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A Year in the World: Journeys of A Passionate Traveller

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,050 Ratings  ·  430 Reviews

The author who unforgettably captured the experience of starting a new life in Tuscany in bestselling travel memoirs expands her horizons to immerse herself—and her readers—in the sights, aromas, and treasures of twelve new special places.

A Year in the World is vintage Frances Mayes—a celebration of the
ebook, 304 pages
Published March 14th 2006 by Broadway Books (first published 2006)
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LisaMarie No, it reads more like a long self-indulgent travel journal, mostly about food. I don't think it would serve well as a book club read since there are…moreNo, it reads more like a long self-indulgent travel journal, mostly about food. I don't think it would serve well as a book club read since there are no real plot points or characters to analyze.(less)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 02, 2007 Agnes rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone really starving for idyllic descriptions of Western European small towns
The author's tone was extremely annoying in this book, whose title is completely misleading, as this is a compilation of her trips mainly to Western Europe over 5 years, not one year in the world at all. Admittedly, I quit halfway through when I got completely fed up with her staying in 5-star hotels and rented villas and eating in gourmet restaurants, without mentioning the price of anything, or how she can possibly afford it as a university writing professor (I guess the profits from the awful ...more
Jan 24, 2008 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I must confess that I haven't finished reading Frances Mayes' A Year in the World. I love travel books, and read a favorable review of this one...reviewers sometimes exaggerate . After a few running starts, the book wound up in the bathroom. Listening to the tap drip was more interesting, so I've moved it to the side of my bed where I read it whenever I'm suffering from insomnia, which is fairly often.

So I pick up A Year in the World, read it for a few pages of it's eternal present tense where
Jun 05, 2013 Marshall rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't give low reviews lightly. However, there were several problems with this book. 1. It wasn't a year in the world, it was a number of separate trips, most of which weren't too far from the author's residence in Tuscany. 2. Despite the (slight) differences in locales, the things she sought out were very similar, so the book became rather redundant. 3. I don't like the word 'pretentious' except when it fits and in this case it did. Long after reading this book, one scene stuck with me -- a m ...more
A lyrical and enchanting and excellent book about travels in Europe. I was there with the author as she traveled, she is that descriptive and aware of the holy places. Her descriptions of starry nights brought me to my knees in awe as well as her attention to detail: architectural, holy places, holy encounters, books, nature, food! Absolutely gorgeous in scope and detail and love and passion. I want to go to the places she has gone, and rent a house for a while, and travel by private boat, and h ...more
Apr 01, 2009 Lynne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am halfway through the book, the author still hasn't left Southern Europe. I give up. I would prefer more adventure and fewer descriptions of luxury meals.
Feb 18, 2010 Carrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, twenty-ten
Is there a decent travel writer who isn't a pretentious windbag? It's fascinating to me how a woman who has made a career out of traveling to amazing places can be SO DULL. Her disdain for most of the British Isles annoys me. Sorry it's not your gorgeous Italy, but get over it. Also, she called Wales England, which it is not. England is one of my favorite places, and Frances Mayes managed to bore me to death because she wanted to explain the whole country through GARDENS. Ok, maybe gardens are a ...more
Kathy Beatty
Oct 01, 2008 Kathy Beatty rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I'm not sure who
I just couldn't read this book. I was bored by the tone of a wealthy person going everywhere and doing anything that she wants without regard to the cost. I couldn't relate at all.
Feb 17, 2009 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Contrary to the somewhat misleading title, this is not a book about a single year-long travel excursion. Instead, it is a collection of tales of shorter trips, which add up to a year altogether. Most of the destinations covered are not very exotic…Italy, France, England, and the Greek Isles (to name a few), yet the author manages to recount her experiences with such a great deal of charm that it doesn’t matter these are places we’ve read about many times before. She focuses on uncovering the oft ...more
Sep 11, 2008 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who likes travel
Recommended to Catherine by: noone
A wonderful trip through Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Scotland and places in between. She really "lives" the culture and gets to know the people by tasting their food, learning their gardening habits, reading their poetry, swimming in their waters, and living in their homes (by renting villas or apartments). She and her husband do endure a few package trips (a cruise through Greece, a small charter around Turkey)which only highlight the pleasures of independent travel. I loved this book and ha ...more
Susanna Venable
Apr 29, 2015 Susanna Venable rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you are hoping to pick up this book and be whisked away into a foreign land by way of words, you will be sorely disappointed. I'll admit that I did not come close to finishing this book because I found myself bored to tears by her descriptions of her Italian flavored Ritz-Carlton hotel rooms and run-ins with the "locals" (see below).

I see there is no need to write much more as other reviewers have already expressed my frustration with this author and this book in many better words. I believe
Aug 28, 2014 JoAnne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was dismal. It read just like a travel log! Though the author was great at painting a picture and beautiful descriptive language, she simply wrote about what she did. The author was also very narrow in her perspective and only talked about her own limited interests (ie. coffee, wine, and gardening), so those looking to read a book about various aspects of different countries will be sorely disappointed.

I was also quite put off by her character. The author comes off as a rich better-tha
Kelly Driver
When I saw this book at the library one day and read the description I thought it would be a perfect book for mine and Tom’s little book club. It was my turn to chose the book and I thought we would both enjoy it.

As I began to read I knew that this travel novel would provide us with a lot of tips and suggestions that we could take with us once we were able to spend A Year In The World.

One passage that really stood out to me was, “The need to travel is a mysterious force. A desire to go runs thro
May 10, 2013 Kathie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I finally finished it! A friend recommended the book because we both like to travel and I looked forward to reading it. My friend later confessed she had never read the book cover to cover but only reads sections as she prepares to travel to the area. I debated about purchasing a paperback or Kindle version. I wish I had purchased the Kindle version to take advantage of the dictionary and highlighting capabilities for the passages I would like to refer back to. I think a better title for the boo ...more
Apr 18, 2008 Belinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First and foremost, Mayes is a poet, and she approaches her subjects with a poet's eye, looking for the magical, the sublime, and the relevance. For some people, this amounts to self-indulgent navelgazing of the worst kind, and it can distance a lay reader from the subject. I see how some readers would feel that Mayes didn't give them the "travel" book they sought. This is *not* a dressed-up Fodor's.

However, I approached reading this book as though I were one of Mayes' acquaintances, someone she
It seems blasphemous to give a book which has been personally autographed by the author three stars instead of five. Four stars seemed quite possible but considering that I skimmed the last couple of chapters, I'm settling on three.

I did have some of the same complaints about this book as other reviewers such as Mayes and her husband always staying in expensive places and even moving when the places did not meet their high expectations. However, when I thought about it I realized that I have lit
An Amazon review I wish I'd read before I bought this book summarized my opinion of Mayes' travel writing: the writer criticized the discrepancy between the title and the substance:

"A year spent unmoored -- from home and errands and work and the ties that bind -- would have yielded a very different sort of book from this. These trips -- house rentals, hotel stays, even a cruise -- represent a series of vacations, instead of the year-long quest that the title promises."

In short, it's neither a *y
Dec 29, 2008 Sonia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
Being someone who considers herself to be passionate, a traveler and passionate about traveling, I love nothing more than reading about someone else who shares these qualities. I also love someone who, while writing about the sea off the coast of Sardinia, feels it necessary to quote D.H. Lawrence. Bliss, I tell you. Pure, transportational bliss.

I've actually started reading this book again, for the first time. In its original incarnation into my life, this book was a gift to my mother. And in
Jul 31, 2012 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After disliking the movie, I was encouraged to read "Under the Tuscan Sun" and loved it. I found "Bella Tuscany" a couple years later and also enjoyed that read, so I had no problem buying "A Year in the World" for my Kindle.

For me, it was worth it. We are travelers and have found every way of traveling imaginable so it was great to see another travelers perspective. I love enjoying the food, coffee, and sites of another country... but I also enjoy the days of sitting in an apartment and wishin
I checked out this audio book from the library on a whim - it came up on a search of keyword France where I am traveling this summer. I listened to the first few chapters, enjoying her travels in Spain and Portugal, then skipped around a little bit looking for the (very brief) part on France. I enjoyed it but didn't finish because I wasn't interested in more food descriptions.
Oct 26, 2009 Amber rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I read on and off between others. It soothes me when I finish my current batch of library books to know I have a back up read ready to go. It's scary to have nothing to read.

I think I enjoyed this book more than most of the reviewers because I read it in spurts rather than straight through. Towards the last 50 pages I was feeling like "lets finish this thing already". The traveling was intresting but wareing too. Yes, it is nice to travel and stay in homes rather than hotels and
Tj Mendiola
Jul 05, 2014 Tj Mendiola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am kind of ashamed that I liked this book. Many Goodreads reviewers called Ms Mayes a pretentious windbag (or a variant of such) and to their credit, they have a valid point. But the author wanted la dolce vita (okay, so her pompousness rubbed off on me), and who can blame her for that? I am certain, though, that I wouldn't want her for a travel companion.

Also, she had the gall to criticize Saramago (yes, the Nobel laureate; yes, the national treasure of Portugal) when I don't think she has e
Katie Dreyer
Jul 24, 2009 Katie Dreyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
If you hadn't noticed, I'm a sucker for Frances Mayes. I like how she writes, but mostly I just like the stories. I like being able to roam around Tuscany and visit obscure villages - all while sitting at home, wishing I was having my own 'year in the world'. For anyone who loves traveling, you'll enjoy this. Don't expect anything profound. I admit this book is beloved purely for its entertainment value and its ability to keep my travel sickness in check.
Nov 27, 2014 Georgene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I said this in my last review of a book by Frances Mayer, but I will say it again: ANY time I read one of her books, I have the strongest urge to renew my passport, book a flight and GO!

In this book, she and her husband, Ed, travel to Sicily, Turkey, England, Scotland, Greece, Morocco, Spain and Portugal. Not in that particular order, but those were the trips described in this book. In effect, she added several places to my "bucket list" of future travel.

Almost everywhere she went, she
Mar 09, 2016 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gosh darn it, I just love Ms. Mayes' writing!

Not for everyone, that's for sure. There were a lot of bad reviews for this book; most said they hated hearing about her lavish lifestyle and travels. Um what did you expect? She's written many books, had the rights to one book sold to a studio and turned into a major motion pixture, and she was the department chair for part of her career as a professor... she's had a career that has earned enough funds to stay in five star hotels. Obviously this boo
Jun 03, 2015 Emma rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I started getting into reading travel memoirs last year and have since read 7 of them, including this one by Mayes. As someone who absolutely aches to travel, a book about a persons experiences visiting such countries as Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Greece, Morocco, and many more sounded perfect. This book didn't live up to my expectations. First off, it wasn't truly a year in the world, but rather a collection of essays about her and her husband's travels over the course of several years. While I e ...more
Connie Manson
Jul 01, 2016 Connie Manson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
Frances Mayes more than anyone has inspired me to travel...first after reading Under The Tuscan Sun ( I was visiting Italy when I finished reading a Year in the World).
A Year in the World has just confirmed how little I know about, and have experienced in this beautiful world. At age 58, I'm really just getting started, but know I will continue adventures for as long as I'm able...Frances, I'll be waiting for you to open your GA restaurant...but in the meantime, I'm going to work on my explorat
Grant Trevarthen
Jun 06, 2014 Grant Trevarthen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admire Frances Mayes, as he manages to immerse herself. in whatever country she happens to be, as she proved in her previous books about Tuscany.

This time accompanied by her husband Eric, she visits 12 destinations, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, and Greece. Theirs is by no means a whistle stop tour, as they weigh anchor in each country and experience the Culture, Food and the history of each in the time they have.
The both unashamedly try the languages, where may tourists do not, and the foods. ma
Lori B
Every once in a while I pick up A Year in the World and read another chapter or two. It's a little getaway of my own . . . .
Sarah Malik
Dec 23, 2015 Sarah Malik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book while in California enjoying an unplanned and unexpected vacation. Mayes is a wonderful writer, with rich prose that makes you feel like you are in the places she describes yourself. I love how in order to sketch out a city or town she is visiting, she references the art, literature, and history of that area. My favorite descriptions were the ones of Spain and Portugal. A book that I enjoyed reading, except for a few instances when she sounded a bit pretentious and self-consciou ...more
Rachel Jacobs
Feb 16, 2016 Rachel Jacobs rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever read a book and just thought "Man I think I may hate this writer"? I have that feeling when I read a book by Ms. Mayes. I read Under the Tuscan Son, and loved it...subsequently I have hate everything else she has written (you think I could learn my lesson and stop reading her books).

Well this one will indeed be my last. She goes on and on aad nauseam about EVERYTHING. It gives the impression that she thinks a lot of herself and I just have to say "YOU SUCK." not very professional b
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Frances Mayes's new book is Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir , published by Crown. With her husband, Edward Mayes she recently published The Tuscan Sun Cookbook. Every Day in Tuscany is the third volume in her bestselling Tuscany memoir series.

In addition to her Tuscany memoirs, Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany , Frances Mayes is the author of the travel memoir A Year in the Wor
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“The world cracks open for those willing to take a risk.” 26 likes
“As travel pushes me forward, memory keeps dragging me backward.” 16 likes
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