Suggested Reading

So... looking for a new book? How about one about travel, exotic locations, bizarre characters, art, world history, cathlocism, and the hunt for a religious relic? And, it ISN'T written by Dan Brown.

I'm currently reading exactly that book, in the vein of "Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil" it is a travelogue that is as much about the town where it is set, and the real life characters who live there as it is about the history of the Catholic church, and the history of relics and reliquaries in particular.

Calcata, a tiny medieval Italian town that through the vagaries of law became a refuge for hippies and bohemians in the 60's and is currently like no other place in Italy. It's full of liberal ex-pats from all around the world, artists, witches, warlocks, and the random flotsam of the left. It seriously makes me want to visit because it sounds like a fantasy that I've had since my first visit to Prague, living in a cottage in some foreign place and just immersing myself in some completely alien culture.

But the real kicker for me though is the relic that the book centers around: Il Santo Prepuzio. The Holy Foreskin. The only possible physical relic of Jesus Christ himself that could potentially be on earth. As a lover of the weird and esoteric mythological stuff that surrounds religion? Yeah... this is right up my alley. How could I not want to read about St. Catherine, the supposed "spiritual bride of Christ" who wore the foreskin as a wedding ring? Or St. Agnes who wished to see the foreskin so much that the Holy Ghost personally delivered it to her... by placing it in her MOUTH. I am eating this stuff UP.

In the end it is well written, in a very casual style that is an easy read, allowing the author David Farley to slip in the odd historic detail here and there without making it seem like a text book, or distracting from the narrative he builds about his year of living in Calcata. Sort of a summer beach book version of a historic text. Next time you are looking for a fun read I definitely reccomend "An Irreverent Curiosity."

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