Building The Tuscan Times Book Club

Creating community in Arezzo and Cortona

Oonagh Stransky
December 3, 2015 - 19:00

By now many of you will have heard about The Tuscan Times Book Club, which meets in Arezzo and in Cortona— and hopefully soon elsewhere. In Arezzo, we gather at none other than the elegant Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi, mentioned in my market article here. Director Lucio Misuri called the book club ‘the perfect activity for the Casa Museo—this is not a dry museum, but a place of dialogue and ideas.'   

This exchange of dialogue and ideas was one of my main motivations for starting the book club: it seemed like a fun, low-maintenance project that celebrates Italian literature in English. A way to meet people for great conversation—perfectly in  keeping with the community spirit that is present in The Florentine and The Tuscan Times.  

But setting up The Tuscan Times Book Club has not been all tea cozies and cakes. Early on there was resistance to the idea in Cortona – Why? Who is this person? What is this newspaper? Even so, our meeting at Caffe Tuscher has gone from two guests to five.


Apparently, the idea has also spawned some competition. Word has it that someone else is planning an English language book club. Let’s hope we can join forces! Why ever not?


A different kind of problem came up in Arezzo, where we meet at Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi: 20 people came to the first meeting! The room buzzed with comments and ideas in both Italian and English. We were ready to divide up the group into two sections for the second meeting but there was no need, since a more manageable number of 12 attended.


I have to say that I wanted to create the Book Club for a selfish reason, too. As a translator of Italian literature, I was curious to see what ‘Ferrante Fever’  was all about. And since I know the translator, I was happy to promote her books. The Arezzo group  finished discussing the last two Ferrante books at the November meeting and is currently choosing its next read. The Cortona has already decided on a new (or rather, old) book: The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.


Check out our Facebook group for comments, updates, and ideas, and get on board by starting your own local Tuscan Times Book Club!


Next meetings: January 12 (Arezzo) and January 14 (Cortona).




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