John Hooper's marvelously entertaining and perceptive new book is ideal for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Italy and the unique character of the Italians....
It began with a girl. Then it was Italian food. After that it was books and discovering that even Mark Twain had fallen for Italy....
In the tradition of M. F. K. Fisher and Peter Mayle, this enchantingly warm and witty memoir follows American-born Katherine Wilson on her adventures abroad....
Exquisitely observed, Four Seasons in Rome describes Anthony Doerr's varied adventures in one of the most enchanting cities in the world....
A celebration of the language and culture of Italy, La Bella Lingua is the story of how a language shaped a nation, told against the backdrop of one woman's personal quest to speak fluent Italian....
This is the audiobook millions of Rick Steves fans have been waiting for....
An extraordinary chronicle of Venice, its people, and its grandeur Thomas Madden’s majestic, sprawling history of Venice is the first full portrait of the city in English in almost thirty years....
In these 24 lectures, Professor Bartlett traces the development of the Italian city-states of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, showing how the modern nation of Italy was forged out of the rivalries....
In the best-selling tradition of Erik Larson's Isaac's Storm, The Great Quake is a riveting narrative about the biggest earthquake in North American recorded history....
Four very diverse women, all seeking revitalization and escape...
When David Lebovitz began the project of updating his apartment in his adopted home city, he never imagined he would encounter so much inexplicable red tape....
In The Butchering Art, the historian Lindsey Fitzharris reveals the shocking world of 19th-century surgery on the eve of profound transformation....
Letters from Italy will inspire you to embrace La Dolce Vita, with all its awesome surprises....
Italy - Culture Smart! introduces you to the history and culture and offers an insider's guide to Italians' daily lives, passions, and preoccupations. This is your chance to get to know Italy....
When writer Paul Stewart heads to the idyllic Italian town of Montalcino to finish his already late book, it seems like the perfect escape from stressful city life....
After bursting onto the scene in 2002, Rudy Kurniawan quickly became the leading purveyor of rare wines to the American elite....
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The journal is a straightforward account of Goethe's sojourn to Italy as a young man between 1786 and 1789....
The best-selling author of Italian Neighbors returns with a wry and revealing portrait of Italian life - by riding its trains.
Tim Parks’s books on Italy have been hailed as "so vivid, so packed with delectable details, [they] serve as a more than decent substitute for the real thing" (Los Angeles Times Book Review).
Now, in his first Italian travelogue in a decade, he delivers a charming and funny portrait of Italian ways by riding its trains from Verona to Milan, Rome to Palermo, and right down to the heel of Italy.
Parks begins as any traveler might: "A train is a train is a train, isn’t it?" But soon he turns his novelist’s eye to the details, and as he journeys through majestic Milano Centrale station or on the newest high-speed rail line, he delivers a uniquely insightful portrait of Italy. Through memorable encounters with ordinary Italians - conductors and ticket collectors, priests and prostitutes, scholars and lovers, gypsies and immigrants - Parks captures what makes Italian life distinctive: an obsession with speed but an acceptance of slower, older ways; a blind eye toward brutal architecture amid grand monuments; and an undying love of a good argument and the perfect cappuccino.
Italian Ways also explores how trains helped build Italy and how their development reflects Italians’ sense of themselves from Garibaldi to Mussolini to Berlusconi and beyond. Most of all, Italian Ways is an entertaining attempt to capture the essence of modern Italy. As Parks writes, "To see the country by train is to consider the crux of the essential Italian dilemma: Is Italy part of the modern world, or not?"
Italian Ways has been one of the most enjoyable audiobooks I've listened to in a long time. It's not just the reading (which was excellent), but the wonderful insight into the Italian way of life.
This book is incredibly hard to describe and that's what makes it such an excellent listen. The author gives you a view of the Italian people through the perspective of a frequent rail-traveler. The book is a well-composed series of stories chronicling humorous, sweet, and frustrating events the author either participated in or witnessed while using the train system.
The stories couldn't be more enjoyable or vivid. Tim Parks ignites your imagination and builds the most incredible scenes of people interacting with one another. And, Ben Bartalone, the narrator, really delivers, as well.
I can't recommend this one highly enough.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What would have made Italian Ways better?
I think I expected more italian life and italian people in the story, but it was pretty much just about him figuring out the trains.....
What does Ben Bartolone bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
He has the voice of the teachers pet. It's annoying. A bit too cheery
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Yes, I think this book is worth it to get to know Italian culture from the view of the trains. I listened to this book prior to going to italy and traveling, and it helped navigate the rail system and to understand Italy on a deeper level.
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
Tim Parks was openly critical of a country that he clearly loves.
What three words best describe Ben Bartolone’s voice?
Inappropriate, incongruous, and unfitting. Because the voice of the author is that of an old ex-pat carmudgeon from Britain, and the narrator sounded like a young American.
Do you think Italian Ways needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
I haven't even bothered to finish the book because I got a little bored, saw that there were still 2 hours to go in the narration, and wondered what possibly more the author could discuss about Italian rails. Almost seemed like he was riding around the country just to have more material to talk about.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
a better reader would have helped. I couldn't stomach it. it was awful and annoying.
As an American who has spent a considerable amount of time in Italy, although I am by no means fluent I nonetheless know what proper Italian sounds like; names of cities etc.
The narrator here isn't capable of saying much beyond "spaghetti and meatballs" properly, which serves to spoil the authors novel but humorous and accurate premise.
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
Not sure the story lacked any tension--there was no real point to the travel. The observations seemed random and the prose was uninspired
What do you think your next listen will be?
Something with some direction and punch
What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?
The performance was flat but this was not surprising as there was no real drama in the story.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Any additional comments?
This book is not really up to the high quality of Tim Park's intellect. It read as though he was phoning the story in. It is certainly not up to the level of a Paul Theroux travelogue.
Would you listen to Italian Ways again? Why?
Only if there was a narrator/reader with a British/Italian accent. The reader was so very NOT right for this travel book. It made me want to stop listening at times. He was boring.
What other book might you compare Italian Ways to and why?
Not so sure. He is not as intimate a writer as Frances Mayes, but then that is a different kind of book.
How could the performance have been better?
By hiring a good British reader who speaks Italian. To have to listen to a narrative by a Btit read by am american with a midwest sort of whiny accent was not good.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
It made me long for Italy when I could get over the bad reader.
Any additional comments?
If an author is British, use a British reader.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful
Tim, life is so much a happier place than how you tell it. Even the ending on meditation is misplaced. It isn't the world'd (Italy's) fault. It is your negative perception.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful