VIA Shop

Via Optimae Book & Product Recommendations, because it's fun to get a shipment of books in the mail!,
A shipment of books?  Sì, grazie!

I've bought A LOT of language learning materials in my day.  When I say A LOT, I mean— when I go to the foreign language section of the bookstore or online store, I do a quick scan to see what I DON'T have and more often than not, that's nothing. 

Not all resources are created equally, however.  After collecting and using a variety of materials, I know what works and what doesn't, what's engaging and what's boring, and what's likely to be great based on several factors even if I don't own it yet— in short, I'm a bit of a connoisseur— a sommelier of the book world.  

So why not take advantage of my expertise (nerdiness?) and shop my book recommendations? I've put in the time and money to figure out not only what's good, but also the best places to buy it and for the best prices.

Enter Via Optimae Shop
Recommended books, music, and more! through
In the VIA OPTIMAE SHOP I've collected the books, music, and other fun items I've found on  As an affiliate, I receive a small percentage when you use my links and you get great ideas, at no additional cost to you.

Even in this day and age, Amazon doesn't have everything (I know, shocking right?) or if they do, it's not the best price.  That's why I've also scoured several other online retailers and found The Book Depository.  They have a lot of foreign titles that Amazon doesn't and they offer great prices and free shipping worldwide.  I'm also their affiliate, but I bought from them long before they even had an affiliate program and was always very happy with their selection of titles and their customer service.

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Scroll down to see my picks from the Book Depository, or if you know what you're looking for, you can head straight to their site using the above link.

If neither Amazon nor the Book Depository has it (or the price isn't right) I do my best to find it elsewhere, even if this means that I receive no compensation.   (You'll find those links around the site and for particular products I recommend in posts.)

I want to recommend only the best and only what makes sense for readers to buy.  I really care and enjoy sharing my nerdy passion for language-learning with others— I hope it helps!

Grazie from Via Optimae,
for using my links!

Alex on

Recommendations from the Book Depository:

Italian Grammar Workbooks

LEVEL A1-B2 (Starts beginner & moves up into upper intermediate)

Nuova Grammatica Pratica Della Lingua Italiana by Susanna Nocchi (Alma Edizioni)

Starts at level A1 (beginner) and takes you up to level B2 (upper intermediate) The author Susanna Nocchi does a great job of presenting the concepts in a clear, concise way, then follows up with activities that reinforce what you've learned!  (All of the text, including the explanations is in Italian.  See Italian Grammar in Practice (below) for the same idea, but presented in English!)


Italian Grammar in Practice by Susanna Nocchi (Alma Edizioni)
Like the "Nuova grammatica pratica della lingua italiana" by the same author and publisher (above) this book presents clear and concise concepts then gives you exercises to help you put them into practice! The only difference is the descriptions and concepts are explained in ENGLISH! (Not as much practice as the Italian version, but a great choice if you're just getting started in Italian!) :)


LEVEL B1-C1 (Starts lower intermediate & moves up into advanced)

Grammatica avanzata della lingua italiana by Susanna Nocchi & Roberto Tartaglione (Alma Edizioni)

I used this text book when studying for the Advanced C1 CILS (Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera) exam.  The book starts at a lower intermediate level (B1) and progresses up to advanced (C1).  Similar to the other books in the series (above) it is a very practical approach.  New topics are explained clearly and you're given the opportunity to practice what you've learned with quick exercises.  The answers are in the book, so it's perfect for self-study.  I highly recommend! (I passed the C1 exam, by the way!)

Novels in Italian:
You don't have to be very advanced to enjoy a book in a foreign language!  It is much easier to recognize more advanced verb tenses and vocabulary than it is to use them correctly, so don't worry if you haven't covered all the tenses or your vocabulary is still small.  Just like with anything else, you'll get better the more you do it.  If you have to start by looking up every other word, that's ok... just stay committed and you will get better! - A

A good place to start:

The Italians I know balk at the idea of reading Fabio Volo.  His books are immensely popular in Italy— but he is an actor and radio personality turned writer, and his writing style and themes are not taken as seriously "literature" by many.

The fact that he isn't highly poetic or literary is exactly why I read him when I was first starting out, and why I still recommend him to others who are looking to start reading full novels in Italian. His contemporary themes and language are accessible to everyone, and his characters use real expressions and vocabulary that you are likely to encounter in everyday life.  And, because his books have similar characters and similar themes, there is plenty of repetition, which might be boring in your native language, but is immensely useful for committing new words and expressions of a foreign language to your mental vocabulary.

More here: {on reading Fabio Volo

I personally enjoyed...

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

"Michele ha un amico, Federico. Uno di quegli amici con i quali dividi tutto: l'appartamento, la pizza e la birra, ma anche i sogni e le frustrazioni, le gioie e i dolori, e qualche volta le donne. Un giorno Federico decide di mollare tutto e partire. Stanco della vita monotona di provincia, se ne va alla
ricerca dell'altra metà di sé. Michele invece resta. Quando torna, dopo cinque anni, Federico è cambiato. Ora è sereno, innamorato di una donna (Sophie) e della vita. Sembra una storia a lieto fine, ma non è così. Federico all'improvviso riparte, stavolta per un viaggio molto più lungo. Ritornerà (a sorpresa) nascosto dietro gli occhi di una bambina, Angelica."

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
"Sveglia, caffè, tram, ufficio, palestra, pizza-cine-letto. Giornate sempre uguali, scandite da appuntamenti che, alla fine, si assomigliano tutti, persi nel cielo grigio di una metropoli che non sa più sorridere. È la vita di Giacomo, uno che non si è mai fatto troppe domande, che è andato incontro agli avvenimenti rimanendo sempre in superficie. Un giorno, però, Giacomo incontra sul tram una sconosciuta, e se la ritrova davanti il giorno dopo, e quello dopo ancora. Per mesi. E così, quelle tre fermate lungo il tragitto per andare in ufficio diventano un appuntamento importante della giornata. O meglio, diventano "l'appuntamento". Ma la sconosciuta ha un destino che la porterà lontano, in un'altra città. E Giacomo? Lui per la prima volta…" 
{Read more}

{more Fabio Volo recommendations as well as tips on how to read and take notes in a foreign language here} 

No comments:

Post a Comment

See also:

Frasi celebri su Via Optimae

Frasi celebri su Via Optimae
Acque del sud (To Have and Have Not) original: "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and… blow."