User Profile


Joined 4 months, 3 weeks ago

This link opens in a pop-up window

Of Mice and Men (Paperback, 2002, Penguin Books) 4 stars

An intimate portrait of two men who cherish the slim bond between them and the …

Review of 'Of Mice and Men' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I loved this book. First Steinbeck one I read, so I've immediately ordered "The Grapes of Wrath" (and I'm just learning that, like for this book, the title comes from a poem). The prose is raw and genuine, and I'll admit that even if I speak fluent English it resulted at times quite difficult to understand, a sign itself of authentic writing. The story is at the same time simple and tragic, banal yet deep in layers: there's the dire conditions of workers during the Great Depression, friendship and sense of loyalty, racism, misogyny, the American Dream, the crush of ambitions, power (physical and not) and lack thereof. I think it's worth a read not just for historical reasons.

Lands of Lost Borders (Paperback, 2019, Vintage Canada) 4 stars

As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she most craved--that of a generalist …

Review of 'Lands of Lost Borders' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I've been on a "adventure/travel" books spree for a while and this didn't disappoint. In fact, I've quite enjoyed it and I've learned a few things. You end up feeling like travelling with the two cyclists along the Silk Road yourself, and this isn't the type of "everything is awesome" book with a touristy approach. It's full of reflections on what is travelling for discovery (yes, even today) and what it means that we are part of nature and must be respectful. I leave here some quotes (for lack of a features that allows you to add them manually if you read a physical book):

"[...] for if people see themselves as distinct and separate from the natural world, they believe they risk nothing in destroying it. What Thoreau was really saying was that he'd travelled wildly in Concord, that you can travel wildly just about anywhere. The wildness of …

Down under (2001, Black Swan) 4 stars

In a Sunburned Country is the 2000 travelogue book about Australia written by best-selling travel …

Review of 'Down under' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Bryson is always Bryson: his style is unmistakable, his prose is funny and full of self-deprecation, the look with which he sees the world is entertaining yet full of curiosity for the history and the specific features of a place. With this book you can learn a lot about Australia even if you have never been there: you will travel all corners of the land, you will meet a lot of people, you will drink a lot of beer and hear a lot about local fauna.

Review of 'Undiscovered Deaths of Grace Mcgill' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This book feels like it could become a movie. It is a good one. I bought it as I wanted something from Scottish authors, set in Scotland. I saw this thriller and went for it - it didn't disappoint. The atmosphere is all quite morbid, the main character is troubled and extremely cunning, the story is set today but dives in the past too, but I won't say anything about the plot because I don't want to produce spoilers. It's a quite disturbing read, in a good sense, as in it's meant to be. Quite original too.

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster (2021, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) 4 stars

Review of 'How to Avoid a Climate Disaster' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This is a book to keep and re-read in 10 years' time to check how far we got. I found it really well written as it's fluid yet full of information, which is factual and based on data. Gates lists potential solutions in a very pragmatic way, assessing pros and cons and the risks. The approach is that of a techie, devoid of politics, and all in all the vibe is optimistic. He has clearly done lots of research and he makes it available for everyone to learn about.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold (Paperback, 2019, Picador) 4 stars

[Fiction / Fantasy / Contemporary] What would you change if you could go back in …

Review of 'Before the Coffee Gets Cold' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Very delicate book, and as I was commenting with a friend it probably loses something in the translation. I wouldn't say it's a masterpiece and being a bestseller I was expecting something more from it, but it is a nice read. It explores joys and sorrows of human life through the lens of a café in Tokyo, interestingly named after a Neapolitan traditional song ()! which has the magic ability to let people travel in time.

Review of 'La vita inizia quando trovi il libro giusto' on 'Goodreads'

1 star

This book really is poor, sorry. I don't feel comfortable writing bad reviews because I don't want to offend anyone (and who am I to judge something anyway?) but I also don't like being politically correct or dull. Something's bad, you gotta say it (in a far way). So, the idea was nice, which is why I picked it up, but the story is extremely banal.
I've read it in the Italian translation (more on this later) and I finished it nevertheless (I'm not sure why to be honest, I guess I never lost hope that it would turn to be actually an outstanding piece of literature in disguise). There's these ladies running a bookshop, one starts a leaving books on the local train line with post-its to potential readers, meets people, meets man, etc; the other has man, has troubles, etc. Full stop. With the added concentrate of banalities …

Islands of Abandonment (Hardcover, 2021, Viking) 4 stars

Investigative journalist Cal Flyn's ISLANDS OF ABANDONMENT, an exploration of the world's most desolate, abandoned …

Review of 'Islands of Abandonment' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Really good, original and well executed. The author travels the world to see first hand how time has transformed places humankind has abandoned, whether due to natural disaster, to historical events, or to accidents. She tells the history that led the place to where it is now, and reflects on the factors. We go, amongst others, to an abandoned island in Scotland, to Detroit, to Chernobyl.
Part documentary work, part lyrical narration of the impact humans have on the environment and what happens when they're not around anymore, at traits leaning on the distopyan (but it's all real stuff), with a good mix of optimism and pessimism, and of course a realisation of the underlying presence of climate change. Really a great read.

The Complete Life and Times of Uncle Scrooge McDuck, Volume 1 (2019, Fantagraphics Books) 5 stars

From his shoeshine stand as a plucky young lad to his globe-spanning quests for long-lost …

Review of 'The Complete Life and Times of Uncle Scrooge McDuck, Volume 1' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I love Disney stuff and always have loved it. This is a masterpiece, and as someone said, a great piece of literature. Rosa's drawings are of course wonderful in themselves, but the whole story is a great adventure. You travel with McDuck literally all over the world, from a start in a Glaswegian poor home to the empire he builds in "Calisota". It's at one time an adventure story and a representation of the American dream, passing through a lot of history (expect the Titanic and tsarist Russia, for one). Enjoy!

Mythos (Paperback, 2017, Michael Joseph) 4 stars

Mythos is a modern collection of Greek myths, stylishly retold by legendary writer, actor, and …

Review of 'Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Wonderful book, Fry is a great narrator. It's never boring - on the contrary, quite funny and it is aimed at anyone. It proceeds in short chapters which make the information very digestible, and I particularly liked the linguistic/etymological excursus.

Review of 'Hare House' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This book is presented as a great Scottish gothic tale, but I found it a bit disappointing in that it's very slow to develop the plot. Almost two thirds of the book provide just vague hints as to what's going to happen and while this helps creating the atmosphere, the result is a bit tedious. It then tends to stay too much on the vague even when the plot finally reaches its climax, leaving a lot to be interpreted, but not in an engaging way.
This said, the language and the writing is really good and fluid and all in all the book is worth a read. As the author says, it gives an interesting overview of rural Scotland and some pointers as to its old history. As a further plus point, it gives nice descriptions of landscapes and places, so it makes you feel quite immersed in the location.