I’ve announced this book before, by California author Rita Bottoms with paintings by her husband Tom Bottoms. But this announcement is for the new second edition, which has been reorganized and has new content.
What I love most about this book is its eclectic nature. One one page, a painting. On the next, a “riff,” a sort of prose poem by Rita. Then a photo of the spice shop in the Rialto. Tom’s paintings always bring me back to a moment I spent in Venice, and the book is laid out with plenty of white space to let your mind wander back to other moments and thoughts.
As a bonus, Rita has included portraits of herself and Tom by Susan Saas. I won’t include an image of them here as an incentive for you to purchase the book! There’s also a photo of Lawrence Ferlinghetti drawing a sketch of Rita and Tom. They were great friends, and Ferlinghetti spent a lot of time at their house.
As Rita was putting this new edition together, she was sharing the plan with me and then gifted me one of Tom’s paintings showing breakfast at Caffe Florian. Here it is, now in my house and in the book! If you’re in or near Santa Cruz, California, you can find the book on the shelves of Bookshop Santa Cruz. And if you’re in Venice, drop by Damocle Edizioni in Venice, near S. Polo on Calle dei Perdun, where they will also have a copy.
Rita contributed to First Spritz Is Free and gives a shout out to it in Riffs & Ecstasies. She describes it as “A gathering of 35 writers telling how they were ensorcelled by Venice.” I love that!