November 20, 2011

Venice in February: A Reading Challenge for 2012

A few months ago Ally from Snow Feathers asked if I'd like to co-host a reading challenge called Venice in February. Her thoughts were that Venice would be the focal point because Carnival takes place there during that month, and there are so many exciting books which have Venice as the setting. Behold just a few:

A Brief History of Venice by Elizabeth Horodowich

A History of Venice
A History of Venice by John Julius Norwich

A Taste of Venice: At Table with Brunetti
A Taste of Venice by Roberto Pianaro

A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlene de Blasi

A Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice

A Venetian Reckoning
A Venetian Reckoning by Donna Leon

A Stopover in Venice by Kathryn Walker

Casanova: Actor, Lover, Priest, Spy

City of Fortune: How Venice Won and Lost a Naval Empire
City of Fortune by Roger Crowley

Crossing the Bridge of Sighs by Susan Ashley Michael

Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann

Don't Look Now by Daphne DuMaurier

Francesco's Venice by Francesco da Mosto

Italian Hours by Henry James

Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi

Meet Me in Venice
Meet Me In Venice by Elizabeth Adler

Miss Garnet's Angel by Sally Vickers

The Oxford Shakespeare: Othello - The Moor of Venice

Pictures from Italy (Penguin Classics)
Pictures from Italy by Charles Dickens

The Anonymous Venetian
The Anonymous Venetian by Donna Leon

The Good Thief's Guide to Venice

The Haunted Hotel: A Mystery of Modern Venice
The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins

The Honest Courtesan: Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer in Sixteenth-century Venice
The Honest Courtesan by Margaret Rosenthal

The Palace by Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

The Passion by Jeanette Winterson

The Siege of Venice
The Siege of Venice by Jonathan Keates

The Silent Gondoliers by William Goldman

The Stones of Venice
The Stones of Venice by John Ruskin

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (this is the graphic novel)

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

The Venetian Betrayal
The Venetian Betrayal by Steve Barry

The Venetian Mask by Rosalind Laker

The Venice Experiment: A Year of Trial and Error Living Abroad
The Venice Experiment by Barry Frangipane

The Wings of The Dove by Henry James

Vaporetto 13 by Robert Girardi

Venetian Dreaming
Venetian Dreaming by Paula Weideger

A Venetian Journal: Food, Travel, Dreams
Venetian Journal by Tessa Kiros

Venetian Stories
Venetian Stories by Jane Turner Rylands

Venice by Peter Ackroyd

I can personally vouche for The Thief Lord, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Don't Look Now. I read, and mostly enjoyed, A Thousand Days in Venice (although it reminds me a bit of the horror I felt Eat Pray Love to be). I plan on reading some Jeanette Winterston (The Passion) and Donna Leon for this challenge, as I hear they are wonderful writers, but I've not yet read anything by either of them. Also, I'm very intrigued by Ian McEwan's The Comfort of Strangers and Henry James' Wings of The Dove. So, there are lots of possibilites, from classics and mystery, to travel, history and cooking; all of them look so promising.

We've created two buttons for you to choose from should you decide to participate and/or wish to put one on your blog. The first is mine, from a person who loves flowers:

The second is Ally's beautiful creation with more festive colors:

We'd love to have you read with us. Just read any book(s) having to deal with Venice that you'd like during the month of February. Doesn't that sound like fun?

You can find a review site here which will help us locate one another's posts on the books we've reviewed.


  1. Oooooh this sounds like so much fun! I wanna join in. I already have a few books on my shelves that can qualify for that and can't wait to read those. Love Venice!

  2. So many of those books look interesting, I'm going to have to join in. Looking forward to it :)

  3. Irresistable! I've read a handful on your list (inc the McEwan: not my favourite of his but worth a read and the James: v good but dense) and can't wait to read more. :)

  4. And I am in, too! :) This is going to be sooo much fun, I can't wait to start reading :)

  5. Count me in please. And thanks for providing so many suggestions for the reading. I look forward to this challenge.

  6. What a nice idea. I just love Challenges that allow me to participate by dipping my toes in! I'll definitely join in!

  7. I love Donna Leon...I've never been to Venice, but she's so good at evoking setting, not to mention food. And since there's a Henry on your wonderful list as well, not to mention authors I've never read, please sign me up!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. I'm in!! This shall be a little birthday present to myself in February. :<) I've read the Berendt and the scary Mr. Ripley. I might reread them or read something new from your list. Am most interested in the McEwan. And what a list! Such a lot of work you did to compile it. Thank you.

  9. Am seriously tempted, but am trying to pare back the challenges for next year, so ummm, don't-know -will-need-to umm&argh some more.

  10. What a wonderful idea. Yes please. I may use it as a delicious excuse to re read Miss Garnet's Angel but hopefully it will also be a time to explore a new book.

  11. Wonderful list of books to ogle. I've already made a post, letting people know. Something to look forward to in February.

  12. This is a great idea - the perfect escape from the gloom and snow of February. Not sure what I'll read, but it will be great fun choosing. Count me in!

  13. Oh, you are good! At first I said "no," but then weakened a little with each book I scrolled through. And then of course signed on by the end. If you want to read Wings of the Dove together let me know? I would be totally up for that!

  14. I'm in. Already read Talented Mr Ripley and a couple others. But, so many to choose from.

  15. Heavens! There are a ton to choose from. The Thomas Mann is my fave.

  16. Hmm, tempting. You and I share two Venice reads. I thought The Talented Mr. Ripley was amazing -- totally creepy. I read the screenplay, also, and compared the two. But, I've never bothered with the movie. Don't Look Now . . . loved the story, if not all of the rest of the entries in the book. I couldn't get into 1000 Days in Venice. I may have to do this, much as I hate challenges.

  17. I can't wait for this! I'm trying to swear off challenges for next year, but I really want to read for this one. (My weakness for Italian-set books!) So many books on your list I've never heard of, but I have read Death at La Fenice which I really enjoyed (Venice felt authentic). I've also read The City of Falling angels (enjoyed) and, not on your list, The Rossetti Letter which I found okay.

    I don't know what I'll read, maybe some more Donna Leon, or perhaps The Haunted Hotel.

  18. I have had an E-Book of Death in Venice for sometime now-I will for sure read that for your great event and maybe one of the Henry James works-I read his The Aspern papers which is on your list not log ago-wonderful book

  19. Holy Cow that 's a lot of books!

  20. Barry FrangipaneNovember 23, 2011

    Dolce: The authors of The Venice Experiment would be happy to contribute three copies of our book to Venice in February, with your permission of course. What is the best way for us to do this?

  21. Barry, how wonderful! I'd love to receive three copies of this book to use in conjunction with our Venetian challenge. Please email me at so that I can give you information about where to send them. So glad for your offer!

  22. Thank you so much, Barry! It is so nice of you! I myself haven't read the book, but I am sure I will do it soon :)

  23. Was in Venice early this year and these are the books I bought there as souveniers:

    - Venice by Jan Morris
    - Wings of the Dove
    - Fable of Venice by Hugo Pratt
    - The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark
    - The Remedy by Michelle Lovric
    - The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt

    This being said, I've only read Fables and the Jan Morris, but really loved both. It's such an amazing city!

  24. What a great challenge, I love Venice!

  25. What a wonderful idea. I shall scan my shelves and check the library catalogue, because there are so many wonderful possibilities.

  26. I'm in!! I've perused my shelves (hoping to tackle some of the books in my stacks before buying or borrowing others) and have these two that appeal to me:

    Death at La Fenice - Donna Leon

    Miss Garnet's Angel - Salley Vickers

    I might also look for The Comfort of Strangers, as I really like McEwan, and Meet Me in Venice (E. Adler) since I might be in the mood for something light after these others.

    Thanks for co-hosting the challenge! I hope to get to Venice someday, but until then, I can always read about it. :)

  27. I'm in, I'm in! And Venice is beautiful! :-)

  28. Wow, who knew there were so many reads related to Venice. I am intrigued by the list but won't sign up for any more challenges because I am always a dismal failure at them! I will enjoy reading more from the other participants though!

  29. Just to let you know, I posted my sign up on the blog.

  30. I was interested in this Challenge when I read about it on JoAnn's blog. When I read the list of books in this post, it was a definite challenge for me. Thank you!

  31. I added my official sign up post to the challenge page as well. I'll get a button in the sidebar next.

    I must also put it on my calendar for February so I remember!

  32. What a delightful challenge! I found it starting on my local public library (Albuquerque NM) website, through a link to An Adventure in Reading blog by raidergirl3, where she posted about the challenge. Thanks for posting the list of books set in Venice - I was amazed to see I already have 2 of the books. A neighbor gave them to me last February, and I didn't know they were set in Venice. The floral badge is gorgeous.

  33. Lovely! Both the concept and the beautiful gondola picture. Count me in.

  34. Thanks for hosting this challenge! I have a few of the books here on my TBR stack. Count me in for this challenge! :)

  35. I broke down and signed up after seeing the list of amazing books. I'm looking forward to starting it.

  36. Just a note in mid-February to say I've dropped the challenge. I just don't think Venice is for me. It isn't where I want to spend my reading time. I've begun and dropped a couple books, and stories. The locale simply doesn't appeal to me. I'm sure you have many, many participants who don't view it the same way!

  37. Determined as I am to NOT overcommit I can't help myself! Across the River and Into the Trees is the perfect companion to my February Moveable Feast Readalong. Checked it out from the library yesterday. (Might also try to slip in Death in Venice. Novellas always seem so "doable" :)

  38. Across The River and Into The Trees has been my favorite read for the Venice in February Reading Challenge so far. I'm glad you're joining in, June!

  39. I've read The Aspern Papers by Henry James. Very rich and diverse portrayal of Venice.