Well, things are a little gloomy in Italy right now. Unless you’re a teenager, that is. In which case you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to roam the streets until midnight each evening then sleep until lunchtime the next day (school’s out, due the virus worries…)
But unfortunately, I’m not having such a great time as my son (Tom, who reads each bulletin of ‘EasyItalianNews.com‘) is.
Never mind, though, “I see great reason for intense vigilance and exertion, but none whatever for panic or despair”. So rather than dwell on the loss of students, of future bookings, and the consequent business worries, I thought, hey, let’s see what exciting things we’ve got planned for the spring, and the virus-free sunlit uplands thereafter, when “freedom shall be restored to all”.
So, first out, and in just a couple of weeks’ time, there’s the Spring Sale to look foward to. As always, that’ll mean the chance to save 20% on online Italian lessons, ebooks, and so on. There’ll be a coupon code valid for EVERYTHING in our online shop. Watch this space for details.
Then, once the sale is out of the way and the bills paid for another few months, we’ll be doing something new: a BOOK CLUB!
Well, sort of like a book club, at least I’d hope so. Actually, I’ve never been in a book club, so I’m looking forward to it. But how it’ll work out online is anyone’s guess.
Anyway, the idea is that we’ll be reading a book, a real Italian book, in the original, all together! Or at least, I’ll be reading the book and inviting the rest of you to join me: 1.) if you can get a copy in the original Italian, and 2.) if you’re up for a challenge!
OK, so the chosen volume is Umberto Eco’s ‘Il nome della rosa’. I don’t normally promote Amazon (the opposite, in fact) but if you don’t live in Italy, they’re probably your best chance of picking up a copy of the Italian version of ‘Il nome della rosa’ in time to join me for the ‘Book Club’ in early April.
In fact, there’s a Kindle version, which simplifies things in the sense that you don’t have to wait to get the paper copy mailed to wherever you live. N.b. I don’t get a commission if you click that link and buy a copy, though I fully expect Jeff Bezos will call me up to thank me.
In fact, given that Jeff’s an old mate, I’ll rip off the blurb from the above linked-to page, to whet your appetite a little:
Ultima settimana del novembre 1327. Il novizio Adso da Melk accompagna in un’abbazia dell’alta Italia frate Guglielmo da Baskerville, incaricato di una sottile e imprecisa missione diplomatica. Ex inquisitore, amico di Guglielmo di Occam e di Marsilio da Padova, frate Guglielmo si trova a dover dipanare una serie di misteriosi delitti (sette in sette giorni, perpetrati nel chiuso della cinta abbaziale) che insanguinano una biblioteca labirintica e inaccessibile. Per risolvere il caso, Guglielmo dovrà decifrare indizi di ogni genere, dal comportamento dei santi a quello degli eretici, dalle scritture negromantiche al linguaggio delle erbe, da manoscritti in lingue ignote alle mosse diplomatiche degli uomini di potere. La soluzione arriverà, forse troppo tardi, in termini di giorni, forse troppo presto, in termini di secoli.
I actually read this about thirty years ago, but in English, and I’ve now only the vaguest memory of the plot. I also saw the film (the first one) and ditto. But now my wife has found me the yellowed paperback Italian original that she hoarded from her student days… oops, it’s five hundred and thirty-three pages long, gulp!
So that’s April sorted – I’ll be clearing my diary of other committments, assuming the corona virus hasn’t done it for me… But what if 533 pages of clever Italian aren’t your thing?
Ah ha! I have that covered, too!
Next on the ‘exciting things coming up at OnlineItalianClub.com’ list, after the Spring Sale and ‘Il nome della rosa’, we’ll be launching a series of ‘Italian literature’ ebooks.
These will be short and simple ebook versions of some of the most famous works in the Italian literature canon: ‘I promessi sposi’ at the end of April, then ‘Le avventure di Pinocchio’ and ‘I Malavoglia’ in May, ending with the more modern ‘La coscienza di Zeno’ and ‘Uno, nessuno e centomila’ in June. As usual there’ll be the text in eight brief chapters, comprehension exercises, glossaries, and an audio recording to listen to.
There’s no ‘Il gattopardo’ in the above list, unfortunately, as it’s still in copyright. As, in fact, is ‘Il nome della rosa’, but I wasn’t paying attention when our ebook writer suggested (and got paid for) writing a simplified, learner-version of that too. So I have the text, but it’s completely unauthorised and so can’t be used, or at least not for commercial purposes that might get me sued.
Nevertheless, given that we have the text (eight simple chapters, with audio, etc.) it seems reasonable to give it away for free, chapter by chapter, for those of you who aren’t (yet) up to reading the original. That way, you’ll be able to follow what I and the keen students in the front row have to say as we plough through the original (while Umberto’s grateful heirs and Jeff B. pocket their slices of the cover price…)
Hope all that makes sense: the Spring Sale from March 20th for a week or so, the ‘Book Club’, aiming to read all 533 pages of ‘Il nome della rosa’ from April 6th (for those who can get themselves a copy of the Italian original), then five out-of-copyright works of Italian literature, as simplified for you by our staff writer, beginning at the end of April and continuing through May and June, right up to the summer break.
After which I can put aside the dusty tomes and work on my tan, while you guys enjoy the planned ‘History of Rome’ series for a few months…
A venerdì, allora.
The new one is 25% Off all this week, so just £5.99 rather than the usual easy reader ebook price of £7.99.
And Tuesday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news is ready to read/listen to, for free!