That's why I was thrilled to read about a newly published book, Treasure Palaces: Great Writers Visit Great Museums. I quickly reserved it from my library and picked it up on Wednesday. I think I must be the first to check it out - the date stamped on the top edge (the date it was processed) is December 16.
I was a little taken aback as I was expecting a book with photos that accompanied the essays, but no, it is simply a quality paperback. I guess I will be doing some Googling for images. There are however, to introduce each selection, small black and white illustrations that represent some aspect of the museum - an entrance, an object, a courtyard.
Lack of photos aside, what a wonderful way to visit museums that I might never get a chance to see. And what a joy to be introduced to them by such writers as Ann Patchett (The Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge, Massachusetts); Ali Smith (Villa San Michele, Capri); and Julian Barnes (Jean Sibelius's home in Helsinki).
I determined that I have visited only two of the twenty-four museums included (Museo dell'Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence and Musée Rodin, Paris) so the book promises to be a heady reading experience. I am especially intrigued by The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, William Wordsworth's Dove Cottage in Grasmere, and the exhibit of shrunken heads at Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.
And just think, my feet won't get tired.
Because I can't simply pick up one book and leave the library, I took a look at the new non-fiction shelf and my eye was caught by the colorful cover of Drawing Cute Birds by Japanese artist Ai Akikusa. She uses colored pencils to render the sweetest feathered fellows. I am forever dissatisfied with my bird drawings and since I have many (it seems like thousands) of colored pencils, this is just the instruction book I need.
The drawings are not too complex. She offers a very short lesson, (how to render the shape of the head, the feet, the feathers), the color palette she used, and information about each bird - the species order and family, where it lives, what it eats, its size, and any unusual habits. I love this book already and can hardly wait to get started.
Her drawings run the gamut from the small sparrow to the powerful eagle to plumy parrots and peaceful penguins. The hummingbird and the peacock are outstanding.
Now these are 'tweets' I can wrap my head around.
Proud as a peacock.
Wishing you all safe and happy holidays!