Venice book haul

by Julia

I have a couple of places I absolutely have to visit every time I find myself in Venice, and no much surprise they’re both bookshops.

I discovered Libreria Toletta (FB page) quite a few years ago [I believe I was still living in London at that time]. It is one of the few surviving independent bookshops in Italy, it has the nice feeling of the old classic wooden-shelved (?) shops with a lot of interesting titles for both novels and non-fiction. After visiting their Anthropology and Religions section I never leave empty-handed.

Libreria Cafoscarina III instead is quite a new entry. The first time I came upon it was late October/beginning of November 2014, during my latest [until the last one] true passionate visit in Venice. It’s an university bookshop, directly connected to UniversitĂ  Ca’ Foscari [hence the name], and also a publisher. It has three different branches: Cafoscarina I is about Economics, Marketing, Management and the like; Cafoscarina II is for Humanities and finally Cafoscarina III is the ultimate language learners paradise.

It’s been a while since I last bought something language learning related – lack of good chances as well as a certain awareness of all the unfinished textbooks I already possess – so I thought I could allow myself a little splurge this time. Photos below are taken with my phone with very poor light so they’re pretty horrible but I really didn’t want to wait for good shooting conditions as 1) I’m never at home in the morning these days 2) we’re having incredibly bad cloudy/rainy weather here lately so it was substantially pointless.

So here’s what I got this time:

  1. Leuchtturm 1917 notebook in red – ok this is definitely not a book per se but since this brand is not that easy to find in Italy I didn’t want to take the chance and lose it. Plus I thought I needed a good notebook to take notes from the books I was going to buy.
  2. Walter Burkert, Creation of the Sacred – I still find myself unable to let go of what my true passion is [Anthropology and Religions] and I’m never satisfied enough with my foundation knowledge. Burkert is too much of an institution in the field of religions so I definitely wanted to try something he wrote first hand.
  3. New Penguin Parallel Text, Chinese – here starts my language learning shopping. Penguin’s series of parallel text need no introduction and in fact I already have it in the Japanese version. I have no idea about when I’ll actually start reading it but having it on my shelf gives me a precious sense of accomplishment.
  4. Guido Samarani, 20th century China – I often complain about the fact that I know almost nothing of contemporary China, something that feels particularly weird since I used to know a lot about Japanese history and society when I was studying the language. This book is meant to bridge this gap, though I know it’ll be more about the history than the popular culture and current street trends.
  5. Paolo De Troia / Zhang Tongbing / Chiara Romagnoli / Sun Pingpin, Newspapers’ Chinese – this one is the most interesting of all my purchases, the one I’m really really really looking forward to starting reading. It’s meant to teach you the language that is used in Chinese newspapers, it provides excerpts of real articles supplied with vocab list, grammar explanations and excercises. Soooo juicy.
  6. Matilde Mastrangelo / Naoko Ozawa / Mariko Saito, Japanese Grammar – ok, I know I said no more Japanese grammar books as currently I’m not devoting any much time to study Japanese, but then I realised I don’t really have a true Japanese grammar book [I don’t think Minna no Nihongo can qualify as such] plus it looked so shiny and tempting and appealing I just couldn’t resist ^.^
  7. Chiara Romagnoli, Chinese Grammar ~ Empty words in Modern Chinese – I like the fact that Hoepli Publisher is producing this series of Chinse grammar volumes each dedicated to a specific aspect of the language. I already have one that is on adverbs in Chinese, I think it’s a very comprehensive and thorough way of mastering a specific aspect of the target language.


I don’t know yet when I’ll actually be able to dig into these beauties as from now onwards I’ll seriously need to concentrate 90% of my waking time to my professional training, at least until the end of my internship. But I count on the fact that from the end of January I’ll have much more time on my hands and long dark lonely Scottish day to spend – and yes, I got that covered.