Time for books / 6

by Lorenzo Piccoli


Between January and late February I have read several books of all the kinds.

The first book I read in early January was Arto Paasilinna’s The Forest of the Hanged Foxes. The main characters of the story run away from the city to live in a small cabin in the wood, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. This is a typically Christmas read, soft and a bit surreal. I loved the idea of living alone in the  intensity the landscapes of Northern Finland. It is rare to find a novel that makes you laugh and at the same time reflect about human condition. This is a really good one.

It took a while to read Heinrich Harrer’s Beyond Seven Years in Tibet: My Life Before, During, and After (in Italian: La mia sfida al destino). The book is about five-hundred pages long about Harrer’s life as a mountaineer who spent seven years in Tibet and who climbed an awful lot of peaks. Harrer died only a few years ago, when he was about to turn 100. This is a good book, perhaps a bit too long. From his autobiography, Harrer stands out as a very controversial character, definitely selfish, probably committed, surely extremely resilient. I really liked the first chapters, then it turned a bit boring and repetitive.

Sempre sull’alpinismo, ho letto anche Giorni di Ghiaccio di Marco Confortola. Ho già commentato questa lettura qui. Ho letto anche due libri di osservatori politici trentini e riferimenti di vita che ho avuto l’onore di conoscere personalmente. Ho commentato il libro di Piergiorgio Cattani su Dellai, un uomo solo al comando qui; e quello di Walter Micheli, Passioni e sentieri, qui.

In una serata oziosa, tanto per cambiare genere ho letto Ciclismo, Storie segrete, di Beppe Conti. Libretto leggero e simpatico, che si legge in circa due ore e che parla dei retroscena e dei piccoli trucchetti legati alle grandi imprese del ciclismo passato. Altra lettura molto leggera e veloce: Lorenzo Baratter, L’autonomia spiegata ai miei figli. Un compendio veloce sulle origini e le ragioni dell’autonomia trentina, in un momento in cui dobbiamo ripensarne radicalmente i contenuti che ne giustificano l’esistenza.

Finally, while travelling to Munich I read Alain de Botton’s The Consolations of Philosophy. I would call this an interesting book. It was a huge success a few years ago. Alain de Botton is a very famous university professor now, one of those who can speak not only to an academic, but also to a much broader public. The book is about six philosophers whose thought could have a powerful effect on our lives. Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche are here interpreted for the light their work can shine on certain great universal problems.

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