4 out of 4 stars
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What makes life so exciting are the endless possibilities. There are so many places to see and wonderful people to meet. The sense of wonder that travel brings is very evident in Mark Gordon Smith's Italia Lirica. In this book, the author takes you on a trip down the cobblestone streets of Italy while telling about the places he visited, the people he met, and the sentiments he felt towards the culture and history of these places.
This book reads like a travel essay, with particular attention to the details. The author narrates his visit to Italian museums, churches, and other antique places. He usually looks for lesser-known places, which, for him, reveal more about Italy than any other popular cities. The author paints very vivid pictures in the reader's imagination, allowing one to clearly visualize the beauty of all the places he's visiting. What I like the most about this book is the author's emotional musings. He confesses so much appreciation for Italian culture and history, weaving them into his own sentiments about the human experience.
The author also makes perceptive social commentary, particularly about the new generation's waning interest in art. It shows that art is at the heart of Italian culture, and people should make efforts to preserve it. Aside from the beautiful descriptions, the author also provides old pictures showing artwork, places, and people relevant to his stories.
If there are any minor issues that I should mention, one of them will be the fact that the narrative can be painfully detailed, making it hard to read at times. The author sometimes provides accurate instructions on how to get to a certain place, and discussions of history can often read like academic papers. I'm not subtracting a star because I feel like these are only my personal opinions. These didn't really affect my overall enjoyment of the book. Others may find this book particularly useful and enjoyable to read.
I am giving this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. The writing style of the author fits the narrative that he's trying to sell. The book can have emotional resonance, especially when it involves the author's sentimental ideas. I did not see any errors, so the editing must be excellent. The book will be perfect for people who enjoy reading about a narrative that has a melancholic or nostalgic feel to it. I will highly recommend this book to those who are interested in European travel essays, especially about Italian history and culture.
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