Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Travel books, voluptuous Venuses, Annette & Roger

Today I'm throwing out a melange of things that piqued my interest lately. After all, isn't that what The Daily Glean is all about?
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).


  1. The Botticelli is "The Birth of Venus".
    "Primavera" is the one where the Graces are dancing and looking Sapphic in their diaphanous gowns.
    But your point is well taken. Who wants an Olympia like Kate Moss?

  2. oh duh duh duh. score minus one for fact checking. Thanks!

    1. It was the springlike Zephyrs that threw me off!

  3. Ohhh so many fun things here today! The Lonely Planet series is fantastic, it helped me navigate Prague in a not-so-touristy way. Can't believe it's been 40 years:) Ebert's passing is certainly sad, he could always be counted on for impassioned reviews. Wasn't afraid to take chances, to be sure...

  4. The changes to the Botticelli are very sad, but it makes a good point. Does anyone remember from last fall when one of the big names in fancy department stores (possibly Neiman Marcus?) took the Disney characters and made them runway models? (Read: stick thin) That was certainly shocking to see as well, and they got a lot of criticism for it.

  5. Love The Lonely Planet, was a big fan of the show Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled on Nat Geo.

  6. Goddesses and whores have always been voluptuous in art, so one wonders where the "can't be too thin" ethic began. Are designers incapable of sewing in a few curves for us?
    Maybe there's a psychological need to work for beauty, that a woman could feel anyone could attain beauty, if she were willing to sacrifice. Simply being born beautiful is too much a matter of luck, and excludes the idea of striving to achieve.
    On the practical side, it's cheaper to produce a blouse without darts, so why not encourage women to look like men?