Ilaria Mogno's Book list
Reading is probably my number one hobby. I read a lot, on the subway, on the couch, before going to bed. I love books, I try to read a lot of different things. So in November 2007 I started this list, I'll try to keep it up to date. I also added some of the books i read in the past. Of course the list is not complete but I tried to include some of the books that hit me most.
now i am reading: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Name all the Animals
I have to admit I didn not expect much out of this book. Nut it turned out to be a very interesting story about a very delicate topic. And from the way it is told it does not seem like a memoir.
April 2008
The twenty-seventh City
The story is a liitle boring due to the large number of characters. It takes a while to get used to all of them. But it was interesting to read about St. Louis
April 2008
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Again, I don't have many words for Harry Potter. I just like these books. I am close to the end now.
March 2008
Letters Against the War
I love this book. It tells in few simple words why what we are doing in the world is wrong. One of the best description of the situation in Afganistan and of the war. He published it in many languages, but he could not find an english publisher, and it is not surprising. You can download it in English for free on his website.
Februrary 2008
Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War
A funny book. And very interesting indeed. Especially for me that I am starting to know the South a little bit better.
February 2008
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
More more Harry Potter. This one is particularly exciting. I was on the subway when I was reading the chapter about the dragons. And I just finished it at my stop. So I exited the subway station and I had a strong urge to communicate to somebody that Harry just passed the dragon!!! :)
February 2008
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
I was very excited to read this book, I loke autobiographies very much. However, I have to say, this is not an autobiography. It is an edited collection of many documents Martin Luther King left behind. Most of them are unpublished and many of them are actually from movies. It is then more a documentary on his life. The most disappointing part was that his private life and how it related to his public figure (which is one of the most interesting aspects of people like him) is missing. It is still a good book that I recommend, but it is not an autobiography.
January 2008
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World
This is the book everybody should read. It tells the story of Paul Farmer who is spending his life curing TB and AIDS in places like Haiti. It is not a biography, but more the report of the time the writer (Tracy Kidder) spent with him in Haiti, in Russia and in other parts of the world. The last two chapters are the best of the whole book, with the story of John who had a bad tumor and all the efforts made by two women doctors from Boston to send him to MGH, just to discover he was going to die anyways. And then the thoughts of Paul Farmer about these cases and his debating whether it is fair or not to spend a lot of money on one kid only. It makes you open your eyes and realize that is actually the wrong question to ask... but I am not going to tell you what the right questions are ;). Also from the book, but not from its title, it is evident how PIH is not a product of one person only, but there are many people behind it. Like Jim Kim who deserves as much credit as Paul Farmer.
January 2008
La pista di sabbia
This time an Italian book during my Christmas break. I love Camilleri, the way he writes and what he writes. Montalbano does not disappoint, but it starts to feel a little bit too repetitive after years. However, it is always a pleasant reading.
December 2007
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
We are at Book 3 and it still does not disappoint. It actually becomes more interesting. I have the feeling some important plots started to develop in this book.
December 2007
The Bourne Identity
I had the three of them in my list (The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum), but I dropped this book after about 100 painful pages. It just sounds nothing original. Boring, boring, boring! I am still planning to watch the movies, though. I think this is one of those cases in which the movie is better than the book.
December 2007
The Memory Keeper's Daughter
I've got to say, a thumb down for this book. I read it for my bookclub and since the first pages I said to myself (oh no!, a girly book!!). It is a girly book, with people that love each other, hurt each other, and finally the "power of love" fixes everything, or almost. I felt it completely far from me. Not the story itself. that was fine, and also right for the time and place the book is set. But for the psychology of the characters! Very poor!! Save your money, don't buy it.
December 2007
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Another amazing book. It really captures you. It is a good story told in a good way. The only disappointing part is that it did not happen like it is told in the book. And more, the movie had a lot of incorrect additions (the very first movie directed by Clint Eastwood that disappointed me). But it still a very enjoyable book. Make sure you read it before you go to Savannah!
November 2007
All the King's Men
One of the best american books I've ever read. It took a while to get into it. The style is very curated and for a non-native speaker it fells a little bit too high (at least to me), but I have to say that it never bothered me. The descriptions are amazing, and after a little while you get caught into the characters. Apparently I've read the corrected edition (e.g. Willie Stark is actually Willie Talos). I see that many people got disappointed by this edition. Because I didn't read the previous one I cannot judge this aspect, but I have to agree that correcting the manuscript by bringing it back to an edition the the author itself did not want seems too invasive.
November 2007
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
If there's a disappointing book, here it is. I got captured by the cover of the book and by the reviews. Plus it won a Pulitzer Prize, how can you go wrong with a Pulitzer Prize? Well, I tried to read it few years ago, and I got stuck at about page 100. I gave it a second chance (maybe I was in the wrong mood for this book) and I ended up forcing myself to read 200 pages. I just did not get it. I was never into the charachters. The style, I feel, wants to be too sophisticate, but what the writer gets is just loosing the reader.
October 2007
Eat, Drink, and be Healthy. The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healty eating
This book is my bible. It tells all you need to know about food and nutrition
August 2007
A Bed of Red Flowers: In Search of My Afghanistan
Wow!!! This is ONE hidden book! Nelofer Pazira tells us the story of her life in Afghanistan, and how she and her family escaped from it. I don't have many words for this book, but everybody should read it. Then we can discuss again about Afghanistan.
July 2007
My Name Is Red
It's hard to judge this book. The author just won the Nobel Prize in literature, so I had great expectations. But, I have to say, the book was just not great. I think the idea (not very new to tell the truth) of writing every chapter from a different character's point of view was brilliant, especially because one of these characters that is telling you the story is the killer (and you still don't know who he is), but it just didn't work. The descriptions were too boring, and the book lost its track pretty soon. Too bad. I am still curious to read "Snow" though
June 2007
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
And book two did not disappoint me. I am going to read one of these every once in a while, when I need a break from more serious books. An I do enjoy them!
June 2007
Cent'anni di solitudine
A masterpiece. I read it for the first time when I was in high school, and I read it again this year. I have a special thing for South American literature. They all write about passions, families, deaths and spirits. Especially this book. I love the story of this family and of the town of Macondo. This is Garcia Marquez's masterpiece.
April 2007
The Cider House Rules
Another John Irving. Another pleasure in reading a story with a complex plot written in a brilliant style.
March 2007
Principessa di Baghdad
The best book about the war in Iraq.
February 2007
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
A very curious book, in which two aspects prevail: the story of the writer in Iran, and her teaching literature to a group of college girls. It is a window to a world I don't know and the story is told in a very original and interesting way.
February 2007
The Lost Days of Agatha Christie
Taken by the mystery of the disappearance of Agatha Christie when she was young, I bought this book. A waste of money! It is just the fruit of the imagination of the writer, Carole Owens, who describes a possible meeting between Agatha Cristie and a young psychologist, who helps her finding her lost memories. Of course we get to the solution, too bad that it is not the real one!
February 2007
Buskashi. Viaggio dentro la guerra
And here's Gino Strada's book about Afghanistan, the war and how he managed to enter the country after thousands of difficulties. Unfortunately there's no english translation yet.
January 2007
Pappagalli verdi. Cronache di un chirurgo di guerra
The first book by Gino Strada, the Italian surgeon that is dedicating his life to provide free medical care to civilian war victims. He actually wrote this book before founding EMERGENCY, but it is still interesting a shocking. The english version is here.
January 2007
Un giorno perfetto
Not my favorite book from Melania Mazzucco, I think Vita and Lei cosi' Amata are much better, but it is still good. A novel about several people whose stories are linked somehow. An old idea developed in the right way.
January 2007
Just War
A model for the future, for us, for everybody.
December 2006
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
So i got caught into the Harry Potter now. Pretty good job, at least for book one.
November 2006
The Great Gatsby
Another American classic. I read it and I liked it but unfortunately it did not hit me.
September 2006
The Awakening
A very interesting book. I didn't know Kate Chopin before coming to the USA. Apparently she is one of the major classic American writers. But she did not make it because she was a woman. However, it seems they are starting to read this book in the schools. I can see how this book and her life created a scandal in the South of the XIX century. I strongly suggest this book along with other classics.
Summer 2006
A Widow for One Year
And John Irving hit again!!! Some people find this his best book. I don't agree. I still think Owen Meany is superior, but this is still excellent!!! Watch the movie too. You'll be surprised, it is only about the first third of the novel.
July 2006
To Kill a Mockingbird
A great classics. read it now if you haven't yet.
May 2006
The story of Vita, who came to the USA with Diamante when they were just little kids. It is the story of Italian immigration of the 20th century. Very good novel, which has also some truth.
January 2006
The Kite Runner
I am a little bit disappointed by this book. The story starts really well, and I like a lot when authors are able to mix fiction with historical background. However, Hosseini lost it at the end, when everything closes into a circle. It just felt too much, not natural.
September 2005
Running with Scissors
I liked this book. Before I read it some people told me it was too violent, too strong, they even got offended by some parts. Instead, I found it very interesting. And the striking part is that it is a real story. I just cannot believe somebody grew up in this way. Now I am ready to read Dry.
October 2005
Interpreter of Maladies
Jhumpa Lahiri does definitively better with short stories than with novels. These stories are easy, simple and brilliant in describing normal life of normal people. Really really good!
Summer 2005
The World According to Garp
Second attempt with John Irving, and another good book! Not at the level of Owen Meany but a pretty interesting one!
February 2005
After Me Talk Pretty One Day I was ready to lough again with David Sedaris. Instead, this book is very repetitive and almost boring. One is enough.
November 2004
A Prayer for Owen Meany
This book was a gift, I would have never though of buying it with such a weird title. The first attempt to read it failed. I didn't know much english and the first chapter is about baseball and I didn't quite get what a foul ball is. I put it aside and read it again after few months... and surprise! I discovered my favorite American writer! Perfect style and amazing stories with a brilliant plot! This novel, in particular, stays with you for months!
August 2004
The Namesake
It's an easy story, told in a good style, but nothing that special.
December 2004
Lei cosi' amata
The biography of Annemarie Schwarzenbach, an almost unknown writer whose life was short and full of events.
January 2006
Me Talk Pretty One Day
One of the funniest books ever.
February 2004
When I Was Old
The inventor of Maigret wrote his own autobiography, and a masterpiece came out. I have to say that the best autobiographies I have ever read are writers'. And this is one of those. A must read!
December 2003
The Lord of the Rings
I read this years ago, but I decided to add it to this list because it is one of the best books ever. And I don't even like fantasy books! But this one is special. 1200 pages of action, stories, friendships and battles. In a world that does not exists, but that becomes yours while reading this book. Surprisingly, the movies are good too.
Sometime in 2002
Agatha Christie: Autobiography
I like Agatha Christie, I like her book and I like Poirot. But I didn't know anything about her life. I discovered a brave and modern woman, who was not afraid to discover the world by herself and to take risks. Definitively, the best book she ever wrote.
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