Thirteen books from 2015

by Lorenzo Piccoli


How much did I read this year? I suppose there are different ways to answer this question. I could count the number of pages; or the number of books; or the number of authors. But the thing I do is count the number of friendly faces that come to mind when recollecting the books I read over the months. Just like I did last year, I have now tried to associate each book read in 2015 to one or more persons I know. Based on this scientific method, I have estimated that in the year that is about to finish I read a lot.

These are the titles, then. Whilst I am only going to mention a couple of the people I thought of when scrolling through the list of books, many others might recognize themselves in the titles that appear beneath.

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In the first period of the year – the cold, long, tiring winter months – I read a collection of three books from Italo Calvino. The first on the list is the first novel he wrote; the third is, up to day, the book I would recommend to those who do not know him yet.

 

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In the Spring months I was really into mountain-related reads. If you are, too, then these are all exceptionally good books – the first of the three being very relaxed and similar to Thoreau’s Walden; the other two more erratic.
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I remember reading the two books above in a timid April sun of Piazza Santo Spirito. I already encouraged many friends to give a try to the first of the two. As for the second, which is a book on Tuscan cyclist Gino Bartali, I can say that today I got lost in Chianti with Giallu and we ended up breaking the tyre of the car. We were lucky enough to find Alvaro, an old mechanic who used to work for Gino Bartali: while fixing the tyre, he spoke about him as “a truly good man“. (This, in turn, made me think of an old interview with Giacinto Facchetti, another sportsman. When, as a player, he was asked what he wanted to do after retiring he replied he was going to try to be a man). If you read the book you will understand why elderly people here remind Bartali as a good man rather than as one of the greatest cyclists of all the time.

 

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In the Summer months I read two books left me from the brother who continued shape my life from afar – I shall also add a third book to this list, a collection of letters he gave me in March and I read throughout the year. I would assume these three are among his dearest books.

 

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And then. Since I was back in Florence in late September I have read only two books – but of remarkably high quality. The characters of these books have a certain depth and I realized it was really hard to get away from them after having finished their romantic, erratic, naive, contradictory life-stories.

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