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A great start to the reading year. Coincidentally, I have Athill's Stet out from the library. I'll probably start it today or tomorrow (am wrapping up a couple of books), and it will be my introduction to her and her writing. I was already looking forward to reading it, but now with this taste (haha), I can't wait. I think I will like her.

I loved Our Hearts Were Young and Gay--and so very much wish that I was able to travel the way they did (minus the bedbugs).


Can't wait for this book to be available here in the U.S. If only I were traveling to Florence this year; I'd take this book with me. :)


What a great find. I must read this book as I love traveling and the snippets you shared really spoke to me. Great review, Danielle!

Simon T (Stuck-in-a-Book)

I've had mixed success with Athill's non-fiction, but this sounds rather lovely. And I was thinking of Our Hearts Were Young And Gay as I read your review - and there it is at the end :) I will be forever indebted to you for introducing it to me.


I loved Ms Athill's memoirs, Stet and Instead of a Letter, and add in Florence and I'm already looking forward to it....


The converter I found online says that her twenty pounds in 1947 would be 756 pounds today, so, not that cheap. 15 shillings was 3/4 of a pound, so that would be about 28 pounds for the pensione per day--plus all the add-ons.


I like picking a very short book for my first read of the year--instant gratification! I really liked Stet and I think you will also appreciate it. This is a delicious book in more ways than one! ;) Our Hearts... was a delight to read, too! I forgot about the bedbus--yuck--no mention of anything so unsavory here!


It would be a fun and easy book to read while on vacation, but there is always armchair travel, which is what my life is all about these days. I'm glad they are publishing it here, too!


I think you would love it, and I was actually thinking of you and your exotic travels, too! It's very nicely put together--fits so perfectly in hand!


I'm so glad you liked Our Hearts...that is such a wonderful book. I spotted a copy of an old mass market edition at a local bookstore just this past weekend and was tempted to buy it just so I could give it to someone! I have only read Stet, which I liked a lot and then this little travel narrative. It is a very short little book by the way--easily read in an afternoon!


I must find her other memoirs--I like her writing a lot, but only read Stet several years back. This was a fun little read and the book is so nicely produced, too.


So, maybe not so cheap as it sounds after all! I think it was hard to travel abroad after the war anyway--that you couldn't take foreign currency into other countries or something--can't quite remember now what the restriction was. It is funny, though, that she thought to bring home a pair of nylons!


The book sounds delightful. If her voice here is anything like in Stet, it must have been really enjoyable. It is getting close to lunch and all the talk of pastries and food is making me very hungry.


It was written when she was younger, but she still had that lovely witty way of writing. I loved Stet, too. I think you would really enjoy this--and an easy read you can enjoy in one sitting (preferably with a cup of tea or coffee or hot chocolate and a pastry!). :)

Denise Rogers

I read her book of essays Alive, Alive, Oh! last year, and found it to be lovely. So I picked up Instead of a Letter, which I hope to start soon. Anyway, she's very level-headed, and she was not one to take the easiest paths in life, which is what I like her. He writing is very honest, and even when her choices don't seem wise, she helps you see that she didn't always think they were wise either--but whose choices ARE always wise, anyway? I look back at some things I did when I was younger and cringe. So does she. But not always. :)


I have only read Stet about her work in the publishing world, which I highly recommend. She is a wonderful writer and I need to check out the books you mention here. She also has at least one book of short stories which I keep meaning to get to. As for choices...I wish I could go back and change a few of mine, but then I guess they (good or bad) are what makes us who we are. So easy to see the right choice from much later down the line.


I read a lot of memoirs and this one appeals to me since my husband and I spent 10 days in Florence many years ago. Not in 1947 though!


This was the perfect start to the year--something short, enjoyable and sunny! I only wish I could actually make a field trip there. How lovely to spend ten days in Florence--and I bet it was still not enough time to see it all!

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