Monday 21 November 2011

Venice in February - Help Me Pick!

Regular readers will know that I'm not one for reading challenges.  I don't work well with the pressure of reading certain books at certain times, which is also a reason as to why you won't see too many ARC reviews on my blog either.  I'm an eclectic reader and I like to be free to choose my next book on a whim, rather than based on how many challenge boxes I can tick.

When I saw the Venice in February challenge on Dolce Bellezza's blog, I thought 'that sounds nice' and I was all prepared to move on until I saw the selected titles and I was hooked!  I had no idea how many wonderful sounding books are set in Venice!  Please do visit Dolce Bellezza or Snow Feathers and check out the reading suggestions.

At the moment, I'm torn between the following:

A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlene di Blasi
A travelogue of sorts from a woman who transformed her life by following a man she loved to Venice.

A Venetian Affair by Andrea Di Robilant
A forbidden romance in 18th century Venice, based on a cache of real life letters.  I love good historical fiction.

Casanova by Ian Kelly
Historical biography.  This one is very tempting.

In The Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant
16th century historical fiction about Roman courtesans who flee to Venice.

Othello by William Shakespeare
This one needs no introduction.  I am a big Shakespeare fan, but have never read Othello.

The Four Seasons by Laurel Corona
Another historical fiction, it's becoming clear I like this genre!  This one is the story of two sisters, one of whom is taught by Vivaldi.

So help me choose - which one(s) would you read?  I am hoping to read at least two of these books, but won't have time to read them all.  If you were me, what would you pick and why?


  1. I really enjoyed Paris in July this year so it's a great idea to do a themed month around a country or place. If I find any Venetian books lurking on my TBR I might join in but don't want to buy books just for a challenge as I need to get through the ones I have!

    I like the sound of The Venetian Affair

  2. I read Company of the Courtesan a few years ago and very much enjoyed it, so that would be one of my suggestions. The next would have to be Four Seasons just because I like the sound of the story and of course Vivaldi! Casanova sounds like a good read, too.

  3. Ellie, I enjoyed all of the Paris in July posts, that's one of the reasons I wanted to join in this one. A year long challenge would be too much for me.

    Trish, I have heard good things about Sarah Dunant. I have another of her books, so I might read that first to see if I like her writing style.

  4. Many intriguing choices here.

    Of the bunch I've read only Othello, and would recommend that one. It's a powerful play.

    Of the ones I didn't read, I'm most drawn to The Four Seasons, because I love the concertos. Granted that says nothing about how the book might be written :) But the fact that Vivaldi is a character and there's music involved pulls me to it.

  5. Thanks for pointing this one out. I may have just missed it.

    It's this time of year all the reading challenges for next year pop up and often I feel like I should join one or two. But once the year gets going I don't feel like finishing them up. Soooo... this one could be the right one for me.

    I haven't read any of the books mentioned above, but I heard many good things about the Sarah Dunant books and sometime ago I already added In The Company of the Courtesan to my tbr pile. The Casanova bio sounds very intriguing too. I hope you'll pick at least one of those two.

  6. Oh boy, you have a tough decision. I've heard great things about "The Venetian Affair", Sarah Dunant is just awesome, and I just put "The Four Seasons" on my list. A Vivaldi inspired novel? What's better than that? :)

  7. I'd pick Casanova!! The historical fiction selections sound the most interesting...this sounds like a good challenge. I cheat and sign up for the least amount of books that can be read for the challenge that I know I will easily accomplish ;)

  8. The only book in that set that I have read is Othello which I remember liking but it has been a very long time. For the others... if it was me, I'd be interested in A Venetian Affair and Casanova.

  9. I really enjoyed A Thousand Days in Venice... her descriptions were the next best thing to visiting. Here's what I wrote:

  10. Casanova! Then follow it up with the Sarah Dunant book (she's a pretty dependable writer). And how can you leave Shakespeare out? Those are my picks. Gee, maybe I should do this challenge?

  11. Thanks for the suggestions everyone, and I'm glad to publicise such a great challenge :)

    After reading all your comments, now I want to read all of the books mentioned! I think the Sarah Dunant will definitely be one, Othello and then maybe one other as Othello is only short.

  12. As for your Shakespearean pick, I'd read The Merchant of Venice, more than Othello. But that's because I've never liked THAT tragedy very much. Just my very subjective taste.
    I've read other books set in Venice, but they are in Italian, so ... No other suggestion for now. Enjoy your Venetian reads!

  13. I have joined in as well Sam, thanks for inspiring me :-)

  14. I am interested in A Venetian Affair and In The Company of Courtesans, too. Maybe I'll just have to extend the challenge (for myself) and read most of what's on the list! So glad you're joining, and thanks for posting about it. xo

  15. Hello to all! Just thought I'd stop by and say thanks for considering reading THE FOUR SEASONS. It is, of course, my top pick for you! Happy holiday reading! Laurel Corona (author)

  16. What a wonderful list of possibilities. The only one I have read is The Company of the Courtesan which I can say is a wonderfully colourful and enjoyable historical yarn.

    I'm in Venice myself at the moment, with Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers, and the idea of a return visit in February is very appealing.

  17. Oh wow, I love this list. I'd go with Othello because it's so short - I know Shakespeare's supposed to be difficult, but I always end up finishing his plays quicker than I expect!

    The biography of Casanova sounds interesting too, and it's probably a little heavier. So with these two you end up with a quick read and a longer one :)