“…e a chi non piace peggio per lui, rimane alle falde della collina.”
That’s Umberto Eco talking about the first hundred or so pages of ‘Il nome della rosa’ in ‘Postille a “Il nome della rosa” 1983’.
“…and whoever doesn’t like it, worse for them, they’ll remain on the slopes of the hill.”
He’s explaining that he made the first fifth of the story deliberately hard, as a sort of ‘boot camp’ for readers – only the tough, motivated ones will make it through and so get to read the rest of the tale!
But we do have some tough, motivated readers in our Book Club!
‘Bravi’ then, to those who are keeping up with the pace. Though that’s not strictly necessary – read as quickly or slowly as suits you.
‘Bravissimi’, invece, to everyone who has started at all! Give yourselves a gold star, even if you’ve only read a few pages so far, even if your level is low, your muscles are aching, and your boots are caked with mud.
And a special ‘grazie!’ to club members who are not only reading the book with us but have also taken the time to comment/interact with other participants, which to me is the best part. E veramente una cosa speciale!
Anyway, I was just going to add, over and above reading Eco’s book, how what he wrote “a chi non piace peggio per lui” struck a chime with me, from where I stand, half-way up my personal language-learning hill, looking down at those about to begin the journey.
Other club members, gathering around me to peer into the mists of the valley to see how far they’ve come, will probably know what I mean.
When we were starting out with Italian, or another language, it was as hard for us as it is now for hopeful pilgrims beginning their journeys.
Perhaps harder, given that these days there are all sorts of materials, apps, websites, multimedia and so on, that just didn’t exist back then.
People who have learnt languages, in my opinion, tend to be generous and willing to help others who want to do the same but have no idea where to begin.
Unfortunately, there’s little more to say than: begin, don’t stop, measure your progress, change direction when necessary.
Which is not much of an answer for travellers seeking the easiest, quickest route – ideally the one with no obstacles or risks, please.
Not finding the perfect way, they often won’t begin at all, or will give up soon after setting out.
Peggio per lui (o lei)!
One of the advantages of running a virtual bookshop cum publishing company is that if you actually write something yourself, you have a way to publish and distribute it.
And one of the advantages of the lockdown is having the time, and energy, to dig out and risuscitate abandoned projects.
Such as my long-awaited ebook of poems!
‘No Permit’s Required’ is a 113-page .pdf format ebook containing “some verses for those who like to laugh or ponder”.
No permit’s required
No permit’s required
to capture moments
from my life
to share with others
From a middle-aged
for those who like
And everyone else
can go to hell
And no, mostly they don’t rhyme.
“A chi non piace peggio per lui!”