Mon 28 January 2013

Italian for Beginners

We know that the citybooks are ideal holiday literature, and it’s common knowledge that Radio Books are great for when you’re stuck in traffic. But in which weird, wonderful, funny, bizarre, romantic, extraordinary places have you listened to the audiobooks by deBuren?


Italian for Beginners

On all my journeys, I take my mp3 player with me. Not because I want to avoid interacting with my fellow bus, train, or plane passengers, but because I like to be able to drift off, every now and then, into a more pleasant world. Like the world of Schubert’s Impromptu, for example, performed by Alfred Brendel. Or in the sound world of the Titanic’s sinking, by Gavin Bryars.

But most of all, I listen to Il Maestro Utrecht, one of the citybooks about Utrecht. It is read by the author himself, Davide Longo, in Italian; a language I have never learned. By listening to this beautiful story so often, the melody, pronunciation, words and syntax of the language have become more and more familiar.

During my commuter trip to Utrecht, in a hotel somewhere in Europe, or relaxing with friends in Bali, the first words of this fine story sound and resound, time and again: ‘La prima parola che insegnava loro a scrivere era: cane. La seconda: pace.’ Like a contemporary ‘Andra moi ennepe, Mousa’. Perhaps sometime I’ll learn Greek via another citybook?

Bram Buijze (Amsterdam)



Do you also have an extraordinary, bizarre or funny story about the audio books by deBuren? Let us know!  Do you bake the best cakes listening to Arnon Grunberg's A Reported Offence? Has no citybook ever sounded as good as the one you listened to that time in that rowing boat? Or maybe you calm your nerves in the dentist’s waiting room with Saskia de Coster’s citybook One Hundred and Forty Kilos of Love? Share it with us!

  • Send your story (maximum 200 words) to and win a wonderful citybooks CD with stories by Bernard Dewulf and Ester Naomi Perquin.


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