Often when you go on holiday you finally find the time to read. Now that I’ve eliminated some sources of stress, I no longer have to wait for a holiday to find some time to read a nice book. I can do it most days of the week and I’ve noticed that I can even more easily read in the evenings again. Something that had become practically impossible when I started to work in education in the Netherlands.

I would like to share some of the books that I’ve been reading since I moved to Italy. All of which I can recommend for various reasons.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: I had already read this book before, but I read it again a couple of months ago. I just love it. It’s a fantasy novel set in an alternative England of the early 19th century. An England filled with magic, but anyway engaged in Napoleonic wars. It is written in Jane Austen style and comes across as very realistic. After the 800 pages you get the feeling that this alternative history of England might have actually happened instead.

De geniale vriendin / L’amica geniale / My brilliant friend: This was a birthday present from my parents. The story is set in Italy, more specifically Naples and surroundings. This novel is such a pleasure to read. It’s easygoing, even though the topics are not necessarily so lighthearted. It gives you a very good idea of the hardships of Neapolitans in the 1950s. Especially the hardships of girls and women. Education for everyone seems to be as normal as daily bread in Europe these days, however more than half a century ago this was still a struggle for at least half of the population.

Homo Deus A brief history of tomorrow: This one I’ve recently finished and is non-fictional, although it reads like a novel. It starts with a lot of interesting information about huminaty, our past and our possible future, but the more you read, the more ominous it becomes. The future of huminaty seems rather sinister. I will not discuss it any further, afraid of giving too much away, so I’ll end with a short disclaimer: this book is certainly not for the faint-hearted.

Cecilia en de verveling / La noia / Boredom: Ok, this book I haven’t read recently, but I read it more than two years ago. It was the first gift my boyfriend gave me and my first experience with Italian modern literature. This was not an easy book to find in Dutch apparently and if I remember correctly he had to trace this particular copy of the book back to someone in Friesland in order to buy it for me. So it was a special gift and a book I really enjoyed reading. Now that I have read Homo Deus, it seems to me that this book has become even more relevant and the reason why I added this one to the list, is because I’m planning to read it again soon.

If you have any suggestions which book I should definitely read as well, now that I have the time, please let me know in the comments.

From Italy with love,

Merel