You can always open up a discussion about your Italian friend’s hobbies by asking:

– Cosa fai nel tempo libero? – What do you do in your free time?
– Cosa ti piace fare per divertimento? – What do you like to do for fun?
– Cosa fai per rilassarti? – What do you do to relax?
– Cosa ti piace fare nel tuo tempo libero? – What do you like to do in your free time?
– Quali sono i tuoi hobby? – What are your hobbies?

If they’re like me, they’ll answer with:

– Mi piace leggere. – I like to read.

At this point, you can ask them:

– Che genere di libri leggi? – What genres of books do you read?

Here are the genres of books that they might answer with:

– i gialli – detective books
– fantascienza – science fiction
– romanzi – novels (in general)
– avventura – adventure
– fantasia – fantasy
– epico – epic
– romanzo rosa – romance novel
– horror – horror
– polizieschi – crime novels/detective novels

Or maybe they prefer nonfiction books, such as:
– i libri di cucina – cookbooks
– le biografie – biographies
– i libri storichi – historical books
– le autobiografie – autobiographies

To keep the conversation going, you can ask:

– Qual è il tuo libro preferito? – What is your favorite book?
– Ultimamente hai letto qualcosa di interessante? – Have you read anything interesting lately?
– Qual è l’ultimo libro che hai letto? – What’s the last book you read?
– Quale libro ha segnato la tua vita? – Which book changed your life?
– Quale libro tiene sul comodino? – Which book is on your nightstand?

Or you can tell them your favorite book by saying:

– Il mio libro preferito è… (il titolo del libro) – My favorite book is… (title of book).

When you want to talk about what happened in the book that you read, just like with movies, the verb raccontare (to recount) will be your best friend.

You can say:

– Il libro racconta la storia di… – The book tells the story of…

You can also use the verb trattarsi to discuss what the book is about.

– Il libro tratta di… – The book is about the story of…

You can also say:

– Il libro parla di… – The book talks about…

– Il libro è su… – The book is on…

Keep in mind that with phrases like “Il libro tratta di” or “Il libro parla di”, the “di” will change depending on what you’re talking about. For example, if the book is about the story of several wars, you might say “Il libro tratta delle guerre.” If the book is about a woman named Margaret, you might say “Il libra parla della donna Margaret.”

Here’s some vocabulary you can use to talk about every aspect of the book:

– il protagonista ­– the main character
— Il protagonista della storia è chiamato Nathan. – The main character of the story is named Nathan.

– il personaggio – character (other than the main one(s))
— Il mio personaggio preferito non è il protagonista. – My favorite character isn’t the main character.

– la trama – the plot
— Non ho mai letto un libro con una trama come questa. – I’ve never read a book with a plot like this.

– l’ambientazione – the setting
— L’ambientazione del libro è Paris negli 1600. – The setting of the book is Paris in the 1600s.

– il capitolo ­– the chapter
— Il libro ha dieci capitoli lunghi. – The book has ten long chapters.

– il titolo – the title
— Il titolo del libro non dice niente sulla trama. – The title of the book doesn’t say anything about the plot.

– l’autore – the author
— Ho letto tanti libri scritti di questo autore. – I have read many books written by this author.

– pagina – page
— L’ultima pagina contiene una sorpresa. – The last page contains a surprise.

– il finale – ending
— Il libro ha un finale che non ho potuto prevedere. – The book has an ending that I couldn’t predict.

Here are some adjectives you can use to describe a book:

– terribile – terrible
– divertente – fun
– pauroso – scary
– violento – violent
– noioso – boring
– triste – sad
– bello/bellissimo – good/great
– avvincente – riveting
– strappalacrime – tear-jerking
– strano – weird
– buffo ­– funny

Italian conversation: talking about books
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