The Power of Place – ‘A Month in Siena’ by Hisham Matar

Having lived near Siena for a relatively longer time than Hisham Matar’s sojourn, which he eloquently describes in “A Month in Siena,” I appreciate his experiences there. As a college student, my encounters with the city were more with people than with a conscious engagement with art and architecture. So, I loved “living” there again through his eyes and his immersion in Siena’s interior life. Goodread’s book description summarizes this work well–[ ]. I’d like to add a few passages from the book to that summary: I loved his description of Siena’s central square, La Piazza del Campo, where … Continue reading The Power of Place – ‘A Month in Siena’ by Hisham Matar

Lavinia, by Ursula LeGuin

A fan of Le Guin’s writing since adolescence, I appreciated the author’s effort to amplify and enrich the Aeneid. Her novel in a way completes Virgil’s epic poem by continuing the narrative after the hero Aeneas, a Trojan survivor of the war between his state and the Greeks in perhaps the 12th century BCE, defeats and kills his opponent, the Latin, Turnus. Le Guin is not the first to do so. From Wikipedia… “%5BMaffeo Vegio’s (1407-1458)] greatest reputation came as the writer of brief epics, the most famous of which was his continuation of Virgil’s Aeneid…Completed in 1428, this 600-line … Continue reading Lavinia, by Ursula LeGuin

The Tea That Saved Me… Sort Of

As I raise a warm mug to my lips, steam wafts over its rim and carries the citrusy scent of chamomile tea to my nose, a scent never failing to remind me of a very bad day. Decades ago, I was a student on junior year abroad in Florence, Italy. Enrolled in a class on the history of the Italian language I was supposed to attend at least twice a week, I thought at the time I had better things to do than sit in a dark, dank classroom in an old University of Florence building in Piazza San Marco. … Continue reading The Tea That Saved Me… Sort Of