A Year in Books/Day 123: Within Tuscany

  • Title: Within Tuscany Reflections on a Time and Place
  • Author: Matthew Spender
  • Year Published: 1992/This Edition: 1993 (Viking Press/Penguin Books)
  • Year Purchased: 2004/2005
  • Source: A bookstore in Upstate New York
  • About: This book got off to an agonizingly slow start. Whatever a snail’s pace is in reading lingo, that’s what it was. S-l-o-o-o-o-w-w. I plodded away a few pages at a time, absolutely determined to keep at it until I hit the sweet spot where my interest was finally piqued. That eventually happened about half-way through. It took a long few months for that day to arrive. I read at least three dozen other books during the wait. Was it worth my stubborn insistence? Eh. Yes and no. The over-all feel of the book is marvelous; the individual stories and anecdotes of English transplant Matthew Spender and his wife raising their two daughters deep in the heart of Tuscany are hit-and-miss. If that seems like a contradictory feat, it is: yet, as a whole, it works. Don’t expect it to be an edge-of-your-seat or limitlessly engaging read, and you’ll likely enjoy find it enjoyable.
  • Motivation: It was cheap and looked interesting.
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 91: “I was unused to the etiquette of sitting up with the dead. There are rules to this social ritual, the principal one being that neither the body nor the family should ever be left alone. You arrive: whoever is there leaves, and you remain until someone else appears who can take over from you.”
  • Happiness Scale: 7

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