In November last year I wrote a post about 10 favorite books on Italy. Whether it was Four Seasons in Rome for the love of Caput Mundi or Jhumpa Lahiri’s In Other Words for the love of Italian language, each one was unique (more here). Today I am adding a few more for your acquired Italian reading taste. Hope you enjoy:
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster:
I think this is a novel loved by many with a setup of two differently cultured countries – Italy and England. The book is not a comedy for me as it is from the time of Forster, early 20th century and therefore explores the issues of caste, wealth, war and society. Forster does it very well and pokes fun at the Edwardian society in the backdrop of the charming town of Florence.
Venice by Jan Morris:
I love Jan Morris and her style of writing. She goes very deeply in the history of a city but doesn’t make it boring. In fact she makes it alive with her words and descriptions. In Venice, you would probably feel her melancholy of the city as she takes you to different calle or streets of one of the greatest cities of the world. Even though it is not nearly a travel book, it falls under that category and I somehow like that because the reader travels and gets lost in the piazzas and campi with the author. It is a chaotic trip through the city’s past but one that ends with a delight.
The Stone Boudoir by Theresa Maggio:
Anyone who is fascinated with little villages of Italy will be surprised by this one. Not because there are too many in this book but because you might have not heard of any names of the villages mentioned in this book. Yes. I was quite surprised by my lack of knowledge of small provinces and towns of Sicily that I had never known to exist until last month. The Stone Boudoir is a biographical account of the author’s travels to her ancestors in Sicily. Maggio takes you to her Sicilian family, her roots.. the Mafia, food, men, superstitions etc. This book will make you yearn to visit the Sicily you know little about and inspire you to visit and get in the off the beaten track just like the author. Her descriptions of the Sicilian villages and people are just to the point.
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes:
Don’t judge this book by the glossier movie on the same name as they are completely different. The book is well written and describes local Italian life quite well. This was incidentally also my first Italy reads in life, therefore I have a soft corner for it. Once you pick it up, you will find yourself longing for that glass of Chianti Classico and day dreaming about perfectly lined Cypress trees, long stretches of vineyards and sumptuous plates of local pasta. The book is a perfect read for a long travel or a break from heavy reads and will remind you of summer and wine and lemons..and Tuscany!
A Literary Tour of Italy by Tim Parks:
When I pre-ordered this book, I assumed from the title that the author would take me to various places of literary importance in Italy. However, it turned out to be quite different and even better. This book is perfect for those in love with Italian literature and who want to know more about Italian geniuses from Collodi to Dante to Bassani and Tabucchi. There are 23 essays of many great Italian authors and intellectuals that were originally written for magazines/newspapers. Tim Parks has given his thoughts, reflections and ideas about the authors and the stories they have produced. It is a very impressive collection all come together in one book and is a must read.
Have you read any of these?? I’d love to know your Italy specific recommendations for future posts and reading 🙂