Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Feast of Reading

Here in Kansas, we've had snow, snow and more snow, along with sub-zero temperatures these past few weeks. I'm starting to go stir-crazy! The situation is not helped by the fact that it's 60 degrees in Florence this week. But I do love the snow, and have had some interesting stories to share with my Italian friends during our weekly chats on Skype.

Lately I've been reading/rereading many memoirs of people who have lived or are living in Italy, and this week stumbled across one that I've enjoyed more than many others. It's called "Keeping the Feast," and is written by Paula Butturini, a foreign correspondent who spent many years in Italy, though she now lives in Paris.

The book is a feast of words, and has wide appeal in its sensitive and rich account of the healing power of food, family and love. I highly recommend it!

Here's a link to her website: paulabutturini

As mentioned in the last post, another book that I savored over many weeks was The Agony and the Ecstasy, by Irving Stone, which relates the story of Michelangelo's life and struggles. I especially enjoyed reading about Michelangelo's life in Florence: his family home was located in the same area where I lived last fall, and I traversed the same streets that were part of his daily routine for many years.

In between reading memoirs and working on my own book, I've also been learning how to master a few Italian recipes, including risotto, crostini neri (fegatini di pollo), and minestrone. I want to be able to cook a complete meal, without shame, for my Italian friends when I return to Italy in May.

In another week, I'll begin my busy work season, which extends from mid-February until the end of June. During that time I usually work long hours, often 7 days a week, at two online jobs, so it's been a lovely reprieve to have 6 weeks off from both jobs for the first time in many years. And the light at the end of the tunnel: the income will fund another 3-month stay in Italy. It will be my first attempt to live there during the summer, so it should be interesting!

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