Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Book Review - La Bella Lingua by Dianne Hales


La Bella Lingua pb

Praise from the first word, if you have a love of Italy and or the Italian language whether you are able to speak it or not, this book is definitely not just a must read but a title destined for your private collection.

I have owned a copy of this book since the end of last year and I have enjoyed dipping into it frequently. I have not until now though read it in depth enough so that I felt able to write a review.

Dianne Hales is an American journalist and published author. She wrote this book as a result or because, in her own words she never expected to fall ‘ madly, gladly, giddily in love with the world's most luscious language.’  but fall she did head over heels. For over twenty years now Italian has become her way of immersing herself into Italy's culture, history, lifestyle and traditions. She shares this love with us in such an engaging manner you will be captivated.

Just take a peep at this list of Chapter headings.
Introduction: My Italian Brain and How It Grew
1. Confessions of an Innamorata
2. The Unlikely Rise of a Vulgar Tongue
3. To Hell and Back with Dante Alighieri
4. Italian's Literary Lions
5. The Baking of a Masterpiece
6. How Italian Civilized the West
7. La Storia dell'ArteA
8. On Golden Wings
9. Eating Italian
10. So Many Ways to Say "I Love You"
11. Marcello and Me
11. Irreverent Italian
12. Mother Tongue

I hope that just reading that list will have tempted you enough, it is the story of how the Italian language came into existence using art, history, music, literature, cooking, films and last but not least amore or love to teach us. It will not matter if you do not know or understand a word of Italian, a love of Italy and all things Italian is all you need. Or maybe if you do not already have that love reading this will will convert you. Learning Italian or want to learn then this is also the book for you as it takes you way beyond vocabulary and all that complicated Italian grammar. As a traveller to Italy whether in reality or virtually, it will also make a great introduction to the places and the people.

In truth I believe that everyone who reads my Blog 'News From Italy' will enjoy this in one way or another. What more can I say really but to recommend highly that you get hold of a copy to dip into yourself. As once you have done that you will definitely I think want a copy on your own bookshelves whether you are a novice or an expert on all things Italian.

Dianne HalesDianne Hales photograph from her website.

Continuing on from this book Dianne Hales launched a Blog Becoming Italian Word By Word where she celebrates the art of living via the Italian language with each interesting and informative post covering a different aspect.

You can also find out more about her by visiting her website  Dianne Hales

Still not convinced you will enjoy this, then please take just three minutes and listen to what Dianne has to say herself here.

crownbooks | 30 March 2010 Author Dianne Hales tells an audience how she came to write "La Bella Li...


  1. You sold me! This kinda reminds me of Peter Mayle's books and I love his books. :)

  2. Do let me know what you think, also do look at her blog when you have a moment as it is very interesting.

  3. I think I might just read this book. Something different and informative. I hope my library has it.

    I am new to bookcrossing. So happy to see you are one.

  4. Bookquoter - Welcome as my latest follower and thanks for commenting. I think you will find you will learn a lot if you get hold of this book and possible decide you want your own copy. I most certainly did this is one book that will not be travelling.

  5. I don't speak Italian, but I do love the sound of it, and adore the food of course.

  6. Carol - you do not need any knowledge of Italian to enjoy this book. I hope you give it a try sometime.

  7. This is going on my TBR list RIGHT now!

    I love it already. A book about language, words, culture, cross-cultural experiences, awkwardness and immersion... how can I resist?

  8. Amanda - I saw it on your Goodreads list already. Have you discovered Diana's blog and website yet? Well worth checking out.

  9. Priya - It is definitely one for the bookshelf if you have an interest in Italy.

  10. Hi Lindy

    I read your review of Dianne Hales' La bella lingua on Amazon and I wondered whether you would be interested in having a look at my about to be published "Living in Italy: the Real Deal - How to survive the Good Life". From your blog I found that you have an interest in books about Italy.
    The book contains sixty short stories about my adventures as a Dutch expat who moved to Italy in 2008 to start a bed and breakfast. It is the translation of the Dutch original that met with considerable success (sold 3000 copies) and had very positive readers' reviews.

    Author bio:
    Stef Smulders was born in The Netherlands in 1960 and moved with husband Nico and their dog to Italy in 2008 to start bed-and-breakfast Villa I Due Padroni in the beautiful wine region Oltrepò Pavese south of Milan. In 2014 he published his first volume of short, anecdotical stories (in Dutch) about daily life among the Italians entitled "Italiaanse Toestanden". It was well received by readers, leading to a second volume of witty anecdotes. A third volume is to be published spring 2017.

    Book summary:
    In 2008 the author emigrated to Italy, bringing husband and dog along, to start Bed & Breakfast Villa I Due Padroni. But a lot of hurdles had to be taken before the first guests could be accommodated. In 2014 Stef reported about his adventures in buying and reconstructing the house, obtaining a tax number and a bank account, registering at the commune and at the national health service, importing their car and a range of other things that lead to a myriad of bureaucratic troubles. These problems were always resolved in a truly Italian fashion, leading to raised Dutch eyebrows and hilarious scenes. As a reader you will encounter a range of characteristic Italians, from sympathetic to villainous, from moving to shameless. Real Italians of flesh and blood, sometimes cliché, somtimes surprisingly original. But always worth encountering.

    Goodreads page:

    Have a look at my presentation page as well with fragments and a sneak preview if you like:

    I could send you the epub or pdf if you want to.

    Hope to hear from you
    Cari saluti


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