alma Image
07/01/2009 - 19:57

Why is there no book section anymore? I finally got round to reading "The Flight of the Falcon" by Daphne du Maurier. It certainly gripped me as I read more and I absolutely must visit Urbino now. Also read "The Savage Garden" by Mark Mills, set in a large villa near Florence, which I enjoyed. Please can I have more recommendations? I need to read! 



 Alma, perhaps you could create a group. Otherwise, we can always the "Culture" Topic. I am currently reading for the 7th time "Il Gattopardo" by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, but in Italian. This is my second attempt in Italian and this time it is much easier than the first time. It is an excellent language acquisition exercise.

Gala, this is really a language exercise! Il Gattopardo must be a little difficult, since it was written in the fifties and may contain old words. So, my congratulations! It's a great book.What about setting a book review section? People may propose book they found fantastic - from italian authors would be great but I don't pretend so much.. What do you think?For the while, we may add our favourite books under the section Culture with "book" as a tag.Buona Lettura!

It is not very difficult for me, Valentina, because I am also fluent in French and Spanish and I have read the English and Spanish versions of the book. But I still struggle with some words and expressions. For this reason, the dictionary is a precious ally.The book is so well written that you forget about the old words and besides, it gives a fantastic historical insight  that helps to understand Italian and particularly Sicilian society during the XIX Century. The other aspect that I find fascinating is the fact that Lampedusa created this masterpiece around real characters, members of his own family, descriptions of familiar places, even meals. It is important to read his "Racconti" which are at the base of some of the chapters he later used in "Il Gattopardo".And we should not forget to watch the film, another masterpiece and readily available in DVD. It is one of those movies which will always remain as "classics".It is interesting to point out that the manuscript was rejected by several publishers, including Mondadori. It was finally published by Feltrinelli after Lampedusa's death. They say that rejecting "Il Gattopardo" Mondadori Publishers made its biggest financial mistake. But Feltrinelli got an instant success. The book I have is from the 89th Italian edition.... and they keep on publishing it, in many languages.

HiI agree the Savage Garden is a great read Mark Mill has written another based in Italy also good. Sorry on book shelf in Italy( in Uk at Present)I loved Mrs Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers based In Venice, and a small church. do read and visit the same if you get chance. Regards Lin

Hello book people - I showed Allan (the other half of FromNowOn) the posts on books, and his comment is, "I would be particularly interested in hearing of some relatively easy Italian novels or short stories for someone still learning the language. I am beyond the very simple books written for school classrooms and want to know of a ‘grown-up’ author but who has a fairly simple style.   The only one I know of is Natalia Ginzburg who I find reasonably easy, but she writes about marriage and family life without exception. They’re not quite boys’ books!  Any other suggestions very welcome".Can anyone help him out? As for me, I am still at the stage of enjoying Annie Hawes and Tim Parks and their observations from people watching!

It would be lovely if someone did form a book group. (Not me though as it takes all my technical skills just to get onto the Community.) I would certainly join it. We could have English and Italian authors. It takes about 3 years for me to read an Italian novel so I would probably stick with the English! I'm trying to build up a selection of books set in Italy in my Italian house, which isn't that far from Villafranca if  FromNowOn would ever like to borrow any when we are there. For those who have read "Rossano" I also have Dany Bucchioni's book about his partisan group, which is in Italian.

In reply to by alma

Thank you Alma for offering to lend books.  Perhaps you can make a recommendation for Allan who is looking for an Italian "grown-up author but who has a fairly simple style" to help his Italian along.

  Hello everyone and Fromnowon in particular   There's a collection of short stories from well-known contemporary Italian writers that your husband might find interesting. I'm using it with my Italian Book Club language class here in Cornwall. Some of the stories are a bit strange, but it will provide a range of authors that could be followed up on if they appeal. It's called Italiana - antologia dei nuovi narratori published in 1991 by Mondadori. I got it remaindered from the IBS internet book shop (someone in this thread has provided the full website details) and they were very good. They sent me 10 copies to the UK in a couple of days - so it should only take about a week or two within Italy:)!! Auguroni a tutti per il 2010 Pacentro08    

 My advice would be to start with some easy readers which will progressively lead you into more complex reading. There is an excellent "Easy Italian Reader" by Riccarda Saggese (McGraw-Hill) which I bought a year ago for my husband and he reckons that it is a great learning tool. It also contains exercises which you can complete and self-correct.  

I  too loved the Savage Garden.    Urbino definitely needs visiting, for every reason, not just because of something in a book!  Magical place.I read a detective book translated from the Italian, daughter has it at present, can't remember author or title, was it something like Death in Tuscany?  Set around Carrarra, very atmospheric around the marble quarries etc.  Written by a genuine ex detective, recommended.A suggested book a month to read perhaps?  anyone have the first one?

In reply to by PennyAW

Yes Penny it is called A Death in Tuscany by Michele Giuttari, but personally wouldn't recommend it as a bit dry and full of superflous detail about police procedure etc. as might be expected from an ex detective.Some one has mentioned Tim Parks a great read, and Miss Garnets Angel- loved it. A lot of Shirley Hazzards novels are set in Italy and worth reading. Have recently read Iris Origo 'War in Val d'Orcia' this is wonderful and highly recommended. Also interesting but less well written is 'The Trasimen Line' by Janet Kinrade Dethick. And then there is Henry James; The Wingsof a Dove, ThePortrait of a Lady.  The Italian Hours etc. My husband has just finishes Goethes ' Italian Journey' have yet to try that. I would welcome any suggestions written in English. I just love talking about books

Thank you everyone so far .... as a result of this thread have ordered The Savage Garden and Mrs Garnet's Garden from Amazon for 1p each - even with postage added it was a bargain.Have also been ordeing a steady stream of DVD's of Fellini and other Italian films - partly because I enjoy those set in Italy and also because I can have italian soundtrack/english subtitles.... working towards having both in italian!Recommendations welcome...

In reply to by arty

For reading in Italian I'd recommend Io Non Ho Paura  by Niccolo Ammaniti It's very much a grown up book, but written from the point of view of a child, and therefore simple prose.Iris Origo wrote a fascinating book "The Merchant of Prato" .  To quote Amazon: "Francesco di Marco Datini, the 14th-century Tuscan merchant who forms the subject of the Marchesa Origo's study, has now probably become the most intimately accessible figure of the later-Middle Ages. In 1870 the whole astonishing cache, containing some 150,000 letters and great numbers of business documents, came to light. The Marchesa Origo has drawn on this material to paint, in detail, a picture of Italian domestic life on the eve of the Renaissance."

"Soffritto" written by David Dale - "lived by Lucio Galletto". -Described as "a delicious Ligurian memoir". It tells the story of Lucio Galletto, who has a restaurant in Australia now, but decided to return to visit his place of birth and childhood.  It covers food of the area but but he also writes about his family history,  the past and present lifestyle and culture of rural Liguria and Lunigiana.  A tale of fishermen, farmers, food and love! Lowest price was on WH Smith (online) - cheaper than Amazon.

Robert I could have lent you the Savage Garden, dreadful book, badly written, unbelievable, and a bit silly, but thats only my unbiased view you understand. Miss Garnets Angel is good, love the Zen series by Michael Dibden, Tim Parks is good, and I like Donna Leon. There is also another book out, Venetian Masters by Bidisha, which is also a good one to miss, I must compile a list of books I like, but just because its about Italy doesnt make it a good read.A

If we're talking "well written", have you read The Italian Lesson by (if I can remember) Janice Elliot?An interesting book in Italian, and not too difficult as written for discussion with Italian young people in schools, is "Quando la Camorra" by Marina Gemelli + Geppino Fiorenza.Tim Parks is one of my favourites .I'd like to read "Soffrito", recommended by Lila and "War in Val D'Orcia" that Portia enjoyed.I'd like to retire so I could have time to read a slightly bigger fraction of what I'd like to read! 

If we're talking "well written", have you read The Italian Lesson by (if I can remember) Janice Elliot?An interesting book in Italian, and not too difficult as written for discussion with Italian young people in schools, is "Quando la Camorra" by Marina Gemelli + Geppino Fiorenza.Tim Parks is one of my favourites .I'd like to read "Soffrito", recommended by Lila and "War in Val D'Orcia" that Portia enjoyed.I'd like to retire so I could have time to read a slightly bigger fraction of what I'd like to read! 

I am trying to remember the name of an author, whos books I very much enjoyed, one set in Venice another in the Italian countryside, autobiographical, bohemien, and amusing. I think she was Spanish or from Argentina, and she had a long triple barreled name, anyone help me out?...sorry my memory isnt what it used to be !A

 A good source for books and DVDs in Italian is tip, when watching a movie, try to use the Italian subtitles for deaf people. This also helps a lot with comprehension. My husband usually watches the film first with English subtitles and then he watches it a second time with the Italian ones and he reckons that it helps him a lot.He is currently reading the Italian Constitution in Italian!!!! He is a masochist!!!!

I have just thought of another one ' A Veneian Affair ' Andrea Di Robilant this a true story of an impossible love affair in the 18thc (I quote)I shall certainly look out for Soffritto and was going to order The Savage Garden from Amazon but don't know what to do now. My husband suggest  'Secret Memoirs of a Renaissance Pope' what can I say.

One I very much enjoyed "Ciao Bella" by Helena Frith Powell, Subtitled "In search of my Italian father", another autobiographical voyage.Lovely book.One that Robert enjoyed as well so not a girlie book!And lets not forget Eric Newby...Love and War in the Apennines, still searching for that elusive author, whose name I forget .A

"A small Place in Italy" (or "A Small House in Italy") by Eric Newby  sort of carries on from Love and War etc. many years later. What we need is a booklist to refer to so we can choose an odd one from time to time. I wouldn't have a clue how to set this up but maybe one of you other readers could?I read "A Long Way from Verona"by Jane Gardam thinking it was about Italy. Nothing to do with Italy actually but still a good book.

In reply to by alma

Alma,  I LOVED that book!  I borrowed it from our local library some years ago and then purchased it because I loved reading it so much before I went to sleep at night.  Its a wonderful book!

Ciao a tutti!  My name is Debora and I enjoy reading many books regarding Italy.  My interest is the mostly in the Southern regions since my family is from Iacurso.  One of my favorite books is called Seasons in Basilicata by David Yeardon.  Its about spending one year in an Italian hilltown and his descriptions of the land as well as the people are rich and wonderful.  I would love to start a book group, but this is my very first post and I do not know how...but I adore books!

As our Italian is pretty basic we've been reading the 'Geronimo Stilton' series books to help us along. They are written for kids and we have found them useful in increasing our vocabulary and learning verb tenses. They are lots of fun too and now I can read the ones we've done to my grandchildren when they visit! We usually do a chapter after breakfast, Simon with the dictionary to hand and myself with the verb book.

Recently, I read a book called Stolen Figs by Mark Rotella which was excellent.  The premise of the book is based on the author's experiences as he travels to Calabria to see his father's family and to gain a sense of what day to day life is like in the small hilltowns of Calabria.  The author twists a clever phrase and illustrates that his adventure is both humorous and moving.  I found the book to be an excellent read and I enjoyed it very much!

I'm not sure if there is a book group already on here, but why not start one up anyway?  I'm sure it will be subscribed to very well as a lot of people do enjoy  reading and comparing different books with each other.

Does anyone know how to start a book group? I'm sorry I have no idea how to do it, but would also be very interesed in joining if someone can set one up or give intructions.  I'd be happy to start with some really well known Italian or English books if there is enough interest from others.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I would certainly be interested, but as I am both a new member and very much a tyro where Internet forums are concerned, I am afraid I would not have the first idea how to go about matters.