I think I may have found my way out of my reading slump. Or at least I am in process of finding my way. After finally finishing two books which I’ve since wondered why exactly I read, I started Santa Evita by Tomás Eloy Martínez and I am loving it. I haven’t gotten very far—life’s been a bit busy lately—but I am very glad I decided to read this. I’ll have more thoughts once I’m finished.
I’ve been thinking a lot about lists and what I want from lists for my reading. In general, I have a to-be-read list which I prefer to keep hidden from the light of day, that I might forget how…lengthy…it is. But when I really think about what I want my reading aims to be—focusing more on the great works of the past and focusing more on works from non-American or British authors—I think the best strategy for me is a series of smaller lists, more of sub-category lists.
The largest may well still be ‘great books,’ but by having additional lists, I’ll have plenty of options to choose from without getting into the guilt of diverting from a plan and I’ll also avoid creating an overwhelming ‘master list.’
Of course, after hiding my TBR list under the rug (along with a sizeable dust bunny collection, of course), I’m going to start by appealing for suggestions!
A week or so ago, books and book lists flitting through my head, I was listening to some Italian pop music and had one of those revelations of the ‘so obvious I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of this before’ variety. I’ve never read any Italian literature more recent than 1350 or so. This despite the entire semester I spent in Italy (granted, I was studying architecture—we were looking at buildings, not books). I took a year of Italian beforehand, so I can read a little Italian. I even bought a copy of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None translated into Italian (as Dieci Piccoli Indiani), but I never once thought of searching out works by Italian authors.
So I’ve been doing a little research, trying to find some books for my first ‘mini-list:’ Italian authors. My primary source so far has been 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. I don’t know very much about them, however, so if you have any suggestions, I’m open to everything. What I have for now:
- Le avventure di Pinocchio. Storia di un burattino by Carlo Collodi (1883). [This is the one book by an Italian author I purchased in Italy—it was hard not to, Pinocchio was everywhere. My copy is Italian, so, yes, I will attempt to read this in Italian.]
- Sandokan: The Tigers of Monpracem by Emilio Salgari (1900)
- Life of Christ by Giovanni Papini (1921)
- Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi (1945)
- The Ragazzi by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1955)
- The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (1957)
- Bebo’s Girl by Carlo Cassola (1960)
- The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani (1963)
- To Each His Own by Leonardo Sciascia (1966)
- Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino (1972)
- The Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino (1973)
- If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino (1979)
- The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (1980) [One of the few I’d heard of.]
- Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco (1988) [I actually started this one, but never finished it.]
- Troubling Love by Elena Ferrante (1995)
- Silk by Alessandro Baricco (1996)
- I’m Not Scared by Niccolò Ammaniti (2001) [The movie based on this book, Io non ho paura, was out when I was in Italy, and at the time I thought the movie trailer looked interesting. I didn’t know it was based on a book, and really want to read it now.]
Has anyone read any of these? Do you know anything about them? Please, do let me know!