I chose this book as my month's selection for a book club I started with a few friends. I chose it because the group of readers included foreigners, Chinese, and hyphenated folk alike, all working in fields related to writing. I thought for a group of these people living in China and working through language daily, this book might be a good choice.
Lahiri's musings on language and life in Italy, as well as her experience with language in general as an American were all very interesting and lyrical, as expected. Most impressive about this book, though was that it was written in Italian by Lahiri, after she'd lived in Italy for about two years.
Her love of language and her dedication to studying it was so apparent and inspiring throughout the book. It made me want to spend more time studying Chinese myself. I thought so many times while reading this book: if she can do it, why can't I? The book also made me think about priorities, deep accomplishments, and the passage of time. Lahiri dedicated two years of almost full-time study to Italian, in addition to the prior exposure she had of the language over the years. The book made me realize that two years is a drop in the bucket, but if you devote yourself wholly to one thing during that time, you can really go far. The book confirmed my belief that it's better to do one or two things deeply than to do a number of things simultaneously but in a shallow way. It also brought to my attention how important and how impactful it can be to one's life dedicate oneself to language learning.