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.
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).
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 Ferrante: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay and The Story of the Lost Child
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.
Source of the Naples painting: Saatchi Art: Wonderful City View of Naples Italy with Mount Vesuvio and Gulf Painting by M Bleichner