The Americans

america, travels, The Americans, 2017, USA

The Mansion On The River | Charleston, South Carolina

"It was my father who called the city the Mansion on the River. He was talking about Charleston, South Carolina, and he was a native son, peacock proud of a town so pretty it makes your eyes ache with pleasure just to walk down its spellbinding, narrow streets. Charleston was my father's ministry, his hobbyhorse, his quiet obsession, and the great love of his life. His bloodstream lit up my own with a passion for the city that I've never lost nor ever will...

Because of its devotional, graceful attraction to food and gardens and architecture, Charleston stands for all the principles that make living well both a civic virtue and a standard. It is a rapturous, defining place to grow up. Everything I reveal to you now will be Charleston-shaped and Charleston-governed, and sometimes even Charleston-ruined. But it is my fault and not the city's that it came close to destroying me. Not everyone responds to beauty in the same way. Though Charleston can do much, it can't always improve on the strangeness of human behavior. But Charleston has a high tolerance for eccentricity and bemusement. There is a tastefulness in its gentility that comes from the knowledge that Charleston is a permanent dimple in the understated skyline, while the rest of us are only visitors."

Excerpted from South of Broad, by Pat Conroy, 2009, Doubleday books.

2016, books, favorites, list, The Americans

2016 | The Year In Books

2016: oh what a year it was! And what could I say about this last year that hasn't already been said. But, despite everything else, this past year was a great year of challenging and inspiring reads.

With only two exceptions (Joan of Arc and The Nordic Theory of Everything), you'll notice the titles pictured below have a strong bend toward American history, culture, and characters - a trend that was not planned but that, in many ways, proved to be cathartic in a year so full of strange realities. Click on the titles to learn more (at Amazon.com) or visit your local bookseller to pick up a copy.

Please share your favorite books of 2016 in the comments section below, we're always in search of our next favorite book!

2016, america, art, The Americans

The Americans: Maynard Dixon (1875 – 1946)

Introducing The Americans

We are starting a new series on this blog called, The Americans. This ongoing series will feature the creative work of American writers, artists, photographers, or designers that we discover during the next several months, while we are back living in the US. Our first discovery for this series is the American painter and artist Maynard Dixon (1875 - 1946).

We discovered Dixon's work while browsing the permanent collection of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, but I think what drew us to him so strongly was the marriage of his striking graphic style (reminiscent of the French artist Henri Riviere and the Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler) with his profoundly American subject matter. The bulk of Dixon's work focused on the romance and grand scale of Western American landscapes and the people who braved to live there. Above and below, you can see samples of his paintings and of his work that was used for publications, posters, and book covers. 

Stay tuned for our next The Americans discovery, coming soon. You can learn more about the life and work of Maynard Dixon here.

Artist Maynard Dixon, late in his life.

Artist Maynard Dixon, late in his life.

Dixon in 1900.

Dixon in 1900.

Dixon with his second wife, Edith Hamlin.

Dixon with his second wife, Edith Hamlin.