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Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. Read an Excerpt. Buy. Look Inside | Reading Buy the Audiobook Download: Apple · Audible · downpour · eMusic. Abridged Audiobook Download Add Under the Tuscan Sun to Goodreads Now with an excerpt from Frances Mayes's latest southern memoir, Under. eBook; Trade Paperback; Unabridged Audiobook Download; Hardcover By the bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun, and written with Frances Mayes's.

Look Inside Reading Guide. Reading Guide. Sep 02, Pages Buy. Aug 26, Pages Buy. Jul 05, Minutes Buy.

Reading Guide. Sep 02, Pages Buy. Aug 26, Pages Buy. Jul 05, Minutes Buy. Sep 02, Pages. Aug 26, Pages. Jul 05, Minutes. In evocative language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. Mayes also creates dozens of delicious seasonal recipes from her traditional kitchen and simple garden, all of which she includes in the book.

Doing for Tuscany what M. Fisher and Peter Mayle did for Provence, Mayes writes about the tastes and pleasures of a foreign country with gusto and passion. It was… More about Frances Mayes. She has, by the sweat of her brow and the strength of her vision, become a layer in the history of this place.

Her bestselling memoir on her time there paints a vivid description of the town, the people and the lush surrounding countryside of rolling hills and vineyards. A poet and a gourmet cook, Mayes includes a number of chapters on food, replete with classic Italian recipes to further whet the appetite. Read An Excerpt. Europe Category: Europe Audiobooks. After rereading this book my work seems like a textbook example of structure.

She just seems to comment randomly about her rather privileged life in Italy. This book should serve as how not to write. It's truly ghastly writing at every step without a hint of insight to be found anywhere.

This thing is like The Da Vinci Code of travel memoirs, or whatever the hell you want to call it. She is not as clumsy a writer as Dan Brown; I refer more to the immense popularity of this book. I suppose that this is how the publishing industry works. They would much rather force one book down our collective throats than to print and market a series of books better suited for a range of tastes. I guess they find this sort of book to be inoffensive enough to cover a wide range of readers who are looking for a book about living in Italy.

A more interesting take on this subject would be a lot riskier. The only time you should use a foreign word is when there is no English equivalent and even then only sparingly.

Under the Tuscan Sun

I'd wager that her Italian is pretty lousy. For me this book is "creative writing" gone bad, and isn't all "creative writing" just writing gone bad?. If you removed all of the adjectives and adverbs the book would be about ten pages long.

I never felt like reading more of this no matter where I was in the narrative. All of the home improvement narrative had little or nothing to do with Italy. One of the most important things to learn about life in Europe is how their cities work; at least this is one of the most important things that I've learned in my years in Spain. A country house is more for locals who are fed up with life in the city.

It will take me many more years to reach this stage of assimilation. Every noun is propped up by a description, as if nothing is able to stand on its own. The Italians in the book come across as mere stereotypes. For a woman who has spent a lot of time in the country she has precious few insights about what life is like in that country other than her rather untraditional versions of Italian recipes. On the back cover of the book they say that the author is a gourmet cook. The first thing that came to my mind was that she may have qualified as a gourmet cook in America back when the book was first published but among the Italians she probably rates somewhere in the bottom middle of household hash slingers.

Like being a distance runner in Kenya, to be considered an above average cook in this region of the world you have to be truly remarkable. I suppose people are in love with the idea of moving to a country estate in Tuscany and nothing else really matters.

The author revealed few truly insightful observations about Italy or Italian life. I doubt that she learned much Italian in all of her time spent there. As she is a university writing professor she writes in the clunky college professor manner that has shaped and destroyed so much American writing. This just seems like it appeals to the fanny pack wearing crowd of international travel, the folks who read those awful yuppie travel magazines, keep their cash in a money belt, and see travel as nothing more than a shopping opportunity.

I'd like to set the author of this book up on a blind date with the guy who wrote the awful A Year in Provence. I just noticed that this same author has a follow-up book to Under the Tuscan Sun with the sub-heading: Journeys of a Passionate Traveler.

I think I need to throw up a little bit. First of all, you can't call something a journey if you use a credit card. Secondly, what the hell is a passionate traveler? Is that like when they do a porno movie on a desert island or you have sex in the bathroom of a train?

I seriously doubt that she has written a single thing of interest before Under the Tuscan Sun came out even though she taught creative writing. Has anyone who teaches creative writing ever written anything interesting? View all 6 comments. Apr 18, Amanda rated it it was ok Shelves: At 66 pages in, I'm throwing in the towel.

Somewhere around the age of 22 or 23, I decided I was done with library books. Now, don't get me wrong, I love and appreciate libraries. I became a reader because of access to wonderful libraries. But, as an adult, I'm OCD enough not to enjoy the concept of library books. Wondering how many people read them while on the toilet, encountering books that smelled like ash trays, finding potato chip crumbs wedged between pages 32 and 33, encountering a sticky At 66 pages in, I'm throwing in the towel.

Wondering how many people read them while on the toilet, encountering books that smelled like ash trays, finding potato chip crumbs wedged between pages 32 and 33, encountering a sticky cover, or, dear God, whose hair is that?!!? Add to that a county library that seemed unaware of the existence of authors other than Nicholas Sparks, Norah Roberts, James Patterson, and John Grisham, well, the choice was clear.

I had to buy my own books. The thing is, I was so punchdrunk giddy with the idea of buying my own books and not being limited to what was on the library shelves that I was pretty damn bad at it in the beginning. I bought anything and everything that struck my fancy.

Part of this was also because I was willing to see if I was the kind of person who would like these books that I didn't have access to previously. A book about a woman moving to sun-drenched Italy and finding herself?

Why not? Maybe I'm the kind of person who could like that. My shelves are still filled with secret shames I acquired in those heady days of biblio-freedom. Let's just say that, today, I am not the kind of person who would ever pick this book up. Under the Tuscan Sun is not a bad book. It's just not a me book. As far as I can tell, here is the basic premise: Gimme all your money and no one gets hurt! Every time the expense is exorbitant, but, before one can feel sorry for them, they scrape together the money needed with seemingly minimal effort.

Isn't Italy wonderful! Stick it to 'em, house! It's always Italian. It always has fresh ingredients. It is always fabulous. It reads like a well-written, but repetitive and ultimately uninteresting diary. Now, again, I did not finish reading the book, but skimmed through it enough to feel fairly assured that nothing new was ever going to happen.

Other reviews reaffirmed this belief, so I do not feel compelled to read further. Had this been a travel article, I probably would have been intrigued but I just can't do another pages of this. And so, Under the Tuscan Sun , ciao!

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I'm off to sunnier literary climes. Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder View all 20 comments. Aug 11, Laura C. View all 3 comments. Dec 02, Deb rated it did not like it. Wanting to learn about all things Italian was the reason I picked this book. I started it as an audio book. But even as a listen while being a prisoner on the highway, I had to stop after the first CD. Her out of touch with reality pinings about her problems encountered when buying a home in Italy who in the world can afford this in the first place!

Hearing that one of the primary joys of her Italy travels was buying shoes, was a major clue that this was not a book for me. Then when sh Wanting to learn about all things Italian was the reason I picked this book.

Then when she mentions sitting out at her new home and hearing the WHIRR of an owl flying close overhead--I knew I wanted to spend no more time in her description of Italy. Owls are silent. If she is making up something this simple, what else is fantasy? I was hoping to learn about Italy, not hear her interpretation of what Italy should be. So I ejected the disk and put the book away.

Silence won out over a pampered, middle aged woman's whimsical ramblings. View all 9 comments. Aug 18, Connie rated it really liked it Shelves: Frances Mayes bought a neglected villa in the Tuscan town of Cortona. The house was called "Bramasole", meaning "yearning for the sun", and the sunshine and warmth of Italy comes shining through Mayes' enthusiastic descriptions. One gets a sense that Mayes is being reborn. After a midlife divorce, she is in a relationship with her future husband, Ed.

The two poets both have demanding jobs as the heads of creative writing departments in their California universities. Both worked hard, along with Italian craftsmen, renovating the house in Tuscany during their summer and mid-winter breaks. They fell in love with the Italian culture, pace of life, and food.

The sense of time is so different in Tuscany with their villa surrounded by fascinating things from ancient times--an Etruscan wall, a Roman road, old churches, and a nearby Medici fortress. The walls of the old villa were thick slabs covered with plaster.

Various owners had added on more rooms over the years so it was always a surprise to see what was under the last coat of plaster. The Tuscan food is simple, fresh, and picked when perfectly ripe. Mayes' descriptions of the food and wine are sensuous, and she included a few recipes.

Her tables are often topped with fresh flowers from the many gardens they planted. I enjoyed the book, but wished I had spread the reading out more instead of reading it over three days since there is so much description. The mood of the book is upbeat, joyous, and often humorous. The Tuscan sun has definitely warmed up Mayes' life. View 2 comments. I first heard about this story when the film version was being hyped.

For some reason I never bothered to view it, perhaps because it appeared amidst other seemingly trite films that did not interest me. However I found this copy in the used library bookstore and from the inside cover description I realized that it's subject matter greatly interested me. Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun, At Home in Italy is her personal account of a life shifting and settling in the landscape of the Italian c I first heard about this story when the film version was being hyped.

Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun, At Home in Italy is her personal account of a life shifting and settling in the landscape of the Italian countryside. But it is more than a merely picturesque recounting of her experiences, her story has many layers that together recall that sense of nostalgia that can only be found in the true sweetness of memory. The smells and sounds that create that subtle ache for the events and experiences that in remembering achieve their deepest meaning.

Her life undone becomes her greatest practice of living in the now. It gives me joy to accompany her on this path through her own poetic journaling and to read beneath and in between her words the discovery of a life deconstructed along with her old farmhouse which like her is being reborn through years of neglect. May she and all of us continue to learn to live creating the lives we desire with plenty of local grown food, wine and personal harvest! Aug 08, Kay rated it liked it Shelves: The movie made her far more interesting than the book did.

Movie version: The trip is to help Mayes recover from the divorce. She falls in love with the country, finding magic in unexpected places and buys a villa. In restoring it, she learns to love herself again, as she learns Italian ways of living. Book version: They are utterly ignorant about restoring an old house. Hijinks ensue. They're only there in the summers. Seriously, which would you pick?

There are interesting parts about local Italian history and the occasional magic moment, but mostly it's a "look at how cool my normative life is, aren't you jealous? Be aware that the three star rating is because Mayes is a competent writer who occasionally includes some really beautiful prose.

What this rating is NOT based on is an engaging story. But I can't fault her competency in her craft.

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If you liked Eat Pray Love, you may also like this one. I believe the reverse is also true. Jan 22, Bam rated it really liked it Shelves: I am surprised by how many bad reviews this book has received here on goodreads. Yes, the movie version is very loosely based on this book, so don't come looking for that story here.

And yes, it is a memoir and not a novel.

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And yes, Mayes is a privileged woman who has earned the ability to buy a decrepit villa in Tuscany as a second home, renovate it and furnish it. Who hasn't dreamed of doing just that? I thoroughly enjoyed her descriptions of the renovation process, the land, the people, t I am surprised by how many bad reviews this book has received here on goodreads.

I thoroughly enjoyed her descriptions of the renovation process, the land, the people, the ancient history of the area and oh, the food! Thank goodness she has included a few recipes to try. While i thoroughly enjoyed the book, i WILL say that its not what i expected since i had seen and enjoyed the movie first. I guess i was slightly disappointed in 2 things: Author summers in Tuscany, buys an old farmhouse, refurbishes it, travels through Italy, and cooks constantly. Then, when you finish it, flip the pages back and start the article again.

But substitute the Zuppa Toscana with Porcini Risotto. The Pesto Crostini for the Fontina Bruschetta. A Plot: A full-bodied Montepulciano for the earthy Sangiovese. And keep reading. Over and over again. It's hard to read a page book that has no plot. It's just hard to keep opening it up on the bus everyday. Each passage is very interesting, but a travel article - which is what it is - can only sustain a reader for so long, even when done well.

This book makes me want to visit Italy Oh!

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It makes me want to slowly sip a glass of Brunello di Montalcino in the fading evening sun. Essentially, it makes me want do something other than continue reading. It makes me want to be somewhere else: Somewhere sunnier, where the cheese is richer, the vino is bolder, the afternoons are slower, and the magic of human civilization is much much older and wiser. I have the thrill of giving this book the most unforgettable and interesting bad review I've given so far. This was a re-read, and I loved it again.

I know there's plenty here who don't think much of this book, but it totally appeals to my utterly romantic notions of running away to live in Europe someday And my list TBV list - "to be visited" - tee hee has been growing ever since. This was also my first PalmPilot read, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I compl This was a re-read, and I loved it again.

This was also my first PalmPilot read, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I completely enjoyed reading on my teensy little baby computer. I wonder if we will ever reach that vision of the paperless society that was touted when the first home computers came out way back when.

Could the Palm Pilot finally represent the beginning of the end of cutting down massive tracts of forests to support our voracious appetite for the printed word.

I particularly found the PP nice for reading in bed. Lightweight, clear easy-to-read font, easy thumb clicks to turn the pages, and complete with its own light. Very cool. Donna's a happy PalmPilot reader. Jan 02, Antof9 rated it it was ok Shelves: I saw the movie first and didn't realize it was based on a book.

So first of all, this is not a novel. It's a woman's journal of the purchase and clean up of an old house in Tuscany. It includes recipes, gardening directions, weather reports, menus, etc. And if that's what you were expecting, it's actually very good. However, I unfortunately saw the movie when it came out, in complete ignorance that it was a book first. I'd already read Extra Virgin , and felt that this book was a weak imitation.

Had I not known the movie or the other book, I think I'd have liked this better. And I'd strongly recommend it to anyone travelling there or moving there. Her descriptions of food were amazing! I especially liked the way she described menus, and how they ate what was in season and accessible. It made me crave cheese and fruit!

Jul 19, Ivana Books Are Magic rated it liked it. Having read Under the Tuscan Sun, I can certainly see what the hype was about. It is an interesting little book, not a novel exactly, more a sort of a diary of a divorced woman who decided to buy a house in Tuscany and documents her experiences.

Frances Mayes - Books

Her narrative voice is friendly and charming, and yet despite revealing some information about her private life, she never lets the reader in too close. Under the Tuscan Sun is not an autobiographical novel, so don't expect someone pouring their heart op Having read Under the Tuscan Sun, I can certainly see what the hype was about.

Under the Tuscan Sun is not an autobiographical novel, so don't expect someone pouring their heart open to you sort of read. This book is a pretty light read, albeit packed with some interesting information.

At no point does the narrative question the meaning of life, nor does it go into lengthily discussions. It's more a collection of author's thoughts and impressions, all bound together by her decision to buy a house in Italy.

The book often functions as a reconstruction and food journal. Who is the protagonist? She is a divorced University professor, and her summers are free. She decides that the perfect thing do to is to spend them in Italy. Why not buy a house there and really immerse herself in the experience? She is drawn to one particular house and area. Her partner Ed also has his summers off I think he is a teacher as well.

Together they set on an adventure of restoring the old villa and spending their summers in Italy. Under the Tuscan Sun is a lovely book written by an intelligent lady.

It has a lot going in for it, and could easily be called a nice summer read. However, it is neither a meaningful nor a memorable book. It doesn't talk about any subject in detail, and often it feels like a collection of notes. At times, it is also a bit repetitive and predictable. I had a feeling that the author was almost pushing this idea about her great adventure- but really is buying a house in Italy really that revolutionary? I could sympathize with her as she recounted her 'construction problems' as I moved in my new home only a year ago, but after a while all that reconstruction talk got a bit old.

Under the Tuscan Sun has some minor faults, the book isn't paced all that great, and there were some boring parts, but altogether I can say I enjoyed reading it. Reading her impressions about Italy was interesting, as she is someone coming from a different culture and continent. As fun a read as it often was, as soon as I have finished the last page, I knew it is a book I will easily forget. Honestly, I don't think I would have missed much if I haven't read it.

It's a nice book, I could feel the author's passion about finding 'new life' and trying something different, but in the end it's just not a book that will stay with me. Feb 26, mossum rated it did not like it Shelves: I so rarely stop reading mid-book, but I found this one to be so rambling and uninteresting and I'm at a point in life where I feel no obligation to push through such an experience, even or especially to please someone who thought for sure they knew what I'd like. The prospect of buying a shambles of a house, no matter where, and restoring it, is a subject that is of tremendous interest to me.

Although I'm not "traveled," I can well image that the effort of obtaining a passport, packing, and f I so rarely stop reading mid-book, but I found this one to be so rambling and uninteresting and I'm at a point in life where I feel no obligation to push through such an experience, even or especially to please someone who thought for sure they knew what I'd like.

Although I'm not "traveled," I can well image that the effort of obtaining a passport, packing, and flying to the other side of the globe would be well worth it if one could buy and restore a home in the hills of Tuscany.

I can even appreciate the detailed imagery a good author can summon with romantic descriptions of local flora, cuisine, and ancillary characters. Unfortunately, Mayes was unable or unwilling to craft such an exciting, titillating, adventurous memoir, and instead presents the minutiae of her adventure with over-descriptive drudgery.

I found her writing to be less interesting than the plant descriptions on my Sunset Garden Book. Apr 22, Tamara rated it did not like it Recommended to Tamara by: Conifer book friends, I think? This is the epitome of nauseating travelogues.

This woman thinks she is Italian because she renovated and lived in a small property in Tuscany???

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And she is clearly so much smarter, knows better, and has more experience in everything not JUST renovating and living in a small house in Tuscany than anyone else on earth because she renovated and lived in a small house in Tuscany.

Dec 15, Foteini Fp rated it liked it. Oct 06, Tarah rated it liked it.

20th-Anniversary Edition

Here's the thing. I loved this book when I first read it was I 20? Because I was young, and hadn't learned how to resent those people who gallivant around the globe with too much money on their hands telling us how charmed their lives are while describing the picturesque landscape.

That being said, the book is well-written and the descriptions of Tuscan life are, of course, deeply seductive.