Chris’ Brady’s book “A Month of Italy, Rediscovering The Art of Vacation” is a delightful and engaging read with its release timed perfectly to be included in your reading list for this summer. Brady has a gift of sharing his family’s radical vacation in Italy in a witty manner with some accounts that are just outright hilarious.
With a title that includes the words “Rediscovering The Art of Vacation”, I was eager to dive in and secondly, as it is set in Italy, it’s interesting to see how visitors view the country. Living here, I could easily relate to the experiences encountered by the Bradys’ and while they are some generalizations, they are actually quite accurate. One that stood out for me is “Line Straddling” and to find out what that’s all about, you’ll have to pick up the book.
The book describes their month-long experience in Italy but the underlying intention is to have you consider planning your own adventure. Brady cleverly does this through the take-aways and take-alongs at the end of each chapter. It’s here that you reflect more profoundly and often with a smile on your face.
His wife, Terri and the four Brady kids lend to the appeal of this book as they contribute to the many riveting situations they find themselves in. While writing this review, I still can’t get over the image of his 6-year old daughter Christine shuffling along in hotel slippers through Gubbio.
Although many would consider taking a month off as simply a fantasy, Chris drives the point home that a much needed vacation is what sharpens the saw, a process that will, as he so beautifully puts it, “inspire and rebuild, replenish and renew”. He terms it as “going slow, in order to go fast”. However, it can be challenging for even the most well-intentioned.
At the start of this adventure, The Brady’s were ready to throw in the towel and had seriously considered packing up. Living without the comforts of the modern world and in a foreign land where things are unfamiliar can take its toll. As their travels continued, they began adapting, appreciating the differences and cherishing the new found freedom of not having a schedule.
Personally, there were many take-aways and the one that struck me the most was “prodigious noticing”. How often have we, myself included, been guilty of going through life in warp speed, dismissing the familiar and hardly stopping to appreciate the little things in life. This book has given me a set of new eyes and I am inspired to make full use of them to see the “subtleties of beauty”.
Overall, this is a fun read and if you are familiar with Italy, you’ll probably let out a chuckle or two. We know that even with its imperfection, it’s hard to deny that Italy still has its charm. For those who dream of Italy, Brady transports you to these amazingly beautiful scenes with his vivid descriptions that make you feel you are right there next to him taking it all in.
I highly recommend this book and if my written words aren’t convincing enough, head over to the site A Month of Italy to read some of the excerpts. When you have had the chance to read the entire book, drop by and share with me what is your take-away. Also, I would be curious to know if “A Month of Italy, Rediscovering The Art of Vacation” has instilled the courage or planted the seed in you to take that long overdue and much needed restorative vacation.