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Readers' Cafe

Brunetti's Venice Walks with the City's Best-Loved Detective
Four Seasons in Rome On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World
Hidden Tuscany Discovering Art, Culture, and Memories in a Well-Known Region's Unknown Places
Italian Ways On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo
The Italians
Living in a Foreign Language A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Love in Italy
Only in Naples Lessons in Food and Famiglia from My Italian Mother-in-Law
La Passione How Italy Seduced the World
Pasta, Pane, Vino Deep Travels Through Italy's Food Culture
The Politics of Washing Real Life in Venice
See You in the Piazza New Places to Discover in Italy
Tasting Italy A Culinary Journey
Venice for Lovers
Brunetti's Venice: Walks with the City's Best-Loved Detective / Toni Sepeda

Follow Commissario Guido Brunetti, star of Donna Leon?s internationally best-selling mystery series, on over a dozen walks that highlight Venice?s churches, markets, bars, cafes, and palazzosIn Brunetti?s Venice, tourists and armchair travelers follow in the footsteps of Brunetti as he traverses the city he knows and loves. With his acute eye for change in his native city, his fascination with the past, his ear for language and his passion for food and drink, and his familiarity with the dark realities of crime and corruption, Brunetti is the perfect companion for any walk across La Serenissima. Over a dozen walks, encompassing all six regions of Venice as well as the lagoon, lead readers down calli, over canali, and through campi.

Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World / Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr has received many awards -- from the New York Public Library, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Library Association. Then came the Rome Prize, one of the most prestigious awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and with it a stipend and a writing studio in Rome for a year. Doerr learned of the award the day he and his wife returned from the hospital with newborn twins.

Exquisitely observed, Four Seasons in Rome describes Doerr's varied adventures in one of the most enchanting cities in the world. He reads Pliny, Dante, and Keats -- the chroniclers of Rome who came before him -- and visits the piazzas, temples, and ancient cisterns they describe. He attends the vigil of a dying Pope John Paul II and takes his twins to the Pantheon in December to wait for snow to fall through the oculus.

Hidden Tuscany: Discovering Art, Culture, and Memories in a Well-Known Region's Unknown Places / John Keahey

In Hidden Tuscany, acclaimed author John Keahey takes the reader into a part of Tuscany beyond the usual tourist destinations of Chianti, Florence, and Siena. The often overlooked western portion of Tuscany is rich with history, cuisine, and scenery begging to be explored, and Keahey encourages travelers to abandon itineraries and let the grooves in the road and the curves of the coast guide your journey instead.

Follow Keahey as he turns off the autostrada and takes roads barely two lanes wide to discover fishing villages along the Tuscan sea. Then move inland into rolling foothills adorned with cherry orchards, ancient olive groves, and sweeping vineyards that produce wines that challenge Chiantis best. Here it is still possible to follow the paths of Romans, Crusaders, and pilgrims from throughout the western world who were eager to reach Rome.

Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo / Tim Parks

Parks begins as any traveler might: "A train is a train is a train, isn't it?" But soon he turns his novelist's eye to the details, and as he journeys through majestic Milano Centrale station or on the newest high-speed rail line, he delivers a uniquely insightful portrait of Italy. Through memorable encounters with ordinary Italians - conductors and ticket collectors, priests and prostitutes, scholars and lovers, gypsies and immigrants - Parks captures what makes Italian life distinctive: an obsession with speed but an acceptance of slower, older ways; a blind eye toward brutal architecture amid grand monuments; and an undying love of a good argument and the perfect cappuccino.

Italian Ways also explores how trains helped build Italy and how their development reflects Italians' sense of themselves from Garibaldi to Mussolini to Berlusconi and beyond. Most of all, Italian Ways is an entertaining attempt to capture the essence of modern Italy. As Parks writes, "To see the country by train is to consider the crux of the essential Italian dilemma: Is Italy part of the modern world, or not?"

The Italians / John Hooper

A vivid and surprising portrait of the Italian people from an admired foreign correspondent How did a nation that spawned the Renaissance also produce the Mafia? And why does Italian have twelve words for coat hanger but none for hangover? John Hooper's entertaining and perceptive new book is the ideal companion for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Italy and the unique character of the Italians. Fifteen years as a foreign correspondent based in Rome have sharpened Hooper's observations, and he looks at the facts that lie behind the stereotypes, shedding new light on everything from the Italians' bewildering politics to their love of life and beauty. Hooper persuasively demonstrates the impact of geography, history, and tradition on many aspects of Italian life, including football and Freemasonry, sex, food, and opera.

Living in a Foreign Language: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Love in Italy / Michael Tucker

The actor Michael Tucker and his wife, the actress Jill Eikenberry, having sent their last child off to college, were vacationing in Italy when they happened upon a small cottage nestled in the Umbrian countryside. The three-hundred-fifty-year-old rustico sat perched on a hill in the verdant Spoleto valley amid an olive grove and fruit trees of every kind. For the Tuckers, it was literally love at first sight, and the couple purchased the house without testing the water pressure or checking for signs of termites. Shedding the vestiges of their American life, Michael and Jill endeavored to learn the language, understand the nuances of Italian culture, and build a home in this new chapter of their lives. Both a celebration of a good marriage and a careful study of the nature of home, Living in a Foreign Language is a gorgeous, organic travelogue written with an epicurean?s delight in detail and a gourmand?s appreciation for all things fine.

Only in Naples: Lessons in Food and Famiglia from My Italian Mother-in-Law / Katherine Wilson

Full of lighthearted humor, sumptuous food, the wisdom of an Italian mother-in-law, and all the atmosphere of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels, this warm and witty memoir follows American-born Katherine Wilson on her adventures abroad. Thanks to a surprising romance - and a spirited woman who teaches her to laugh, to seize joy, and to love - a three-month rite of passage in Naples turns into a permanent embrace of this boisterous city on the Mediterranean.
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La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World / Dianne Hales

No country has matched Italy's impact on culture. Just think of painting without Leonardo, opera without Verdi, fashion without Armani, food without the signature tastes of pasta, gelato, and pizza. The first universities, first banks, first public libraries? All Italian. Dianne Hales attributes these landmark achievements to la passione italiana, a primal force that stems from an insatiable hunger to discover and create; to love and live with every fiber of one's being. This fierce drive, millennia in the making, blazes to life in the Sistine Chapel, surges through a Puccini aria, deepens a vintage Brunello, and rumbles in a gleaming Ferrari engine.

Pasta, Pane, Vino: Deep Travels Through Italy's Food Culture / MATT GOULDING

Joining the acclaimed?Grape, Olive, Pig, a gorgeously illustrated food-lover's tour through the incomparable cuisine and culture of Italy from the James Beard Award-winning author Matt Goulding and his popular website Roads & Kingdoms.

Immerse yourself in the breadth and beauty of Italian food, culture, and history with this captivating travelogue that is part detailed user's guide, part moving love letter to a country where eating is an art.?

Matt Goulding introduces the chefs, shepherds, fisherman, farmers, grandmas, and others who power Italy's revered culinary traditions. From the pasta temples of Rome to the pizza palaces of Naples to the truffle-strewn forests of the Piedmont, Pasta, Pane, Vino captures the breathtaking diversity of Italian regional food culture.

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The Politics of Washing: Real Life in Venice / Polly Coles

A riveting account of ordinary life in an extraordinary place, packed with charming anecdotes that will have readers hooked on Venetian life.

The beautiful city of Venice has been a fantasy land for people from around the globe for centuries, but what is it like to live there? To move house by boat, to get a child with a broken leg to a hospital, or to set off for school one morning, only to find that the streets have become rivers and the playground is a lake full of sewage? When Polly Coles and her family left England for Venice, they discovered a city caught between modern and ancient life?where the locals still go on an annual pilgrimage to give thanks for the end of the Black Death, where schools are housed in renaissance palaces, and your new washing machine can only be delivered on foot.

See You in the Piazza: New Places to Discover in Italy / Frances Mayes

Bestselling and beloved author Frances Mayes discovers the hidden pleasures of Italy in a sumptuous travel narrative that crisscrosses each region, with inventive new recipes celebrating Italian cuisine

The Roman Forum, the Leaning Tower, the Piazza San Marco: these are the sights synonymous with Italy. But such landmarks only scratch the surface of this magical country's offerings. In See You in the Piazza, Frances Mayes introduces us to the Italy only the locals know, as she and her husband, Ed, eat and drink their way through all twenty regions--from Friuli to Calabria. Along the way, she seeks out the cultural and historic gems not found in traditional guidebooks.

Frances conjures the enchantment of the backstreets, the hubbub of the markets, the dreamlike wonder of that space between lunch and dinner when a city cracks open to those who would wander or when a mind is drawn into the pages of a delicious book--and discloses to us the secrets that only someone who is on intimate terms with a place could find.

Tasting Italy: A Culinary Journey / America's Test Kitchen (Firm)

The experts at America's Test Kitchen and National Geographic bring Italy's magnificent cuisine, culture, and landscapes--and 100 authentic regional recipes--right to your kitchen.

Featuring 100 innovative, kitchen-tested recipes, 300 gorgeous color photographs, and 30 maps, this illustrated guide takes you on a captivating journey through the rich history of Italian cuisine, region by region. Rich excerpts feature the origins of celebrated cheeses, the nuances of different wine growing regions, the best farmer's markets in Venice, and more. Intriguing prose illuminates key ingredients, from olive oil and how it's made to the various pasta shapes of Northern Italy. In every region, the food experts at America's Test Kitchen bring it all home, with foolproof recipes for standout dishes as well as hidden gems: Piedmontese braised beef in lustrous red wine sauce, crispy-custardy chickpea flour farinata pancakes from Genoa (achieved without the specialty pan and wood-burning oven) , and hand-formed rustic malloreddus pasta of Sardinia that is a breeze to make.

Venice for Lovers / Louis Begley

Every year for all the thirty they have been married, Louis Begley and Anka Muhlstein have escaped to Venice to write. In Venice for Lovers, the couple has fashioned an homage to the City of Water. In her essay, Muhlstein charmingly describes how becoming friends with restaurateurs has been an unsurpassed means of getting to know the city and its inhabitants?Venetians like Ernesto, whose restaurant they have dinner in every night for many years, and who tells them of the great flood that nearly destroyed the beautiful city.? They spend blissful hours at Da Fiore, named by The International Herald Tribune one of the ten best restaurants in the world but which retains its rustic simplicity. In his novella, Begley writes a story of falling in love with?and in?Venice.

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Including the collection of Front Range Community College, Larimer Campus