Every Day in Tuscany

Frances Mayes makes me hungry. She makes me long for good, simply prepared food. She makes me want to dig in the dirt. She makes me want to sit under a tree in Italy (trees in Italy are different...they just are) with a book and a piece of fresh fruit. She makes me want to be a better writer.

I get lost in her words and through her words I get pulled into Bramasole. It started with Under the Tuscan Sun. I'll admit it, I saw the movie first and I got sucked in. It was a very useful movie to me at the time. I wasn't in a particularly happy place and it was a dreamland. When I read the book later I suppose I could have been disappointed that the movie was so very different from the book but I wasn't. I discovered that I loved how Mayes wrote and now I look for every opportunity to jump into her writing, but especially of her writing about Italy.

Under the Tuscan Sun felt to me like a honeymoon. Bramasole was still fairly new to them, it was a place and a home that they were on pretty good terms with but still were in the process of getting to know each other. In Every Day in Tuscany it was an established love. They knew Bramasole and Tuscany. Their friends were now long time friends. The honeymoon was over but still they were in love.

I'll admit that I can be a bit of a skimmer when I'm reading. Sometimes it's more about the story or a character than the language. With Mayes I read slowly and purposefully. There's something about the way that she writes that makes me want to not just read it but absorb it. I find I often feel this way with writers who are also poets or who have a deep love of poetry. Even when she veers off the path of her days at Bramasole into her search for her beloved painter I follow her, be it rather impatiently.

When I read Mayes I am in Italy. I'm in Bramasole. I'm in Tuscany. I make pasta and drink great wine. What more can you ask for from a book?