ITALIAN WAYS, by Parks

Travel
Tuesday, December 3, 7:00 pm

The Travel Book Group is led by Katie Mathews and meets the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo By Tim Parks Cover Image

Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo (Paperback)

$15.95


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
1 on hand, as of Oct 7 1:20pm

“So inviting you might find yourself tempted to give the experience a whirl and ride the Italian trains yourself, book in hand.”—Liesl Schillinger, New York Times Book Review


Tim Parks’s books on Italy have been hailed as "so vivid, so packed with delectable details, [they] serve as a more than decent substitute for the real thing" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Now, in his first Italian travelogue in a decade, he delivers a charming and funny portrait of Italian ways by riding its trains from Verona to Milan, Rome to Palermo, and right down to the heel of Italy.

Parks begins as any traveler might: "A train is a train is a train, isn’t it?" But soon he turns his novelist’s eye to the details, and as he journeys through majestic Milano Centrale station or on the newest high-speed rail line, he delivers a uniquely insightful portrait of Italy. Through memorable encounters with ordinary Italians—conductors and ticket collectors, priests and prostitutes, scholars and lovers, gypsies and immigrants—Parks captures what makes Italian life distinctive: an obsession with speed but an acceptance of slower, older ways; a blind eye toward brutal architecture amid grand monuments; and an undying love of a good argument and the perfect cappuccino.


Italian Ways also explores how trains helped build Italy and how their development reflects Italians’ sense of themselves from Garibaldi to Mussolini to Berlusconi and beyond. Most of all, Italian Ways is an entertaining attempt to capture the essence of modern Italy. As Parks writes, "To see the country by train is to consider the crux of the essential Italian dilemma: Is Italy part of the modern world, or not?"



Tim Parks’s acclaimed books about Italy include Italian Ways, Italian Neighbors, and An Italian Education. He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. He lives in Italy.
Product Details ISBN: 9780393348828
ISBN-10: 0393348822
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: May 5th, 2014
Pages: 288
Language: English
This mix of piercing social observation and undying affection for Italy is classic Parks.
— Rachel Donadio - New York Times

[A] treat equivalent to a ride on the Orient Express… Italian Ways is no Ferrari on rails but instead something much better: a slow train so thoughtfully appointed that one never thinks to look out the window or care about the destination.

— Ben Downing - Wall Street Journal

Fascinating [and] droll…. Parks [is] perhaps the most faithful foreign inamorato Italy has ever had.
— Andrea Lee - newyorker.com

Parks really shines. He gives us a country that is as frustrating
as it is endlessly fascinating.
— Marjorie Kehe - Christian Science Monitor

[Parks is] a perfect guide—an outsider, but one with a deep familiarity and respect (plus a dash of exasperated skepticism)—to the country’s celebrated eccentricities. Parks has a charming voice and a novelist’s eye.
— Chloë Schama - Smithsonian

Incisive [and] hilarious.
— Alexander Aciman - The Daily Beast

Relaxed, humorous, meandering [and] charming.
— Brigitte Frase - Minneapolis Star Tribune

A movable feast to say the least.
— Richard Eder - Boston Globe

Presents a picture of Italy you won’t get from any tourist board… sympathetic and lively.
— Micahel Upchurch - Seattle Times

Tim Parks has reinvented the narrative of the train journey with an epic voyage into the essence of Italy itself. With a novelist’s keen eye he mines absurdity and deep meaning from small, overlooked moments and gestures.
— Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic

This is the best book I’ve ever read about Italy. Never have I encountered a more insightful and hilarious insider/outsider portrait of the country at the center of Western civilization. Tim Parks should be given a villa in Rome and the title of English ambassador.
— Sean Wilsey, author of Oh the Glory of It All

Engrossing, entertaining, and wonderfully revealing about the country and its people. It makes perfect armchair travelling – a delight from beginning to end.
— David Lodge, author of Changing Places

Delightful [and] hilarious…. Combining wonderfully evocative prose with a wry analysis, Parks provides local color while continually seeking hidden social meaning…. The result is a fascinating portrait of a society that seems rooted in place no matter how fast it goes.
— Publishers Weekly, starred review

LIFE AND DEATH IN ANDES, by MacQuarrie

Travel
Tuesday, November 5, 7:00 pm

The Travel Book Group is led by Katie Mathews and meets the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

Life and Death in the Andes: On the Trail of Bandits, Heroes, and Revolutionaries By Kim MacQuarrie Cover Image

Life and Death in the Andes: On the Trail of Bandits, Heroes, and Revolutionaries (Paperback)

$18.99


Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
“A thoughtfully observed travel memoir and history as richly detailed as it is deeply felt” (Kirkus Reviews) of South America, from Butch Cassidy to Che Guevara to cocaine king Pablo Escobar to Charles Darwin, all set in the Andes Mountains.

The Andes Mountains are the world’s longest mountain chain, linking most of the countries in South America. Kim MacQuarrie takes us on a historical journey through this unique region, bringing fresh insight and contemporary connections to such fabled characters as Charles Darwin, Che Guevara, Pablo Escobar, Butch Cassidy, Thor Heyerdahl, and others. He describes living on the floating islands of Lake Titcaca. He introduces us to a Patagonian woman who is the last living speaker of her language. We meet the woman who cared for the wounded Che Guevara just before he died, the police officer who captured cocaine king Pablo Escobar, the dancer who hid Shining Path guerrilla Abimael Guzman, and a man whose grandfather witnessed the death of Butch Cassidy.

Collectively these stories tell us something about the spirit of South America. What makes South America different from other continents—and what makes the cultures of the Andes different from other cultures found there? How did the capitalism introduced by the Spaniards change South America? Why did Shining Path leader Guzman nearly succeed in his revolutionary quest while Che Guevara in Bolivia was a complete failure in his?

“MacQuarrie writes smartly and engagingly and with…enthusiasm about the variety of South America’s life and landscape” (The New York Times Book Review) in Life and Death in the Andes. Based on the author’s own deeply observed travels, “this is a well-written, immersive work that history aficionados, particularly those with an affinity for Latin America, will relish” (Library Journal).
Kim MacQuarrie is a four-time Emmy Award–winning filmmaker and award-winning author who has lived and worked all over the world. Educated in the US and France, he lived for five years in Peru and spent some of that time living with a recently contacted tribe in the Amazon jungle, only 100 miles from Machu Picchu. He is the author of Life and Death in the Andes and The Last Days of the Incas, as well as three illustrated books about Peru. He currently divides his time between the US, Peru, and Thailand. Visit him at KimMacQuarrie.com.
Product Details ISBN: 9781439168905
ISBN-10: 1439168903
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: December 13th, 2016
Pages: 448
Language: English
“In this vivid, engaging hybrid of travel and history, Kim MacQuarrie proves to be the ideal companion on a trip the length of South America—a land where past and present are inseparable.”
— Mark Adams, author of TURN RIGHT AT MACHU PICCHU: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time

“[MacQuarrie] writes smartly and engagingly and with a sense of populist enthusiasm about the variety of South America’s life and landscape.”
— Tom Zoellner

"Fascinating. . . . A poignant summary of the collision between the ancient and the modern that has done much to shape the Andean region."
— Matthew Price

"MacQuarrie's book is as richly detailed as it is deeply felt. . . . A thoughtfully observed travel memoir and history."
— Kirkus Reviews

“The human history that has shaped South America is dramatically re-created in this rich account of iconic Andes characters, from Pablo Escobar and Hiram Bingham to Che Guevara and Butch Cassidy.”
— Don George

“Few writers know the mountainous spine of South America better than Kim MacQuarrie, and fewer still can match the richness, verve, and competence he brings to his work. Whether focused on Darwin's extraordinary journey through icy Patagonia or the demise of Che Guevara in Bolivia, MacQuarrie displays an unfailing talent for great storytelling and an exceptional depth of knowledge. Life and Death in the Andes is a beautifully crafted book that brings to vivid life one of the most spectacular and mysterious landscapes on the planet.”
— Scott Wallace, author of The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon's Last Uncontacted Tribes

"MacQuarrie is a master storyteller whose cinematic eye always shines through."
— Edward Morris

"MacQuarrie spectacularly describes the Andes. This is a well-written, immersive work that history aficionados, particularly those with an affinity for Latin America, will relish.”
— Library Journal

“It was an inspired idea to weave a journey through the Andes with tales of some of its most flamboyant characters – gangsters like the drug baron Pablo Escobar and the bank robber Butch Cassidy, murderous idealists like Che Guevara and the founder of the Shining Path insurgency, or Charles Darwin and the Patagonian indigenous peoples. Kim MacQuarrie tracks down their descendants or acolytes, and enthralls the reader with their stories and his own travels.”
— John Hemming, author of THE CONQUEST OF THE INCAS

"Eccentric, often lively. . . . Part history, part chatty travelogue. . . . MacQuarrie is an enthusiastic guide and is often amusing and occasionally enlightening."
— Brigitte Frase

Life and Death in the Andes brings its people and the gorgeous, oftentimes awe-inspiring, country alive.”
— Book Reporter

FLANEUSE, by Elkin

Travel
Tuesday, October 1, 7:00 pm

The Travel Book Group is led by Katie Mathews and meets the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London By Lauren Elkin Cover Image

Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London (Paperback)

$18.00


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at Union Market
1 on hand, as of Oct 7 1:33pm

FINALIST FOR THE PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL AWARD FOR THE ART OF THE ESSAY

A New York Times Notable Book of 2017


The flâneur is the quintessentially masculine figure of privilege and leisure who strides the capitals of the world with abandon. But it is the flâneuse who captures the imagination of the cultural critic Lauren Elkin. In her wonderfully gender-bending new book, the flâneuse is a “determined, resourceful individual keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city and the liberating possibilities of a good walk.” Virginia Woolf called it “street haunting”; Holly Golightly epitomized it in Breakfast at Tiffany’s; and Patti Smith did it in her own inimitable style in 1970s New York.

Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flâneuse takes us on a distinctly cosmopolitan jaunt that begins in New York, where Elkin grew up, and transports us to Paris via Venice, Tokyo, and London, all cities in which she’s lived. We are shown the paths beaten by such flâneuses as the cross-dressing nineteenth-century novelist George Sand, the Parisian artist Sophie Calle, the wartime correspondent Martha Gellhorn, and the writer Jean Rhys. With tenacity and insight, Elkin creates a mosaic of what urban settings have meant to women, charting through literature, art, history, and film the sometimes exhilarating, sometimes fraught relationship that women have with the metropolis.

Called “deliciously spiky and seditious” by The Guardian, Flâneuse will inspire you to light out for the great cities yourself.

Lauren Elkin's essays have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times Book Review, frieze, and The Times Literary Supplement, and she is a contributing editor at The White Review. A native New Yorker, she moved to Paris in 2004. Currently living on the Right Bank after years on the Left, she can generally be found ambling around Belleville.
Product Details ISBN: 9780374537432
ISBN-10: 0374537437
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: February 6th, 2018
Pages: 336
Language: English

"Absorbing . . . Elkin has an eye for the unexpected detail, as befits a flâneuse. . . It will be up to booksellers to figure out how to categorize her pastiche of travel writing, memoir, history and literary nonfiction. A reader, flaneusing along the bookshelves, will find in it some of the pleasures of each." —Diane Johnson, The New York Times Book Review

“At a moment when women’s rights have come to significant national attention, Flâneuse also reads as a document of resilience, one that celebrates female figures fighting to be seen . . . Blending historical analysis, literary criticism, and memoir, Elkin seeks to re-define the concept of flânerie itself, and to reclaim the city for its women wanderers.” —Arnav Adhikari, The Atlantic

"By focusing on six writers and artists . . . [Elkin's] book makes a forceful case for the genderless joy and vital importance of striking out for the territory—on foot . . . Flâneuse is a stimulating read whose itinerary ranges from wanderlust and space as a 'feminist issue' to self-definition in connection with a specific place." —Heller McAlpin, Los Angeles Times

"Lauren Elkin brings breadth and depth to a cocktail party crowded with genius . . . Her historical and literary portraits take their power from her talent for seeing aslant, making the familiar strange and vice versa . . . Ms. Elkin’s clear-eyed view of her own flâneuserie is one of the charms of a book that is pedestrian in the best possible sense: It makes you want to walk.” —Jane Kamensky, Wall Street Journal

"[An] eclectic and absorbing memoir and cultural history . . . The book strikes a rewarding balance between present and past, as it establishes and illustrates the much-needed definition of the flaneuse as "a determined, resourceful individual keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city, and the liberating possibilities of a good walk." —Kathleen Rooney, Chicago Tribune

“An ambitious, powerful meditation on women in the urban space . . . Cities, in Elkin's rich, intelligent prose, become not static places that lend themselves to unidirectional efforts of observation, but whole dynamic languages—interconnected networks of constantly changing symbols . . . Elkin's book is more than just a secret history of all the women who have illicitly occupied space. It's also a revelation of just how rich, and full of meaning, that space can be—if you know how to be in it." —Tara Isabella Burton, Village Voice

“An impressive and wide-ranging study . . . Walking after reading Elkin’s book felt more greatly imbued with both intellectual purpose and gratitude, my own attentiveness to my surroundings heightened. I walked with a better understanding of my place within an intellectual sisterhood of wandering women, flanked by a ghostly girl squad of writers, artists, and creators.” —Matilda Rossetti, The Rumpus

"Sparkling and original . . . [Elkin's] literary peregrinations defy boundaries, fusing cultural history, criticism, psycho-geography and memoir. Both playful and bracingly intelligent, Elkin’s elegant prose unfurls a portrait of the writer as an urban woman. . . With perhaps an eerie prescience, Flâneuse examines the interrelationships of city, self and world." —Marian Ryan, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Flâneuse is a deeply pleasurable book, whether you are a man or a woman, whether you know these cities (or books, or writers, or artists) or not. You will see these streets anew, just as if you were a flâneur in a New York neighborhood or along a canal in Venice. There is always something more to explore, just around the next corner—or on the next page." —A.V. Club

“In her richly evocative and absorbing debut, cultural critic Elkin homes in on the female version of the flaneur . . . In this insightful mix of cultural history and memoir, Elkin emerges at the protagonist as she mines her personal journey from the suburbs of Long Island to her current home in Paris.” —Publishers Weekly

"Surely women also strolled and observed, Elkin thought, coining the term flâneuse and embarking on a gloriously rambling quest to celebrate women worthy of this designation . . . Elkin shares her findings in a smart and shimmering mix of her own painful and exhilarating adventures . . . [She] concludes her splendidly discursive homage to intrepid women walkers with the sobering reminder that, in many places, “a woman still can’t walk in the city the way a man can.” —Booklist

"I've been waiting for years to see the history of women walkers in the city added to the critical literature of the flaneur—and here, in Lauren Elkin's really smart and lovely book, it is." —Vivian Gornick

“An appealing blend of memoir, scholarship, and cultural criticism . . . Elkin's own story runs through the text like a luminous thread. She tells us the woman-in-the-street stories of Jean Rhys, Virginia Woolf, George Sand, Sophie Calle, Agnès Varda, and Martha Gellhorn, but all sorts of other cultural figures appear, including Barthes, Rilke, Baudelaire, Hemingway, Derrida, Dickens, and numerous others . . . Enlightening walks through cities, cultural history, and a writer's heart and soul.” —Kirkus

"This is a book about wandering women, the author included, who build relationships with their cities by walking through them . . . Women can and do make feminist statements simply by strolling through their stomping grounds; Elkin creates an interesting and inarguable case for this. She, too, is a wanderer and provides compelling anecdotes about her own journeys, interspersed with those of literary heavy-hitters George Sand, Jean Rhys, Virginia Woolf, and others . . . This is ultimately a celebration of women. You'll want to take a stroll by the end.” —Library Journal

“Wonderful . . . A joyful genealogy of the female urban walker . . . The book’s narrative meanders brilliantly and appropriately across several time periods at once . . . Elkin’s flâneuse does not simply wander aimlessly, any more than Elkin does herself in this elegant book: she uses her reflection to question, challenge and create anew the life that she observes.” —Lara Feigel, The Guardian

Flâneuse is not simply a reclaiming of space, but also of a suppressed intellectual and cultural history . . . Finding ways to reframe images of women walking and to reverse male gazes, Flâneuse builds on recent work by . . . Rebecca Solnit and the artist Laura Oldfield Ford, among others, with striking intellectual vigour and clear, enrapturing prose.” —Sandeep Parmar, Financial Times

“An intense meditation on what it means to be a woman and walk out in the world . . . [Flâneuse] encourages its readers to lace up their shoes and go for a walk . . . Elkin lets the reader become a companion to many women who have thought seriously about the relationship between a woman and the path she chooses to tread.” —Erica Wagner, New Statesman

“Engaging, inspiring and vigorous . . . Buy it, read it, talk about it. And carry it with you in your mind when you next go walking in the city.” —Matthew Adams, The National

"Deliciously spiky and seditious, [Elkin] takes her readers on a rich, intelligent and lively meander through cultural history, biography, literary criticism, urban topography and memoir . . . I defy anyone to read this celebratory study and not feel inspired to take to the streets in one way or another." —Lucy Scholes, The Observer (London)



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