In an Italian bookshop, you may hear someone asking where the yellow books are. Weird, isn’t it?
Why would someone want to read a book just because it’s yellow?
The answer is quite simple: in Italian “libri gialli” (yellow books) refers to a literary genre: crime and investigation stories!
But why do Italians call crime books “libri gialli”?
In 1929 Arnoldo Mondadori publishing house published a series of crime books whose cover was yellow. They were so iconic, that that was the name adopted for the whole genre!
This is not the only example of literary genre named after colours: Italians call “romanzi rosa” (pink novels) love stories/erotic books.
Newspaper articles describing real murders and crimes are called “cronaca nera” (black chronicle).
How are literary genres called in your language? Would you buy a “yellow book”?
Let us know!