Reading Exchange.

During the last year, I had to take a short sabbatical from reading for fun, whilst I studied for my MSc. Let me tell you, this was not easy. Reading has been a life long affair for me, I’m worried my bedroom floor at home might collapse from all the books I’ve hoarded. It’s got to the point where I’ve had to get creative and make bedside tables out of the piles.

My time in Florence has been pretty jam-packed, but I’ve managed to squeeze in a spot of reading here and there, which has been magical. This came in handy, as last Thursday afternoon I took part in a Reading Exchange, hosted by The British Institute of Florence. Anyone can come along, as long as they share the love of books. Basically, you all sit around with a cup of tea, and take it in turns to give the others a short snippet of a book you’re reading, or have read. Or you can simply just listen, and soak up any ideas.

It was really interesting to see how diverse everyone’s choices were. I’ve listed them below, in case any of you lovely readers need a good new read.

  1. Ali Smith – Public Library and Other Stories (2015)
  2. A. S. Byatt – Peacock and Vine: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny (2016)
  3. Henry James – The Aspern Papers (1888)
  4. Eleanor Ferrante Novels (the subject of much recent discussion, as the author’s true identity was revealed)
  5. Carolyn Slaughter – A Black Englishman (2004)
  6. Jonathan Franzen – Purity (2015)
  7. Joseph Brodsky – Watermark: An Essay on Venice (1992)
  8. Sydney Nathans – To Free A Family (2012)
  9. William Dalrymple – In Xanadu: A Quest (1989)
  10. Irène Némirovsky – The Wine of Solitude (1935)

Encouraging people to read can be a pretty hard task, but things like this are such a good way of getting people interested. Talking about what goes on in the pages of a book brings the story to life, and that might be all it takes for one other person to think ‘I’ll give that a go.’


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