"Italy in Books" - August 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 August (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 Blood Sisters by Alessandro Perissinotto.

02. Lindy read and reviewed Beyond the Pasta by Mark Leslie.
03. Parrish read and reviewed Without Blood by Alessandro Baricco.
04. Lindy read and reviewed A Death in Tuscany by Michele Giuttari.
05. Jeane read The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato. Scroll down to read her review.
06. Juliet read and reviewed History by Elsa Morante.
07. Tina Marie read and reviewed A Thousand Days in Tuscany by Marlena De Blasi.
08. Gretchen read and reviewed The Stones of Florence by Mary McCarty.
09. Maggie read and reviewed Dolci di Love by Sarah-Kate Lynch.
10. Maggie read and reviewed Jamie's Italy by Jamie Oliver.
11. Pete read and reviewed A Time in Rome by Elizabeth Bowen.
12. Lara read Un amore di zitella by Andrea Vitali. Scroll down to read her review.

Reviews by non bloggers

The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato. Read and reviewed by Jeane:
The beauty she discovers around her, touching it, hearing it .... the knowledge that something like it exists and that it is there, where she is. The tears that the realization of its existence brings.... she wrote so beautiful, so real... so close to how those creations make me feel. The smile it brings on your face.
That is how reading The glassblower of Murano made me feel. The story of Leonora moving to Venice to find out about her ancestors. The past and secrets of the Manin family. The beauty and returning events being told in such a beautiful way by this author.
I remember visiting Murano, one of the smaller islands near Venice. I saw the glass that was sold there, where they made it. But after having read the story, I want to leave immediately and see the real fornaci of Murano. To walk around the islands and see, tocuh and feel the wonders they created decenia, centuries ago.
Venice has a past so important and full of secrets that the story about the best glassblower, Corradino, blends in with a grace that makes me remember the beauty which remains there and was told beautifully in this story between two times, connected by the art of glassblowing.

Un amore di zitella by Andrea Vitali. Read and reviewed by Lara:
“Un amore di zitella”, written by Andrea Vitali, takes place in Bellano, nice village in front of the Lake of Como and author’s birthplace. We can almost see the lively atmosphere in the village as soon as we start reading this book or, better, this novel, since it is so short that it ends as soon as all the characters have been depicted!
The protagonist is Iole Vergara, a quiet woman who works at the town hall. She lives a relatively boring life: no men in her life, no family, no one to care about; she spends her evenings with a cup of coffee with milk. That’s a pity anyway, because Iole is, overall, a nice woman, very kind with everyone, even with Iride, her colleague at work. Iride is getting married (so she is still “spinster”, as Iole): contrarily to Iole, Iride is resentful, likes rumors and gossip and is envious about Iole, so lovely in every circumstance. She does not want Iole at her wedding and does not invite her: Iole, however, decides to buy the same a wedding present for her colleague, a precious edition of “La Divina Commedia”, and sends it to Iride writing a note “Best wishes from me and Dante”. Dante? Who is Dante? Iride does not realize that Iole is referring to Dante Alighieri, and fantasizes about a mysterious man for Iole. So the famous “spinster” is not spinster anymore?
At the beginning Iole likes the rumors and behave as if there is really a man in her life: she goes at the hairdresser’s, buys new clothes... At the end, however, she starts feeling guilty about the whole situation. She will receive help and advice by the secretary at the town hall, her boss, who understood the whole story about the mysterious man.
I would recommend to read this book because, as I said, it is really short and easy to read; it is remarkable the author’s ability in constructing a whole world made of people, landscapes and events, apparently not significant. However, we should remind how in small villages as Bellano, only events concerning common people can happen, and each one will be crucial for their lives.

And remember, one August reviewer is in for a chance to win a copy of Pompeii by Mary Beard, courtesy of Profile Books. Buona fortuna!


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