La Bella Figura A Field Guide to the Italian Mind Join the bestselling author of Ciao America on a lively tour of modern Italy that takes you behind the seductive face it puts on for visitors la bella figura and highlights its maddening paradoxical

  • Title: La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
  • Author: Beppe Severgnini Giles Watson
  • ISBN: 9780767914406
  • Page: 465
  • Format: Paperback
  • Join the bestselling author of Ciao, America on a lively tour of modern Italy that takes you behind the seductive face it puts on for visitors la bella figura and highlights its maddening, paradoxical true self.You won t need luggage for this hypothetical and hilarious trip into the hearts and minds of Beppe Severgnini s fellow Italians In fact, Beppe would prefer if youJoin the bestselling author of Ciao, America on a lively tour of modern Italy that takes you behind the seductive face it puts on for visitors la bella figura and highlights its maddening, paradoxical true self.You won t need luggage for this hypothetical and hilarious trip into the hearts and minds of Beppe Severgnini s fellow Italians In fact, Beppe would prefer if you left behind the baggage his crafty and elegant countrymen have smuggled into your subconscious To get to his Italia, you ll need to forget about your idealized notions of Italy Although La Bella Figura will take you to legendary cities and scenic regions, your real destinations are the places where Italians are at their best, worst, and most authentic The highway in America, a red light has only one possible interpretation Stop An Italian red light doesn t warn or order you as much as provide an invitation for reflection.The airport where Italians prove that one of their virtues an appreciation for beauty is really a vice Who cares if the beautiful girls hawking cell phones in airport kiosks stick you with an outdated model That s the price of gazing upon perfection.The small town which demonstrates the Italian genius for pleasant living a congenial barber a well stocked newsstand professionally made coffee and a proper pizza bell towers we can recognize in the distance, and people with a kind word and a smile for everyone The chaos of the roads, the anarchy of the office, the theatrical spirit of the hypermarkets, and garrulous train journeys the sensory reassurance of a church and the importance of the beach the solitude of the soccer stadium and the crowded Italian bedroom the vertical fixations of the apartment building and the horizontal democracy of the eat in kitchen As you venture to these and many other locations rooted in the Italian psyche, you realize that Beppe has become your Dante and shown you a country that has too much style to be hell but is too disorderly to be heaven Ten days, thirty places From north to south From food to politics From saintliness to sexuality This ironic, methodical, and sentimental examination will help you understand why Italy as Beppe says can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred meters or ten minutes.

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      Published :2018-06-22T00:46:49+00:00

    One thought on “La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind”

    1. While I learned that as an overthinker who flies by the seat of his pants when travelling, I may relate more to Italians than Americans, I think that's about all I learned.Through a combination of strange prose and incomprehensible tangents, Beppe gets me more lost about his vision of Italy than a twisty Roman street. I set out to read the book to try to understand the country I'm about to visit and was left almost not wanting to visit it at all. There were a few helpful tips (i.e. don't cross t [...]

    2. Neither very enlightening nor very funny, this book does NOT do what it says on the tin. Yes, it's written in an easy and lightweight style, but it seemed to me to be empty of anything really revelatory or thought-provoking about its subject. Although it is framed as a 'journey' through Italy, it does little to evoke or describe the differences in temperament or landscape in the regions of the country. This book was full of the kinds of generalisation about Italy that I might have expected from [...]

    3. After living in Italy for a year, reading this book brought back memories and also explained a few hidden ideas in the Italian mind. Severini is hilarious in his description of his homeland but also acknowledges age-old problems that fill the country. I wouldn't recommend reading this book before your first trip to Italy because it will distort your view and may cause you to be hyper-critical. Read after you've been there a while or after you've left so you can laugh a bit. This book is filled w [...]

    4. See the original review here: justanotherbooknerd.tumblrI think it’s about time I take a break from fiction don’t you? Now, I am going to have to come clean here, my family have owned a property in Italy for many years and I have been going out there for a long time before that too. So what would make me want to read a book about a place I am already in love with despite the quite clearly obvious reason that I am already in love with it?Well the answer is simple really, it’s Italy from the [...]

    5. I really enjoyed Severgnini's smart-ass sense of humor and wit. He's an Italian David Sedaris. He makes fun of and adores Italians at the same time, meanwhile pointing out all their contradictions, anxieties and passions in very Italian, self-effacing way. He says of Italians that they make fun of everything because they respect nothing, and he is not different. Like a comedian/anthropologist he dissects everything from the modern Italian family structure to the meaning of the Vespa and the tele [...]

    6. A fascinating look into Italian culture. Severgnini details the complexity of the Italian mind, from its attraction to all things beautiful, to its suspicion and personal interpretation of top-down authority (hence the "red lights are suggestions" thing.Being an American completely in love with Italy (rolling amber hills, strong architecture, astounding artisitic genius), I found myself rethinking my view of this country. Now, my view is not shadowed, but it isn't idealistic either. I can now lo [...]

    7. I read this book on the plane to Italy, having already been there twice, I was hoping to gain further insight into the Italian psyche. I chose the wrong book. Mr. Severgnini did a disservice to his own people by keeping his observations facile and boring. I would not recommend this book to anyone. My advice -- if you want to learn about Italians, go to Italy and make friends with a local -- spend the $25 bucks buying them a pastry and a cafe' latte over some good conversation.

    8. Not so much a travel guide as a sociological exploration, this book is packed with fascinating insights and telling weaknesses. The author, an Italian that has worked as an English journalist at The Economist and other venues, explains the difference between Italy and Italia - the former being an imaginative invention of the English later adopted by the Americans, and the latter being the real thing. But, don't worry about remembering which is which, because after explaining both the difference [...]

    9. The premise of the book was intriguing: learn about Italy from an Italian's point of view. However, it was only when I read in the last pages of the book (after the conclusion of the story) that this book was a number 1 seller in Italy (and not America) that I realized why the book didn't absolutely grab me. The author is humorous and clearly well educated on his subject. Unfortunately for me (an Italian enthusiast, even), many of the references were too obscure. The tales jumped all over the pl [...]

    10. This "New York Times Bestseller" is awful. The book consists of general observations that are either obvious, ill-founded, or applicable to almost any culture, if they make sense at all. Here is an example, from page 6: Ours is a sophisticated exhibitionism that has no need of an audience. Italians are psychologically self-sufficient. What's the problem? Well, we like nice gestures so much we prefer them to good behavior. Gestures gratify, but behaving takes an effort. Still, the sum of ten good [...]

    11. "Forse questo sentimento nazionale è tradizione, forse è abitudine, forse è solo una pausa che si concede chi ha litigato troppo. Probabilmente, mescolato al resto contiene un po' di rimpianto: perché sappiamo, in fondo, che le nostre virtù sono inimitabili, mentre i difetti sarebbero correggibili. Basta volerli correggere. Basta convincersi che la testa degli italiani è un gioiello, non un alibi."Leggendo i molti commenti negativi e legittimi dei lettori stranieri, suppongo il libro di Se [...]

    12. If the author was narrating this book to you over dinner or drinks, I imagine it would be a charming way of passing the time. Or if it was just a travel column published once a week I'd probably be a fan. But lumped into a book the twee observations about Italians just seem to go on forever. The paragraphs all have the same rhythm to them and by the 30th time I'd read about how "Italians are (adjective) and (adjective), but also (contradiction) and (contradiction)!" my eyes just rolled back into [...]

    13. Cảm giác giống như nói chuyện điện thoại với một người Ý. Anh ta đi khắp nước Ý, dừng lại đôi chỗ để ngắm một quảng trường đông đúc hay bãi biển rực nắng hè, vừa kể những cảnh trước mắt vừa liên tục bình luận về những chuyện ngày xửa ngày xưa và vô vàn dây mơ rễ má từ những thứ vụn vặt nhất đến bản tính nước Ý - cái lối tư duy đã ngấm vào máu anh chàng. Anh ta đ [...]

    14. Tôi cứ nghĩ rằng mình sẽ thích cuốn này lắm lắm. Tác giả sử dụng đủ các biệt pháp từ liệt kê, so sánh và đặc biệt là rất nhiều trích dẫn, có đồng ý lần không đồng ý. Ngay cả cách dẫn dắt vấn đề bằng chuyến du lịch vòng quanh nước Ý trong vòng mười ngày cũng đã thể hiện việc viết cuốn sách của tác giả là có chủ định, chứ không phải tùy hứng như nhiều người. Đoạn đ [...]

    15. This book never met my expectation and curiosity. I bought it to read about the Italian culture and tradition and how life is like in Italy. I figured out that the book is very far off what I thought it would be. How the Italians park their cars, traffic in the roads, how they shop in malls, blah blah blah !!!.I didn't read the whole book. I stopped reading it after finishing the first half of it. And definitely I won't read it again is a waste of papers and time.

    16. Beppe Severgnini takes us on a tour of the Italian mind, and what a mind it is. Intelligent. Intuitive. Good intentions. Intimate. Genius. Gusto. Guts. Generosity. Clever. Funny. Paradoxically true, which is always the truest sort of true.

    17. Analisi mediocri, a tratti spiritose, macchiettistiche.Risente molto degli anni, nonostante non sia vecchio (anni '90).

    18. Definitely didn't think this book would turn out the way it did. Many times I found the author just blabbing and jabbering about things that were important to him, not so much the reader. I think the author had a hard time just getting the point across, and liked to drag it out. Often times the author would go off subject and just yap about something that had nothing to do with the book (in my opinion).As people were saying, this is not a book that you want to read in order to "get the knowledge [...]

    19. Well, I was hoping to learn a lot about Italy from this book; but I did something that I rarely doI put it down before I got to the end. While I learned a couple of possibly useful tidbits, like the table fee at restaurants and the fact that pedestrians are more like target practice for drivers, overall I felt like this was written with SWEEPING generalizations. And the generalizations weren't limited to the Italians, they were also applied to Americans, Britains, Germans, etc. Since I'm trying [...]

    20. I gave up reading after the first 30 pages. I expected to experience the landscapes of Italia as well as the stories behind their characteristics, turned out the author only bragged about some minor things that were over-generalized about Italians.

    21. Read this before going to Italy! Funny. Inspiring. Thought-provoking. I really felt as though I had received an excellent introduction to the Italian mindset!

    22. Journalist Beppe Severgnini takes his readers through Italy in 10 days, linking each place he visits with an aspect of Italian life - traffic, politics, football etc. Through this he aims to explain the Italian psyche, revealing the realItaliathat he describes as an 'offbeat purgatory'.A bit of a mixed bag - there are flashes of real insight, and moments of humour, but it can also be quite repetitive, has some strange generalisations (particularly about Americans) and sometimes struggles to conv [...]

    23. I can't decide how I feel about this book. If you have no knowledge of Italy at all, or haven't spent much time there, I can't imagine you will enjoy it. As someone just a thesis short of a degree in Italian Studies, I am not entirely sure I got much out of it either's very intimate and very particular and probably very amusing to an expat living in Italy long term. It rambles and wanders, commenting on various elements of Italian culture (like schools or cappuccino or what have you), but in a w [...]

    24. Obwohl Severgnini einen großartigen Humor besitzt, und diesen immer wieder zur Schau stellt, hat mich dieses Buch über weite Teile enttäuscht. Wer schon einmal in Italien war, dem werden viele der beschriebenen Situationen bekannt vorkommen. Der Autor möchte mit diesem Buch keine typischen, oft von Ausländern angenommenen, Klischees beschreiben - tut meiner Meinung nach aber leider genau das. Ein bisschen abgeändert könnte diese Geschichte vermutlich auch auf jede andere Nation umgelegt w [...]

    25. The book was overall good. I read it during my study abroad program in Florence, Italy. The book helped me better understand the enviroment I was living in and what I should expect of my surroundings and people when in certain areas of Italy. If you are ever traveling to Italy, I reccomend reading this to help you prepare for your trip. Its an easy read.

    26. Some chapters better than others, lots of valid and interesting points about Italy. Two trips in and the book is certainly accurate based on my experiences, hopefully many more to come. Overall enjoyed the book but it was choppy, not always on message or to the point. Lots of reading between the lines, not unlike Italy itself. The best stuff isn't the most obvious.

    27. It was a fun book to read in preparation for a trip to Italy. Interesting to know that the stereotypes one has are often recognized by the very people who are stereotyped and the author does a good job of "explaining" Italians.

    28. È un buon libro per gli studenti d'italiano perché si imparano molte parole nuove è caratteristiche della cultura italiana. Tuttavia, l'autore usa un linguaggio pretenzioso e molte cliché, che mi irritano tantissimo e hanno fatto la lettura molto più fastidiosa.

    29. I appreciated the Italian perspective, but the English was a little strangely worded (needed more editing) and the book can be summarized by the epilogue. I would enjoy a tour by Beppe though. Sounds like he is just full of stories.

    30. Quyển sách này có lẽ sẽ khiến nhiều người vỡ mộng vì một nước Ý trong mơ của họ. Nhưng dù tốt hay xấu, tác giả cũng không hề chê bai thậm tệ và đã viết ra những dòng theo phong cách cũng rất Ý, tinh quái, ranh ma, dí dỏm và phóng khoáng, hệt như nền văn hóa mà ông mang theo suốt đời mình.

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