Friday, 5 August 2016

#WorldReads - five books from Italy

It's back to Europe for my WorldReads post this month. I am blogging about five books from Italy. If you are new to this post series, on the fifth of each month  I look back over my global reads, pick a country, and recap my thoughts on five books written by different authors from that country. A full list of the countries I have already blogged about is at the end of this post.

Italy has a strong literary heritage dating back beyond Macchiavelli and Dante. I did try an audiobook of Macchiavelli's The Prince, but don't think I managed to finish it. A bit too heavy for me so the books chosen here are much more recent! If you have reviewed or want to highlight any other great Italian books, please Comment and feel welcome to leave a link.

The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomas di Lampedusa

An OXFAM find which appealed to me because of its fabulous cover art, The Leopard is set in Sicily during the time of Garibaldi. Lampedusa obviously has a great love for this island and his writing sparkles when describing it. The main storyline is about an aristocratic family whose greatness is fading and we learn their various ways of coming to terms with their reduced circumstances.

Silk by Alessandro Baricco

Silk is a beautifully written tale of obsessional love set in 1860s France and Japan. Herve leaves his French town every year journeying for months to buy silkworms. An unexpected sighting of European woman in Japan captures his mind and, although they never speak, he cannot get her put of his mind. Baricco uses quite unusual prose often with sentence fragments and abrupt statements or extended repetitive segments to put across his meaning and the result is a magical story.

The Name Of The Rose by Umberto Eco

I wasn't sure if I would enjoy The Name Of The Rose as it is quite a brick and a murder mystery too which isn't my favourite genre. However I absolutely loved the book! The historical detail is fascinating and, although this is not an easy read by any standards - my mostly forgotten GCSE Latin really wasn't good enough - it is ultimately very rewarding. Beliefs in this medieval society are baffling and often frightening and I was so glad to be alive now, not back then.

The Moon And The Bonfires by Cesare Pavese

My early paperback edition from Totnes Community Bookshop of this 1950 book was titled with just a single bonfire, but the story is the same inside. I am not sure when the title translation changed. Pavese has written an interesting novella about longing to belong and what it means to be part of the land you are from. Orphan Anguilla was raised in rural povery never feeling as though he fitted in to the community. Now he has returned, wealthy, from American exile to reunite with those he left behind.

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

Read my original book review

I decided I couldn't leave Italy without including Carlo Collodi's classic fairytale which, in its original form, might not be considered suitable for children! This book goes to some pretty dark places as our wooden puppet hero learns about what it means to be a real boy. Apparently Collodi didn't like children very much at all!

That's it for my five books from Italy. Next month I will be reminiscing about books I have read from Nigeria. The bookshop links are affiliate links so, should you click through and make a purchase, I would receive a small commission payment.

You can join in my WorldReads Challenge at any time! Simply read 1 or more books from a different country each month, write a post about it/them, grab the button below and add it to your post. Don't forget to pop back here and Comment your link so I can visit!

Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

If you missed any of the WorldReads earlier posts, we have already 'visited' Australia, Canada and France.


  1. I've just found out about this category because you've just commented on my website, so thank you for that :D Can you believe that I am Italian and I've never read any of these? Obviously I know Pinocchio but I don't own the book so most probably I've read bits and pieces while in elementary school; I have The Name of the Roses on my TBR but only because they broadcast a TV series based on the book so it picked my curiosity; I've never heard of "The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomas di Lampedusa" and "Silk by Alessandro Baricco" and since Cesare Pavese is one of the authors that we must study in high school (and we read something else of his) I've never read The Moon And The Bonfires (even if I did hear about it)... You know, just pointing out how this world is wonderful..

    1. I'm glad I could read Pavese just for myself and not at school. There's so many deep themes that I think truly studying the book would have completely ruined the story!