Book Review: My Reading Companions to Prague


Prague is a fascinating city. It’s beautiful and magic, but full of paradoxes. Reading about Prague is like discovering some secret spot that was once internationally recognised for its intellect, mystery, architecture and culture. Let me take you on this reading journey to discover Prague once again.

book review-Reading Companions to Prague 1Pocket Rough Guide. Prague.

I’m in love with these pocket guides. They’re super practical (size-wise too!), yet with many photographs, maps and useful details. You can follow their ‘Best of…’ sections or read district by district. The best part is that you have cafe and restaurant recommendations linked with a particular part of the city. I must say it’s very useful!

Magic Prague by Angelo Maria Ripellino

A classic. One of the most important books on Prague was written by Angelo Maria Ripellino, an Italian Slavist. It’s not an easy read, but it’s truly fascinating to uncover the mystery of Prague with Ripellino. The author has an amazing knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of the city, without forgetting its legends and mystery. After all, it is Magic Prague.

Prague Pictures. Portraits of a City. by John Benville

Prague Pictures by John Benville is a selection of 6 essays capturing the magic of the city: from recent years and the Cold War period to historical and scientific times (I only need mention two astronomers: Kepler and Brahe who worked together in Prague). It’s a fascinating read, as Benville presents his selective pictures of “this mysterious, jumbled, fantastical, absurd city on the Vltava.” (p. 9)

Prague. A Traveller’s Literary Companion. Ed. by Paul Wilson

“A city is like a person: if we don’t establish a genuine relationship with it, it remains a name, an external form that soon fades from our minds. To create this relationship, we must be able to observe the city and understand its peculiar personality, its ‘self,’ its spirit, its identity, the circumstances of its life as they evolved through space and time.” (Ivan Klíma, “The Spirit of Prague”, p. 212)

What are your favourite reading companions to Prague? Please let me know in the comments below.

Written by Kinga Macalla

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