Reading for the soul
Elena Molini. Tell me what your problem is and I’ll tell you what to read
How did you come up with the idea for the Piccola Farmacia Letteraria, of which you’re the founder?
I wanted to create a place away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, where people can stop and take care of themselves. In books people seek answers to real-life problems, and this is exactly what we do at the Piccola Farmacia Letteraria. We identified 90 micro-categories, and with the support of a team of psychologists we chose the most appropriate titles for each category, so that everyone can find the book that’s best for them.
Let’s take a couple of examples: a book for a broken heart, and one for someone trying to make an important decision.
For a man with a broken heart I’d recommend High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, and for a woman Vittoria by Barbara Fiorio. For the second case I’d recommend Turbulence by David Szalay, which helps to bring order to the mind and provide the courage to dive into a new adventure.
What’s the most common ‘illness’ and its literary remedy?
A very common one is low self-esteem, and my favourite remedy is The Shipping News by Annie Proulx; it’s a wonderful book that takes you by the hand and shows you the transformation of a character who shows extraordinary resourcefulness to change his life.
Which young Florentine writers should we be watching?
Luca Starita, who last year published La tesi dell’ippocampo, a book I found extremely profound.
Florence in three novels?
The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie, Up at the Villa by Somerset Maugham and L’angelo del fango by Leonardo Gori.
Where do like to go and enjoy a good book?
To the marvellous garden of Villa Il Ventaglio.