Category: Books

Overthinking the Algonquin

Looking for literary ghosts at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Dorothy Parker Is Long Gone I sit down at the Round Table restaurant in the Algonquin Hotel in New York City with no one but long-dead writer and wit Dorothy Parker spinning through my head. Who wouldn’t admire what might…

If You’re Going to Italy, Bring Delia Ephron

Trevi Fountain, Rome

Even if Siracusa Is Not Your Destination, Ephron’s Book Will Delight You I’ve been sucking up just about everything the Ephron sisters put out since I discovered Nora Ephron’s Crazy Salad Plus Nine many, many years ago. It’s no surprise,…

Meeting Hemingway at Harry’s Bar

Can the literary romance of Harry's Bar possibly live up to its reality? Photo credit: L. Tripoli

A Little Literary Tourism in Venice Scooting past a vaporetto stop in Venice on my way back to my hotel, which was at some point in history a palazzo, I stumble across a landmark of more recent, and literary, fame:…

An Armchair Adventurer Goes to Concord, Mass.

Read up on the places you want to visit. Photo credit: L. Tripoli

Via Sarah Payne Stuart’s Perfectly Miserable   If much of the joy of traveling is the anticipation simply about going somewhere, so, too, is reading up on the place to which you are about to go, not just to figure…

Free Radical: The Lesson of Louise Bryant

Moscow Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

A Russian Revolution Chronicler’s Extraordinary Life I am late to the life of Louise Bryant. I become interested in her long after watching Reds, and reading her husband’s book, Ten Days That Shook the World, and going to Russia, where…

Remembering the Romanovs in Russia

Maria and Anastasia Romanov's remains are now in a church at Peter and Paul Fortress in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

A Reading of Helen Rappaport’s Romanov Sisters The story of some sisters burdened with a bit of a wackadoodle mother and an autocratic father appeals to many of us, even if we do know the ending, as in the case…

Contemplating Austria

Contemplating Austria

Understanding the Viennese Paradox Anticipating a visit to Vienna, I am trying to understand the place, its past, its present. Mention Vienna and pastries come to mind along with classical music. Austria as a nation is a bit more confusing,…

Austrian Anomalies

Vienna

Looking for Understanding in France and New York I don’t know much about Austria beyond the Sound of Music. Little makes sense to me about Austria despite my efforts to understand. How could the homeland of Marie-Antoinette, who herself struggled…

American Red

A bust of Vladimir Lenin in the Moscow subway Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

A Romance with Revolution Rewatching the 1981 Warren Beatty film Reds, about journalist and eventual collaborator John Reed’s coverage of and interest in the Russian revolution, I remember that Reed is buried at the Kremlin, a point that I neglect…