Ros's library choices this week, ranked

Good thing Ros doesn’t care at all whether I like a book or not - and yes, that really is a good thing! My powers of suggestibility are rapidly dwindling, and my authority to veto exists only if I want to fight for it, which at bedtime, I don’t. She doesn’t get a lot of choices, so I respect that she wants to exercise as much control in this arena as she can get her hands on.

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Go ahead and love something an embarrassing amount, Volume II: Italian grammar

 Nella mia casa paterna, quand’ero ragazzina, a tavola, se io o i miei fratelli rovesciavamo il bicchiere sulla tovaglia, o lasciavamo cadere un coltello, la voce di mio padre tuonava: “Non fate malagrazie!”

In my father’s house, when I was a little girl, at the table, if I or my brothers upset our glass on the tablecloth, or if we let a knife fall, the voice of my father would thunder: “Non fate malagrazie!”

One of the reasons I love teaching Natalia Ginzburg to non-native Italian speakers (and possibly the reason I so appreciate it as a non-native Italian speaker) is that if we use what we know of Italian, if we forget what we don’t know and focus on the fundamentals, we see the intentionality of this prose at work.

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