I was going to post on one of the books I recently finished--my post just needs a little editing, but I'm not really in the mood for that tonight. Instead I'm in the mood for books about Italy or by Italian authors. How's that for moving from topic to topic? I'm still happily reading my Paris in July books, but I'm also still on a roll with Italian crime fiction, too (and still contemplating books by German authors, but as Caroline has hinted about a readalong this fall...will keep those on a back burner). I've finished two books from my Summering in Italy list and am now deep into a third.
I've been reading Grace Brophy's The Last Enemy and am really enjoying it. I had read a tepid review so I wasn't sure what to expect, or perhaps went into the story with slightly lowered expectations, but I am finding that I like it very much. The detective is a Commissario who lives in Perugia but is investigating the death of an American woman in Assisi during Holy Week. Alessandro Cenni is from the State Police usually working on investigations dealing with international cases and acts of terrorism, but as the victim was American it gets dropped into his lap. Anyway, more about that later, but it, along with PBS's Zen, which is now airing (and a very easy on the eyes Rufus Sewell in an Armani suit...), Italy is definitely going to be my new reading destination.
So I need to make a reading list (of course). I'll start since I have a growing pile of books, but you have to help me with ideas. Books set in Italy or books by Italian authors--novels, classics, mysteries, nonfiction, travel narratives. I'm open to all suggestions!
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, Giorgio Bassani - story of a rich, insular Jewish family in Northern Italy right before WWII
From the Land of the Moon, Milena Agus - set in Sardinia this is a family tale of "love, lust and country"
When We Were Strangers, Pamela Schoenewaldt - an Italian immigrant's tale set in Chicago
All Our Yesterdays, Natalia Ginzburg - story of two families during and after WWII
History: A Novel, Elsa Morante - another war story told from the point of view of an ordinary woman (I'm starting this rather hefty novel now!)
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, Italo Calvino - experimental novel that to be honest I'm not entirely sure what is about but one I have long wanted to read
Metamorphoses, Ovid - epic poem, which I think is translated from Latin, but he was Roman so he counts, right
Woman of Rome: A Life of Elsa Morante, Lily Tuck - biography of the author of History
Carnevale, M.R. Lovric - from the sound of it a very lush historical novel set in 18th-century Venice
Enchanted April, Elizabeth von Arnim - love this one, a novel of four Englishwomen who spend a transformative spring in the Italian countryside
A Room with a View, E.M. Forster - another favorite, a coming of age story of sorts about Lucy Honeychurch who comes into her own after a tour of Italy with her spinster aunt
On Persephone's Island, Mary Taylor Simeti - a sort of travel narrative/memoir about an American woman living with her husband/family in Sicily
Vita: A Novel, Melania G. Mazzucco - another Italian immigrant story set in New York City by an award winning Italian author
This is a brief baker's dozen of books to start with--the ones that came off the top of my head. I think I'll keep adding to the list, and feel free to add your suggestions, too.