In these waning days of July, often permeated by hot and sultry days, I get wanderlust and think how great it would be to travel to some enchanted place. A destination that readily comes to mind is Italy. It is a land of incredible beauty, food and music. After all who can dispute the music of Verdi and Puccini; cuisine that inspires the renown chefs; and a landscape that draws to it great artist and writers.
As July soon fades into August and the summer all too quickly becomes autumn, actually going to Italy must remain an unrealized desire. However, this is why I believe books were created to allow us to travel anywhere and at any time in history we can imagine. So though I may be place bound, I am free to go to Italy and see it through the eyes of great writers and artists.
My three favorite books that transport me through time and space to Italy are: The Venetian Hours:Henry James, Whistler and Sargent by Hugh Honor and John Fleming; Henry James on Italy: Selections fromItalian Hours; and Twilight in Italy:D.H. Lawrence. Each volume is a treasure chest containing nuggets of prose and richly illustrated with paintings that breathe life into my imaginary escape. Evenings spent sitting on my porch reading passages and gazing at the paintings within, all the while listening to Italian opera arias is my magical summer vacation in Italy.
– Tom Hollowak, Special Collections Department