Italian books’ list
Istituto Italiano Scuola is renowned for the presence of reading books in its group’s classes. Our students start reading a book with their teachers from level Elementare and keep reading throughout all our levels.
We believe that a reading book can be our students’ best friend, a valuable tool to learn Italian while getting involved in a story, flipping its pages with the classmates week by week. Choosing the book for the following level has slowly become a class effort, with the teachers and their students discussing together what to read as in a typical book club.
Here below some books, we want to recommend to our readers, based on our teachers and students experience, for level Avanzato onwards – you must be proficient in Italy to read these books in Italian!
- “L’amica geniale”, Elena Ferrante
The story of two friends, Elena and Lila. The book gives a meticulous portrait of these two women while telling the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship. Through the lives of these two women, you will read the story of a neighborhood, a city and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her two protagonists.
- “Mordi e Fuggi, Il romanzo delle BR”, Alessandro Bertrante
Italy in 1969 had occupied universities, protests, tensions in factories. Alberto Boscolo is twenty years old, comes from a normal family, he is enrolled at the University but wants more. Disappointed by the inconclusiveness of the Student Movement, he approaches what will soon be the nucleus of the Brigate Rosse. The months pass, Alberto participates in demonstration actions, self-financing robberies and the first arson attack, but his sense of dissatisfaction does not subside. He wants to be serious. In a foggy, violent and unforgettable metropolis, the book gives life to a tumultuous and vibrant human story, in which, intertwining fiction and news, we see the crucial facts that will trigger the tragic events that happened in the following years.
- “Il treno dei bambini”, Viola Ardone
Based on true events, a heartbreaking story of love, family, hope, and survival set in post-World War II Italy. Though Mussolini and the fascists have been defeated, the war has devastated Italy, especially the south. Seven-year-old Amerigo lives with his mother in Naples, in a poor neighborhood. One day, Amerigo learns that a train will take him away from there to spend the winter with a family in the north, where he will be safe and have warm clothes and food to eat. Together with thousands of other southern children, Amerigo will cross the entire peninsula to a new life. Through his curious, innocent eyes, we see a nation rising from the ashes of war, reborn. As he comes to enjoy his new surroundings and the possibilities for a better future, Amerigo will make the heartbreaking choice to leave his mother and become a member of his adoptive family.
- “La Ragazza di Bube”, Carlo Cassola
Mara is Bube’s girlfriend, a woman who in the confused post-war years, in a Tuscany still devastated by tragedy, faces reality with strength, an ancient sense of duty and perception of the passing of time. Mara evolves thanks to her love for Bube, who has committed a homicide and gets arrested and condemned. Albeit slowly, time hardens her, making her less serene but more aware of her tasks, while she is waiting for Bube to complete his 14 years imprisonment.