The Arno swells. The Duomo soars. The jewelers, paper marblers, and bookbinders are to be found on famous bridges and down mysterious streets. Welcome to Robert Hellenga's Sixteen Pleasures, where the Florence you long to know floods every page. Even if you think your wanderlust might lead you elsewhere, you'll be booking a flight to Italy by the last page. I did!
Anne M. Rice
I've been to New York City many times, but after reading The Alienist by Caleb Carr, I decided to take a walking tour of the city, specifically lower Broadway and SoHo. Many of the 1890's landmarks Carr wrote about are still standing: Wanamaker's, one of the early department stores (well, its 1902 annex anyway); Grace Church; even the brownstone at 19 Washington Square North, where the narrator's grandmother lived.
"Footloose American Paul Theroux sets out from London's Victoria Station to span the breadth of two continents." That single sentence made me shell out $1.95 for the paperback edition of Theroux's Great Railway Bazaar in 1976. It sparked a yearning for exotic adventures of my own. Since then, nothing has surpassed the images his words conjured in my mind.
As a child, I read the poetry collection The Golden Journey to Samarkand by James Elroy Flecker and knew that one day I had to go there. I finally got my wife to agree, and we spent eight unforgettable days visiting Bukhara and Samarkand in what is now Uzbekistan. The hotel elevators didn't work, and there was never any hot water, but the staff always gave us a bottle of vodka at dinner.
Philip C. Stine
In 1974, a co-worker and I were simultaneously reading James Michener's The Drifters, about a group of friends wandering around Europe. We would dare each other—"If you go, I'll go"—never thinking that either of us would do it. But then one day we were both laid off, so we decided to take that trip. The two of us spent five months backpacking in Europe and Morocco.
Carson City, Nev.
After reading The Quest for Arthur's Britain by Geoffrey Ashe, we went on a magical journey through Devon and Cornwall. We visited the ruins of Tintagel Castle, on a cliff high above the sea, and Glastonbury Abbey, believed to be the burial place of Arthur and Guinevere.
New York, N.Y.