The Guardian, a worthy publication despite its relentless anti-American slant, has just published a list of ten books that will help you understand the Beautiful Country.
I know, I know- the list format doesn't work because it tries to quantify the unquantifiable. But still we are irresistibly drawn to them. At least I am.
This happens to be a pretty good one, with Luigi Barzini's The Italians coming in at first place. Good choice. I haven't read all the books in John Hooper's Top Ten, but can second the choice of Tim Parks, who has just about the most reliably accurate view of Italy out there. Although he did write a book on Italian soccer that completely and irrevocably grossed me out. Notable (and perhaps unforgivable) omissions are the great and underrated Leonardo Sciascia and all the entertaining series of crime novels by Donna Leon.
Here is the list. Be sure to read the comments that follow.