Tag: Books: Italian Literature

Review: Silk

Posted 23 April, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

By: Alessandro Barricco

The year is 1861. Hervé Joncour is a French merchant of silkworms, who combs the known world for their gemlike eggs. Then circumstances compel him to travel farther, beyond the edge of the known, to a country legendary for the quality of its silk and its hostility to foreigners: Japan.

There Joncour meets a woman. They do not touch; they do not even speak. And he cannot read the note she sends him until he has returned to his own country. But in the moment he does, Joncour is possessed.

I read this novel a few years ago, maybe around the time that the adaptation came out (lovely adaptation, though I wished someone else had been cast for the character of Herve Joncour; Michael Pitt was too wooden for the role). I decided to re-read it again recently, as part of the I Love Italy Reading Challenge and in part because I own both the Italian and English editions and wanted to practice my Italian reading comprehension (I ended up reading half and half). Contains some spoilers!

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Review: Invisible Cities

Posted 22 March, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 3 Comments

Invisible Cities
By: Italo Calvino

Città reali scomposte e trasformate in chiave onirica, e città simboliche e surreali che diventano archetipi moderni in un testo narrativo che raggiunge i vertici della poeticità.

“Kublai Khan does not necessarily believe everything Marco Polo says when he describes the cities visited on his expeditions, but the emperor of the Tartars does continue listening to the young Venetian with greater attention and curiosity than he shows any other messenger or explorer of his.” So begins Italo Calvino’s compilation of fragmentary urban images.

I’ve had two of Italo Calvino’s books sitting on my shelf for some time now in both English and Italian, Le citta invisibili being the second of the books I picked up. I decided to read this book first (before If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller) because I heard how different this novel was and how interesting the descriptions of the cities were; I’m also reading this novel as part of the I Love Italy reading challenge that I’m participating in. What I didn’t expect from this novel was how there is so much more going on than just mere descriptions. Contains a few spoilers ahead!

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Meme: Teaser Tuesdays

Posted 19 March, 2012 by Lianne in Meme / 16 Comments

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
– Grab your current read
– Open to a random page
– Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
– Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Should Be Reading

Reading a few books right now but here’s two teasers for this week. The first:

“Isaura, city of the thousand wells, is said to rise over a deep, subterranean lake. On all sides, wherever the inhabitants dig long vertical holes in the ground, they succeed in drawing up water, as far as the city extends, and no farther.”
– p. 17, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

My first Calvino novel! What’s interesting about this novel (I’ve only just started) is how it’s really about the description of the cities than anything else; there doesn’t seem to be much of a plot right now but rather the description of the cities and their uniqueness takes place of the characters. And the descriptions are just marvellous; I have the Italian version as well so it’d be great to see how they were written originally. I’m curious to see where this novel goes.

My second teaser for this week:

“Davos saw the looks that passed between the lordings as he rode past them to join the king. These were no onion knights, but proud men from houses whose names were old in honour.”
– p. 610, A Clash of Kings by G.R.R. Martin

I’m about 2/3rds through my re-read of this book (in excitement over season 2 that’s coming out April 1st) and man, I forgot how fast-paced ASoIaF is. Can’t wait to hear and see how it translates onscreen =) (Edit: Apparently I never posted a formal review of this novel the first time I read it so yeah, that is something to look forward to =P)

Hope you enjoyed those two teasers–what’s yours for this week? =)

Books: I Love Italy Reading Challenge

Posted 10 January, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

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

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m going to be participating in this reading challenge. Should be a lot of fun, books about/set in/from Italy always make good reads =) I realised I haven’t exactly made a separate post about it yet though. So this challenge includes 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. Cool, yeah? =)


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

These are the books I’m planning to read that are new on my shelf; I’ve indicated beside the title whether it’s about Italy or whatnot. This list is, of course, subject to change (as in, it may increase) depending on whether I get more books on my TBR pile that’s related to Italy in some way:

  • 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 actually) — review
  • Italo Calvino’s Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore [If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller] (same as above but I also have the book in English)
  • Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed (Italian author)
  • George Eliot’s Romola (set in Italy)
  • 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

I also plan on re-reading the following this year (also as part of my general plans for re-reading this year):

  • Alessandro Baricco’s Seta [Silk] Italian author; have this book in Italian and in English) — review
  • Alessandro Baricco’s Oceano Mare [Ocean Sea] (same as above) — review)
  • E.M. Forster’s A Room With a View (set mostly in Italy) — review

So that’s my rough plan for this challenge at the moment. I will post updates along the way along with reviews to the books I read. Allora, until next the post! =)

Edit (21 gennaio 2012): Added two more books to the list =)

Edit (10 aprile 2012): Added three more books to the list =P

Edit (23 maggio 2012): Added one book to the list

Edit (02 dicembre 2012): As you may have noticed, I stopped updating the list some time ago. I will be posting a recap of the entire challenge at the end of the year.

Review: Inquisition

Posted 15 December, 2011 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

By: Alfredo Colitto

Mondino is a university anatomist – a man of science in a land governed by the Catholic Inquisition. But the corpse brought to Mondino’s laboratory one stormy night defies natural law: The victim is a Templar knight, and his heart has been transformed into a block of iron. Is it alchemy? Or the diabolical work of an ingenious killer? Aided by his headstrong student Gerardo – a young man concealing a deadly secret identity – Mondino must outwit both ruthless Inquisitors and vengeful Templars if he’s to stop a murderer who threatens to shake the very foundations of Christendom. Audacious, gripping, and lushly atmospheric, set against the dramatic backdrop of one of history’s most dangerous eras.

I decided to check this book out because I kept on seeing the newly-translated and published copy of the book in the bookstores lately. My copy was actually for my eReader, which was good (read: afforable!) though I admit that the transfer over from book to electronic was not the best; there were symbols missing indicating that I was now following a different character and small issues like those. Of course, that’s just a side issue; my thoughts of the novel is different altogether ^_~ Some spoilers ahead!

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