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A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2007


    This book was extremely boring. She talks in the beginning about using her travels as an opportunity to discover what home is to people of different cultures but failed to address this topic in any part that I read. The first chapter was so boring I skipped to the chapter on Greece, as I am planning a trip there and was excited to soak up any more information on their culture. I was very disappointed to learn that she was on a boring, basic cruise and had only pre-planned travel agency style day trips around the islands! I like to immerse myself in the culture more than that when I travel and was surprised you could get away with writing a serious book about your travels while on a standard cruise surrounded by mid-western retirees.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2012

    Loved the title, but that was about it.

    Afraid to say this was a dull book. Put it down after about an hour and never picked it up again.

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  • Posted April 20, 2010

    The Observing Self

    Frances Mayes is an avid traveller-both in person and on the page. In her memoir, A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller, she embarks on a series of exotic adventures which span the globe and transports the reader along with her via sensory details. We can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell what she describes, and we also get a clear sense of her persona-what she thinks, likes, dislikes, and dreams of. In addition, Mayes weaves in a significant amount of historical, cultural, literary, and culinary references into her writing as she travels, and thus captures the sense of expansion and discovery that travel brings. We travel along with Mayes to many exciting locations and gain a wealth of knowledge about her destinations, and the author herself.

    Mayes accomplishes the above by first capturing sensory and reference details, and then passing them through the filter of self--we see what she sees in the way that she sees it--and therefore, we come away with a sense of the author by reading about how she interacts with her world. She begins her memoir by telling us what lures her about travel-the spontaneity, personal growth, and the chance to be the observer. "You open, as in childhood, and-for a time-receive this world. There's a visceral aspect, too-the huntress who is free. Free to go, free to return home bringing memories to lay on the hearth" (xviii-xix).

    As I read, I found myself saying: Yes! At the end of her introduction Mayes says: "Only in looking back do you find those crumbs you dropped that mark your way forward" (xxii). Here she reinforces her theme that travel brings a new understanding of oneself and one's world. By ending her introduction with such a quote, Mayes makes a promise to the reader: my travels have changed me, as yours will change you.come and see.

    In the simple detail of the following: "I'd like to drop my coat in the water rather than lug it along" (25), Mayes immediately connects me to the moment. Who hasn't been weighted down by a garment when the weather changes and not in the mood to be burdened? Details like this convey information about both environment and character. As I read this memoir, I was inspired to comb through my own work and seek out the moments where I could add such details into my writing.

    Mayes also uses evocative and amusing descriptions-about a cathedral in Spain: "Even the pigeons look holy" (31); about Portuguese speech: "This language uses many sounds that previously I have heard only from the washing machine" (90); about Italians and their coffee: "They take their espresso as though they're having a shot at a clinic" (141). Such language choices convey both Mayes' observation skills, personality, and sense of humor. She reminds us to access the five senses, observe ourself and our world, and deepen our writing so that the reader can get closer to our experience. This blend of insight, character, and experience deepens our joint discoveries: yes, the journey changes us.come and see.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2009

    I couldn't make it through the 3rd chapter

    Their was nothing amusing or entertaining - it was difficult to read - more of a food journal. I was very disappointed.

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    Posted November 7, 2010

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    Posted July 10, 2012

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    Posted March 16, 2009

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