To be perfectly frank, every day it’s seeming less and less likely that I’ll ever reach the level of literary success of, say, Anthony Doerr. Which means it’s looking less and less likely that I’ll ever win a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. But this weekend I at least had the privilege of glimpsing that experience through Doerr’s eyes when I read his new (and delightful) book, Four Seasons in Rome. Subtitled “On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World,” the book chronicles Doerr’s Roman holiday (sorry–couldn’t resist that) from his arrival (accompanied by his wife and their six-month-old twin boys) to their departure the summer after Pope John Paul II’s passing. It’s a highly engaging read on many levels, including, for this practicing writer, Doerr’s account of the project he brought with him to Rome (a new novel set in German-occupied France during World War II), and the genesis of a new short story. Magnifico!