My Italian Hobby & Grazie to Amor Towles

One of my hobbies is studying the Italian language. In my memoir, “Growing Up Greenpoint – A Kid’s Life in 1970s Brooklyn,” I recall the days when my grandfather spoke Italian around our Brooklyn flat. I picked up a few words in my youth – mostly those not used outside of family arguments.

Pop-Pop’s Dad came from an area south of Naples. I never learned exactly where, and since both Dad and Pop are now gone, I am researching the family tree. There is a Provence of Potenza by the name of Carbone – so who knows.

Since those days of hearing broken Italian on a Brooklyn stoop, I’ve had the opportunity to travel around Italy. The people, the scenery, the music, and oh, the food, it is all so – estremamente bella – extremely beautiful.

One of the ways I improve my Italian, after watching RAI TV (the hosts – momma mia!), is through reading. I read Italian papers and books.

Not long ago, I finished reading, “A Gentelman in Moscow,” (not set in Italy, I’ll get to that), and I immediately picked up, “Rules of Civility,” (also, not set in Italy, but the New York City connection is there).

The writing by Amor Towles in these two books struck me in a way great classics have. I am hooked on his style of story telling.

You can imagine my delight when, as synchronicity would have it, that just as I was finishing “Rules of Civility,” Mr. Towles offered a free signed Italian translation – first come, first to receive.

Luckily, I was on the internet that day (of course researching my next novel (not set in Italy – not yet anyway) and not watching Italian movies (to learn the language you know…), so I immediately jumped on his offer.

I am awed by his generosity to personally take the time to send me this book. It has arrived and I am excited to read the translation. Grazie Mr. Towles.

You will notice in the picture, that my English version has no less than one-hundred (color-coded) post-it notes. Yes, the colors mean something. These markers are my standard novel dissection tools. For the Italian version, I think I will need more colors given I will be studying the prose, as well as, the language.

Buona lettura!

Tommy Carbone is an engineer, world traveler, writer, and lover of microbrews – not necessarily in that order.

He writes historical fiction and memoir, telling stories to entertain and engage readers.

He grew up in Brooklyn New York during the 1970s and early 80s.  There he roamed the avenues, hung out in candy stores shooting pinball, and dodged cars while playing street ball. Brooklyn was then, as it is now, the “4th largest city” in America, but was a very different place than it is today. It’s all explained in his memoir – “Growing Up Greenpoint – A Kid’s Life in 1970s Brooklyn,” a book of fun stories that will have you laughing, crying, and shaking your head wondering how his mother let him do the things he did (she didn’t know).

Watch the “Growing Up Greenpoint” book trailer video.

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In Maine, you can find his books at Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shops – locations in Bar Harbor, Camden, Damariscotta, Boothbay Harbor, Freeport, and Portland. Stop in and ask they’ll be happy to help.


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