“Italians say that someone who acquires a new language ‘possesses’ it. In my case, Italian possesses me. With Italian racing like blood through my veins, I do indeed see with different eyes, hear with different ears, and drink in the world with all my senses…” A celebration of the language and culture of Italy, La Bella Lingua is the story of how a language shaped a nation, told against the backdrop of one woman’s personal quest to speak fluent Italian. For anyone who has been to Italy, the fantasy of living the Italian life is powerfully seductive. But to truly become Italian, one must learn the language. This is how Dianne Hales began her journey. In La Bella Lingua, she brings the story of her decades-long experience with the “the world’s most loved and lovable language” together with explorations of Italy’s history, literature, art, music, movies, lifestyle, and food in a true opera amorosa—a labor of her love of Italy. Throughout her first excursion in Italy—with “non parlo Italiano” as her only Italian phrase—Dianne delighted in the beauty of what she saw but craved comprehension of what she heard. And so she chose to inhabit the language. Over more than twenty-five years she has studied Italian in every way possible: through Berlitz, books, CDs, podcasts, private tutorials and conversation groups, and, most importantly, large blocks of time in Italy. In the process she found that Italian became not just a passion and a pleasure, but a passport into Italy’s storia and its very soul. She offers charming insights into what makes Italian the most emotionally expressive of languages, from how the “pronto” (“Ready!”) Italians say when they answer the telephone conveys a sense of something coming alive, to how even ordinary things such as a towel (asciugamano) or handkerchief (fazzoletto) sound better in Italian. She invites readers to join her as she traces the evolution of Italian in the zesty graffiti on the walls of Pompeii, in Dante’s incandescent cantos, and in Boccaccio’s bawdy Decameron. She portrays how social graces remain woven into the fabric of Italian: even the chipper “ciao,” which does double duty as “hi” and “bye,” reflects centuries of bella figura. And she exalts the glories of Italy’s food and its rich and often uproarious gastronomic language: Italians deftly describe someone uptight as a baccala (dried cod), a busybody who noses into everything as a prezzemolo (parsley), a worthless or banal movie as a polpettone (large meatball). Like Dianne, readers of La Bella Lingua will find themselves innamorata, enchanted, by Italian, fascinated by its saga, tantalized by its adventures, addicted to its sound, and ever eager to spend more time in its company.
My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language
Author: Dianne Hales
Publisher: Broadway Books
Join the bestselling author of Ciao, America! on a lively tour of modern Italy that takes you behind the seductive face it puts on for visitors—la bella figura—and highlights its maddening, paradoxical true self You won’t need luggage for this hypothetical and hilarious trip into the hearts and minds of Beppe Severgnini’s fellow Italians. In fact, Beppe would prefer if you left behind the baggage his crafty and elegant countrymen have smuggled into your subconscious. To get to his Italia, you’ll need to forget about your idealized notions of Italy. Although La Bella Figura will take you to legendary cities and scenic regions, your real destinations are the places where Italians are at their best, worst, and most authentic: The highway: in America, a red light has only one possible interpretation—Stop! An Italian red light doesn’t warn or order you as much as provide an invitation for reflection. The airport: where Italians prove that one of their virtues (an appreciation for beauty) is really a vice. Who cares if the beautiful girls hawking cell phones in airport kiosks stick you with an outdated model? That’s the price of gazing upon perfection. The small town: which demonstrates the Italian genius for pleasant living: “a congenial barber . . . a well-stocked newsstand . . . professionally made coffee and a proper pizza; bell towers we can recognize in the distance, and people with a kind word and a smile for everyone.” The chaos of the roads, the anarchy of the office, the theatrical spirit of the hypermarkets, and garrulous train journeys; the sensory reassurance of a church and the importance of the beach; the solitude of the soccer stadium and the crowded Italian bedroom; the vertical fixations of the apartment building and the horizontal democracy of the eat-in kitchen. As you venture to these and many other locations rooted in the Italian psyche, you realize that Beppe has become your Dante and shown you a country that “has too much style to be hell” but is “too disorderly to be heaven.” Ten days, thirty places. From north to south. From food to politics. From saintliness to sexuality. This ironic, methodical, and sentimental examination will help you understand why Italy—as Beppe says—“can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred meters or ten minutes.”
A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
Author: Beppe Severgnini
Publisher: Broadway Books
A “marvelous” Mediterranean memoir of an expatriate father raising his children in Italy (The Washington Post). From the author of Italian Neighbors, this is another sparkling account of Italian society and culture—this time focusing on all the little things that turn an ordinary newborn infant into a true Italiano. When British-born Tim Parks heard a mother at the beach in Pescara shout to her son, “Alberto, don’t sweat! No you can’t go in the sea till eleven, it’s still too cold, go and see your cousin in row 3 number 52,” he was inspired to write about parenting in Italy—which he was doing himself at the time after adopting the country as his own. In this humorous memoir, Parks immerses himself in family life at home, in the classroom, and at church, creating an enchanting portrait of Italian childhood that shifts from comedy to despair in the time it takes to sing a lullaby. The result is “a wry, thoughtful, and often hilarious book . . . a parable of how our children, no matter what, are other than ourselves” (The New Yorker). “Glimpses of Italy that are fond, critical, pithy and penetrating.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Further Adventures of an Expatriate in Verona
Author: Tim Parks
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Category: Biography & Autobiography
A genius immortalized her. A French king paid a fortune for her. An emperor coveted her. Every year more than 9 million visitors trek to view her portrait in the Louvre. Yet while everyone recognizes her smile, hardly anyone knows her story. Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered, a blend of biography, history, and memoir, truly is a book of discovery-about the world's most recognized face, most revered artist, and most praised and parodied painting. Who was she, this ordinary woman who rose to such extraordinary fame? Why did the most renowned painter of her time choose her as his model? What became of her? And why does her smile enchant us still? Lisa Gherardini (1479-1542) was a quintessential woman of her times, caught in a whirl of political upheavals, family dramas, and public scandals. Her life spanned the most tumultuous chapters in the history of Florence-and of the greatest artistic outpouring the world has ever seen. Her story creates an extraordinary tapestry of Renaissance Florence, with larger-than-legend figures such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli. In Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered, Dianne Hales takes readers with her to meet Lisa's descendants; uncover her family's long and colourful history; and explore the neighbourhoods where she lived as a girl, a wife, and a mother.
A Life Discovered
Author: Dianne Hales
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
A New York Times Notable Book: A deliciously entertaining account of expatriate life in a small village just outside Verona, Italy. Tim Parks is anything but a gentleman in Verona. So after ten years of living with his Italian wife, Rita, in an Italian condominium bubbling with Italian life around him, the novelist found that he had inadvertently collected a gallery full of splendid characters. In this wittily observed account, Parks introduces readers to his home, a typical provincial Italian neighborhood with a statue of the Virgin at one end of the street, a derelict bottle factory at the other, and a wealth of exotic flora and fauna in between. Via Colombre, the village’s main street, offers an exemplary hodgepodge of all that is new and old in the bel paese, a point of collision between invading suburbia and diehard peasant tradition in a sometimes madcap, sometimes romantic, always mixed-up world of creeping vines, stuccoed walls, shotguns, security cameras, hypochondria, and expensive sports cars. More than a mere travelogue, Italian Neighbors is a vivid portrait of the real Italy and a compelling story of how even the most foreign people and places gradually assume the familiarity of home. “One of the most delightful travelogues imaginable . . . so vivid, so packed with delectable details.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
Author: Tim Parks
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
One woman's story of finding beauty, and herself--and a practical guide to living a better life, the Italian way! Kamin Mohammadi, a magazine editor in London, should have been on top of the world. But after heartbreak and loneliness, the stress of her "dream life" was ruining her physical and mental health. Gifted a ticket to freedom--a redundancy package and the offer of a friend's apartment in Florence--Kamin took a giant leap. It did not take her long to notice how differently her new Italian neighbors approached life: enjoying themselves, taking their time to eat and drink, taking their lives at a deliberately slower pace. Filled with wonderful characters--from the local bartender/barista who becomes her love adviser, to the plumbers who fix her heating and teach her to make pasta al pomodoro--here is a mantra for savoring the beauty and color of every day that Italians have followed for generations, a guide to the slow life for busy people, a story of finding love (and self-love) in unlikely places, and an evocative account of a year living an Italian life.
How to Live, Love, and Eat the Italian Way
Author: Kamin Mohammadi
Full of lighthearted humor, sumptuous food, the wisdom of an Italian mother-in-law, and all the atmosphere of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels, this warm and witty memoir follows American-born Katherine Wilson on her adventures abroad. Thanks to a surprising romance--and a spirited woman who teaches her to laugh, to seize joy, and to love--a three-month rite of passage in Naples turns into a permanent embrace of this boisterous city on the Mediterranean. In this warmly funny and spirited memoir, American-born Katherine Wilson arrives in Naples, Italy, for an internship at the U.S. Consulate. One evening, she meets handsome Salvatore and finds herself immediately enveloped by his elegant mother, Raffaella, and the rest of the Avallone family. From that moment, Katherine's education begins: Never eat the crust of a pizza first, always stand up and fight for yourself and your loved ones, and consider mealtimes sacred--food must be prepared fresh and consumed in compagnia. Unexpectedly falling for Salvatore, and captivated by Raffaella's companionship and guidance, Katherine discovers how to prepare meals that sing--from hearty, thick rag� to comforting pasta al forno. Through courtship, culture clashes, marriage, and motherhood, Katherine comes to appreciate carnale, the quintessentially Neapolitan sense of comfort and confidence in one's own skin. The Mother-in-Law Cure is a sumptuous story that is a feast for the senses. Goethe said, "See Naples and die." But Katherine Wilson saw Naples and started to live. Praise for The Mother-in-Law Cure "In a world filled with food memoirs, this one stands out. Katherine Wilson gives us more than the fabulous food of Naples. She offers us a passport to an exotic country we would never be able to enter on our own."--Ruth Reichl, author of My Kitchen Year "Warmhearted . . . an exuberant account of love and great Italian food."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Sweet and humorous."--Publishers Weekly "Wilson has written a glorious memoir celebrating the holy trinity of Italian life: love, food, and family. Her keen eye and sense of humor take you through the winding streets of Naples at a clip, on a ride you hope will never end."--Adriana Trigiani, author of The Shoemaker's Wife "How lucky we are to get these hilarious and wise perceptions filtered through a sincerely loving eye."--Julie Klam, author of Friendkeeping "This thoroughly enjoyable love letter to Naples is a tribute to the author's irrepressible mother-in-law."--Luisa Weiss, author of My Berlin Kitchen and founder of The Wednesday Chef
Learning to Live and Eat in an Italian Family
Author: Katherine Wilson
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
What is it about Italy that inspires passion, fascination, and utter devotion? This quirky guide to the Italian way of life, with its fifty witty mini-essays on iconic Italian subjects, will answer that question as well as entertain and delight both real and armchair travelers. Topics range from expressive hand gestures to patron saints, pasta, parmesan, shoes, opera, the Vespa, the Fiat 500, gelato, gondolas, and more. History, folklore, superstitions, traditions, and customs are tossed in a delicious sauce that also includes a wealth of factual information for the sophisticated traveler:• why lines, as we know them, are nonexistent in Italy• why a string of coral beads is often seen around a baby’s wrist• what the unlucky number of Italy is (it’s not thirteen, unless seating guests at a table, when it IS thirteen–taking into account the outcome of the Last Supper)• why red underwear begins to appear in shops as the New Year approaches In addition to the lyrical and poetic, Italianissimo provides useful and indispensable information for the traveler: deciphering the quirks of the language (while English has only one word for “you,” in Italy there are three), the best place to find balsamic vinegar (in Modena, of course), the best gelato (in Sicily, where they first invented it using the snow from Mount Etna). There are also recommendations for little-known museums and destinations (the Bodoni museum, the Pinocchio park, legendary coffee bars).This is a new kind of guidebook overflowing with enlightening and hilarious miscellaneous information, filled with luscious graphics and unforgettable photographs that will decode and enrich all trips to Italy–both real and imaginary.
The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best
Author: Louise Fili,Lise Apatoff
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Comprised of short stories, novel excerpts, essays, poetry journals and letters, this work will delight anyone who loves Italy or great travel writing. Pieces include Barbara Grizzuti Harrison marveling at baroque Sicilian confections, Mary McCarthy celebrating Venice's threadbare dignity, and Henry James's Isabel Archer succumbing to the treacherous antiquities of Florence. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Alice Leccese Powers
An Italian travelogue describes the trains that traverse the country, from the architecture of old train stations to the new high-speed railways, and portrays the author's memorable encounters along the way.
Author: Tim Parks
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Italy Today is a concise narrative of the nation’s stunning transformation from the ashes of World War II to the leading economic and cultural power it is today. This book provides insights into the dynamics of Italy’s progression from the Second World War, through the anthropologically revolutionary 1970s and ’80s, and into the complexities of a postindustrial nation, negotiating the challenges created by industrial, economic, and cultural globalization. Encompassing the cultural, political, and economic spectrums, topics include: communism; socialism; foreign relations; terrorism; industrial and social transformations; education; emigration and immigration; family tradition; feminism; the transformation of class and gender roles; political favoritism and corruption; popular culture; culture and civil society; the broader problems of the development of civil society and the rule of law in southern Italy; and the role of politics in shaping contemporary Italy. The book devotes particular attention to the controversial issues of the role of the family in Italian society and economy, the insidious presence of the Mafia, the lasting influence of Catholicism, the impact of television, and the country’s often unstable politics, framing all these as the result of a complex and unique relationship between the individual and the state, with the family acting as intermediary. Four major sections analyze politics, the economy, society, and mass culture, and comprise a portrait of contemporary Italy that will appeal to a broad range of scholars, students, and general readers.
Facing the Challenges of the New Millennium
Author: Mario B. Mignone
Publisher: Peter Lang
"Italian Days" is one of the richest and most absorbing travel books written--a journey that traverses the Italian peninsula and immerses readers in a culture which provides the reader with a definition of the good life.
Author: Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Under the spell of la dolce vita . . . For centuries Italy has been many things to many people. In this brilliant anthology and traveler's companion, twenty-eight first-rate women writers reveal why the land that is the heart and soul of European civilization is so seductive to women. Kate Simon walks us through a Siena filled with surprises and luminous beauty. Elizabeth Spencer writes of first coming to Italy and finding "home." Shirley Hazzard explores the mysteries of Naples. Muriel Spark writes on Venice, Edith Wharton on Rome, George Eliot on Florence, Barbara Grizzuti Harrison on San Gimignano, Patricia Hampl on Assisi. Other wonderful writers contemplate the idiosyncratic glories of Italy's architecture, cooking, art, and landscape; its culture; its places and people. As these writers tell their stories--in fiction, memoir, and essay--of coming to understand Italy, they explore the complexity of their passions for it, mingling affection and ecstasy with intellectual curiosity. Organized geographically--from northern Italy to Rome and on to the south, Desiring Italy offers an enchanting journey for readers and travelers. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Women Writers Celebrate the Passions of a Country and Culture
Author: Susan Cahill
Publisher: Ballantine Books
One of The Economist's 2011 Books of the Year Did Garibaldi do Italy a disservice when he helped its disparate parts achieve unity? Was the goal of political unification a mistake? These questions are asked and answered in a number of ways in this engaging, original consideration of the many histories that contribute to the brilliance-and weakness-of Italy today. David Gilmour's wonderfully readable exploration of Italian life over the centuries is filled with provocative anecdotes as well as personal observations, and is peopled with the great figures of the Italian past-from Cicero and Virgil to Dante and the Medicis, from Garibaldi and Cavour to the controversial politicians of the twentieth century. Gilmour's wise account of the Risorgimento, the pivotal epoch in modern Italian history, debunks the nationalistic myths that surround it, though he paints a sympathetic portrait of Giuseppe Verdi, a beloved hero of the era. Gilmour shows that the glory of Italy has always lain in its regions, with their distinctive art, civic cultures, identities, and cuisines. Italy's inhabitants identified themselves not as Italians but as Tuscans and Venetians, Sicilians and Lombards, Neapolitans and Genoese. Italy's strength and culture still come from its regions rather than from its misconceived, mishandled notion of a unified nation. With The Pursuit of Italy, David Gilmour has provided a coherent, persuasive, and entertaining interpretation of the paradoxes of Italian life, past and present.
A History of a Land, Its Regions, and Their Peoples
Author: David Gilmour
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
If you’ve been struggling with your weight, you know how hard it can be to lose those extra pounds and keep them off. In the groundbreaking Think Thin, Be Thin, nationally prominent psychotherapist Doris Wild Helmering and award-winning health writer Dianne Hales assert that the true key to a healthy body weight is a healthy attitude toward food and exercise. Their logic is simple: Your brain ultimately controls what you eat and whether you work out. If you change the way you think, you can change the way you behave. And you can lose weight. Using proven psychological strategies and scientifically based exercises, you will learn how to harness your thoughts to transform your behavior, body, and life. With practical advice on such troublesome issues as curbing emotional eating, motivating yourself to exercise, and overcoming diet plateaus, this book is the ideal complement to any diet and weight-loss program.
101 Psychological Ways to Lose Weight
Author: Doris Wild Helmering,Dianne Hales
Category: Health & Fitness
"Some of Italy's best-known writers join Italy's rising literary stars to take the reader on a panoramic tour of both city and countryside, across the social spectrum, surveying the country's rich cultural history. Explore Italy's popular tourist destinations and out-of-the-way spots under the fresh and even startling light cast by these eighteen diverse and exciting stories, most of which are available here in English for the first time"--Publisher's description.
A Traveler's Literary Companion
Author: Lawrence Venuti
Author: James Ernest Shaw