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My Reading Journey > Anastasia's Reading Journey

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message 1: by Anastasia (last edited May 05, 2014 12:25PM) (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 1. Have you always loved books? Who, if anyone, in your life has most inspired you to read?

Books have been present in my life since my youngest childhood, when my mother used to put me to bed and open a book from our collections of classics for children. I remember mostly The Wizard of Oz, the first novel she read to me, an exciting journey like every "first time". I remember also Pinocchio by Collodi, but not others..
Well, to tell the truth, we used to take a lot of time for a single read because I was always sufficiently awake to ask million questions.
My mother in fact has always cared about pushing her children to read, she can't really suffer ignorance or total absence of any culture. But, well, if she reached her purposes with me, my brother has always been reluctant to read, he doesn't really like it and so...she gave up hoping that in a future.. :-D (he's 12). I have to say that I'm proud of having a mother who doesn't really look on this assiduos hobby of reading with worried eyes, unlike others.

2. What was your favourite childhood book?

I used to go to the library at least one time at week for my little book hauls with my parents, and then with my best friend of those times. I read a lot of Geronimo Stilton's books (here in Italy it is a famous series) and I liked them a lot because of the customized fonts for words, for example "cheese" was written in yellow with holes into it, or verbs like "to scare" were written in a waved way! Geronimo Stilton is a mice in a mice world, very similar to our, in fact he directs a journal! He is very near to be like Courage the Cowardly Dog, LOL, he was always frightened of something and his jobs imposed a lot of adventures to him. I loved one of his books particularly, The Kingdom of Fantasy where pages smell of specific things like sulfur, roses, strawberry, but also unpleasant smells like..troll's feets! It depended on where you were in the novel. I read many times also The Secret Of Cacklefur Castle Chi ha rapito Languorina?, etc.
The second series that I read regularly was Ciao,Valentina!. by Angelo Petrosino. Valentina was a normal girl of ten years and the writer followed her little adventures in her everyday life for some years, until she was 15 or 16. I liked the series so much that one day I took courage and I wrote an e-mail to the writer to express my appreciation, and he replied!

3. Which books do you remember studying at school? Did you enjoy them?

Actually I'm still at school, I'm 18 and this is my last year at "liceo classico" (a sort of high school concentrating on liberal arts). I've read for holidays - we don't read books during the year, except for specific reasons - italian authors like Cesare Pavese, Luigi Pirandello, Italo Svevo, Italo Calvino, Giovanni Boccaccio, Giovanni Verga for classics, but also Valerio Massimo Manfredi in the contemporary literature, he writes historical books set in ancient Greece or Rome, and this is very useful for subjects like latin and greek. To be honest, I don't like Manfredi like many of us at school, but I liked the other books assigned generally, except maybe for Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann, some of Calvino's books and Baudolino by Eco.
Two years ago I discovered thanks to the assignments of my English teacher one of the novels which has impressed me the most, Bartleby, the Scrivener by Melville. It struck me, revealing a part of myself that was dangerously here, but without a name. It has been painful, not liberating, but necessary. Being able to give a name to "my kind of pain" without swimming in the unknown was something clearer finally, lucid, but hard to bear at first impact. If you are wondering, no, I don't have the particular communication disease of Bartleby (..oh god, fortunately!), it was something more indirectly involved. It's very similar to the "inquietudes" of a young and active mind (too active sometimes, in fact with all these cerebral labors at 15-16 I was already able to understand intimally Woody Allen's ponderings and struggles - even if it is out of topic, he really saved my life, more than every writer I read -).

4. Where do you most enjoy reading? Do you need silence to read, or can you read almost anywhere?

Three years of reads in the middle of a train stuffed up by all those screaming teens without a thinking brain have teached me to read even if a cannon is passing over my head. I can't concentrate only if somethings is really torturing my mind ( -> a paranoid person like me and this statement..!).
And my favorite place to read is my garden (in this months like April and May I like to sit on my bench directly under the sun) and my bed becomes really appealing for this aim only if some extraordinary circurmstances are verifying, like..having my room tidy ( = never).

5.Choose five of your favourite books and tell us why you loved them so much?

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank: I was shocked after this reading, and not directly and """simply""" for the horrors of holocaust, but growing fond of Anne, I've seen her growing up and becoming a little woman like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, I've seen her opening like a beautiful flower, and my feelings were similar to those of a proud elder sister, and then... I started to notice the dates on every entry. When I realized what was going to happen to my "little sister", how it was near, I felt totally wrecked.

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith: okay, this is very inappopriate to say after the last words, but..when I was a child, for example, my favorite character of The Lion King was..Scar, not Mufasa, not Simba, but the antagonist, and my mother laughs every time that she remembers how I sang passionately with the bad lioness of The Lion King 2 in my childhood. This transgressive but essentialy innocuos fascination for the "antagonist" of the situation and his personality has remained a bit in me, and so sometimes I like to read the noir genre because of this. I loved the character of Tom Ripley and I found the story very captivating, my favorite of the books I've read on this genre with Out by Natsuo Kirino. I like a quote from Graham Greene on Highsmith's literary world: " “she created a world of her own, a world claustrophobic and irrational which we enter each time with a sense of personal danger".

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett: I can't forget about this book if we are mentioning my favorites. I think that Beckett was a genius and the backward of what his playwords are implying is totally in accord to my current thoughts on life (I'm an atheist, so personally I perceived this "endless and unproductive waiting" like an irrational hope we have instead of being able to do something actively in life, a state of mind - I'm not against catholics, I'm talking about a specific and stuck situation in which sometimes every human being falls, even unconciously, waiting for Godot, an undefinable hope, not necessarily a specific God in a specific belief, it's a more vague sensation).
The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by Albert Camus could be in the same little dedicated shelf, in fact Camus is one my favorite writers.

City of Thieves by David Benioff: this time there are not particular reasons for which I liked this book, except for the fact that it was genuinely captivating (I pratically scarf the book down) and with two characters I grew fond of gradually, it was moving and I loved Benioff's style and sympathetic humor, in fact I've closed the book with a warm and hearty gratitude like every novel that leaves the sensation of a really well-paid ticket.

The Inhabited Woman by Gioconda Belli: I loved Belli's way of describing Lavinia's sensitivity, I like to read latin-american novels because of their relationship with body and feelings, how much they can be lyric in describing an intimate sentiment and love above all, involving this instinctive and primordial way of perceiving deep attachments, in fact I loved in this book how loved and Lavinia's love story was told. Really fascinating.

6. Do you prefer reading fiction or non fiction?

Fiction! But I like non-fiction too, I tend to take a lot of time to finish this kind of books, but I love expanding my knowledge and learning new things, this sort of hunger is happily alive in me for years.

7. Are you fond of a particular author and what attracts you to their books? (You can pick a few if you can’t choose!)

Oriana Fallaci is like a spiritual guide for me. Letter to a Child Never Born is my favorite book and I will always remember the hearty moral of Inshallah(she's not christian as you could think, her position is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christia...).
I admire her immensely. When I'm in a hard situation, I always think about her and what she would suggest me and I know that there's something intuitively right about her statements. (okay, this is a confession: sometimes I feel a light sadness because I can't actually have a talk with her, but..you can understand)
I don't feel her suggestions as universally right, not a truth, but they are the rightest way of living for me.
Obviously she has been so great that applying her suggestions constantly is not possible, I'm a very different personality, but I like to keep her in mind when I see that I'm loosing my way. In fact her oustanding courage has pushed me to love life more than before (I can be very..slothful), reading her fulfills me of her deep attachment to life and how living and feel ourselves living can be extraordinary, and when times are hard, I think that the future is hiding me things that I can't predict or imagine (in a positive sense) and for which I have to hang in.

8. Is there an author you haven't yet tried but you'd really like to?

...a lot! Some essays by Jean-Paul Sartre, and also authors like Simone de Beauvoir, Philip Roth,F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hans Fallada with Every Man Dies Alone, Maeve Brennan, and so on.

9. Do you rely on goodreads to keep track of your reading or do you have your own method?

I like to do lists, so I keep track of the reading here but also on a personal database (...I have registered my file of reads - recordable given my young age, fortunately - separately by author, by title and by date...I'm a maniac listophile, aaaarrrgh!)

10. What's the best book you've read so far this year? What are you reading at the moment? What will you be reading next?

- Tell the Wolves I'm Homeis my best read so far this year, I didn't expect to like it so much as I did, I loved the characters, particularly Toby and I grew fond of the entire novel during the reading.

- Madame Bovary (re-reading), The Short Stories by Hemingway, Gone Girl and two essays on Fellini's cinema. :)

- I'll read next one of these books: The Moon and the Bonfire, Embers, Too Loud a Solitude, La sorella. Vita di Paolina Leopardi, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender or Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, Smilla's Sense of Snow, The Sleeping Voice.


message 2: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments Interesting reading journey.

I too have Philip Roth and Hans Fallada as the authors to be tried in sometime in the future. Smilla's Sense of Snow is on my mind for I loved some of Tiina Nunnally's translations recently.

I love most of the Italian authors that you have mentioned. I will have to try soon Cesare Pavese to add to my Italian Literature shelf.


message 3: by dely (last edited May 05, 2014 01:47PM) (new)

dely | 5214 comments Very interesting journey and full of details of your life. You are so young and you have read already a lot of interesting and important books. Congratulations!

What will you do when you will finish high-school?


message 4: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments Thank you! :)

dely wrote: "What will you do when you will finish high-school? "

I'll study philosophy at university :-D (= I'll committ an economic-social suicide!)


message 5: by Alice (new)

Alice Poon (alice_poon) An interesting chronicle! Albert Camus is one of my favorite authors too and I also love The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. His absurdism theory has had a significant influence on my outlook on life. Good for you that you've read so many Italian authors already!


message 6: by dely (new)

dely | 5214 comments Anastasia wrote: "I'll study philosophy at university :-D (= I'll committ an economic-social suicide!)"

You must study what captivates you, it's the only right thing to do!


message 7: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 12942 comments Mod
My son loved Geronimo Stilton and I have to say that this way they've learnt to love books and not to be afraid of long novels!!!


message 8: by dely (last edited May 06, 2014 01:51PM) (new)

dely | 5214 comments LauraT wrote: "My son loved Geronimo Stilton and I have to say that this way they've learnt to love books and not to be afraid of long novels!!!"

My son too has read some Geronimo Stilton but he preferred Goosebumps series and later Artemis Fowl.


message 9: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) This is indeed an impressive list for someone still at school! I love that your reading is so "broad" and international. You put me to shame there.

I too love the customised fonts for children's books, and can remember my excitement when these started to be used :)

"Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow" (as I read it in English) or Smilla's Sense of Snow is a good entertaining read. :)

Anastasia, you have shared some of your innermost thoughts here. I do wish you well. I admit I laughed at the idea of philosophy as an "economic and social suicide". In fact I know several who would attest to that in England (and one who has escaped to the USA because of it) but in the rest of Europe I think you'll be OK!

Thank you for sharing this. Good luck with your future reading - I'm sure you're on the right track :)


message 10: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 12942 comments Mod
dely wrote: "LauraT wrote: "My son loved Geronimo Stilton and I have to say that this way they've learnt to love books and not to be afraid of long novels!!!"

My son too has read some Geronimo Stilton but he p..."


We didn't discover your books!


message 11: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments Oh, when I've been in Spain I've tried reading Geronimo Stilton books. I hadn't realised they were Italian. Yes, I also love the way they are designed. I understand some of the story in Spanish, but I don't get all the jokes.


message 12: by Shirley (new)

Shirley | 4176 comments Thanks for sharing this, Anastasia, it's been really interesting to read. Although I haven't read too many of the books you mention, I can see that they have greatly impacted you and I guess that's what reading is all about! I can remember how I felt when reading The Diary of a Young Girl as a teenager; the story was so moving - I had not read anything like it before.
It's interesting that you have selected The Talented Mr Ripley - I wasn't so keen on the film, but maybe the book is much better? They usually are!

I think Hans Fallada is worth reading - I have read Alone in Berlin and found it was well worth reading.

I also read Tell the Wolves I'm home - last year, I think, and really enjoyed that too.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Really enjoyed this Anastasia. I also haven't heard of many of your authors. I would echo what Shirley said, I really enjoyed Alone In Berlin by Fallada


message 14: by LauraT (last edited May 09, 2014 10:37AM) (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 12942 comments Mod
Have a look at my daughter, age 4, shouting jokes at Geronimo Stilton!

 photo stilton18.jpg


message 15: by dely (new)

dely | 5214 comments LauraT wrote: "Have a look at my daughter, age 4, shouting jokes at Geronimo Stilton!



"


So cute ^^ Your daugther, not Geronimo Stilton!


message 16: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 12942 comments Mod
:-)


message 17: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments @ Laura T: Lovely pic....Marta seems to be full of energy from her first breath.


message 18: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 12942 comments Mod
She was...and killed ours!
By the way, what's your new avatar?


message 19: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments @Laura T: That is the author with whom I am madly in love with these days - Sigrid Undset.


message 20: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Anastasia - thanks for sharing! I was surprised that we had as much in common as we did, coming from different cultures and native language. I had a very similar reaction to Diary of a Young Girl!

Laura - love the photo of your daughter (even though I am clueless about who Geronimo Stilton is!)


message 21: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 12942 comments Mod
Dhanaraj wrote: "@Laura T: That is the author with whom I am madly in love with these days - Sigrid Undset."

Got it!


message 22: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments Thanks to all of you! :)

dely wrote: "Anastasia wrote: "I'll study philosophy at university :-D (= I'll committ an economic-social suicide!)"

You must study what captivates you, it's the only right thing to do!"


I've thought the same :) @Jean: LOL! I've had this idea of going to study in Scotland, but if you are saying that in UK the possibilities of working are the same, well, I'm more convinced about staying here in Italy. Unfortunately I don't meet their high standards for entering: I'll never have 95/100 at our final exam in "high school"!

@Shirley: I know that generally the movie is considered less than the book, you could try! :)

@Laura: your daughter is very cute *_*

I will add to my wishlist Alone in Berlin too!


message 23: by Pink (new)

Pink Thanks for sharing your journey, I really enjoyed reading this :)

By the way, Alone in Berlin is the same book as Every Man Dies Alone, just published with different titles in different countries.


message 24: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Anastasia - I have not been able to find much (anecdotally )about the position of academic philosophy in Scotland, except that they do issue a philosophical quarterly journal. (Probably Edinburgh.) But then so does Oxford, so that's not saying much.

I'd expect the lack of enthusiasm for the discipline to be similar to England's. But if you're serious about this, then do please look into it for yourself. Mine is only an impression. :)


message 25: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments I am a bit late to the party! Anastasia I really enjoyed reading your journey, and I chuckled finding Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann on your 'didn't care for' list of school assigned books, as I tend to feel very isolated in absolutely NOT understanding the hype around it. I am surprised it is school lit in Italy!
And I adore Beckett, so finding Godot on your list made me quite happy.


message 26: by Anastasia (last edited May 17, 2014 02:41AM) (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments Pink wrote: "Thanks for sharing your journey, I really enjoyed reading this :)

By the way, Alone in Berlin is the same book as Every Man Dies Alone, just published with different titles in different countries."


Oh, I didn't know it! Thanks :)

Jean, thanks for giving me some tips anyway!

@Jenny: It was in a list of suggestions by my italian literature professor because of the historical context! :) But..well, you can understand me: absolutely boring!


message 27: by Roderick (new)

Roderick Vincent | 97 comments Anastasia, Loved reading about your journey! You were pretty intellectual understanding Woody Allen at that age. I remember seeing "Everything You Want to Know about Sex but were too Afraid to Ask" around that age and began to recognize his comedic genius. My respect has only grown.

I've tried some Phillip Roth (Portney's Complaint and a short story). He hasn't hooked me yet as an author.

"Waiting for Godot" is one I want to read. Adding it to my to-read list.

Thanks again for sharing!


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