Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life

My 2012 Summer reading list


In honor of summer reading, I decided to post some books that I have devoured so far this year. I also bookmarked a list of what I would like to read in the future here if you want to take a gander. I would love to hear your top picks this summer. I pretty much like any genre as long as it’s well written and interesting – heck I once read “Battlefield Earth” in its entirety because I wanted to understand the mind of Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard. My thoughts: Good book – scary religion

Just to give you an idea of what I don’t like – 50 Shades of  “oh just shut up already”. I know that was harsh but considering I enjoy a trashy-read like the best of them yet 50 Shades just sucks in my opinion. Granted I only downloaded the sample but once I read about the 26 year old billionaire, unless you are Mark Zuckerburg who hardly seems the “sex god” type, I can’t see it. Twilight seems like a Hemingway masterpiece to the 50 Shades trilogy. Anyway, rant aside, below is a list of other honorable mentions I read this year. Enjoy and please do give me your tips! I am always looking for that “Primo Levi” quality of novel that I can’t get out of my brain.

    1. The Land of My Fathers: A Son’s Return to the Basque Country, Robert Laxalt. link. I read this in anticipation of our trip to the Basque, a very poignant eyes-on account of every aspect of this fascinating culture and land. I really liked it.
    2. The Diary of a Single Parent abroad, Jill Pennington. link . Woman and husband decide to move their family to Italy’s countryside from Britain. Husband decides he would rather stay with his “girlfriend” back home, needless to say it doesn’t end pretty; we deduce he is a prick and she is a survivor who wears the same sandals for nine years. Entertaining true-life story that makes you want to kick her ex in the nether regions and hope on a train to lend a hand with her ever-growing farm.
    3. Ciao, America!: An Italian Discovers the U.S, Beppe Severgnini. link. Like the curious person I am, I always love reading about what other people think of America and its idiosyncrasies. Beppe is hilariously charming and reading this book feels like pulling a chair up to a scene of someone viewing the USA for the first time, loved it.
    4. Agaat, Marlene van Niekerk link. This book is about the relationship between a 67 year old woman suffering with Lou Gherig’s disease (setting is South Africa) and her coloured caretaker. I found the book to be slow in the beginning and long-winded at times but I still consider it a good book. Tough to read during some parts.
    5. The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook, Ben Mezrich link. After watching the Social Network, I had to read this book. It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be but I did enjoy having yet another peek at the birth of Facebook and how these guys my same age, are now billionaires. One note: I found the “rich twins” quite annoying when reading this (and watching the movie). I was left thinking that all massively successful companies likely stepped on someone(s) on the way to the top. No surprise and not that much sex either.
    6. Among the Thugs, Bill Buford link. Our friends Kate & Rob lent this book to me and wow – It is an incredible read that I can’t seem to put down even if I want to. While I have seen the movies This is England and Green Street Hooligans – reading this American journalist’s first-hand account of being among crazy football hooligans is mind blowing. He tries to put the violence and behavior in a sort-of perspective, if even possible, by analyzing the idea of “the crowd” and the powerful momentum it has. Great read – be ready to read about some terrible violence and uncouth behavior.

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0 Responses

  1. I’ve tried reading World War Z several times but just can’t get into it. So want to read Diary of a Single Parent …. this Christmas I will order it on kindle.

    1. I hear ya! what do you like to read? I am LOVING “gangs of thugs” ( about football hooligans in England) at this moment.

  2. One that I read last winter but which has stayed with me (yes, it’s *that* good) is Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. Scary as hell (I had to lock all the doors and windows before going to sleep), but absolutely fantastic.

    Books that I’ve enjoyed recently:
    – The Savage Heart of Palermo by Daniel Kenyon. Sometimes slightly clunky storytelling techniques, but a rip-roaring story about modern-day Mafia in Palermo.
    – Todo in Tuscany by Louise Badger and Lawrence Kershaw. Sweet, well-written memoir of a couple who buy a house in Tuscany because of the resident dog, Todo.
    – Among the Cloud Dwellers by Giuliana Sica. Joanne Harris crossed with Jilly Cooper. Love and mysticism and a very enjoyable read.
    – Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Neil Gaiman is fabulous, punto. 😉
    – The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. First in a fantasy trilogy about a boy who learns magic so that he can call the wind. Earthier than it sounds, it’s a great read. The second book is called The Wise Man’s Fear (also enjoyable) and the third has yet to be published.
    – The Game of Thrones series by George RR Martin. War, sex, double and triple-crossing, feuds: these books have got it all. The TV series is a poor imitation.

    1. Thank you so much Katja! I will be adding your books to my Amazon wish-list shortly. I honestly like every kind of book as long as there is a good story to it. I can’t stand rambling or Chuck Pahlunik-type books.. that’s just me! I’ve never seen Game of Thrones.. but sounds like I don’t need to! 😉

Georgette Jupe

Welcome to my personal blog by a curious American girl living and working between Zug, Switzerland and Florence, Italy with my husband Nico, our newborn Annabelle and Ginger the beagle. This space is primarily to share about my love for Italy (currently on a 13 year romance) with a fair amount of real talk, practical advice, travel suggestions and adjusting to a new culture (Switzerland). Find me on IG @girlinflorence @girlinzug

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