Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Listed: Venice

view of venice

When I wrote my list of favorite settings, Ann Marie Gamble asked that I come up with a reading list for them.  I thought that was great idea, and decided to start with the first on my list, and my favorite, Venice.  But there are SO many books about Venice out there that doing a comprehensive list is impossible.  So here is a very select list of some books and movies set in Venice that I've either enjoyed, or that are on my TBR shelf.  They're not all set in the 18th century, but they do all capture the spirit of Venice in some way.

The Titian Committee by Iain Pears--Pears writes art history mysteries (which I naturally read), and this one involves a murder related to Titian.  There's also a scene on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, which is famous for its cathedral and the painting by Tintoretto inside.  Unfortunately I haven't managed to see this painting yet, but I have taken pictures of the cathedral from across the lagoon.

Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase--A great romance that involves a courtesan and is set in Venice.  (The link is to an essay on the book I wrote for Romancing the Blog.)

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke--I actually hated this novel.  But one of the parts I did like took place in Venice, where Jonathan Strange lives for quite a while, harassed by Lord Byron and trapped inside the city by a wizard.

The Story of My Life by Giacomo Casanova--Yes, I've read this book.  That's how obsessed I am with Casanova.  It's really not that bad, but I suggest you get the abridged version.  The unabridged version is like 13 volumes and a gazillion pages.

Faces Under Water by Tanith Lee--This one of those books that I've been meaning to read forever.  It doesn't take place in Venice per se, but in an alternate world that very closely resembles Venice, with canals and people who wear masks.

Sargent's Venice by Richard Ormond and Warren Adelson--One of the great things about Venice is the artists who have lived there over the years.  Unlike most painters, John Singer Sargent is famous for creating scenes of everyday life in Venice--not just pretty landscapes.  I love Sargent and I love Venice, so naturally I love this book!

Treasures of Venice by Lucinda McGary
--This is a fun escapist novel set in Venice.  It's ridiculous, of course, but as I said in the review, you can't beat the setting.

Casanova--This is one of my favorite movies evar!  It's a romp--a romp, I tell you!!!  And have I mentioned I'm obsessed with Casanova?

Dangerous Beauty--This very romantic movie is based on a true story and all about the famous courtesans of Venice.  Great film.

Lord of the Night by Susan Wiggs--Set in sixteenth-century Venice, this book about a lord who suspects the woman he loves of stealing jewels sounds pretty good.

City of the Falling Angels by John Berendt--One of my coworkers gave this to me after hearing me go on and on about how I wished I had the money to go back to Venice.  It sounds like a really good book, and I'm excited to read it even though it is non-fiction.

These are just the books that are actually on my shelves right now, not the ones on my wish list--which is huge.  I've also been looking at Bianca: A Novel of Venice by Robert Elegant after Lusty Reader recommended it; and The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato.

What books would you recommend that are set in Venice?

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