Artful Traveler

    Reviewed by Bobbie Leigh         If your eyes glaze over when you confront contemporary cartoonish art or the current mode for satiric surrealism, you need to go back in time and search out books about the  early Renaissance in general and the paintings of Giovanni Bellini in particular. 

  Reviewed by Richard West    I didn’t know what it meant either. Quoz: “referring to anything strange, incongruous, or particular; at its heart is the unknown, the mysterious. It rhymes with Oz,” writes the author, adding 378 pages later, “The highest form of travel for me is a wandering

 It's the end of the harvest season in North America, and thus an opportune moment to speak with Canadian writer Anita Stewart. For decades, Stewart has been writing and speaking about the bounty of Canada. She's been dubbed the “patron saint of Canadian cuisine" by the National Post. Call her

Reviewed by Richard West     In the past few weeks, two just-published short books have extended my Italian book collection closer to the J's: a celebration of things quintessentially Italian and an ode to Venice. Italianissimo: The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best is a charmingly designed small-square book

 Reviewed by Richard West     “Press my pents and shine my shoes/gimme twenny cents to pay my dews/for I’m goin’ far a-waaay tidday. Be heppa!” This classic cartoon runaway ditty sung by Krazy Kat (perhaps escaping Ignatz Mouse) often comes to my mind just thinking of traveling to Italy, undoubtedly

Reviewed by Bobbie Leigh         Mao outdid the Soviets when it came to socialist-realism.  His dictate, "art for the people," created a kind of dark ages for  artists. From  roughly the 1950's to the1970's, artists were told what they could and could not paint. It's all precisely chronicled in 

  Reviewed by Richard West “Habent sua fata libelli,” books have their own destiny. Should you doubt the wisdom of the Roman playwright Terence’s aphorism, consider later morphings of Homer’s “Odyssey”: “Ulysses,”James Joyce’s version of the king of Ithaca as ad canvasser Leopold Bloom in his day-long wanderings through Dublin;

-Richard West An automobile is just a mobile box, airliners isolating metal tubes whizzing through space. But a train is its own world with great character: mysterious, romantic, and, yes, also ordinary but where commonplace actions can gain a new perspective. When we travel by rail the train itself, unlike

Review by Richard West "How pleasant ’tis to travel brisk," wrote Samuel Coleridge after riding the Liverpool stage in 1812. "The horror" Paul Theroux (left) surely would reply thinking of today’s even brisker air travel: the complete absence of mystique, delays, obtrusive searches, impatient passengers, the jet-lagged, hemlockian sleepiness that

-Bobbie Leigh It might have been Oscar Wilde who famously said: "Gentlemen don’t wear green." Thomas Hope had similar restrictions not about menswear, but walls. For Hope, green should never be the color of interior walls. It was deemed inappropriate, a crude and unnecessary imitation of nature. Thomas Hope (1769-1831),