A Year in the World: Journeys of A Passionate Traveller
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A Year in the World: Journeys of A Passionate Traveller

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3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  3,589 ratings  ·  368 reviews
A CLASSIC FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF UNDER MAGNOLIA

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...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published March 14th 2006 by Broadway Books (first published 2006)
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Agnes
Jul 02, 2007 Agnes rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
Cheryl
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
Michael
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...more
Liz
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
Catherine
Sep 11, 2008 Catherine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Lynne
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.
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...more
Kathie
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
Belinda
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...more
wanderaven
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...more
Marshall
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
Sonia
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...more
Deb
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...more
Carrie
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
Amber
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...more
Tj Mendiola
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...more
Katie Dreyer
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.
Kathy Beatty
Oct 01, 2008 Kathy Beatty rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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.
Grant Trevarthen
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...more
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 . . . .
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
When I saw this book was being published, I immediately put it on my must-read list. I ordered it and decided to make it my entree for summer reading. By nibbling on it and picking off pieces of it, I've managed to make it last for over a month. In many ways, it was a perfect summer read, for a person who couldn't travel herself. Mayes took me to places I've always wanted to go, Portugal, Spain, Greece, even Turkey and North Africa.

But the book annoyed me, too. Mayes seemed hypercritical, judgm...more
Kat
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...more
Stacey Peters
I have never read any of Ms. Mayes previous books, but I have seen the movie--many, many times when my own wonderust arose. This book was long--too long. Boring and tedious, the author forced me to filter through all her superficial and lackluster descriptions of many of the places I have loved to visit myself. She, herself, a tourist, hated the fact that other people thought as much to visit the same places. There is a lot of foreign words, terms and phrases to get through. She ate so much food...more
John Nebauer
A Year in the World as a title is slightly misleading, as it’s a series of shorter journeys across the Mediterranean over a five-year period. Having read Mayes’ previous books on Tuscany, I was prepared to be captivated by another series of deftly drawn vignettes. And captivated I was. She remains a first-class writer with an eye that picks the essence of a scene.

We are treated to a series of sketches ranging from the Alhambra in Spain, to Morocco, Portugal, Greece and Turkey. What I love about...more
purplemagnolia
Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun, has, true to form, produced a remarkable work of literature. A Year in the World is a memoir of a year spent travelling, but it’s more than that, it is “a celebration of the allure of travel, of unexpected pleasures found in unlikely places”.

The by-line of the book is “Journeys of a passionate traveller”, and right from the word go you know she’s passionate about travel. Unlike many travel memoirs, this book doesn’t set out to divulge every tiny li...more
Carolyn Gerk
I am thoroughly enchanted with this book. Mayes reflects that she writes and travels for images, and I can surrender myself to the same reasoning behind why I read. I read for images and Mayes has such grace and power as she conjures up images of her travels throughout the world, in search of a little bit of home, off the beaten path.
This novel is one i will read and reread whenever the wanderlust strikes up in me again (though I must admit, I am scrounging for other novels about treks and trav...more
Mishana
I bought this book by Frances Mayes because 'Under the Tuscan Sun' is one of my favourite movies, and I thought her writing would have the same sunshine quality to it. I realize now that the sunshine came from Diane Lane and from the Tuscan settings, but this book was an unusual experience for me. I read it, and during the first 100 pages or so, struggled to not put it down. I hate giving up a book half-way, but she didn't grab my interest for a long time. She is talking about travel, giving up...more
Dianne
This is a very well written travel book, one of the best I've read. It's a little different in that the author has taken her experiences from various trips over several years and strung them together to produce a narrative describing a year's worth of travel. Usually I want a book to let me stay in one place longer than this one does, but the writing is so good it's impossible not to love it.

Mayes totally immerses herself in the places she visits and the reader reaps the happy results. Her trave...more
Dana
A Year in the World is a traveloque. With her home in Tuscany as a home base,Frances Mayes travels to Portugal, England, Scotland, Turkey, Spain, France and southern Italy.

Mayes seems to love the different cultures she encounters. She rents homes and shops in the local markets. She tours the gardens in England and Scotland. She sails along the Turkey coast hiking to archaeological sites. She explores the Greek isles. Mayes provides information about art, architecture, food, and social traditions...more
Sarah
"Travel releases spontaneity. You become a godlike creature full of choice, free to visit the stately pleasure domes, make love in the morning, sketch a bell tower, read a history of Byzantinum, stare for one hour at the face of Leonardo da Vinci's Madonna dei fusi. You open, as in childhood, and--for a time--receive this world. There's the visceral aspect, too--the huntress who is free. Free to go, free to return home bringing memories to lay on the hearth." (p xix).

"One of my favorite quotes f...more
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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 Worl...more
More about Frances Mayes...
Under the Tuscan Sun Bella Tuscany Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life In Tuscany Bella Tuscany & Under the Tuscan Sun (2 Book Set)

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“The world cracks open for those willing to take a risk.” 23 likes
“One of those flash epiphanies of travel, the realization that worlds you'd love vibrantly exist outside your ignorance of them. The vitality of many lives you know nothing about. The breeze lifting a blue curtain in a doorway billows just the same whether you are lucky enough to observe it or not. Travel gives such jolts. I could live in this town, so how is it that I've never been here before today?” 13 likes
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