Teresa's Reviews > If on a Winter's Night a Traveler

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
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Jun 03, 2011

it was amazing
Read in June, 2011

I'm not the kind of person to define myself. Of course, I know I'm a daughter, sister, wife, etc and most importantly, a mother. But besides my relationship to other people, if I'm 'forced' to think about what defines me, what I know I've always been, as far back as I can remember, is a Reader. And if you are the same, then, like me, you will feel that Calvino is speaking to you -- you are his You.

I can't say there weren't very brief times when my attention wandered during one of the stories that is part of the labyrinth that You get lost in. But these were moments only, and then I could feel myself smiling at the meaning, and the skill of Calvino -- his prose is, surprisingly, (as far as my pre-perceptions at what this book might've been like) extremely 'readable' -- just as I was smiling even more at the very last sentence of this amazing book.

And this is from someone who feels she is more a Reader of traditional novels than so-called 'experimental' post-modern texts such as this one. Calvino has put into words what I feel, and isn't that what the best novels do? If you are a Reader, I think You will love this book.
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09/06/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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message 1: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue I love this title!! and I've wondered about the book. I'll be interested in your review.


Teresa I just came across something I want to share. It's from Chapter 2.

But, first, the background is that 'you,' the 'character,' are (is?!) thinking of a woman, whom he (that is, you) :) knows is reading the same book he is. It reminds me of GR friends:

"What is more natural than that a solidarity, a complicity, a bond should be established between Reader and Reader, thanks to the book?"

And then just a bit further down the same page:

"Does this mean that the book has become an instrument, a channel of communication, a rendezvous? This does not mean its reading will grip you less: on the contrary, something has been added to its powers."


message 3: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· Lovely. Books are magical.


message 4: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Wow. The author has really thought about the act and community of reading and readers.


K.D. Absolutely I like that you liked this book, T.


message 6: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Thanks for the great review Teresa. I had a hard enough time trying to figure out the review. Now I'm reassured the book probably is for me.


message 7: by Teresa (last edited Jun 11, 2011 09:05PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Teresa K.D. wrote: "I like that you liked this book, T."

And I'm glad that you like that I liked it, K.D.! ;)


message 8: by Teresa (last edited Jun 11, 2011 09:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Teresa Sue wrote: "Thanks for the great review Teresa. I had a hard enough time trying to figure out the review. Now I'm reassured the book probably is for me."

Thanks, Sue. I know what you mean. I wasn't sure about it at all until I read K.D.'s and Lisa's reviews recently, and then I knew.


message 9: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue I just added it to my ever-lengthening list. At least I'm making some gains in it lately. (and I'm updating from old journals. I like having a unified list.)


message 10: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Just so, Teresa! We are of like minds about this book *warm smile*


Teresa After reading Lisa's review of this book, Sue, I 'cleared' my reading schedule and read it ASAP. Sometimes, I just feel the need to do that!

And thanks for steering me to this book, Lisa!


message 12: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue I cleared my schedule for Sarajevo Blues at the behest of a friend of mine. Not sure when I'll get to this but hopefully before too long. I'll have to move it high on my list so I don't forget.


James Murphy Isn't that at the heart of reading, recognizing through someone else what you feel. Especially in those moments you can't quite express it yourself. That moment of discovey is what makes books and reading so essential. Great review.


message 14: by Teresa (last edited Jun 13, 2011 10:21AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Teresa James wrote: "Isn't that at the heart of reading, recognizing through someone else what you feel. Especially in those moments you can't quite express it yourself. That moment of discovey is what makes books and reading so essential. Great review."

Exactly. And as you recognize it as something you feel but hadn't been able to express, it also opens up new worlds to you. Thanks, Murph.


message 15: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue I'm having that same experience in the book I'm reading now, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship....what a wonderful feeling. Not of the specific loss but of some of the developmental issues and growth aspects of life.


message 16: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Thank you for your fine review, Teresa. You have expressed so well what many of us feel about ourselves and the process of reading!


Teresa Sue wrote: "I'm having that same experience in the book I'm reading now, Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship....what a wonderful feeling. Not of the specific loss but of some of..."

It sounds like a good one, Sue!


Teresa Barbara wrote: "Thank you for your fine review, Teresa. You have expressed so well what many of us feel about ourselves and the process of reading!"

Thanks, Barbara. Yes, I figured most -- if not all -- of my GR friends would 'get' it!


message 19: by Cathrine (new)

Cathrine I'm loving it - besides the sections where he defines the reader in too much details and I don't see myself in those.
but more often than not I am loving it :-)


message 20: by Margitte (new)

Margitte I was introduced to this book, just now, by Steve's review and am intrigued now. So many GR-friends have read it and wrote wonderful reviews. I love your opening paragraph very much. And now you are pushing me forward to get going with this book lolol. I really will have to read it now.


Cecily I really like the personal interpretation you've put on your review, which is so apt for this strange, wonderful, and oddly personal book.


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