Hi, my name is Anne and I'm a book-a-holic!
Naturally my newfound passion for Italy has infiltrated my reading habits. My list of already consumed novels grows longer nearly every week. At the moment, I'm engrossed in Jacqueline Park's "The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi". It's a novel of a Jewish woman living in Renaissance Firenze (and Mantova). Grazia's character is given depth, intelligence and imperfections. And the historical aspects seem to be well researched, although I am far from an expert on the subject. In any event, I'm quite enjoying this very readable novel.
On the non-fiction side, I've been reading "Italia, the recipes and customs of the regions" by Antonio Carluccio. My mother gave this to me for Christmas (thanks Mom!) This is a beautiful hard cover book chock full of recipes, gorgeous photos of people, places and food, reflections on the culture of the various regions, information on the food and/or beverage specialities of each region. It's a culinary odyssey from Fruili-Venezia-Giulia to Sardegna to Abruzzi to Sicily and all parts in between. I'm so glad to have it...and one of these days, it might even make its way back to the kitchen and actually be used as a cookbook!!
Other books I've read, partially read, or intend to read:
Other Italian themed books read to date:
The Agony and the Ecstasy - Irving Stone (loved it even more the second time around)
Florence: A Delicate Case - David Leavitt (a curious little gossipy book)
Bread, Wine & Angels - Anna P. Zurzolo (up-close and personal story of a girl growing up in Calabria)
Wonders of Italy - Annie Sacerdoti (a GORGEOUS coffee table book...hard to close once opened!)
Various historical novels that are not going to enrich my braincells anytime soon, but nonetheless enjoyable reading (perhaps this is my "guilty pleasures" category!):
The Floating Book - Michelle R Lovric
The Sixteen Pleasures - Robert Hellenga
Birth of Venus - Sarah Dunant
In the Company of the Courtesan Sarah Dunant
A Thousand Days in Venice - Marlena De Blasi (I didn't love this book. I found the author too whiny and negative about others, although loved the descriptions of Venice)
Books in progress:
Elements of Italy - Lisa St Aubin de Teran (little snippets of stories - great for browsing when have limited time)
This is Rome - H.V. Morton (lovely b&w photos by Karsh)
The Decameron - Boccaccio (I've read a few stories, but have many more to go)
Treasures of Britain (obviously not about Italy! I'm grazing through this encyclopedic tome finding oh so many lovely places to see when we're in England!!)
Art Treasures of the World (a happy find at the used book store, this is a beautiful old (1964) book of art from prehistoric to the twentieth century...and it was even printed in Italy!)
The Bible (aside from any spiritual enlightenment one might obtain, it provides valuable background info for the beautiful Christian art found in so many Italian churches!)
In the wings:
I, Mona Lisa - Jeanne Kalogridis (it was in the communal bookcase at work)
With a Gemlike Flame - David Adams Cleveland (used bookstore...gotta love 'em!)
Greene on Capri: A Memoir - Shirley Hazzard (love Graham Greene...love Italy...)
On the Road with Francis of Assisi - Linda Bird Franke (March 22, 2006: I fell in love with Assisi, the peace and beauty of the city itself, the frescoes, the feeling that crept through me when down in the tomb)
Dave? HEY Dave!!! Give me back my Chapters discount card, man, I need to go to the bookstore...