Books from Italy

Books from Italy

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

I have found that as my language skills continue to improve that I read more and more books. That’s partly because it doesn’t take as long to read them. It used to be a bit of drudgery because I was looking up so many words or phrases and making notes that it would take a long time to get through a book. It has always been somewhat pleasant and certainly perhaps one of the best ways to improve my vocabulary. Now it’s going further on the pleasure end of the spectrum. In fact I ran out of new books to read last summer and re-read a couple that I had read before and I found to my delight that I understood them much better. It seems that sometimes I actually lost track of the plot. So here are the books that I brought back.

Wow -7 books that I brought back.

OK, Ratman doesn’t really qualify as a book. It’s a comic book but perhaps the only one I found that I really like. It’s about a goofy superhero, well I guess you could call him that but he’s often getting himself into trouble. I included quite a bit about him in another post so if you’re interested you can see that by clicking here. In any case this is the last issue of Ratman. I’ll be sad to see him go.

The book on the bottom right was a gift from a friend there. It’s a story of a surviving Italian soldier near the end of WWII and his nobility and humility as he struggles at the end of that conflict amid the chaos. It’s title is “The Traveling Companion”.

All of the other books are mysteries of one sort or another. I’ve now read a lot of the books by Carlo Lucarelli. He writes mostly mysteries, including ones that are also humorous, as well as some nonfiction. I really like him a lot and have a reasonable collection of his books as well as having read several others that I got from the library in Bologna and read while I was there.

Massimo Carotto also has a big presence in my Italian book collection. All of his are mysteries. I really like some of his characters, especially one with the protagonist nicknamed “Alligator” and his partner the “Old Rossini” whose nickname come from the fact he is the eldest of several sons in his family. He’s an interesting author but sometimes the happenings can be pretty brutal. I wrote a blog post about him in 2011 before I ever went to Italy. If interested click here.

A newer discovery is Antonio Manzini. He has a very interesting protagonist who’s a reasonably high level detective for the state police that keeps getting himself in trouble due to unorthodox (and often quite illegal) methods as well as his habit of smoking joints in his office – well, he opens the window at least.

The newest discovery and to my mind the best is Gianrico Carofiglio. In real life he was a mafia prosecutor in Bari, Puglia and started writing his books later in his career. His protagonist is a lawyer and unlike almost all of the others there are legal cases but no murders. His protagonist is a thoughtful guy and a talented defense attorney. I love reading him. Many of his books are available in translation from, who else, Amazon. In fact I bought two used copies of a book translated into english (they’re pretty inexpensive) of one of the above books “Ad Occhi Chiusi” for gifts. The translated title is “A Walk in the Dark” which makes absolutely no sense at all. “With Eyes Closed” is both the literal translation and also fits with the plot of the book. It’s weird how some movie or book titles get such strange translations.

So you see, Andrea Camilleri, who many people know about with his Detective Montalbano series of books is only one of many excellent Italian authors.







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