Gift Guide for Italophiles
Daylight is diminishing, and my thoughts are turning to twinkling lights, the drifting scent of tree sap, and a constant stream of cardamom-laced cookies. I'm a huge advocate of getting the holiday shopping done early so I can sit back and enjoy the snapping fire and the creamy eggnog free of the pressure of all the things I "should" be doing. To brighten your holiday gift-giving, I've compiled a list of ideas for all your favorite Italy-lovers. Like last year's list, these gifts are designed to encourage your loved one to carve out space to really dig into what they love about life. These aren't so much "things" that get shoved in the back of a drawer by the time La Befana, the Italian Christmas witch, flies by in January. Rather these are intended to create a daily celebration of la dolce vita.
From kinship with an Italian wine artisan to an aperitivo kit that includes Aperol and scopa (a card game played a cafe tables all over Italy) to a tool that brings the contentment of perfect gnocchi to expat shores, this list includes gift ideas for a range of budgets.
And for those who want to give the gift of reading, I'm offering a free, signed copy of Il Bel Centro: A Year in the Beautiful Center to those who order three copies (electronic or print) of my book, and email me the receipt (US customers only, and the receipt must be sent to me by December 14th to assure Christmas delivery, deal ends December 22nd).
I hope you find this year's gift guide redolent with the sense and feeling of Italy.
Santa Lucia, the Serialized Novel
Over the past six months, I posted a chapter from my work-in-progress serialized novel, Santa Lucia (working, not final, title) three times a week here, on my website. The story revolved around the people of Santa Lucia, a fictionalized town on the border between Umbria and Le Marche. With short, punchy chapters, I conceptualized this book like the literary love-child of espresso and a telenovela. The last chapter was posted in July, and the story was taken down mid-August. If you started the book and have come back to finish it, I'm hopeful that it will be published by early 2017. Please subscribe to "Contorni", here on my homepage, to find out about how to get an advanced peek at the book by becoming a beta-reader, as well as find out when the book will be available for purchase. Subscribers also receive information on promotions, travel-tips, recipes, and Il Bel Centro updates.
Il Bel Centro: The Book
Leaping into an unknown is never easy, but it's made all the more extraordinary when that leaping involves three children, two cats, a lack of ability to communicate, and a town unchanged by time.
More than you ever wanted to know about any writer, ever.
Il Bel Centro: The Blog
Selected Posts from the Blog, primarily for readers who turned the last page of Il Bel Centro and wondered, "What happened when you got home? Did the cats make it okay? Were you happy to be home? Did you have any reverse culture shock?"