Friday, August 19, 2011

Post Card Fridays: Buongiorno Italy

I am seriously jealous of this weeks Post Card trip to Italy from Katie:

via Creative Commons
I was 18-years-old when I went to Italy and became captivated by what a mind-bogglingly old (everyone should see the Coliseum), marvelously cheap (oh, how I miss the lira), ridiculously delicious (gelato!), and truly overwhelming (so much art and architecture and beauty with so few street signs) place it is. Unfortunately, in the decade since none of my “Get Back to Italy” plans have succeeded, but in the meantime I’ve had the library to get me through. For those of you who share my love of the country that gave us pizza and spaghetti, here are a few Italian adventures that don’t require a passport and won’t cost you a dime.

Are We There Yet? by David Levithan
Want to use your passport to visit three of Italy’s most magnificent cities? This is the book for you. Brothers, David and Elijah, have been conned by their parents into taking a 9-day vacation to Italy. Together. Just the two of them. The only problem is that there is a good deal more than seven years separating the brothers. They are very different people whose lives have taken very different directions. Finding common ground on foreign soil is rather tricky but maybe not impossible. Enter Julia. Elijah is enamored with Julia instantly, but she brings her own issues to the brotherly duo, and soon they seem further apart than ever. Will Italy’s ancient magic be strong enough to help them overcome their differences?

This book completely won me over with the way it brought the sights of Venice, Florence, and Rome in addition to the brothers’ relationship to life. By the end, you will feel like you’ve been to the Pantheon yourself. And you’ll also want to find your nearest family member and hold them close. 

Girl At Sea by Maureen Johnson
Or perhaps you’d rather venture down the coastline and avoid the chaos of the cities. As she proved in 13 Little Envelopes, Maureen Johnson is the sort of author who loves to whisk her characters off to foreign locales. And this time she’s taking us to Italy and throwing in a yacht and lost treasure for good measure.

Clio is one of those teens that just doesn’t want to leave home and go to Europe (ahem... see also: Anna and the French Kiss), but as we all know life isn’t always fair and sometimes you have to leave behind your art store crush and spend a few weeks with your dad... on yacht... off the coast of Italy. Granted it’s not all pizza and dolphins, Clio also has to deal with her father’s new girlfriend and her teenage daughter, as well as a number of issues that have developed between father and daughter over the years. And oh, did I mention that there is also a cute boy also on the boat? Because there is. Just in case you were wondering. But this book isn’t your standard contemporary romance, it’s also a rollicking sea adventure and treasure hunt and the perfect end-of-summer escape to those beautiful towns that dot the Mediterranean shores of Italy’s coastline.

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

Three days before her drama club's trip to Italy, Jessa Gardner discovers her boyfriend in the costume barn with another girl. Jessa is left with a care package from her best friend titled "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard," instructing her to do one un-Jessa-like thing each day of the trip. At turns hilarious and heartwrenching, Instructions for a Broken Heart paints a magical Italy in which Jessa learns she must figure out life-and romance-for herself. [marketing copy]

Cross your fingers that this one hits library shelves soon (it’s already in the catalog if you want to put it on hold). 

A Room With A View by E. M. Forster
No book list about Italy is complete without mentioning E. M. Forster’s classic A Room With A View. This coming of age story from the early 1900s may be the perfect way to ease yourself back into “school reading” mode while still holding on to the freedom of summer travel. Or, another option would be to give yourself a break from reading entirely and check out the DVD version of this story, starring none other than Bellatrix Lestrange... I mean Helena Bonham-Carter as the lovely Lucy Honeychurch.

For more international books, check out our lists here!

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