Italian Literature – Top 10 Italian contemporary books

April 23th 2010 by Giulia

The best books to put into your suitcase during your holidays in Italy

Credits: Flickr

What do you do when you need to relax?
Some people listen to music. Other people have a walk to spend time in the open air. Still others just lie on their couch and empty their minds. When I need to relax, I just take a good book and lie on my sofa. It helps me to forget everything: I leave the real dimension and I enter the new “fantastic” one.

Spending time reading a good book it is also an excellent pastime when you’re on holiday. But what are the best books to bring with during your holidays in Italy?

Credits: Flickr, Carlos Porto

An entire book would not be enough to list all the books which deserve to be mentioned. So I decided to limit the field to Italian writers: I hope they can inspire you and accompany you during your next holiday in Italy.

Leaving out classic Italian books, here below a list of 10 books from contemporary Italian authors, which I hope you’ll appreciate as I did! Here we are:

1) The solitude of prime numbers (Paolo Giordano)
Top 10 Italian contemporary booksTop 10 Italian contemporary books
The parallel stories of Alice and Mattia; two terrible events scar their childhood and compromise their adolescence and adulthood. Their lives cross but never combine. They are unique, special and lonely individual, right like prime numbers.

2) I kill (Giorgio Faletti)
Top 10 Italian contemporary booksTop 10 Italian contemporary books
It is the first noir book written by Giorgio Faletti. The quiet daily life in the principality of Monaco is interrupted by an unexpected phone call in a local radio, where a disguised voice announces to be a killer. It is just the first of several phone calls announcing murders, which are readily carried out…

3) Silk (Alessandro Baricco)
Top 10 Italian contemporary booksTop 10 Italian contemporary books
Short novel written in 1996 and set in the XIX century, which main character is a French silkworm merchant. Due to an epidemic which strikes European and African silkworms, the protagonist decides to travel to Japan to look for new ones. In the “exotic” country, he meets an enigmatic men and his concubine, who unconsciously distresses his life.

4) The Terra-Cotta Dog (Andrea Camilleri)
Top 10 Italian contemporary booksTop 10 Italian contemporary books
This is the second book of the internationally known series of Inspector Montalbano Mysteries. The history deals with a penitent mafia boss, who stages his arrest in order to “save face” towards the cruel world he repudiates.

5) As God commands (Niccolò Ammaniti)
Top 10 Italian contemporary booksTop 10 Italian contemporary books
In an imaginary north Italian village, Rino, alcoholic and violent, lives with his adolescent child Cristiano. He loves his son and tries to bring him up according to his (often debatable) values. The book inspired Gabriele Salvatores, who in 2008 produced the homonym film.

6) Timeskipper (Stefano Benni)
Top 10 Italian contemporary booksTop 10 Italian contemporary books
It tells the fantastic story of Lupetto, a young Italian boy living in the ’50. He receives a special gift, which able him to see into the future. Stefano Benni is probably the most famous Italian satirist, and in each book he confirms his ability to surprise and enchant.

7) Voices (Dacia Maraini)
Top 10 Italian contemporary booksTop 10 Italian contemporary books
She is without any doubt one of the most important contemporary Italian writers. In this novel she tells about the story of a radio journalist, who finds herself to investigate on the murder of her neighbour. She will uncover an obscure world, made of violent stories of abused women.

8 ) Don’t move (Margaret Mazzantini)
Top 10 Italian contemporary booksTop 10 Italian contemporary books
Facing the tragic accident of his teenage daughter, who is matose state, a surgeon finds himself to confide his private feelings. Waiting for her awakening, for the first time he confesses her and himself his deepest secrets.

9) A day in the life of ancient Rome: Daily life, Mysteries, and Curiosities
Top 10 Italian contemporary booksTop 10 Italian contemporary books
I particularly suggest this book to travellers who choose to visit Rome during their holidays in Italy. The skilled Alberto Angela presents the Capital in a new original way, living together with the reader a typical day of the ancient Romans: it is 115 a.C. If you like history, you can’t really miss it!!!

10) Il tempo che vorrei (Fabio Volo)
Top 10 Italian contemporary booksTop 10 Italian contemporary books
Special tip for our readers who wish to improve their knowledge of Italian language, as this book has not been (not yet) translated in English. The main character tells about himself, his feelings and thoughts, his relationship with the father and the woman he loves.

I’m aware I didn’t mention many other important authors and great books. As when I selected the 8 songs to discover Italy, I had to make (hard) choices!

Do you think I’ve choosen the right ones? Hope so! Feel free to add your favourite titles to my list!

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Italian Literature – Top 10 Italian contemporary books