Welcome to Travel Readings
Melbourne: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
Books, Movies and Beyond…
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Washington, DC and New York
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Rome
Rio de Janeiro: Crimes of August (Agosto) by Rubem Fonseca
Istanbul: The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
Liège (Belgium): Pedigree by Georges Simenon
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Lisbon
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Cambodia
Hyde Park, Chicago: Ravelstein by Saul Bellow
Paris: Flowers of Ruin and Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Naples
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Tanzania
Sri Lanka: Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje
Books, Movies and Beyond… : Venice
Dublin: The Dead by James Joyce
Books, Movies and Beyond: Iran
Santa Cruz, Bolivia: The Matter of Desire (Materia del Deseo) by Edmundo Paz Soldán
Books, Movies and Beyond: Syria
Djibouti: Passage of Tears (Passage des Larmes) by Abdourahman Waberi
Books, Movies and Beyond: Armenia
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: The Parachute Drop by Norbert Zongo
Bangkok: Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap
Périgord, France: The Caves of Périgord by Martin Walker
Books, Movies and Beyond: Brussels
Naples: The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
Books, Movies and Beyond: Rio de Janeiro
Tajikistan: Hurramabad by Andrei Volos
New-York: City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
Israel and Palestine: To the End of the Land by David Grossman and Wild Thorns by Sahar Khalifeh
Books, Movies and Beyond: Bavaria and Southern Germany
Cape Town: Boyhood, Youth and Summertime by J.M. Coetzee
Books, Movies and Beyond: India
Blue Ridge Mountains: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
Books, Movies and Beyond: Algeria
Austrian Alps: A Whole Life (Ein ganzes Leben) by Robert Seethaler
Books, Movies and Beyond: Africans in America
Zimbabwe: The Last Resort by Douglas Rogers
Books, Movies and Beyond: Colombia
Belgian Ardennes: The All Saints’ Day Lovers by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
Côte d’Ivoire: Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie
Japan: Haruki Murakami and Amélie Nothomb
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Rope and The Denial of Saint Peter by Charles Baudelaire
Books, Movies and Beyond: Cairo
Vancouver: What is Remembered by Alice Munro
Ghent (Belgium): War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans
Haiti: An Aroma of Coffee and Dining with the Dictator by Dany Laferrière and The Comedians by Graham Greene
Iceland: Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason
Siena and Tuscany : Il Palio delle contrade morte by Fruttero & Lucentini and The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
China : Wild Swans. Three Daughters of China, by Jung Chang
Amsterdam: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
Former Soviet Union: The Unwomanly Face of War  by Svetlana Alexievich
Provence: The Horseman on the Roof by Jean Giono, La charrette bleue by René Barjavel, Madame de Sévigné and Ventoux by Bert Wagendorp
Moscow: The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and Limonov by Emmanuel Carrère
Books, Movies and Beyond: Vietnam
Books, Movies and Beyond: The Wars in Vietnam

Books, Movies and Beyond…: Rome

For Rome, the first book that comes to mind is « Memoirs of Hadrian » by the French author, Marguerite Yourcenar. I actually read the book while in Rome, for example one chapter in the Pantheon. This a letter by Emperor Hadrian to his adopted grand-son and eventual successor Marcus Aurelius. It is a sumptuous meditation about power, victory and love.



The Pantheon’s cupola


In Memoirs of Hadrian, Hadrian writes from the villa that was built for him outside Rome. You can still visit it today in Tivoli. A visit to combine with the wonderful gardens and fountains at the Villa d’Este.

Another book for Rome is the novella « Daisy Miller » by Henry James. It is the story of a young American who draws attention and challenges conventions during her tour in Europe at the end of the 19th century. The novella starts in Switzerland, but continues in Rome, with a famous final scene in the Colosseum. Apologies for not suggesting Italian writers. If you can fill the gap, don’t hesitate.


For movies featuring Rome, there is plenty of choice. We really enjoyed “La Meglio Gioventu” (The Best of Youth), a long (6 hours) but magnificent saga that covers the journey of two brothers and their families, as well as Italy’s history (Red Brigades, Mafia) from the 60’s until now. It is shot in several Italian cities, but Rome is very well represented.

Another movie I really enjoyed is the « The Bicycle Thief » by Vittorio de Sica which is set in Rome’s working class neighborhoods. When we watched it with our kids, they initially didn’t want that « old » movie in black and white. But within a few minutes, they were glued to the screen to watch the story of this father and his son who need to get back a stolen bicycle in order to make sure there will be food on the table. A simple, moving and magical moment of cinema.

On the Facebook page, Jamba and Michaël proposed a firework of Roman movies (follow the links to see the trailers): « Roma » and « La Dolce Vita » by Fellini, « Rome, Open City » by Rosselini, « Il Divo » and « La Grande Belleza (The Great Beauty)» by Sorrentino. Thanks for their expert help!

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

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