As many of you know, this year I am hosting the Italia Reading Challenge and got inspired to do the following list by my previous edition of it titled Japanese Literature Recommendations for Each Zodiac Sign.
ARIES (March 21 – April 19) – Corto Maltese [1967 – 2019] by Hugo Pratt
Aries is full of energy and does not mind a healthy amount of danger in his or her life. The enigmatic, contradictory hero of Hugo Pratt’s famous series may appeal to these people who love adventure. Feeling strange that you have been assigned a comic? No, it is just the opposite – this graphic novel is one deep material. Umberto Eco (Foucault’s Pendulum) famously said: “When I want to relax, I read an essay by Engels. When I want to read something serious, I read Corto Maltese.”
TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) – The Betrothed  by Alessandro Manzoni
Alessandro Manzoni’s classic novel, Italy’s “national institution”, is a tale of two lovers, Renzo and Lucia, who are trying to overcome oppression, jealousy and injustice on their path to happiness. Loyal and dependable Taurus will appreciate the values, romance and a sense of adventure this beautiful novel offers.
GEMINI (May 21 – June 20) – The Tartar Steppe  by Dino Buzzati
Geminis are clever and curious and this is the novel that only looks like a simply story, but requires quite an analysis. This claustrophobic novel’s theme of loneliness, allegedly Gemini’s biggest fear, can strike home for this Zodiac sign. The Tartar Steppe and Gemini may be the case of the attraction of the opposites. Changeable Gemini, who likes variety in life, may find the story’s Kafkaesque theme of being stuck in a fortress in the middle of nowhere a frighteningly intriguing reading proposition.
CANCER (June 21 – July 22) – Invisible Cities  by Italo Calvino
Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities is bursting with creativity as it tells of wondrous cities that at times defy logic, gravity or conventions. Calvino was inspired by Marco Polo and Venice to write this love-letter to meta-fiction and futuristic architecture, to the spirit and secrets of every world city that harbours past and future, memory, experience and desires. Imaginative and emotional Cancers, who love relaxing near or in the water, can just go with the tide of Calvino’s narrative, letting themselves be engulfed in the author’s inventiveness.
LEO (July 23 – August 22) – The Leopard  by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
This novel’s undercurrents will appeal to proud, driven and energetic Leo. The Leopard is a “regal” book, detailing the decline of a certain noble family in the nineteenth century Sicily. It is not a long book, so Leo can breeze through it quickly and go dazzling everyone with their “di Lampedusa” erudition.
VIRGO (August 23 – September 22) – The Days of Abandonment  by Elena Ferrante
Practical Virgo may find The Days of Abandonment just perfect for them. This book by one mysterious Italian author is about a woman’s dilemma as she first faces the growing distance of her husband and then the separation. Life is not just about daily practicalities, and this book is about living in an imperfect world, confronting our insecurities and finding ways to make peace with ourselves.
LIBRA (September 23 – October 22) – Zeno’s Conscience  by Italo Svevo
Libra people are diplomats of the Zodiac, seeking peace, stability and harmony. They generally like books on real-life issues with characters being normal people. Given this, they may enjoy Zeno’s Conscience, a book where a man also seeks a life balance, trying to overcome his weaknesses and excesses, one being his addiction to cigarettes. This book is an ironic psychological portrait of one deluded man facing a crisis.
SCORPIO (October 23 – November 21) – The Name of the Rose  by Umberto Eco
This debut is set in the year 1327 and is one unforgettable read. Mystery, a series of unexplained murders in one secluded monastery, architectural enigmas. Maybe disturbing for some, but these are the words that are a feast for Scorpio’s ears. The Name of the Rose is an intellectually-complex, mentally-challenging book which any Scorpio would love to get lost in. An enigma within an enigma? A burning passion concealed? Clandestine meetings with symbolic meanings known only to the initiated? It is any Scorpio’s soul itself.
SAGITTARIUS (November 22 – December 21) – Silk  by Alessandro Baricco
Playful, freedom-loving and philosophical Sagittarius will be at home with Baricco’s novel Silk because they also love travelling and this book is set in both France and Japan of the nineteenth century. The centre of this historical fiction is married Hervé Joncour, a merchant-smuggler, who becomes intrigued by one concubine as he travels to feudal Japan to search for silk-worm eggs.
CAPRICORN (December 22 – January 19) – The Prince  by Niccolò Machiavelli
Capricorn is hard-working and focused, and will enjoy more serious literature. This medieval philosophical treatise by political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli contains numerous insights into the governing of a nation and the conduct of a ruler. It offers advice on how to rule meeting one’s goals and maintaining others’ respect. Though much in this book is no longer applicable to the present society, much like Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, the book’s insights into the psychology of the ruler and the ruled in a complex political environment still hold value today.
AQUARIUS (January 20 – February 18) – The Late Mattia Pascal  by Luigi Pirandello
This novel by Luigi Pirandello (Six Characters in Search of an Author) is about life disappointments and a search for identity as here a man has a chance to build his life anew when his wife names an unnamed corpse as his own. Aquarius people always look for intellectual stimulations and this unusually-premised book will introduce new ideas to them.
PISCES (February 19 – March 20) – Arturo’s Island  by Elsa Morante
Elsa Morante (also the author of heart-breaking bestseller La Storia ) presents here a coming-of-age story set in a small Italian island just before the World War II. Wise Pisces may find this book to their taste as its story is both emotional and imaginative, just as they are.