CULTURE, WAY OF LIFE
Summer reading list about Italy
August 5, 2021 – 10:12 AM
Beach ball: check. Bikini: check it out. A good book: not yet. Here is our selection of Italy-centric readings for the coming summer months., wherever you plan to spend the heatwave.
SAVOR / Still life by Sarah Winman
Tuscany, 1944: As Allied troops advance and bombs fall around deserted villages, a young English soldier, Ulysses Temper, finds himself in the wine cellar of a deserted villa. There, he has a chance encounter with Evelyn Skinner, a middle-aged art historian who came to Italy to salvage paintings from the ruins and recall forgotten memories of her own youth. All in all, Ulysses and Evelyn find a soul mate among the rubble of war-torn Italy and embark on a series of events that will shape Odysseus’s life for the next four decades. As Ulysses returns home to London, delves into his team at The Stoat and Parrot – a motley mix of pub crawlers and eccentrics – he takes his time to Italy with him. And when an unexpected legacy takes him back to where it all began, Ulysses knows better than tempting fate and returns to the Tuscan hills. With beautiful prose, extraordinary tenderness, and bursts of humor and light, Still life is a vast portrait of unforgettable individuals coming together to form a family, and a richly drawn celebration of beauty and love in all its forms. The perfect summer readingâOur editors savored every word.
STUDY / The invention of Sicily: a Mediterranean story by Jamie Mackay
Sicily has always been a bridge between Europe and the rest of the world. Beaten by the Phoenicians and Greeks, Romans, Goths and Byzantines, Arabs and Normans, Germans, Spaniards and French for thousands of years, Sicily has proven to be a unique melting pot of traditions. diverse, producing a unique culture. In this fascinating tale of the island from the earliest times to the present day, Fiesole-based author and journalist Jamie Mackay guides us through this most elusive place. From its pivotal position in the development of Greek and Roman mythology and the beautiful remains of Arab and Norman invasions to the rise of bandits and Cosa Nostra, The invention of Sicily is the ideal companion for the culture and history of Sicily. Mackay weaves the island’s political and social development with its fascinating cultural heritage, discussing how it works, including Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusathe masterpiece The leopard and Leonardo Sciascia’s novels were shaped by Sicily’s past and continue to shape the island today.
LEARN / The Florence bookseller: The history of the manuscripts that illuminated the Renaissance by Ross King
Renaissance in Florence conjures up images of beautiful frescoes and elegant buildings: the dazzling work of the city’s skilled artists and architects. But equally important for the following centuries were geniuses of another kind: the manuscript hunters, scribes, scholars and booksellers of Florence, who blew the dust of a thousand years of history and, through discovery and the dissemination of ancient knowledge, imagined a new and enlightened world. At the heart of this activity, which bestselling author Ross King recounts in his exhilarating new book, was a remarkable man: Vespasiano da Bisticci. Born in 1422, he became what a friend called “the king of the world’s booksellers”. In an era when all books were handcrafted, for four decades Vespasiano produced and sold several hundred volumes in his bookstore, which also became a gathering place for debate and discussion. Besides the depositories of the ancient wisdom of Plato, Aristotle and Quintilian, his books were works of art in their own right, copied by talented scribes and illuminated by the best miniaturists. Vespasian reached the peak of his powers as Europe’s most prolific knowledge merchant when a new invention appeared: the printed book. A fascinating chronicle of intellectual effervescence against a background of dramatic political and religious upheavals, Ross King’s Florence bookseller is also an ode to books and bookmaking that traces the changing world from script to print through the life of an extraordinary man long lost in history.
CRIME / The Hunting Season by Tom Benjamin
It’s truffle season and in the hills around Bologna the hunt is on for the legendary Boscuri White, the golden nugget of Italian gastronomy. But when an American truffle “super-taster” disappears, English detective Daniel Leicester discovers that not all truffles are created equal. Did the missing super taster bite more than he could chew? As he sets out to find Ryan Lee, Daniel uncovers the secrets of âFood City,â immigrant kitchen staff on the full scale of a multi-million dollar business. After a key witness was found dead at the foot of one of Bologna’s famous towers, the stakes could not be higher. Daniel teams up with a glamorous TV reporter, but the deeper he gets into the super-taster’s disappearance, the darker things get. Murder is on the menu again, but this time Daniel himself is charged. And the only way for him to clear his name is to find Ryan Lee. See Bologna through the eyes of English detective Daniel Leicester as he roams the dark porticoes in search of the truth and perhaps even gets one step closer to solving the mystery of Italy itself.