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Constant Reader > Books based in Italy

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message 52: by Jim (last edited Aug 10, 2011 04:45PM) (new)

Jim | 491 comments Where is Henry James?

Wings of the Dove
Portrait of a Lady
Daisy Miller (Watch out for the Coliseum at Night)
Golden Bowl (Well, the Prince is from Italy)
and his travel book, Italian Hours

Just to name a few.

And while I think of it, The Aeneid, The Prince, and Dante's Inferno (for hot summer days.)

And The Godfather

message 53: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 14, 2011 05:45PM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 41 comments BookWoman wrote post #32: "
Delurking for a moment to possibly add to your list. (Lots of different genres and eras.)


Thank you for the list BookWoman. I decided to select from your list
The Reluctant Tuscan: How I Discovered My Inner Italian~Phil Doran.

I just finished it tonight.

The author is a writer for sitcoms: Sanford & Son, Too Close for comfort, Who's the Boss and The Wonder Years to name a few.

Because he is a sitcom writer there are a lot of laugh out loud lines. The story is a familiar one of Americans moving to a foreign country, in this case Italy, and all the troubles that they encounter. Still, in the hands of this author, I enjoyed the story quite a bit. Molto bene !

message 54: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl I just finished a novella set in Venice, Simonetta Perkins. The author L.P. Hartley is more famous for The Go-Between and Eustace and Hilda.

message 55: by Erika (new)

Erika | 23 comments The Italians

Cooking with Fernet Branca

Cooking with FB is a hilarious farce on the "Under the Tuscan Sun"-sort of book.

message 56: by Erika (last edited Aug 16, 2011 10:02AM) (new)

Erika | 23 comments The Italians

Cooking with Fernet Branca

Cooking with FB is a hilarious farce. It's a send up of the "Under the Tuscan Sun"-sort of book.

message 57: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 41 comments Thank you. I am adding Cooking with Fernet Branca to my TBR list.

message 58: by Caitlin (new)

Caitlin | 4 comments I know this isn't a book suggestion, but if you go to Rome and you like Gelato you have to go to 'Il Gelato di San Crispino', it's near the Trevi Fountain. It is the most amazing gelato I have had in my entire life. I got grapefruit the first day and we had to go back the next day before we left to get more because it was so good, the second time I got bergamot. SO amazing!

message 59: by Kevin (last edited Aug 19, 2011 07:36AM) (new)

Kevin (ManchesterUnited) | 41 comments Caitlin,
Look at my goodreads picture. I am 20 yards from 'Il Gelato di San Crispino' You are so personal favorite is lemon.
I want to go back so badly! :)

message 61: by Barbara (last edited Sep 03, 2011 06:47AM) (new)

Barbara | 6020 comments Thanks once again, everyone. We have returned from our trip and I wanted to let you know which books I read after all of your great recommendations.

I think that my favorite was Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World by Anthony Doerr. I hadn't read this author before and expected a light travel book. Instead, I think I've found a new favorite writer. His descriptions are absolutely lyrical. And, he gave me one one of my new favorite quotes:
Leave home, leave the country, leave the familiar. Only then can routine experience--buying bread, eating vegetables, even saying hello--become new all over again.
I was delighted to find that he is a goodreads author and wrote him a fan letter. He responded immediately with a gracious note.

The Imperfectionists was also quite good. It is written as a collection of short stories, which are interconnected, about an international newspaper very much like The International Herald Tribe. It's a first book by Tom Rachman and I was impressed.

Another great one was Pictures from Italy by Charles Dickens. Dickens brought his eye for detail and his humor to travel writing and was very successful. It was also fun to read about things in the 19th century that I was experiencing currently. I've been trying to read Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad: or, The New Pilgrims' Progress for a year now and, for me, he was not as successful as Dickens was.

The Sixteen Pleasures, based in Florence, by Robert Hellenga was also good, but not in the same class as the first three here.

Last, and least, is Seven Seasons in Siena: My Quixotic Quest for Acceptance Among Tuscany's Proudest People. I still would recommend it if you are going to Siena. It gave me a great understanding of the contrades, little tribe-like groups in Siena, and the Palio horse races that go on there twice a year. However, Robert Rodi's writing is fairly pedestrian and I got a little tired of all of his efforts to be accepted by one of the contrades. It's probably significant that it was not recommended here. I found it in a library newsletter.

message 62: by Carol (last edited Sep 03, 2011 08:32AM) (new)

Carol | 7064 comments Here is a travelogue D. H. Lawrence and Italy: Twilight in Italy; Sea and Sardinia; Etruscan Places. I am waiting for my used copy to arrive.

message 63: by John (new)

John | 1376 comments Glad the Doerr and Rachmann books I suggested worked out well, Barbara. While you were busy with those, I listened to a book set in Ann Arbor (Bad Things Happen).

Cooking with Fernet Branca is hilarious. I've read the sequel, but not the third book yet.

My library has Pictures from Italy as an ebook, so it's on my e-TBR list.

message 64: by Barbara (last edited Sep 03, 2011 09:53AM) (new)

Barbara | 6020 comments John, I read about Harry Dolan, the author of Bad Things Happen this summer before we left on our trip and made a mental note to read it. I'm glad your comment reminded me. Here is a link to an interview with Dolan. I get the print version of this and think I read the interview there:

And, I forgot that you also recommended the Doerr book. Thank you, thank you! Have you read anything else by him?

message 65: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 6020 comments Just checked and my library owns an audiobook production of Bad Things Happen, John. It's done by Penguin Audio.

message 66: by Janet (last edited Sep 03, 2011 02:00PM) (new)

Janet Leszl | 1163 comments In case you missed this posted on another thread and are interested in the photobook I created with pictures we took in Italy, here is the link.

message 67: by Sue (new)

Sue | 3521 comments Barbara, I loved Doerr's most recent book, Memory Wall: Stories, which I was lucky enough to receive last Christmas. I have a copy of the book you read but haven't read it yet.

message 68: by Jane (new)

Jane | 524 comments Barbara, I read The Shell Collector, a story collection, when it was first published. It too is lyrical. I'm so glad to know that Doerr has written other books. I'll look for them.

message 69: by John (new)

John | 1376 comments I haven't read any of Doerr's other work, but will try him out - Mt. TBR looms ever higher!

message 70: by Carol (new)

Carol | 7064 comments John you must live near me. I can see MT. TBR from my bedroom. LOL

message 71: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia Tedesco (SylviaTedesco) | 197 comments Barbara wrote: "Thanks once again, everyone. We have returned from our trip and I wanted to let you know which books I read after all of your great recommendations.

One of our favorites pieces of Mark Twain is "Italian Without a Master":
There is a great and peculiar charm about reading news-scraps in a language which you are not acquainted with--the charm that always goes with the mysterious and the uncertain. You can never be absolutely sure of the meaning of anything you read in such circumstances; you are chasing an alert and gamy riddle all the time, and the baffling turns and dodges of the prey make the life of the hunt. A dictionary would spoil it. Sometimes a single word of doubtful purport will cast a veil of dreamy and golden uncertainty over a whole paragraph of cold and practical certainties, and leave steeped in a haunting and adorable mystery an incident which had been vulgar and commonplace but for that benefaction. Would you be wise to draw a dictionary on that gracious word? would you be properly grateful?
You can read this delightful piece at:

message 72: by Sue (new)

Sue | 3521 comments Kitty wrote: "John you must live near me. I can see MT. TBR from my bedroom. LOL"

Kitty, thank you for a LOL moment. they are so welcome and sometimes so rare.

message 73: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Ha.

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Books mentioned in this topic

The sixteen pleasures (other topics)
The Fall of a Sparrow (other topics)
Summer's Lease: Tie In Edition (other topics)
Eat, Pray, Love (other topics)
Angels & Demons (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Tim Parks (other topics)
Donna Leon (other topics)
Milena Agus (other topics)
Paul Salsini (other topics)
Lucretia Grindle (other topics)