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50th Anniversaries

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There are thousands of books about Venice, more than anyone could read in a lifetime, but without a doubt The World of Venice is my favorite of the ones that I've read. It's the kind of book you can pick up, turn to any page, start reading, and be transported. It's so beautifully written and completely captures the crazy magic of Venice.

This year marks 50 years since it was first published, and author Jan Morris returned to Venice to celebrate the anniversary. Her rather bittersweet reflections are published here.

Another book celebrating its 50th Anniversary is To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel I read many times when I was in school. I read it again last weekend to celebrate the anniversary and also to see if I liked it as much as I did many years ago. It's always interestesting to re-read a book you loved - some of them don't hold up so well, but this one did. I enjoyed it just as much if not more. It's a story with so much heart. And don't we all wish we'd had a father like Atticus?!

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Comments (13)

sandrac:

Annie, I don't have Jan Morris's book, but I'm going to order it right now. I love the way she writes. The Guardian piece is a lovely example. I think that when one genuinely loves a place, it doesn't mean being blind to flaws; it means accepting the bad with all of the good.

I think the message is similar in Harper Lee's novel. Atticus didn't dismiss all his neighbors (like Walter Cunningham's father) as evil, but tried to understand what forces drove them, and found good in their characters. I didn't discover this book until about 20 years ago (I don't think it's on a lot of Canadian school reading lists) and have loved it ever since. Even the movie was excellent!

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, thanks for this post. I now want to read her book after reading your recommendation and that article she wrote. The end was interesting. She is an amazing writer.

I'm ashamed to admit that I have never read To Kill a Mocking bird or seen the movie. I'm not sure why. With your recommendation I want to read it now. Maybe I'll find the movie on Netflix. Thanks so much for sharing.

Sandra, I love your comparison between the two books! Have you read any other Jan Morris books? I haven't (except for The Venetian Bestiary) but I want to. She wrote one about NYC and I think she has a memoir too. A friend told me that her book about Trieste is excellent.

About TKAM, I just read an article about how it has been on so many banned book lists at US schools and libraries. I'm glad my school didn't ban it.

Kathy, read the book first! The movie is good but the book is much better.

Annie, thank you for helping us to remember these milestone books.

By the way, you can add me to your "50th anniversary" list. I am going to my 50th high school class reunion in October. Where does the time go?

Nancy, you are officially added to the list! Happy Anniversary and I hope you have a great time.

Amy:

Morris is one of the best travel writers around, isn;t she? I love how she writes most deeply about the place, instead of herself.

I'm adding this name to my list too. Love to investigate new to me authors. Mahalo.

I checked one of Jan Morris' books out once from the library but did not get to it before it was due. I will have to see if our library carries The World of Venice.

I am reading the 4th of the Stravaganza series by Mary Hoffman. So far, City of Masks has been my favorite. It takes place in a city that mirrors Venice.

Andrew:

Fancy Ms Morris contemplating having a gondola for the day! About €500 I should think. Peter Ackroyd has a book out on Venice. I usually like him but having read bits on Amazon I decided not to buy it. The prose was far too 'purple' for my liking.

Thanks for your comments everyone. Girasoli, City of Masks has been on my "need to read" list for a while now.

Hi Andrew, the part about hiring a gondola for a day was funny to me too!

I've got the Ackroyd book on my Amazon wishlist but haven't gotten around to buying it. The reviews haven't been that great. I might see if I can get it from the library.

I love Jan Morris' writing. I have several copies of her books - they are great for picking up and dreaming of a nomadic life...

There really is little that is sadder than returning to a favourite place after a long absence. So much changes with the intervening years, and the romanticism of the first visit, when you fell in love with the city, is displaced by the harsh reality of its infallibility.

I have a pretty big collection of books about Venice, and I agree wholeheartedly with you that JM's is among the very best.
Have also reread To Kill a Mockingbird recently—and I did have a dad who was a strong-yet-gentle Southern gentleman, just like Atticus.

Hi Lesley, thanks for your comment. I looked around on the Internet this week for other JM books - there are several compilations, "best of" type books that sound really good.

Alexa, you are lucky! My dad was a wonderful man but did not have the patience of Atticus. :)

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 13, 2010 9:31 AM.

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