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Extended Audio Sample A Year in the World: Journeys of A Passionate Traveller Audiobook, by Frances Mayes Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,566 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Frances Mayes Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2006 ISBN: 9781415932070
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The author who unforgettably captured the experience of starting a new life in Tuscany in bestselling travel memoirs expands her horizons to immerse herself—and her readers—in the sights, aromas, and treasures of twelve new special places. 

A Year in the World is vintage Frances Mayes—a celebration of the allure of travel, of serendipitous pleasures found in unlikely locales, of memory woven into the present, and of a joyous sense of quest. An ideal travel companion, Frances Mayes brings to the page the curiosity of an intrepid explorer, remarkable insights into the wonder of the everyday, and a compelling narrative style that entertains as it informs. 

With her beloved Tuscany as a home base, Mayes travels to Spain, Portugal, France, the British Isles, and to the Mediterranean world of Turkey, Greece, the South of Italy, and North Africa. In Andalucía, she relishes the intersection of cultures. She cooks in Portugal, gathers ideas in the gardens of England and Scotland, takes a literary pilgrimage to Burgundy, discovers an ideal place to live in Mantova, and explores the essential Moroccan city of Fez. She rents houses among ordinary residents, shops at neighborhood markets, wanders the back streets, and everywhere contemplates the concept of home. While in Greece, she follows the classic Homeric voyage across the Aegean, lives in a bougainvillea-draped stone house in Crete, and then drives deep into the Mani. In Turkey with friends, she sails the ancient coast, hiking to archaeological sites and snorkeling over sunken Byzantine towns. Weaving together personal perceptions and informed commentary on art, architecture, history, landscape, and social and culinary traditions of each area, Mayes brings the immediacy of life in her temporary homes to the reader. An illuminating and passionate book that will be savored by all who loved Under the Tuscan Sun, A Year in the World is travel writing at its peak.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Those who want to find parts of themselves they didn’t know existed, take risks, have an adventure . . . and discover another culture altogether, with its different rhythms, tastes, smells, and ways of being human—those readers will find in Mayes a kindly, eager, tough-spirited guide. Houston Chronicle
  • Mayes is a master at capturing a solid sense of place through her lush, poetic narratives. Orlando Sentinel
  • It’s easy to understand why Mayes has become a kind of cult figure for seekers of The Good Life. She not only inspires us to seize the moment, sip the wine, and smell the roses, she also makes us feel it is quite possible to transform our lives, just as she did.”
  • Lexington Herald-Leader
  • “Mayes displays a gift for conveying everyday life through her writing . . . and presents a simpler, less frantic version of how to live one’s life. USA Today
  • “Frances Mayes is, before all else, a wonderful writer. Chicago Tribune
  • Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2006

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alison | 2/20/2014

    " Great travel book! She really writes it so that you feel as if you are right there with her experiencing everything she is. At times I got a bit bored but I think it was just her style of writing sometimes. Overall great book for any traveler! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristine | 2/13/2014

    " I skipped around this book and read the parts I was interested in. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hendie Dijkman | 2/4/2014

    " Europe is still beckoning me to pay her a visit. I have this deep-seated yearning to walk the streets of Sevilla, take a gondola ride on the canals of Venezia, look down on the city of Athens from the Acropolis, read a book under an olive tree in an orchard in Toscana, and of course see if I can find Peter Mayle's farm in Provence. Frances just makes my toes itch to abandon all, throw a backpack over my shoulder, grab my beloved's hand and set off on the grand European tour. I wish I had her spunk and adventurousness. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Morgan | 2/4/2014

    " I really like some parts of Mayes, but others I am less interested in. For example, she often gives historical information that I don't care about as much as, say, what she had for lunch. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beetletheknee | 1/15/2014

    " Pretty disappointing after reading "Eat, Pray, Love" actually. Interesting description of the places the couple went, but I had a very hard time relating to them. It is by a professor and her professor husband, and though I live in that world, I felt like it was written in a way to emphasize how wealthy the couple was. The descriptions were a bit dry, and the book dragged a bit. However, my inherent interest in the subject made me finish it. This couple did a very structured journey, which was both touristy and not touristy (structured and pre-planned, but searching for local secrets and "authentic" experiences). I just felt myself longing to feel something besides a little put off by the ostentatiousness of their vacation. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jana | 1/14/2014

    " I wanted to like this book and there were parts that I really did. However, her arrogance really came out too much for me in this book. Still, it is a journey I would like to take. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Margaret | 1/1/2014

    " I really liked this starting out, but I was less impressed when I finished. At her best, Mayes has a lovely gift for the sensual evocation of places, but at her worst, she's snobbish, insincere, and pretentious. By the end of the book, I was tired of her disdain for tourists (what does she think she is, anyway?) and her overly precious dialogues with her husband. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather Adkins | 12/29/2013

    " If I could give this writer more than five stars, she would always get ten. Beautifully written and felt very deeply. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Smeshee | 12/20/2013

    " Frances Mayes travels the way I would love to. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kim | 12/19/2013

    " I am officially putting one aside. The writing is beautiful but I think the bottom line is I prefer to read travel literature either in prep for a visit or as follow-up. I just don't feel the connection to the places - moving on! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gieselle Gigi | 11/12/2013

    " Like poetry via the written Word. I spent all last summer traveling in my head as I savored this book! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer Bobalik | 6/24/2013

    " This book was disappointing. Frances Mayes came across quite negatively, at least to me. She seemed to preach about the best way to travel (her own) and criticize "provincials" (anyone with a different approach). On the other hand, I appreciated her culinary tips. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kari | 5/13/2013

    " Had been working on this slowly but gave up, which is a cardinal sin in my world. The gardens get a little tedious, but a good description of the places she visits, to at least create interest in doing further research. I do get tired of *her* though. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 S. | 3/8/2013

    " I liked parts of this book but overall it was too rambling. I skipped chunks of it, paragraphs or pages of each chapter. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Clare Mortensen | 12/3/2012

    " boring, elitist, dense. yet gorgeously written, jealousy-inducing. couldn't finish it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becky | 11/21/2012

    " Fun read. I love Frances Mayes! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 6/25/2012

    " Interesting. I like that it gives me a perspective to all these different places I want to go, however it is rather disjointed because of that. The writing is excellent, but there is not a consistent story through out, as with Under a Tuscan Sun which I adored. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Camille | 3/5/2012

    " I really thought I would like this book. But frankly, it was annoying. I love to travel, but this travel as existentialism comes across as pretentious. Plus, it is a bit hard to follow where she is going, why she is going there and why we should care. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jeni | 1/19/2012

    " Unable to finish - I just couldn't get into the repetitive relaxed nature of this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Betsy | 6/23/2011

    " This book is amazing! Made me feel as if I've just traveled around the world. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kathy Beatty | 5/23/2011

    " I just couldn't read this book. I was bored by the tone of a wealthy person going everywhere and doing anything that she wants without regard to the cost. I couldn't relate at all. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 New_worlds | 5/22/2011

    " I barely made it through the first chapter, only because it was Spain. It's was bunch of randam notes, or details about her life that were irrelevant. Horrible. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brooke | 4/30/2011

    " It is a very descriptive book and at times it can be difficult to read because there are so many details. However, if you are ones of those people that likes to experience things vicariously, Mayes does a wonderful job in this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kay | 3/23/2011

    " Liked this book, didn't love it. Having been many of the same places probably helped. Also I also love renting places to stay so you mix more into the culture and shy away from group tours. Hey, maybe I could write a book and then buy a house in Italy! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel | 1/29/2011

    " It wasn't a terrible book, I just couldn't get into it. I read about 200 pages and finally decided to give up. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Noel | 1/18/2011

    " LOVED this book! I can't wait to raed more of Frances Mayes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly | 1/9/2011

    " Made me want to visit Greece even more! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Beth | 10/29/2010

    " Boring! How could anyone make traveling to Europe seem like such a snooze? I couldn't finish it. "

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About the Author
Author Frances Mayes

Frances Mayes is the author of four books about Tuscany. The now-classic Under the Tuscan Sun–which was a New York Times bestseller for more than two and a half years and became a Touchstone movie starring Diane Lane—was followed by Bella Tuscany and two illustrated books, In Tuscany and Bringing Tuscany Home. She is also the author of the novel, Swan, several books of poetry, and The Discovery of Poetry. A native of Georgia, she now divides her time between San Francisco and Cortona, Italy.

About the Narrator

Cassandra Campbell, Audie Award–nominated narrator and winner of thirty-nine Earphones Awards, has performed in regional theaters across the country and in several off-Broadway shows at the Public Theater and the Mint Theater. In addition to narrating audiobooks, acting, and directing, she is a commercial and documentary voice-over artist.