the villa to overcome the tragedy of her divorce. In the book, Frances jets back and forth with her new husband. In the case of Eat, Pray, Love, Liz Gilbert's having money didn't seem to matter, since the book was focused on spirituality and inner truth. This book was more about renovations. I guess it might be okay if that's what you're looking to read, otherwise it might make you a bit queasy. I did enjoy Frances writing, for a little while, but I waited for substance that never materialized.

3-0 out of 5 stars Okay, but Nothing Like the Movie
I saw the movie for this and loved it, so thought I would try the book.Wow.Completely different story than the movie, and I must say, one I did not like.Very colorful descriptions of her life in Italy, but got enough of that in just the first few chapters.Had to force myself to finish it; it was fun reading all the different recipes, even if I probably won't ever make them.:)

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth reading and feeling
It is a good book for leisure, relax you from you current job, give you a hope

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed the book
This was a re-read, and I loved it again. I know there's plenty here who don't think much of this book, but it totally appeals to my utterly romantic notions of running away to live in Europe someday....sigh.... ;-) Haven't been to Italy yet, but this book *was* largely responsible for my subsequenttrips to France, Spain, and Turkey. And my list (TBV list - "to bevisited" - tee hee) has been growing ever since.
... Read more

7. Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy
by Frances Mayes
Paperback: 304 Pages (2000-04-04)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$2.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 076790284X
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Product 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.

A companion volume to Under the Tuscan Sun, Bella Tuscany is Frances Mayes's 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 her 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.

Amazon.com Review
Following up on her bestselling novel, Under the TuscanSun, Frances Mayes returns to her beloved villa in the small hilltown of Cortona, Italy. Welcomed back like an old friend, she is soonputtering in the garden, and as Mayes devotees might expect, busy inthe kitchen as well. As Mayes rediscovers her taste for la dolce vita,she embarks on a journey of cultural awakening and embraces a newfoundromance with the Italian language and people. "I came to Italyexpecting adventure," reads Mayes. "What I never anticipated is theabsolute sweet joy of everyday life."

Mayes is as generous a cookas she is a writer, flavoring her story with tasty descriptions oflocal gustatory delights--many of which are included in a small recipebook. She also serves as narrator, and the beguiling simplicity of hervoice makes listening as enjoyable as spending an afternoon with awell-traveled favorite aunt. (Running time: 9 hours, 6 cassettes)--George Laney ... Read more

Customer Reviews (137)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life In Italy
I'm surprised to hear so many people criticized about this book !If they didn't like what Frances Mayes wrote in the book they shouldn't have bought his book at all. People must have had some ideas what she was writing about. She was writing about how she was feeling,thinking while she was living there,eating,cooking,restoring the old house and some traveling. I enjoyed this book from the start to the end. I didn't think anything she wrote in this book was boring at all. After reading this book I ordered three more books of hers and I'm enjoying those books even more.
In one of the other books,she mentions about what it was like living in San Francisco and Marine County. I'm sure some readers might complain about that,too,since it has nothing to do with her life in Italy !Instead of criticizing how the book was written,people should just enjoy what the auther wanted to tell you in the book. If you don't like it,you just skip where you don't want to read,or just skip the whole book and read something else !
The auther is a wonderful poet and every time she describes the wind,rain,smell of the flowers and the shadows of the trees,I feel like I'm with her right there.This is a well written book and I recommend to anyone who loves travel essay or interested in Italian food and some history of Italian villages.

1-0 out of 5 stars Just Terrible
I can't read this book. I have tried multiple times, but I find this author to be arrogant, emotional detached, impersonal, boring, unimaginative, superficial and in need of an English lesson or two. I will burn this book, as I could not conscientiously allow another individual to suffer the pain of reading this book.

My perspective may be spoiled, as I just finished reading the Olive Farm series by Carol Drinkwater. If anyone is interested in reading about rural life in Southern Europe, then the Olive Farm series should either satisfy your imagination, or make you move to Southern France. At all cost, avoid reading Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Frances Mayes...bi-continent living and love for life
I am in love with anything Frances Mayes writes and this is a follow up of Under The Tuscan Sun by this beloved American author who lives bi-continent!She loves life and it shows in her literary works..whether in the US or Italy, she can transport you into her world of fun, food, travel, restorating and old villa, history and romance.Frances Mayes's works are here to stay...check her books out!

Amazon sells new books but also has great sellers of used books and movies...for those who are money sharp in the harsh US economy, try the used ones as I do. Enjoy and get hooked on Frances Mayes' vivid detail and love for life.

Pleased, Carol in Virginia USA

2-0 out of 5 stars Blog-like
I couldn't finish the book.I found it trivial and boring.The author writes well, her little vignettes are pleasant, but they don't connect very well.I suspect if she weren't already a best-selling author this book would never have been published in its current form.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sweet Story
Bella Tuscany is a great continued story, if you liked "Under the Tuscan Sun" (the book, not the movie-nothing alike) you will love this one. I just love the author/reader's voice, sweet & southern. The little side stories are great along the way. Hope another sequil comes out. Christine M.
... Read more

8. Bringing Tuscany Home: Sensuous Style From the Heart of Italy
by Frances Mayes, Edward Mayes
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2004-10-05)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$11.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767917464
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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I always imagine each of the signoras who lived in this house—where she shelled peas, rocked the grandchild, placed a vase of the pink roses. Now I would like to take one of these women back to my house in California to show her how Bramasole traveled to America and took root, how the doors there are open to the breeze from San Pablo bay and to the distant view of Mount Tamalpais, how the table has expanded and the garden has burgeoned…

The “bard of Tuscany” (New York Times) now offers a lavishly illustrated book for everyone who dreams of integrating the Tuscan lifestyle—from home decoration and cooking, to eating and drinking, to gardening, socializing, and celebrating—into their own lives.

When Frances Mayes fell in love with Tuscany and Bramasole, millions of readers basked in the experience through her three bestselling memoirs. Now Frances and her husband, In Tuscany coauthor Edward, share the essence of Tuscan life as they have lived it, with specific ideas and inspiration for readers stateside to bring the beauty and spirit of Tuscany into their own home decor, meals, gardens, entertaining and, most important, outlook on life. In her inimitable warm and evocative tone, Frances helps readers develop an eye for authentic Tuscan style, with advice on how to:

• Choose a Tuscan color palette for the home, from earthy apricot tones to invigorating shades of antique blue.

• Personalize a room with fanciful door frames, unique painted furniture, and fresco murals.

• Cultivate a Tuscan garden, adding fountains, vine-covered pergolas, and terra-cotta urns among the herbs and flowers

• Select the best Italian vino. (Frances describes lunches at regional vineyards and imparts tips for pairing food and wine.)

• Create an atmosphere of irresistible, anytime hospitality—a casa aperta (open home).

• Make primo finds at local antiques markets. (And to help truly bring Tuscany home, shipping advice and market days for several Tuscan towns are included.)

• Set an imaginative Tuscan table using majolica and vintage linens.

• Enjoy the abundant flavors and easy simplicity of the Tuscan kitchen, with details on everything from olive oil and vino santo to pici and gnocchi, plus special homegrown menus and recipes.

• Make the most of a trip to Tuscany, visiting Frances’s favorite hill towns, restaurants, small museums, and other soothing places.

With more than 100 photos by acclaimed photographer Steven Rothfeld (including several of the Mayes’s California home and its Tuscan accents), twenty-five all-new recipes, and lists of resources for travelers and shoppers, Bringing Tuscany Home is a treasure trove of practical advice and memorable images. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars worth owning
This is one of the few "coffee table" books I not only read, but loved!
If you like Francis Mayes and HGTV you will love this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Family memories
This book is a good combination of decorating and storytelling.I enjoyed learning about living in Italy.The food reminded me of growing up in my Italian grama's house.Great book to give each of us an insiders view of Italy,

5-0 out of 5 stars replacement mug
My mug came packaged very well. There were no chips.When I opened it, I did detect...the smell of cigarette smoke,perhaps...but after putting the mug in the dishwasher, all hint of this was gone. No harm done. Thanks!

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Treasure from Frances Mayes
I was spellbound reading this book and viewing the beautiful photos. If you've read and loved Under the Tuscan Sun and/or Bella Tuscany, this is a "must read"! This is not simply a volume of photos with descriptions; it's a full-text book with photos.For those of us who have never been to Italy, the photos of a Roman Road, a stone roof, etc. are fascinating. Seeing the people we've come to know, from having read Ms. Mayes' other books, makes her essays come alive. I do feel the title is a little misleading, and I almost didn't buy it for that reason. I wouldn't place this book in the decorating/style category.

5-0 out of 5 stars A heartwarming pictorial of Tuscany!
I treasure this book! When I began to turn my old garage into a Tuscan art studio, I had little for decorating ideas. This book made all of it possible, and everything is succeeding, a bit at a time, thanks to this
marvelous production by Mayes. I love ALL her books!
Anna Marie Fritz, author of FUNNY FELINE FOTOS and several poetry books on
Amazon.com ... Read more

9. A Year in the World
by Frances Mayes
 Paperback: 420 Pages (2006)
-- used & new: US$3.62
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1863253297
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10. Sous le soleil de Toscane
by Frances Mayes
Mass Market Paperback: Pages (1999-07-13)
-- used & new: US$31.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 2070407608
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11. Greek Expectations: The Adventures of Fearless Fran in the Land of the Gods
by Frances Mayes
Paperback: 340 Pages (2008-11-25)
list price: US$15.49 -- used & new: US$11.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1438934556
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The night before Frances Mayes left Edinburgh to come to Greece for the first time, her old school comrades at their 30 year reunion named her 'Shirley Valentine. Frances fulfilled that role by finding a new enthusiasm for life, and a number of jobs, from teaching English, to caretaking an estate, to working for a holiday villa company. Encouraged to write by the good reception for her work on the local English language paper, Frances relates this first part of her memoir, which covers her life in 3 very different Greek places, and adventures ranging from hilarious to hair-raising. Fran is a sort of 'Everywoman' learning to deal with Greece and its people - wonderful, beautiful, free and friendly - but often maddening and frustrating. On the cover is the fabulous house that Fran and Dad bought, where visitors can stay www.halkimouthouria.com ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars Deception: intentional or not?
I ordered this book at the recommendation of Amazon when I ordered Frances Mayes' latest book on Tuscany...imagine my confusion when this arrived and there were no references to Under the Tuscan Sun or any other Frances Mayes books, the writing was weak (not to mention the large print...padding the number of pages?)and after about five minutes I realized this was not the Frances Mayes I wanted to read...it's a woman from Yorkshire!Now, she may be a lovely woman with a story to tell about living in Greece, but I feel I've been deceived by author, publisher and by Amazon for failing to clarify...'this might not be the author you're thinking it is...'.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining read
I bought this book thinking it was by the same Frances Mayes who wrote "Under the Tuscan Sun." Although I was surprised when I figured out this was by a different author with the same name, I found this book to be very entertaining.
This Frances Mayes is a very brave and adventureous lady and it was fun to live vicariously through her!
I would recommend this book for anyone who dreams of traveling to Greece or faraway places; this book may inspire you.

1-0 out of 5 stars not up to "Expectations"
I really should have looked more carefully before I bought this book.I thought I was getting another travel adventure from the Frances Mayes of "Under the Tuscan Sun".The difference in writing styles of these two authors is like comparing Motel 6 to the Ritz.I couldn't even stand to finish it, which is very unusual for me.I had to go to "Every Day in Tuscany" in order to cleanse my "palate".

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice read but not the American author
I think Amazon should have noted the distinction between this author and the American author so buyers will not be misled. Nonetheless, I finished reading this book last night.Despite my initial disappointment in the France Mayes issue, I enjoyed reading this memoir because I enjoy reading about other people's travel adventures.Make no mistake, the quality is not even close to the American Frances Mayes' books but take it for what is - a brave woman's adventure of making a life change after divorce and children grown up, taking on challenges in a foreign country and sharing her amusing observations.Something many of us may have dreamed of doing but this woman did it!

3-0 out of 5 stars Greek Expectations

I found this book disappointing and poorly written. It would have helped had it been proof read before publication - spelling errors, grammatical errors etc. I wouldn't recommend it. ... Read more

12. Under the Tuscan Sun 2011 Engagement Calendar
by Frances Mayes
Calendar: 116 Pages (2010-07-28)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$9.43
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0811874230
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This engagement calendar features stunning all-new photography of Italy plus recipes and excerpts from all of Frances Mayes' popular booksIn Tuscany, Bella Tuscany, and Under the Tuscan Sun. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Almost everything I want in an engagement calendar
Very pleased with this engagement calendar.Pros:1) Weekly layout is Monday-Sunday (not Sun-Sat like in some), so I can keep my weekends together!; 2) Good spiral binding allows for it to open flat like a book, or fold back on itself; 3) Has a page with 2010, 2011 and 2012 months at a glance - very useful; 4)Each week also shows the monthly grid as well as the past and next months; 5) Heavy, nice quality paper; 6) Gorgeous photos; 7) 52 photos so you have one for every week.Cons:Could use a little more daily space to write in - the month heading takes up a lot of each page at the top, and the monhly grids take up a good portion of the right side of each weekly page.Would give this 5 perfect stars if there was a little more writing space.All in all, VERY happy with this calendar and will buy again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful calendar
I've ordered this Tuscan engagement calendar for 3 years now.Some of the photos are beautiful enough to frame.I just can't throw the calendars away when the year is done. ... Read more

13. Ex Voto
by Frances Mayes
Paperback: 66 Pages (1995-01-01)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$136.12
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0918786479
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Poetry. "The bell-like musicality of these poems belies their grim insistence: we live in a furnace. We consume and are consumed"-San Francisco Chronicle. "Mayes has an urgent interest in the ways past and present converge. she writes with terse magic"--The Los Angeles Times. ... Read more

14. Bella Tuscany
by Frances Mayes
 Hardcover: Pages

Asin: B000ZTN6I4
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15. Bringing Tuscany Home (Conran Octopus General)
by Frances Mayes
Paperback: 240 Pages (2005-04-14)
list price: US$29.99 -- used & new: US$108.51
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1840914289
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In her inimitable warm and evocative tone, Frances Mayes helps readers develop an eye for authentic Tuscan style, with advice on how to: Choose a Tuscan colour palette for the home, from earthy apricot tones to invigorating shades of antique blue; Cultivate a Tuscan garden, adding fountains, vine-covered pergolas, and terracotta urns among the herbs and flowers.. Make prime finds at their local antique markets - and to truly bring Tuscany home, shipping advice and market days for several Tuscan towns are included. Set an imaginative Tuscan table using majolica and vintage linens; Enjoy the abundant flavours and easy simplicity of the Tuscan kitchen, with details on everything from olive oil and vin santo to pici and gnocchi, plus special, homegrown menus and recipes. ... Read more

16. The Best American Travel Writing 2002
Paperback: 351 Pages (2002-10-15)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$1.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618118802
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The Best American Travel Writing 2002 is edited by Frances Mayes, the author of Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany and the master of "running away to live in the place of one"s dreams" (Los Angeles Times). Giving new life to armchair travel for 2002 are David Sedaris on God and airports, Kate Wheeler on a most dangerous Bolivian festival, André Aciman on the eternal pleasures of Rome, and many more. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars a couple of excellent pieces
What a convenience to be able to find high-quality travel writing all condensed into one volume.This book covers the globe in its range of articles and essays, from Papa New Guinea to the Texas/Mexican border, from Greece to the Sahara, from Bolivia to Israel.

I found several inclusions to be truly excellent - especially Scott Anderson's piece on 9/11, Rod Davis's article on the US-Mexican border in Texas, Michael Finkel's article about the void in the Sahara, Elizabeth Nickson's piece on Salt Spring Island, Molly O'Neill following a Cambodian chef home, Kira Salak in Papa New Guinea, and Kate Wheeler in violent Bolivia.Some pieces though were a bit blah and the fact that they were alphabetically arranged meant the flow wasn't ideal.For example, the first 144 pages of the book were all by male writers, leaving me starved for a different perspective by the time I reached Kate Hennessey's piece.

There is a decidedly male tone to the book, which I found disappointing, with only 7 women represented among the 26 writers.This was reflected in a thematic focus of finding the most outlandish, isolated place on earth.I would have liked a little less reading about people setting out to do what no one had done before, and more human interactions with people of different places and cultures.

But overall, this book offers armchair travelers the opportunity to enter many different worlds from the comfort of their favorite reading place.

3-0 out of 5 stars Uneven collection...
This was a frustratingly uneven collection - when I pick up a book like this I expect consistent quality because the editors have done the work for me. But like another reviewer, perhaps I should have considered the fact that Frances Mayes edited this collection, and I'm not a fan of her work.
That said, a number of these pieces are worth seeking out. The best include Michael Finkel's "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Void," which will take you into the heart of the Sahara. Devin Friedman's "Forty Years in Acapulco," William Booth's "Throw Junior from the Car," and Lawrence Millman's "In the Land of the White Rajahs" are all very funny takes on the people and places that move us to travel. Kate Wheeler's "The Fist of God" is a stunning piece on the shocking fight festivals still held in some corners of Bolivia. Isabelle Tree's "Spetses, Greece" is a charming glipse of a corner of the world she has made into a home. And Tom Mueller's "Ancient Roads, Walled Cities" is a moving meditation on Roman roads and the power of stone to hold memory. David Sedaris' "The Man Upstairs" is funny but quite short.
On the downside, three pieces on 9/11 challenged my definition of travel writing. Only Scott Anderson's "Below Canal Street" had anything new to say on the topic, although to be fair all were writen much closer to that tragic day. Steven Bodio's "Sovereigns of the Sky" was much less about a place than a sport, and an archaic one that I didn't want to see up this close - hunting with birds. Rod Davis' "A Rio Runs Through It" told us a lot about the state and culture of life along the Rio Grande, but it is overlong and gets redundant. And I found Elizabeth Nickerson's "Where the Bee Sucks" to be a self-indulgent mess.
When this collection is good it's very good, but when it's bad it's awful.

2-0 out of 5 stars Francis Mayes' style is evident
I have been a big fan of this series and really enjoyed last year's compilation edited by Theroux.I also must admit that I really enjoy Theroux's travel writing as well.This year's edition, edited by Mayes, has the same faults that her books do, namely, they are long on description and short on plot.I have not gotten all of the way through The Best American Travel Writing of 2002 yet but what I have read is very similar to Mayes' "Under the Tuscan Sun".If you really like tales of flowery, descriptive (and dull) walks though Italian streets, etc. you will probably enjoy this book but if you are looking for more "great adventures" travel stories, try the 2001 edition instead.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth it
Although I didn't like most of the stories in this anthology, there were a few that I really, really, really loved.And they made it worth the price of the book, over and over.
The introduction by Frances Mayes is a gem and really sets the tone.Especially if you were wondering why a report on 9-11 would qualify for "travel writing".(After you read that introduction, you'll -unbelievably - have to agree that it does).

The story "40 years in Acapulco" is worth the price of the book by itself.I came away feeling almost guilty like a voyeur, as if I had just gotten a sneak peek into somebody elses life.I was literally transported.

The 2000 version is much more upbeat than this one.But then, I suppose we were living in a much more upbeat "travel" world then.

5-0 out of 5 stars Travel the world without leaving your living room
If you like short stories and travelogues you'll love this book. These are the best of the best. And like some reviewers have already mentioned, there are a wide variety of experiences and information in this collection of essays. I found myself laughing in Devin Friedman's "Forty Years in Acapulco" and Lawwrence Millman's "In the Land of the White Rajahs" and learning new information from Molly O'Neill's "Home For Dinner." I admit, however, that I did enjoy soem of the essays much better than others, but they are all very well-written and image provoking. It's as if I traveled the world without leaving my room. ... Read more

17. Bella Toscana (Spanish Edition)
by Frances Mayes
 Paperback: 320 Pages (2002-01)
list price: US$20.95 -- used & new: US$20.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 8432296120
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18. Bella Italia
by Frances Mayes
Mass Market Paperback: 426 Pages (2001-05-16)
-- used & new: US$23.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 2070411699
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19. All Out of Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality (Alabama Fire Ant)
Paperback: 216 Pages (2007-06-24)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$12.67
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0817354808
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Gives voice to a wide variety of Southern women’s religious experiences.
H. L. Mencken first identified the South as the “Bible Belt” in the 1920s. To be sure, religion shapes and defines even those Southerners who don’t think of themselves as particularly religious. Practically no one who grows up Southern can escape being shaped, stimulated, harmed, or informed by religion and spirituality.
All Out of Faith gives voice to southern women writers who represent a broad spectrum of faiths, Catholic to Baptist, Jewish to Buddhist, and points in between. These essays and stories revea; that southern culture has always reserved a special place for strong women of passion.
Frances Mayes and Barbara Kingsolver investigate the importance of place. Dorothy Allison, among others, writes of the transformative power of art; in her case, of a painting of Jesus she loved as a child. Lee Smith is one of several women who write of religious fervor; she recalls the excitement of being saved, not once but many times, until her parents made her stop. Vicki Covington and Mab Segrest describe their conflicts between faith and sexuality. Pauli Murray, the first black female Episcopal priest, and Jessica Roskin, who became a Jewish cantor, tell of remaining within their original religious tradition while challenging their traditional roles.
Contributors: Shirley Abbott, Dorothy Allison, Vicki Covington, Susan Ktchin, Sue Monk Kidd, Cassandra King, Barbara Kingsolver, Frances Mayes, Diane McWhorter, Pauli Murray, Sena Jeter Naslund, Sylvia Rhue, Jessica Roskin, Mab Segrest, Lee Smith, Jeanie Thompson, Jan Willis.


... Read more

20. Under the Tuscan Sun / Bella Tuscany
by Frances Mayes
 Paperback: Pages (2004)
-- used & new: US$15.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000O85GRA
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