Scotland: An Intimate Portrait By Geddes MacGregor; Paperback, 288 pages; List Price: $16.00
Stoudt and her husband travel frequently to Europe for work, though their upcoming trip to Scotland is for pleasure. The couple is staying with a friend who started a small inn, and they plan to explore the land, the beers and the whisky. The Scots, she discovered, make whisky because the cold and the peat are conducive to barley growing. "I like to read about a place before I go," she says. "This particular book goes into the customs, the character, the cities, the monsters, the speech, literature, and the Scottish nationalism."
A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller By Frances Mayes; Paperback, 448 pages; List Price: $15.00
Frances Mayes' popular travel book was a quick read for Stoudt during her recent trip to Greece. Mayes is well known for her memoirs of life in Tuscany, and she uses her sun-bleached villa there as a springboard for trips to Mediterranean countries. Mayes finds pleasures in unlikely locales in southern Spain, Portugal, Sicily, southern Italy and Morocco, among other destinations.
Anna Karenina By Leo Tolstoy (Aylmer and Louise Maude, Translators); Paperback, 752 pages; List Price: $5.00
This classic tome is sitting at Stoudt's home, but she's not ready to delve into it yet. Stoudt loves Russian history, but she concedes that Anna Karenina can be daunting. "I have to get into the first 200 pages before I can get all the names straight," she says. Tolstoy's classic has been touted as one of the greatest love stories ever written. Set in imperial Russia, the book tells the story of a beautiful woman who falls deeply in love with a wealthy army officer, Count Vronsky. Set against Anna Karenina's affair is the story of Konstantin Levin, a landowner who Tolstoy bases largely on himself.
The Odyssey By Homer (W.H.D. Rouse, Translator); Paperback, 304 pages; List Price: $5.95
If she had all the time in the world, Stoudt says she would probably read Homer's classic. Stoudt read the book as a child, but she didn't enjoy it. The book is the sweeping tale of Odysseus, a great warrior who wanders the world after the Trojan war. But it's also an intensely domestic tale of a husband's struggle to protect his marriage.