The Reading List

Read much? Don’t find the time? Pity. I love reading. Books especially. I think reading is one of the most precious skills of the human kind. No other living creature we know of has the ability of telling stories, visualising them, writing them down, reading them.

The cliché thing about reading that I find to be most true is it fosters the intensity of thought and stimulates the streams of active thinking.

Plus, reading helps me fall asleep. Somehow it provides the energy necessary to disconnect.

As much as it might seem to be a lonesome activity when reading (here goes another cliché) one’s never alone. I love the explosive meandering of the mind, imagination and transcendence caused by reading a good book. Ah, let go of this philosophical nonsense. Here’s my reading list of the recent months.

The summer evening outside the bar in Dorsoduro in Venice
Sipping aperitivo on a summer evening outside the bar in Dorsoduro in Venice, the most magical of all places on Earth

1. Venice by Jan Morris

Jan Morris is a very thorough and meticulous writer. She’s been around for so long her experience is dense and invaluable. Her writing is warm and reliable; despite her enviable age one can regularly run into her journalistic articles or blog posts. The places she writes about are delightful as is her prose itself. This book on Venice is no travel book and no memoir although it contains much of both. It’s a monument to a splendid city that has no rival in the whole world. For true lovers of Venice only (others may find it too overwhelming).

The view of Piazza Unita d’Italia in Trieste
Piazza Unita d’Italia in Trieste

By the way, there’s also her book on another Italian city: Trieste, the ultimate nowhere-place. I liked the book titled Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere for many reasons: the writing is superb, there are countless historical facts entwined within the story of a place and many personal references. I’ve loved the city of Trieste since I was a little girl although I never knew much about it historically and I’m happy someone else found it just as lovable.

2. Neapolitan novels by Elena FerranteMy Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay and The Story of the Lost Child

Happy reading: the four volumes of Neapolitan series by Elena Ferrante
The four volumes of Neapolitan series by Elena Ferrante

I read them one after another (they form a tetralogy) and when I finished I wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about them as I was when I started. They’re set in Naples, the protagonists are local Neapolitans and female friends since childhood. It’s a compelling series but I’m not happy to admit that in retrospect they’re too linear: the reader is dragged through the plot for the plot itself. There, I said it. On the other hand, it provides an interesting insight into the Italian mindset. I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to get a grip on (South) Italian soul.

3. Ian McEwan: The Children Act

And no, I’m not focusing solely on Italian stuff. I certainly like British authors. What’s not to like about Ian McEwan’s books anyway? The literary persona that he is none of his books is anything less then remarkable. This one is very topical again, contemporary and very much alive, set in London, UK. It’s a rather small volume of a very large content. A must.

The view of London from atop the Primrose Hill on a lovely spring day, a must as much as an Ian McEwan’s book

 

Related:

Another reading list on mrssage.com

Source of the Naples painting: Saatchi Art: Wonderful City View of Naples Italy with Mount Vesuvio and Gulf Painting by M Bleichner

The Guardian on mysterious Elena Ferrante and fastidious Ian McEwan

 

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