Giovanni Floris, journalist and writer born in Rome in 1967, has hosted “Radio anch’io”, was a correspondent from the USA in 2002, is an author and hosts the weekly appointment with politics and current affairs “Disabato” on La7, after thirteen years of “Ballarò” on Rai3 he has followed the major events of politics, foreign affairs and economics as a correspondent of the “Giornale Radio Rai”.
L’essenziale (Solferino 2023), contains Notes of an adventurous reader, as the subtitle of the essay he wrote reads.
Are we the ones who choose the books or do the books choose us? Perhaps… Perhaps the magical encounter takes place halfway, at any age, from the age of six to one hundred and beyond, because books must all be saved and read as much as possible.
A good novel, a good storybook, takes you by the hand and moves you to a point from which things are seen differently, or they can be seen better. It is enough to read a book, for it to leave you with its essentials. It is useless to stack them on a shelf, dust them, polish them. After reading it, we could also give it as a gift, and perhaps we should, to give another person the opportunity to enter a world populated by characters and stories, which always leave a mark.
The author, who every Tuesday evening on La7 with grace and a smile settles the verbal disputes between politicians of different factions, who crowd the scene of his famous television program, has written this essay starting from a dream, or perhaps it is better to say from a nightmare.
The demon would choose a book, perhaps at random or perhaps not, and devour it. Hence, Floris’ question: how did the demon choose the books?
From this question, the author gives rise to a path of rediscovery of the stories he has read and of writers, which have accompanied his life, and which today, as a mature man, can allow us to fully understand them. It is a path that Floris has taken, but that each of us can take, observing the bookcase at home, picking up the volumes with the most worn covers, whose incipits still excite. It’s a literary amarcord, a way to go back in memory to the times of the loved/hated school.
For example, young John in high school read Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Paul Verlaine, Oscar Wilde.
Discover the timeless charm of the book Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar as a young adult, during a perilous trip to Sardinia, when the author was still working at the Radio Newspaper and had joined the national football team of Rai journalists.
Floris confesses in these pages that he is not a “natural reader”, but that he reads to remain human and also to find out if someone has understood something about life. That’s why he doesn’t like useless books, or those that try to intercept the public’s taste, and on the shelves of bookstores there are many of both types, which climb the sales charts. The former are a red herring, the latter leave the reader where they found him. Maybe they’re already well under way, but they leave it where it is.
When Floris reads a book, he has always underlined the passages that strike him the most, taking notes, always in pen, in the margin.
Floris does not remember the exact plot of Kundera’s book, as he does with many books he has read. He remembers practically nothing of some of them, except for a sort of sensation, an instinctive acceleration that inspires the cover.
It is therefore logical that the answers of these characters reveal something about Giovanni Flori’s personality that goes beyond simple taste or literary preparation.
“Thus culture, which has already collapsed in schools, is also collapsing in publishing and, because of the progressive degradation of our school that has not intrigued or enticed children to read, today they are considered “strong readers”. Since ‘watching’ is easier than ‘reading’, culture is given in its entirety to the TV and the characters who appear on it.”
The essay, of great critical breadth, with a seductive overview of a cultural and literary dimension, fascinating for generations of readers, every page of this book bursts with enthusiasm in abundance for reading and freedom.
Freedom from morality, freedom of speech, freedom from violence.
You are not born a reader, but you can learn to become one, and here, skipping the family that maintains its fundamental role, the school intervenes massively.
Reading done appropriately can become a vehicle for raising awareness of the importance of reading.