Tag: Books: Italian Literature


Books: I Love Italy Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

Posted 28 December, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments


I Love Italy Reading Challenge 2012
hosted @ Library of Clean Reads

Well, it’s the end of the year (more or less; not planning on blogging much on the 31st sooo…) and it’s time to wrap up this challenge. I signed up at the start of 2012 to the I Love Italy Reading Challenge (my first reading challenge–ever!). This challenge included pretty much any genre of book (including re-reads) as long as the book is set in Italy, is written by an Italian author or is about Italy or an Italian person.

LEVELS:

  • Ciao Italia: 1 to 3 books.
  • Bella Italia: 4 to 6 books.
  • Arrivederci Italia: 7 to 9 books
  • Sempre Italia: 10 to 12 books.

And these were the books I read this past year for this challenge:

  • Christi Phillips’s The Rossetti Letter (set in Italy) — review
  • Marina Fiorato’s The Madonna of Almonds (set in Italy) — review
  • Daniel Levin’s The Last Ember (set mostly in Italy) — review
  • Christopher Duggan’s The Force of Destiny: A History of Italy Since 1796 (Italian history) — review
  • Italo Calvino’s Le citta invisibili [Invisible Cities] (Italian author; have this book in Italian too) — review
  • Elizabeth Edmondson’s The Villa in Italy (set in Italy) — review
  • Sara Poole’s Poison (set in Italy) — review
  • Sandra Sabatini’s Dante’s War (set in Italy) — review
  • Alessandro Baricco’s Seta [Silk] (Italian author; have this book in Italian too) — commentary
  • E.M. Forster’s A Room With a View (set mostly in Italy) — commentary
  • Leonardo Sciascia’s The Day of the Owl (set in Sicily, written by an Italian author) — review
  • Carlo Emilio Gadda’s That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana (set in Italy, written by an Italian author) — review
  • Alessandro Baricco’s Oceano Mare [Ocean Sea] (Italian author; have this book in Italian too) — commentary
  • Italo Calvino’s Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore [If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller] (Italian author; have this book in Italian too) — review
  • Paolo Giordano’s The Solitude of Prime Numbers (set in Italy for the most part, written by an Italian author) — review

Total = 14 15 books*

* = Should be 15 16, I also read David Gilmour’s The Pursuit of Italy: A History of its Land, its Regions and Their Peoples back in August but never reviewed it because I was busy writing a few articles so I’m not sure if it should be included in the count or not…

Edit: Just finished reading Paolo Giordano’s The Solitude of Prime Numbers so whoo, 16!

Allora, ho letto quattrodici quindici libri per questa sfida! Molto buono! =D

If you look at my original list, you’ll notice that there were a few books I never got around to, mainly classics like George Elliot’s Romola and Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed. I will hopefully get around to reading it on my own sometime next year or whatnot but in the meantime, I had a lot of fun doing this challenge this year! I was able to get around to Italo Calvino’s works this year as well as other Italian authors like Leonardo Sciascia, which was pretty awesome. (You can read more of my individual reactions to these novels in each of the reviews)

And that’s a wrap! 🙂

Review: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller

Posted 15 December, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller
By: Italo Calvino

You go into a bookshop and buy If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino. You like it. But there is a printer’s error in your copy. You take it back to the shop and get a replacement. But the replacement seems to be a totally different story. You try to track down the original book you were reading but end up with a different narrative again. This remarkable novel leads you through many different books including a detective adventure, a romance,a satire, an erotic story, a diary and a quest. But the hero of them all is you, the reader.

I must’ve had this book since I got back from my exchange two years ago and never gotten around to it. I’ve always felt that I needed to be in a particular mood or it has to be a particular season to read this (see my 10 books to read during the winter list). I’ve read his other notable work, Invisible Cities (review) earlier this year and absolutely loved it so I was definitely looking forward to reading this book.

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Commentary: Ocean Sea

Posted 2 December, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Ocean Sea
By: Alessandro Baricco

In Ocean Sea, Alessandro Baricco presents a hypnotizing postmodern fable of human malady–psychological, existential, erotic–and the sea as a means of deliverance. At the Almayer Inn, a remote shoreline hotel, an artist dips his brush in a cup of ocean water to paint a portrait of the sea. A scientist pens love letters to a woman he has yet to meet. An adulteress searches for relief from her proclivity to fall in love. And a sixteen-year-old girl seeks a cure from a mysterious condition which science has failed to remedy. When these people meet, their fates begin to interact as if by design. Enter a mighty tempest and a ghostly mariner with a thirst for vengeance, and the Inn becomes a place where destiny and desire battle for the upper hand.

I actually reviewed this novel four years ago (ohmigosh it’s been four years ago? O_o) and decided to re-read it as part of the I Love Italy Reading Challenge. Contains some spoilers ahead!

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Review: That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana

Posted 11 November, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana
By: Carlo Emilio Gadda

In a large apartment house in central Rome, two crimes are committed within a matter of days: a burglary, in which a good deal of money and precious jewels are taken, and a murder, as a young woman whose husband is out of town is found with her throat cut. Called in to investigate, melancholy Detective Ciccio, a secret admirer of the murdered woman and a friend of her husband’s, discovers that almost everyone in the apartment building is somehow involved in the case, and with each new development the mystery only deepens and broadens. Gadda’s sublimely different detective story presents a scathing picture of fascist Italy while tracking the elusiveness of the truth, the impossibility of proof, and the infinite complexity of the workings of fate, showing how they come into conflict with the demands of justice and love.

I had been eyeing this book for a good number of years now after coming across it during one of my endless forays into the bookstore. I finally got it as a birthday gift last month and decided to read it to get me in the mood for my NaNoWriMo. Although not listed in my list, this book is also part of the I Love Italy Reading Challenge I signed up for earlier this year.

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Review: The Day of the Owl

Posted 9 October, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Day of the Owl
By: Leonardo Sciascia

A man is shot dead as he runs to catch the bus in the piazza of a small Sicilian town. Captain Bellodi, the detective on the case, is new to his job and determined to prove himself. Bellodi suspects the Mafia, and his suspicions grow when he finds himself up against an apparently unbreachable wall of silence. A surprise turn puts him on the track of a series of nasty crimes. But all the while Bellodi’s investigation is being carefully monitored by a host of observers, near and far. They share a single concern: to keep the truth from coming out.

The Day of the Owl is one of three books I received on my birthday. I had been eyeing it for some time (well, eyeing many books from the New York Review Books list really) and given that some of the themes present in this novel are themes that I will be focusing on for this year’s NaNoWriMo, I had to check it out. This book is also part of the I Love Italy Reading Challenge I signed up for earlier this year.

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