billionaire collector Francois Pinault
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Some quiet weeks, as is pretty usual for this time of year, with a few books reviewed and some tasty cakes added to the London Cakes page. But trip season is upon us, a little earlier than usual this year...next Wednesday...Rome!
Change of plan - I was going on an art tour taking in Assisi and the Piero trail in April, but instead I'm now going to Rome at the end of February. I'm promised frescoed churches and villas, the Forum, the Capitoline Hill, the Vatican and, wait for it, a private evening visit to the stanze and Sistine chapel. Can't wait.
Searching for recent and forthcoming novels set in Venice got me a couple of possibles onto the Kindle amongst the self-published masses. Most of these don't make their way onto my list, which is becoming less blindly comprehensive now - I'm no masochist, but maybe if I was it would make me more likely to read some of the numerous BDSM novels set in Venice that have been published recently. Next year's release of the 50 Shades of Grey film will presumably do nothing to staunch this flow.
In less spanky news, I was happy to get an email from Edward Sklepowich last week informing me that his excellent Venice-set Urbino Macintyre series is being republished as ebooks by Mysterious Press later this month. He also tells me that although he is working on a new novel in the series he is nearer completion of a mystery set in the old medina of Tunis during the early days of the revolution.
A downside of late-2014’s glut of new novels by big names (and personal faves) is that 2015 is looking like a lean year for new fiction. Maybe just in comparison, but I think not. We wait until March for Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant, his first novel since Never Let Me Go ten years ago. It’s the story of a couple’s journey across post-Roman Britain and their encounters with ordinary people and strange creatures, it seems, and looks the best hope for something juicy and new before the Summer. Runner-up possibilities are provided by Sarah Hall, Daniel (Lemony Snicket) Handler, Kate Atkinson and Neal Stephenson. We Brunetti fans will be waiting with trepidation for Falling in Love in early April to see if Donna Leon can cast away the doubts engendered by the disappointing By Its Cover, and its seemingly ending many pages before its ending. But all of this is overshadowed by the UK General Election in the spring and the long build up to the new Star Wars film in December. (Enoch Powell removes his black helmet and says ‘Nigel, I am your father!’)
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Venice // Florence // London // Berlin
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