The final days of my ‘break’: Monday I’ll be back to the usual routine, plugging a new ebook and taxiing baby Bug around Bologna.
Today though, a quick whizz around some dusty corners of the club website which you might have forgotten, or never have explored.
What’s left to tell you about?
In approximate order of expected-usefulness, there’s the History page, which you will likely know, as I was promoting it all summer.
There you’ll find the Summer Series articles (with online audio) from the last four years, so a hundred and twenty pages of material.
Read/listen to ‘Italian’ history from the dawn of Rome all the way through until the end of WWII, so over 2500 years. Next year’s final Summer Series will add another thirty articles, so bringing us up to the new millennium. After which, we’re done with history for a while.
By the way, you may have no interest whatsoever in History, but as a club member, I presume you’re interested in improving your Italian. Reading/listening to articles about history is as good a way to do that as any.
And it’s FREE.
E poi, on to the Literature page, which boasts a host of delights, dating back to the lazy, hazy days of the first lockdown (2020?) when I had the time and motivation to READ some Italian classics, and to encourage club members to do so too.
On that page, scroll right down to the bottom to begin. There, you’ll find our first project, some extracts from Dante. Honestly? That was hard work, so unless you have a masochistic bent, maybe not bother too much with it?
Up from Dante is Umberto Eco’s ‘Il nome della rosa’. There was a film version, with Sean Connery I recall, and a more recent TV series, which I haven’t seen. Anyway, it’s a helluva story, and well worth your attention.
Note that I messed up and commissioned a ‘literature’ easy reader of Eco’s book, which I really shouldn’t have, as it was/is still in copyright. So we never put it in our ebooks store, so as not to unfairly profit from Eco’s work, instead using the eight simplified chapters that our writer had prepared to encourage club members to buy and read the actual, full-length Italian original.
Which I did, and wrote about. Some club members joined me. Click about to see how we got on. And it’s not too late for you to try, either with our (free) ‘easy reader’ chapters, or with the book itself, if you can locate a copy in the original language.
Scrolling up still further, you’ll find five ‘mini-book-clubs’, each one based on an ‘easy reader’ that we did sell (all the texts being long out of copyright) and wanted to promote. Hence only the one free chapter for each. We have bills to pay. But I (we) read the originals, which are all available free online, if you look.
Pinocchio was the first we tried, and much as with Dante, there are probably better things you could do with your time. Yes, it’s famous. No, it’s not very good.
The next was ‘Uno, nessuno e centomila’, which I remember being not particularly hard to read, but totally weird in concept. So also rather skippable.
Keep scrolling up and you’ll get to ‘I Malavoglia’, a simple tale of Sicilian fisherfolk, which I’d not expected to like but enjoyed despite the really heavy style. If you have any doubts about your Italian, buy our ‘easy reader’ version rather than attempting the original.
E poi, ‘La coscienza di Zeno’ which I took against during the long inital section (on smoking, of all things) but which later grew on me, to the point that I really didn’t want it to end. The style is modern enough to be readable, and once you get into Zeno’s world, it’s really rather fun. I was rooting for him! The Italian original is worth a look. And given that it’s free, what do you have to lose?
Our final mini-book-club was the great-grandaddy of Italian literature, a tome which all Italian schoolchildren have to suffer through, ‘I promessi sposi’. It has a complicated romp of a plot – more suited to a Netflix series than a classic of literature – and so is L-O-O-O-N-G!
Unfortunately, the style is dated, so it’s also H-A-A-A-R-D to read. I confess, I got about a tenth of the way into it, then quit (possibly because the lockdown ended). If you’re interested, start with our ‘easy reader’ version before deciding whether to invest months of your life in the original.
E così. That was the Literature page.
Last, but not least, is the “Best of” page, which features a selection of articles by yours truly going back OVER TEN YEARS!
Of course, there’s some great stuff there. Of course. The trouble is finding it. If you’ve got a few weeks, and you’re a fan, you could start at the bottom and work up, though I personally wouldn’t bother.
Or you could scan for titles that interest you.
Or you could read about my Texas road trip (in 2017), Sweden road trip (2018), or visit to Istanbul (2019).
Updating the “Best of” page with wise words from 2022 is on my ‘to do’ list, though not near the top.
In the meantime, as a brief public service announcement, I’d suggest you take a look at 2021’s ‘Lifetime risk of stroke? One in six!‘ Ignore the first six or seven paragraphs, which are devoted to a seasonal sale long since concluded, and begin with the one that starts:
Bene. Still here then? So I have a brief public service announcement, and something to ‘approfondire’ in Italian if you have the ‘voglia’ to read.
I typed that in the stroke unit of our local hospital, just over two years ago.
If you click no other link today, click this one and begin reading where it says
Bene. Still here then?
Have you read/listened to Thursday’s FREE bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news?
Yesterday I did both Tuesday’s and Thursday’s bulletins, so I’m all up to date.
Until tomorrow (Saturday), of course, when another text+audio bulletin will pop into my inbox.
Each thrice-weekly bulletin is approximately ten minutes long. There’s no better way that I know of for students to build Italian reading and listening skills.
Best of all, subscribing is FREE.