Another Review at MyShelf.Com

A Year in the World
Journeys of A Passionate Traveller

by Frances Mayes

      Frances Mayes' new book is titled A Year in the World. The operative word is "in". Ms. Mayes doesn't just travel to different places. She wraps them around her and absorbs them within her, using all five senses and a few more based in thought and memory, to experience them as fully as possible. Then writes about them in a friend-to-friend personal fashion that invites the reader to do the same.

The result is magic, and the perfect antidote to any kind of mental blahs. If you've traveled to these places yourself, as I had in some cases, a few vivid phrases and you're back. But back with an appreciative and adventurous traveling companion who sees things you miss and has new insights to offer. If you've never been, well, sit back and enjoy vicariously following Ms. Mayes' journeys on the charming old-fashioned end-paper maps, as you recover from the horrors of a British rental house amidst riotously beautiful gardens, accept your inevitable submission to the wiles of a charming Istanbul rug seller, or taste the sharp freshness of new flavors in a tapas feast.

But the magic here is as much about what goes on in Ms. Mayes' thoughts as she shares her experiences as it is in the experiences themselves. Real travel does more than just tick off another entry on some master list of places passed through and sights seen. It becomes part of who you are and who you will become. "The thousand patterns that I saw, I see again, as though I am walking over them, which, I suppose, I am and always will." Written in clear, evocative, passionate prose, this very personal book of journeys lets the reader feel they are sharing her experiences, so that those experiences become part of who they are as well.

Highly recommended as a reading pleasure (which it certainly was), but also to open your eyes a bit more to the world around you -at home and abroad- and how you and it experience each other.

The Book

March 14, 2006
Non-Fiction Travelogue/Memoir
More at
NOTE: Author of the NYT Bestseller Under The Tuscan Sun

The Reviewer

Kim Malo
Reviewed 2006
© 2006