"Italy in Books" - July reviews

Thanks again for joining the "Italy in Books” reading challenge 2011! What? You haven't joined yet? No worries, there is time to sign up until the very last day of the year...

Below you can find a list of all the book reviews submitted in July (via this link). I am sure that everyone will find it useful to learn about new and interesting reading ideas - in fact, I suspect that as a result of this challenge my TBR list will expand dangerously!

Whether you know the books that are being discussed or have never heard of them, I strongly encourage you to leave comments below and on the blogs themselves. I want to hear your voices! Despite its name, the reading challenge is not a mere competition, rather an opportunity to share ideas and bond over common interests!

Let's begin!

01. Barbara read and reviewed Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon.
02. Maggie read and reviewed The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato.

03. Gretchen read and reviewed Caesar's Legions by Stephen Dando-Collins.
04. Laura read and reviewed Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita by Barbara Conelli.
05. Juliet read and reviewed Sul Po by Mario Bonfantini.
06. Patricia read and reviewed The Lady in the Palazzo by Marlena di Blasi.
07. Tina Marie read and reviewed The Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato.
08. Lynn read and reviewed The Neapolitan Streak by Timothy Holme.
09. Lynn read and reviewed Tuscan Holiday by Holly Chamberlin.
10. Pete read and reviewed The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli.
11. Jeane read Il giorno del lupo by Carlo Lucarelli. Scroll down to read her review.
12. Angela read Tuscan Rose by Belinda Alexandra. Scroll down to read her review.
13. Lara read La curva del latte by Nico Orengo. Scroll down to read her review.

Reviews by non-blogger

Il giorno del lupo by Carlo Lucarelli. Read and reviewed by Jeane:
Coliandro is a disaster. Working for police he doesn't really makes mistakes but seems to be that kind of person that manages to make everything go wrong. Good intentions most of the time, but that's where it stays.
Nikita is a punk girl delivering packages. Nothing too bad would have happened if the package she forgets to deliver one day, wouldn't be for someone linked to the mafia in the North of Italy. It might have even been going less bad for her if she wouldn't have shared her problem with past 'friend' Coliandro.
Nothing seems like it is and nobody can be trusted, not even the ones supposed to be at the good side. Nikita just wants to deliver the package but is afraid. Coliandro is afraid too but keeps cool next to the girl he still likes. And everything gets worse until a suprising but at the same time (thinking about the subject) not that suprising end. This is the second Lucarelli book I read and again I enjoyed it.

Tuscan Rose by Belinda Alexandra. Read and reviewed by Angela:
A mysterious stranger known as THE WOLF, leaves an infant with the sisters of Santo Spirito. A silver key hidden in the infants wrappings. This is the only clue to her identity. As the years go by her life story unravels. She is named Rosa by the nuns. Her life has many twists and turns, a rape, a child born out of wedlock. Love, marriage, more children. War. Italy is ruled by Mussolini, and Hitler is invading all of Europe. When he invades Italy, Rosa joins the Parisans. Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, the allies finally gets to the Italians to rid them of the Nazi's. Through all this Rosa finds the answer to her birth. A good story, I learned a lot about the war in Italy.

La curva del latte by Nico Orengo. Read and reviewed by Lara:
Nico Orengo, in “La curva del Latte” chooses to describe a precise moment in Italian history. The year is 1957, a period relatively quiet; II World War is far away and modernity is approaching: the Sputnik has been launched, Grace Kelly and Prince Ranieri’s wedding is still occupying magazines’ pages, the economic boom has still to arrive; the television will become soon a constant presence in Italian families’ daily life with tv shows like “Lascia o raddoppia?” and the “Festival di Sanremo”.
We are in Latte, in Liguria, a village close to the French border, the writer’s favorite scenery for his works: it is a border region, where the Riviera di Ponente of Italian Liguria is already France.
Here, many people’s lives will cross for a while. We observe many inhabitants’ lives: Jolanda gives birth to a baby whose father is unknown. The teacher at the primary school Puglisi tries to compose a song whose refrain goes as “Nuotare oh oh, nel blu dipinto di blu” (while one year later Domenico Modugno will win the “Festival di Sanremo” with the most famous refrain in Italian music “Volare oh oh, nel blu dipinto di blu”). A statue of the Virgin is beheaded. Libero, an old communist, would like his “companions” Baciui and Luisò could carry on the party activities, as they are distracted by their wives and lovers. Giustin and Ettore dream about transforming the village in a touristic site. Mrs. Canzani evokes ghosts. A mysterious presence is wandering around the village, maybe the monster assembled by the eccentric Earl Voronoff. A various humanity in an agricultural site, where nobody is like he/she appears. Everyone, in Latte, has a secret to keep. The final of the story is not clear too, since many of the secrets mentioned remain undisclosed.
However, this is the peculiarity of the book. A linear landscape should call for a linear story. Instead, “La curva del Latte” starts following many threads; the reader would expect a finite conclusion, that does not arrive. Maybe this derives from a precise strategy followed by the author. The reader has to keep his/her attention on people and events while the real protagonist is just the landscape with its variety: mountains, hills, valleys, the river Latte and the sea. A rural and, therefore, “real” environment, without modern buildings, hotels, petrol stations, that today is only a picture of ancient times.

And remember, two July reviewers are in for a chance to win a copy of Inspector Cataldo's Criminal Summer by Luigi Guicciardi, courtesy of Hersilia Press. Buona fortuna!


  1. I have just finished my July read for the challenge must now get that review written!


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