Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Travel books, voluptuous Venuses, Annette & Roger
Started by a husband-and-wife team with a stapled book, the "Lonely Planet" franchise celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Has anyone used any of their publications? I'm heading to Italy this September (a dream of a lifetime), so want to be well prepped! Speaking of things Italian, check out this makeover of Botticelli's Birth of Venus. It's part of an exhibit from the Netherlands showing "why goddesses are so beautiful." Scrolling through their online examples proves the point: take away their voluptuousness and goddesses of the flesh just seem impoverished. Yet the latter silhouette is the modern ideal in many quarters (ewwww!)
I am sad about Annette Funicello's death. Besides being such an icon of '50s youth (my mom could not pry me from the tv when the Mickey Mouse Club was on), I think it's swell that she proudly kept her ethnic name. Brava! (See my article and quiz on the show here.) It's also bittersweet to say goodbye to Roger Ebert, whose sane and humane opinions I always valued in terms of choosing films to spend time with. Thankfully, his legacy lives on in print.
Getting back to the travel theme, we've got some interesting books on peregrination at the moment, including the historical, substantive, humorous, quirky, and fantastical (Sir John Mandeville, we're talking about you!). Try these on for size: A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller by Frances Mayes (of Under the Tuscan Sun fame); National Geographic's Global Birding: Traveling the World in Search of Birds; The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe by Colm Toibin; Mark Twain's The Chicago of Europe; Travels With Myself and Another: A Memoir, by Martha Gellhorn, and Alex Milovsky's Photographing Travel (two of his images appear below).