Italian Literature You Should Read Pt 1

Bookshelves

This post has been inspired by the Fountains of Carrots episode on expanding the Catholic Literary Imagination. The list is a non-conclusive and highly biased compilation by me and my father, and it includes both Catholic and non-Catholic authors because in many ways even non-religious or other-religion-religious people have to navigate a cultural identity that is somewhat inseparable from the Roman Catholic Church. It also includes anything from children’s literature and folk tales to high literature. 

Medieval and Renaissance
Some of this stuff I mentioned in passing on my podcast because it’s contemporaries or near-contemporaries of Dante.

  • Boccaccio, “Decameron”: it’s a collection of short stories held together by a situation in which a group of young nobles are stuck together for 10 days to escape the Plague in Florence. It’s a very humorous book that has fallen on the wrong side of religious censorship a few times because of its treatment of the noble ideal of liberality as not just about generosity and magnanimity (if you get what I mean…). It brings to light the intellectual context in which the Renaissance happened, and how the laity related to their religion, which can seem surprising from our standards. 

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5 Favourite Supernatural Anime on Crunchyroll

Japan Skyline

Welcome back to the Otaku corner. As we enter a new phase of lockdown that looks like we’re sleepwalking into another full lockdown, it sounded like a good time to bring you another watchlist in case the bizarre anime-loving trad subculture on Twitter has not put you off this wonderful art form. 

Fruits Basket (2019)
I don’t remember how I stumbled upon it, but it’s been the best thing to happen to me in 2020. I’ve watched the 2 seasons out at least once each and the 2001 version on top. I have dragged my husband into it too, and now we are one landlord away from owning a ginger cat named Kyo. It’s a masterpiece and if you let me go on about it I will go on about it for hours. Basically, it’s the story of a family with a curse and the adorable heroine who saves them all. It’s very dramatic but also hilarious (and the three musketeers deserve their spin-off). 

Mr Love Queen’s Choice
It’s based on the pseudo-otome game that was my gateway drug into the genre. They rushed the story a lot if you play or want to play the game, but if you’ll never play it and just want to see a strong heroine fighting against an evil secret organisation trying to usher a new age for humanity, you’ll like it enough. 

Kakuriyo – Bed and Breakfast for Spirits 
Every culture has their folk tales about ghosts and whatnot, but one where 9-tailed foxes are a thing is, of course, a favourite with me. This is the story of a human girl with supernatural powers who ends up as loan collateral for her late grandfather in the world of spirits. There are good spirits and bad spirits and some relatable ones too, but even the bad ones aren’t half as scary as the description of the angels in the book of Revelation. I still have no clue about why half the characters are named after Sengoku historical figures but at least now I know how to pronounce Hideyoshi correctly when having a rant. 

Love Tyrant 
This one is a little NSFW at times, but when have I ever put up the pretense of propriety around here? The story revolves around a Cupid-like figure who is a bit trigger happy when it comes to getting couples together, and what makes it funny is how the story makes fun of all of the clichés around anime from a guy’s perspective. Seiji just wants a normal relationship but finds himself in a complicated love quadrangle (many boys’ dream) with girls who are just extreme versions of the classic romantic interest tropes (and by extreme I mean extreme). 

Charlotte
I have yet to figure out why the title, but this is a story about teenagers for whom puberty means a superpower trying to keep themselves and others out of reach from an evil research group. It has some very deep themes but also funny moments.

Honorary mention: Kotoura-san & Re-Life
These two come from the Comedy round-up, but since they have a sort of supernatural theme (Kotoura-san has a superpower, Re-Life involves a pill that makes you appear younger), I thought I’d give them a shout again for those who may not have read the previous post. 

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Vegetarian lunch at Honey and Co.

Honey and Co

Honey and Co is a small and colourful Middle Eastern restaurant in a quiet backstreet of Fitzrovia. It was opened by Israeli chefs Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich in 2012 and it focuses on a selection of Middle Eastern classics that are special like you’d expect for chefs of that caliber but never lose the je-ne-sais-quoi of home cooking. Of course, because it’s me we’re talking about, this is not a review that amounts to uninterrupted fangirling, but like any person who truly loves food,  I have one or two things I would have done differently and it all comes from a place of love rather than criticism. I’m not an evil food critic, I feel like I am on the same side as those who make the food. 

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We read a book for almost-divorced Christians. Here’s why you should too

Even in an age when couples live together before marriage, the first year of married life is the hardest. This was the case before life dealt us the curveball of Covid-19 already. It’s shocking, then, what little preparation you get before you embark on the hardest thing you’ll ever do with another person. Due to some circumstances beyond our control, we were stuck with the one-day diocesan preparation that was the biggest waste of time for us, except maybe for providing us with an opportunity to get down to some hard conversations without distractions.

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The Serpentine Perspective: A bit of Jason Isaacs Appreciation

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The 2000s are a golden era for 18th century obsessives willing to sit through questionable historical drama, like yours truly. One such film came out just before Liverpool’s best export became the saving grace of one of Slytherin’s worst humans: The Patriot. And, to be completely honest, he’s the saving grace of that film too (he makes such a good villain). But before we dive into our discussion of another period in time when the American Colonies were a powder keg giving off sparks (sorry, not sorry), I want to talk about Lucius Malfoy for a bit. After all, you’re probably used to us two trashing the characters portrayals in the films, so it’s only fair that I’ll talk about one of a handful of characters whose film version is an improvement on Rowlings’ original (the others are Bellatrix Lestrange and Molly Weasley, but that’s a story for another time). 

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