Books on/in Italy

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Mar 24th, 2006, 11:18 AM
  #1
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Books on/in Italy

No, I'm not talking guidebooks...
I love to read books that take place in the place where I'm traveling (like "Moveable Feast" when in Paris, "For Whom the Bell Tolls in Spain etc)
I am going to Italy for the first time this Spring - any suggestions? It doesn't have to be a classic, for instance, I loved Adam Gopnik's "Paris to the Moon"
thanks
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Mar 24th, 2006, 11:23 AM
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Where are you going in Italy? For example, Vanilla Beans and Brodo is set in and describes Montalcino. Extra Virgin is set in Liguria. Dances with Luigi is set in Rome but also includes trips to other areas of Italy as this Pittsburgh journalist seeks info about his Italian family. Etc.

Also, there are some threads on books that may give you ideas, as well.
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Mar 24th, 2006, 07:15 PM
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You might enjoy John Berendt's new book, The City of Falling Angels. (I was a major fan of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil so could hardly wait for this one to come out.)
It is set in Venice and focuses on the fire at La Fenice Opera House. I have also been enjoying Donna Leon's mysteries, which are all set in Venice.
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Mar 24th, 2006, 08:04 PM
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Iris Origo -- War in Val d'Orcia, The Merchant of Prato, Images and Shadows.

Iris Origo was the daughter of an American father and English mother, raised in Florence and married on Italian and had an estate called La Foce near Pienza. Very interesting.

H.V. Morton - A Traveler in Italy, A Traveler in Rome, A Traveler in Southern Italy.

H.V. Morton (British) was a travel writer (not of guide books) but of experiences and a lot of history and explanation of different parts of Italy
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Mar 24th, 2006, 08:39 PM
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The Broker by John Grisham
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/038...lance&n=283155
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Mar 25th, 2006, 04:07 AM
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Tim Parks in an Englishman who has lived in Verona and written about his time there in a book entitled "Italian Neighbors." He is very funny and I recommend this book, as well as his other books including one about an Italian soccer team and its fans.

If you liked the Adam Gopnik book, you will probably like Tim Parks. I second the Iris Origo book for great historical perspective. Another book I liked very much is "As the Romans Do" by Alan Epstein who is an American who has settled in Rome with his family and writes about his life there with some humor.
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Mar 25th, 2006, 09:07 AM
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I too am reading The City of Falling Angels at the moment. When I sleep I keep dreaming about gondolas!
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Mar 25th, 2006, 09:56 AM
  #8
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There are many threads on exactly this topic, and you'll find long lists of suggestions in them. You can find at least some of these threads by doing two searches. Do one search for the words books and Italy and another for the words novels and Italy. Then if you play with it, you can probably think of some other similar search terms that turn up other threads on the same topic.
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Mar 25th, 2006, 10:03 AM
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Ditto the suggestion to look at older threads. I made a list two pages long of books from those threads. Daunting! Nevertheless, I'll throw in my two cents. I am currently reading Michaelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, which I find fascinating and am sure will add to my enjoyment of the Sistine Chapel. On Amazon I found a used copy of Mary McCarthy's Stones of Venice and Stones of Florence both in one volume. And I'm reading the novel A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell for a 20th century view.
So many books, so little time before the trip.
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Mar 25th, 2006, 10:14 AM
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These contemporary books are more geared toward women....

"Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert
(a woman embarks on journeys in Italy, Indonesia and India)

"A Year in the World" by Frances Mayes
(each chapter is a discovery in a different European/African town)

Happy Reading!
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Mar 25th, 2006, 11:03 AM
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Also take a look on amazon.com under there many "listmania" topics. Several lists include many good suggetions for reading about Italian culture, history, and life.
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Mar 25th, 2006, 03:37 PM
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Hi ekscrunchy, I just had to comment that I so absolutely enjoying "Italian Neighbors" by Tim Parks. I ended up sending that book to family members that are Italian. I haven't had any friends that have read "Italian Neighbors" so was surprised to see that you did and that you too obviously enjoyed it. I will get the other books you recommended. Wishing you more enjoyable reading!!

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Mar 25th, 2006, 05:15 PM
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After you read "City of Falling Angels", find "Venetian Stories" by Jane Rylands (yes, THAT Jane Rylands) and see how many people you can recognize.

I love all of Donna Leon's mysteries, but "Blood from a Stone" is my favorite.
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Mar 26th, 2006, 08:23 AM
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OK, not a book, although you can find books on the subject. Once a year or so I find myself "wallowing" in a mini-series called "The Life of Verdi." You don't have to be an opera lover to enjoy & be fascinated by it. It is now on DVD as well as videocassette, and is about 10 hours long (4 CDs). What makes it so fascinating is that it was filmed on location, primarily in Italy (Milan, Genoa, Parma/Bussetto area, Piedmont, Venice, a bit of the San Carlo in Naples, Rome) and Paris, London, Leningrad. It probably couldn't be recreated today, but it provides a fascinating peek at life in from the mid 1800s to just past the turn of the century....Verdi lived a very long and full life! Ronald Pickup plays the composer and ballerina turned actress Carla Fracci is Giuseppina Strepponi. The DVD version is uncut, and dubbed into English.It is really amazing to see, for example, how LaScala itself changed from the time of Verdi's first opera there to Falstaff.....they couldn't do it now, since LaScala has recently been gutted and rebuilt with modern facilities. But at the time this "docu-drama" was filmed for TV, it still had its very old "unmechanized" stage equipment and you see it evolve from the days of candles on stage to gaslights....The streets of Milan are recognizable, as are the "ramparts" from the top of the Duomo. Venice, too, is fascinating and recognizable. Some of the scenes are filmed in Florian. Issues, mores of the day are discussed, mentioned, portrayed...some in passing & others in more detail. In any case, if you have any interest in Italy during this period, give it a look!
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Mar 26th, 2006, 08:57 AM
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Just finished La Cucina and loved it...
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Mar 26th, 2006, 09:18 AM
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Thanks, LoveItaly. Here is a new one that I have here but have not yet read: "Falling Palace" by Dan Hofstadter. It is about buying a home in Naples. Another one I liked about the south is "Stolen Figs," about traveling through Calabria. I know I have many more recommendations but the trouble is that I can not remember all of them!
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Mar 26th, 2006, 10:37 AM
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"The Last Italian" by William Murray. After the first chapter it is a good book. Actually, it is a collection of short stories about all things Italian.
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Mar 26th, 2006, 05:20 PM
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My favorite book of all time: The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone. Historical fiction about Michelangelo. I've read this massive tome twice, and would read it again when I go back to Florence!

I am also reading The City of Falling Angels in preparation for Venice in May, and it is really building the anticipation for me!
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