Since I’ve started blogging again I’ve posted two book reviews (including this one) that are part of my attempt to read through the 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read list from UK newspaper The Guardian. It’s obviously going to be a life-long endeavor, and probably one I may never complete, but it helps me focus my reading on classics from literature that I have overlooked thus far.
I had never ready one of Gabriel García Márquez’ novels, and two of them are included in The Guardian’s list – One Hundred Years Of Solitude and Love In The Time Of Cholera. When I went home to Milan over Christmas, I was looking for classics that were originally written in French or Spanish that I could pick up to read in Italian translation. Though I can read and speak French and Spanish, since I’m 100% fluent in Italian, I read much more quickly in Italian. I find that language in books originally written in French or Spanish are done more justice through an Italian translation than an English one. There’s just many fewer adaptations that need to be made due to how much closer Italian is to the other romance languages.
It turns out that this particular classic – Love In The Time Of Cholera – is not one that really resonated with me. It was beautifully written and felt genuinely ‘classic’ and like it had definitely earned its place on the list of 1000 novels, but ultimately I couldn’t get into the characters or the story enough to consider it a favorite. To find out why, keep reading!
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I ended up reading The Handmaid’s Tale in one sitting, a few episodes into starting the TV adaptation on Hulu. After the first 2 or 3 episodes, I knew that I wanted to finish the novel to be able to get a feeling for how many liberties were taken with the TV adaptation and what motivated them. I absolutely loved both the novel and the series, but after experiencing the two I would definitely say that this is one of the cases in which the TV product significantly surpasses the literary work it was adapted from.
Everything that Margaret Atwood’s novel did exceptionally well, the TV series builds on and develops into something even more transporting and chilling. This was definitely an instance in which I think TV exceeded even the original author’s ability to bring the work to life in a way that connected with audiences. I decided that I wanted to review both the novel and the TV adaptation together to explain the ways in which I felt the TV adaptation took this narrative to a completely different level. Read more to find out the 5 reasons why I thought The Handmaid’s Tale TV adaptation was even better than the novel.
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I had been wanting to read Villette as part of my determination to read all the Brontë sister’s novels, and I had pretty high expectations for it after finally reading Charlotte Brontë’s preceding novel Jane Eyre in its entirety last year.
I was lucky enough to be chosen as the winner of one of Read Diverse Book‘s linkups during Latinx Heritage Month and I chose Villette as my not very apropos prize (not exactly a diverse book, though at least it does challenge gender norms of the time). I selected the gorgeous Penguin Clothbound Classics version which comes in a pale blue with white leaves printed on it.
I have to say I much preferred Jane Eyre to Villette, and it makes me wonder what I’ll think of Shirley – the remaining Charlotte Brontë novel I still have to read. Charlotte Brontë also wrote a debut novel called The Professor, but it doesn’t count as a separate work because she eventually rewrote it and adapted it into Villette. Ultimately, I’m glad I read Villette and can share my impressions with you, but I wouldn’t recommend investing time in reading it.
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I had never read a book by Anne Brontë before and considering how much the Brontë sisters novels I have read (Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë) I definitely thought I should read one by Anne as well. I had been looking to buy my first book in the beautiful clothbound Penguin Hardcover Classics versions, and I decided to pick The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall as that title.
Before reading the novel, I was aware that The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall is viewed as one of the first feminist novels and that back when it was published, it was considered extremely scandalous for its times. I’m a staunch feminist myself and I was intrigued by the idea that the novel had a female protagonist who made life choices that would have been seen as unseemly to read about in her era. Ultimately, I was not disappointed by the novel, though I didn’t like it as much as the other two I’ve read by Emily and Charlotte Brontë.
Read my review of The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall below and don’t forget to let me know what you thought of it if you’ve read it yourself.
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I picked up an edition of The Woman In White in Italian while I was home visiting my family in Milan earlier this year. It may be a weird choice to read it in my native language since it’s a British novel, but I’m trying to make sure I read consistently in Italian to keep up my proficiency now that I’ve been living abroad for over a decade.
I read it during lunchtime throughout the Spring and I found it to be the perfect novel to consume in small chunks, which makes sense because it was originally published in serialized chapters in Charles Dickens’ magazine All The Year Round in the U.K. and Harper’s Weekly in the U.S. Read my review below.
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The Garden Of The Finzi-Continis
by Giorgio Bassani
In this coming of age novel set against the increasing discrimination suffered by Jewish people in Italy leading up to World War II, an unnamed narrator describes his memories growing up in Ferrara as a young Jewish man. He is linked to the Finzi-Contini family and their children Alberto and Micol by their shared Jewish heritage, seeing them at the synagogue and building a relationship with them through the years by visiting the Finzi-Contini mansion gardens for tennis matches and long walks with Micol. As his emotional attachment to Micol grows, the narrator realizes that the difference in their upbringing is a much deeper divide than he anticipated.
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