Friday, September 08, 2006

What is Bob Vila reading?

The Christian Science Monitor recently asked television's home-improvement guru Bob Vila what he was listening to, watching on screens large and small, and reading.

Here's the reading part of his answer:

I just read a terrific book about Sicily, On Persephone's Island: A Sicilian Journal, by Mary Taylor Simeti. I love to read travel books and this is one I read after having been to Sicily. She's a wonderful writer with a great understanding and command of mythology and history. It's one of those books where you savor the prose as you're going through it. Before I read that book, I read a Ken Follett book called Pillars of the Earth. It's about a builder in the 12th century, in England. It's about the life of people subjugated by the sheriffs and nobles and knights, and the life of a man who is essentially a stonemason and a builder. Very, very entertaining book and, obviously, on a subject matter that's dear to me. The other one I read by Ken Follett a couple of months ago was called A Dangerous Fortune. It's set in London in the 1860s and it's about a character who becomes a great banker and creates a great fortune. They are not typical of what you think [Follett] writes. It's a very good book to enjoy when you have a lot of time, like when you're in an airplane. There's another book I read by a fellow I've actually met, a guy named Dallas Murphy, called Rounding the Horn, which is about an adventurer on a boat. Dallas Murphy's book is choc full of terrific information about that whole [Cape Horn] coast. I guess I like adventure books and I like history and I like to be really knocked out by terrific prose. I always go back to Hemingway. In fact, I recently got on the board of the Hemingway Preservation Society. We're a small group involved in a partnership with the Cuban government to restore Hemingway's homestead outside of Havana. He lived in this place outside of Havana from 1939 to the year before he committed suicide. It was the one residence where he lived the longest and where he left behind the bulk of his memorabilia, his personal library, and about 10,000 documents. We have a wonderful cross-cultural collaboration [with] the Cuban preservationists.
Click here to read about what Vila is watching and listening to.

For more than you probably want to know about Bob Vila and his various enterprises, click here.

--Marshal Zeringue