Linda Falcone and The Florentine Press go way back. The first ever book that we published was her Italians Dance and I’m a Wallflower, in 2006, which derived from a column she wrote in The Florentine. This book has sold almost 10,000 copies, as well as numerous copies of the Kindle Edition. Much loved by teachers and students of courses on Italian language and culture – including those taught by Linda herself – the book still has a strong readership.
The “sequel” in the same format came in 2008 with If They Were Roses. As demand continues to be high for these two books, we recently re-edited them, made up to date colourful covers that show how the two books are related, and reprinted them. If you haven’t read these delightful books, pick up the 2-book bundle for a special price, available for shipping worldwide (free in USA and Italy!).
To celebrate this reprinting, we accepted the kind invitation of luxury residence club Palazzo Tornabuoni in Florence to host a reading of some of Linda’s favourite tales from the two books. Perched, she says unsteadily, upon a high stool, she proceeded to entrance and enchant the full house of club members who enjoyed her tales of language, Italian culture and living in Italy. She read two stories and then asked for the audience’s feedback.
A gentleman asked a question about her personal experience and what brought her to Italy, and it was a pleasure to hear her response. Linda was raised in a bi-cultural family, she explained, so at age 16 she announced to her American father that she would be moving to Italy! This led perfectly into one of Linda’s favourite stories, the one that gives the book If They Were Roses its name. It’s the love story between an American man and a Venetian young woman who worked at a jewelry store. He worked “in gardens” and she was well-bred not to accept dates from strange men, but having sown the right seeds, their love blossomed. The story came off the pages of the book, narrated by Linda with a few asides, and it was such a pleasure to see how these stories still resonate with the public, but also how they remain very close to the author’s own experience.
Another member of the public asked Linda if it would be easier for her to write a story about Venetians or Florentines, to which Linda responded with her theory about how she approaches writing. “I think of a word, I write it at the top of the page, and then I write about that word for 750 words”. In this way, she doesn’t have to deal with the larger issue – Italians, Florentines, North, South, large concepts. She often says that “language is the best window onto Italian culture” – and so she approaches her understanding and explanation of that culture… one word at a time.