" />Reviews Published 50 Book Reviews Professional Reader 2016 NetGalley Challenge

lunedì, febbraio 19, 2018

The Salzburg Tales by Christina Stead

The Salzburg Tales by Christina Stead second wife of William Blake is her first book. Australian, warm lady and real story-teller, this one at first was conceived as a different book, but when mrs Stead fell in love for Blake, her idea changed.
The introduction of this book by Margaret Harris.

If you have read or studied The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer or the Decameron by Boccaccio, you must read The Salzburg Tales.

In the case of Boccaccio and his Decameron because of a plague ten people in the 1300s for ten days will stay distant from Florence. They were seven girls and three men and they will share in total 100 tales during that days.

Chaucer later was inspired by the Decameron when he wrote The Canterbury Tales.

In this case we are in Salzburg, there is the August Festival and in a Capuchin convent, diversified people all reunited together will tale to the other ones their own stories, because after all what it is life if not a lot of stories shared with friends or unknown people?

Characters? There is the Festival Director, the English Gentleman, the Philosopher, the Lawyer, a Musician, The Naturalist, The Danish Woman, the Italian Singer and many more.

Tales are Gothic mainly. I found impressive and very sad the tale of the Italian Singer and the story of the coffin and the couple who decided to live for the moment of their death although very young, but also the story of  Swend; another one tells a legend saying that no one should see himself/herself in a mirror at midnight during Midsummer because it would see his/her ghost dying abruptly.

They're all stories that will leave you a profound sense of life and death.

Highly suggested.

I thank so much Melbourne University Publishing for the physical copy of this beautiful and intense book.

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, febbraio 16, 2018

Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

It has been an adventure reading Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children   by Ransom Riggs but I did it! Hooray!

I was searching for this book from a lot of time and I knew that Tim Burton, I am a big fan of this director, was realizing time ago a movie with it.

I tried to contact Penguin Random House more than a year ago for a book review copy but it was too complicated, I still have dial-up, I don't know where I sent the e-mail, I didn't hear from anyone and I haven't seen any book.

I didn't go to the cinema for the movie because our blockbuster theater is closed and I refuse to afford to distant cities for a movie spending more than the necessary. It's a time of crisis. Honest.

I also think that sometimes books become part of our life when we need to read them for a reason or another because they are magical objects.

Recently I discovered the italian copy of Miss Peregrine in my book club magazine and I ordered it.

When I saw it I thought: "It's in my chords. Completely!"
I knew it.

Amazing, impressive, beautiful, vintage, you can't avoid to read Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children if you are a fan of Harry Potter. There are many similarities. You'll love this book so badly. Written with love, cure, attention, I confess I laughed and laughed and laughed during the first 80 pages. Well, it was something cathartic, you know, I know what it means sufferance and also the profound problematic that can brings.
So the paradoxical situation lived by the young protagonist Jacob, and the wonderful stunning British humor used by Riggs for describing it permitted me to laugh a lot. I didn't remember the last time I laughed so much and with great pleasure. I appreciated it so badly.

You mustn't imagine that the first eighty pages are a joke. Jacob's life is lucky enough, this is true. Member of a Jewish family he is very rich.

He finds a profound connection with his grand-dad Abe, someone considered eccentric and plenty of strange stories and unusual pictures of peculiar children he told to Jacob he had known in an island in UK during the last  World War conflict.
Jacob loves  these stories, although as a kid he considers them fruit of a fertile imagination.
He knows all names of these children and who they were and what they did in the orphanage where his grand-dad spent some time.
Time pass-by and the mind of his grand-dad starts to be more frail, some familiars say.

One day he receives a terrible calls from his grand-dad: "Monsters are back." Jacob doesn't know what to think and accompanied by another friend he wants to go to see what it is going on for discovering his poor grand-dad dying killed by "something." He is in grade to tell to Jacob some words. Unforgettable ones.

Jacob after the departure of his grand-dad is not believed. He saw a creature, a horrible creature and to him that one killed his grand-dad not a group of wild dogs.
No one believes him and considered half-mad and the pale idea of who he once was he starts sessions with a psychiatrist trying to sort out his problems. The description of all this phase is pretty hilarious, you will see.

His grand-dad was a passionate of Emerson and during his 16th birthday a relative presents him a book by Emerson with a cryptic letter.
It's sent from someone from the British island where his grand-dad stayed at long.

Jacob is decided: why not visiting this place for trying to understand who these people were and if some of them still alive?

The idea is warmly supported by his therapist. After all he adds to Jacob he will heal much more once he will visit that distant place.
Jacob lives in sunny Florida and Cairnholm a completely different universe to him. The island just with a public phone, no cell phone working, just a place where to sleeping and power-generators in the  houses is an adventure!

Jacob is followed by his dad, ornithologist. His dad is another peculiar soul. Someone at first excited by new projects, with more or less twelve books half-written and put aside, a depressed man. Just a little fact can put him down, so that he won't complete his works thinking that no one after all will be interested to reading his words.

It's again a story of a ring, see at the voice The Lord of the Rings or Nesbit or Lewis in the first book of The Chronicles of Narnia the book by Riggs.

The ring is seeing again as a passport for the past and present, for a temporal trip. Who tried to obtain more became a monster in search for these special souls for eating them.

Jacob  will discover in this orphanage where his beloved grand-dad spent time, a wonderful apparent peace, where everyone is happy, where children plenty of magical peculiarities can develop them although they are kept distant from the rest of the society because misunderstood, but also for more important reasons: someone want to search for them for eating them. These children forced to remain children for the rest of their existence, some of them are 80 and more years! would have known a terrible reality going away: the common destiny of all the human beings. They would have become old meeting death once.

This book is poetic, with a beautiful love-story between Emma Bloom and Jacob the nephew of Abe, so beloved by everyone at the orphanage and a strong alliance for trying to defeat the badness incarnated in close creatures known by Jacob.

Not only I loved this book so badly but....Do we want to talk of pictures? Wonderful! I love all these vintage pictures inserted by the author. I am a passionate of vintage pictures! pictures in general and vintage items.

It's a book this one that will let you think a lot and not just because this one is a work of fantasy but because it is connected more than we can think with our reality.

And Miss Peregrine? Who is she? She is a guardian for all these peculiar children and the one in grade to present magically to them a beautiful perennial life where no one will become adult and corrupted.

Not only: she becomes a falc peregrine when necessary.

I thought if it's correct to living secluded from the rest of the world, not joining anyone for fear of not being accepted because there are special powers while I was reading the book and to me this one is a big thematic like also the exclusion of other people considered Normals in the life of this community.

I re-discovered thanks to this book that british humor I love a lot! and that makes me laugh 'til I cry and thematic like past, present, photography, vintage, reality, monsters, after life and death seeing that after all fiction sometimes is less dangerous than reality. Sad but true, considering what it is going on in the world.

I also appreciated the beautiful, important paper with which the book is realised. I love reading books with a good quality-paper, a sign of great respect for the reader and for the author. I have had the impression that the product has been loved from the beginning to the end like Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children  has surely been.

I bought this edition at Club Per Voi the most discounted italian book club magazine by Mondolibri.

Anna Maria Polidori

he pic of the author taken from his website.

martedì, febbraio 13, 2018

The Milky Way An insider's Guide by William H.Waller

The Milky Way An insider's Guide by  William H.Waller is a wonderful book and cosmic travel in our Milky Way trying to discover all its secrets and which other surprises will bring to scientists and common men.

When I read the introduction of the author, he fell in love for the Milky Way and he believed that maybe we are not alone in this Universe  when he was in his teenage age I understood something: that this book would have been great and would have made the difference. An open mind is precious. Not all astronomers believe that there are other worlds similar to the one where we are living in.

At first the author explains mythologically the born of the Milky Way. Men were interested in the past to give a dreaming interpretation of our galaxy where we live into.

Old Greeks, their religion was polytheist and their culture very fascinating, thought that the Milky Way was born when Hera, pretty upset to seeing that she was breast-feeding another bastard son of her husband Zeus, Heracles, removed abruptly the baby. The milk flown away became the Milky Way.

During most recent centuries mr.Barnard proved the existence of comets (and not only) and other remarkable astronomers the role and existence of supernovae distant millions of light-year from our Milky Way.

Another important chapter that fascinated with the time scientists was the presence of the so-called Dark Matter in the Universe. In general dark matter is present where there is a massive presence of hydrogen.

In 1992 the idea that maybe we are not alone. In fact scientists discovered another extra-solar system. At the moment astronomers discovered more than 800 planets beyond the solar system.

A special fascinating chapter involves the case of the so-called Black Hole Lair, Sagittarius A studied with great attention.

In this book by Waller, if you are a passionate astronomer, you will find all that you want for reckoning stellar distances, luminosities, temperatures, size.

At the end you will also find the astronomic history this time of the Milky Way, born with the Big Bang 14 billion years ago. I found fascinating what happened to the Universe. We must consider the Universe as a creature, so with a birth but also a change during the various phases of its existence. Not only: the author will reveal why it was possible the creation of life in our Planet.

At the end of the book a glossary and a rich bibliography.

I found the book spectacularly interesting if compared to the ones I read in the past.
Modern, captivating, this book will let you think a lot about the mystery of the Universe, what we understood and what must still be discovered and it will be the best guide for most of your discoveries and also to me reason for talking of life and our past. What are stars?

The birth and human ending after all is similar to the one of a star if we observes it closely, chemically.

The inter-connection that there is between our life spent here, is the reflection of the distant, beautiful sky and its main protagonists.
The message for us launched by the nocturnal sky,speaks a language of past, a language of symbiosis with us. Stars, Planets, guardians of all of us, little fragments of a story long billion years.

I thank Princeton University book for the physical copy of this beautiful book!

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, febbraio 12, 2018

Girl, Wash Your Face Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You can Become Who you Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis

Her brother committed suicide when she was just 14 years.
Rachel Hollis tells that she grew up that day.
What she saw, what she learned from that experience and her dysfunctional family is the result of the act of her brother.

She didn't want that same life, she wanted to construct a beauty existence.

She escaped away and she went to LA for trying to search for an identity although of course is not going away that we sort out our problems although I guess sometimes seeing a different seascape or landscape can helps.

What Rachel Hollis in her latest book: Girl, Wash Your Face Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You can Become Who you Were Meant to Be wants to tell you is that  we live surrounded by many lies and that's why we commit a lot of mistakes in our approach with people, society, mainly, ourselves.

I love that Rachel mentions The Grapes of Wrath one of the biggest, iconic, beautiful and sad book by John Steinbeck. She adds: "Those are my people." Irish and Scots who left the east coast of the USA in search of happiness in the west coast.

Rachel analyzes the differences she noticed growing up in a defined, structured family in comparison with the world she found later.

Wonderful anecdote: she loved and loved and loved Matt Damon.

Rachel tells that when Miramax realized Good Will Hunting she fantasized of marrying Matt Damon night and day and not only: she learned all the lines of that movie, and it is tremendously positive to my point of view.

The story re-seen, re-written of William Sidis is one of the most remarkable movie I have seen as well.

Good news: she met him because she worked for Miramax.

Later, she wanted to buying a Louis Vuitton bag because she wanted to be that kind of woman. A Louis Vuitton lady, rich and privileged.

Rachel with this book will help you to give your best, be sure of it, with her sunny smile, her enthusiasm, her sunny approach to life.

I found this book very hilarious, tender, sweet and honest, characteristic so precious, that's why I would suggest to all of you of buying it.

Highly recommended.
 I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, febbraio 07, 2018

Il pomeriggio di un piastrellista written by Lars Gustafsson

Il pomeriggio di un piastrellista written by Lars Gustafsson is a book published by Iperborea an italian publishing house devoted to literature of North European Countries.

It's pretty dense of meanings although this book is long just 145 pages. In this book you breath all the density of life.

The story apparently is a common one. An old mason, his specialization is to put tiles on the various environments of a house is contacted by a Finnish friend. There is a work waiting for him if he wants.
A kitchen and a bathroom in a house located in a certain place needs new tiles after that who worked previously there did a very bad work. It's not a long work after all.

Would he be interested? Torsten Bergman the protagonist of this work can be interested of course.
Sure: he is a bit old and after the loss of his wife all his interests for an active life disappeared and his house is an accumulation of papers, magazines, mails.
Torsten doesn't know anymore when it was the last time he went out, or if his car is still functioning.
We can consider Torsten depressed but at the same time "disconnected" because this society too senseless to him. There is not anyone who can be trusted.

Lost in his thoughts, he drives 'till to reaching this house.
A peculiar house. Beauty, at first immerse in the dark, on the second floor maybe there is someone. Voices. Interior voices, voices from the past, good voices. Voices of his life, we must remember that this book is a book about an existence or more than an existence and the meaning of it.
Back to the book who lives in that second apartment? A lady, Sofie, but who is she? A lady with some children, a young person... Fantasy runs. Torsten finds a way for lighting the apartment  and discovers that yes, that place is not bad at all. But there is no one with which to speak with.

Paradoxality is this one. He is called for working in that place by a friend but no one is there for establishing a price, for paying this man, for discovering for curiosity who is working in his/her house, for shaking his hand. No one.
He is just there all alone for trying to repair the damages done by the previous masons and adding new tiles with the respect that that place deserves. In complete solitude.

Solitude. A treat of our times.

More than to focusing on the character of Torsten to me it's the house the centrality of the story because the house represents the existence and tiles to me what we add to it.
Maybe this empty house is empty because no ones cares anymore for it and only other people not anymore the owners, can try to sort out its problems. It can be read under a psychologist aspect to my point of view. An existence, the house wounded and in search of a healer. 

The house as the existence and what we do with it in all its paradoxality and not because the existence is a paradox but because life can be weird.
Sometimes it seems that all pieces are right, other ones a wild wind changes the cards on life's table and there are not anymore certainties.
Sometimes we get lost, other times we find the path with simplicity but then again e are lost because there is a perennial story of yin e yang we are in chaos and uncertainty again.

I thought a lot about the elegant faucet removed by Torsten for going to a store and buying glue for tiles and stucco and other materials. Maybe the meaning is giving away something precious from our existence for buying the necessary for fixing what it is wrong, remembering what we did and leaving traces of it.

When we born we find situations and people and growing up we add pieces, tiles, to our existence as well. We embellish our existence. Let's consider our existence a house in construction and sometimes a place that needs to be restored because of the damages we caused to ourselves or other caused to ourselves.

Do we put tiles in order or not? Do we rush or do we pay attention? Do we create a beautiful and enchanting house with our existence or a house empty of values and sentiments and so a ghostly house where just the shadow of an existence passes by? Do we plant seeds of love in the garden of our house/existence or seeds of hate? Which ones we will cultivate the most?

Do we permit that water as in the case of this book, so metaphorically problems, damage us without to trying to see where there are the origins of them, fixing them and going on peacefully?
And what kind of meaning can we give at the word: order reading this book?

Sure the previous masons in the house where Torsten is working in didn't do a great job.
But after all if owners of a house are phantoms why should that masons have done a good work? Just because they wanted to do a good work, but how many people can work well when no one is there and no one cares and no one pay attention?

That house where Torsten works is a place of sentiments and these sentiments can fluidly lives in the mind of the protagonist. Nothing is more powerful than the action of building an house and what we will put there.
A house has a special soul and absorbs the souls of people living there.

Torsten thinking that alone can't work, meets along his way an old friend with which he spent his childhood with and asks him to joining him: Stig.

It was a long time that he didn't see Stig and Stig tells him his life with all its surreality. According to Torsten maybe his friend exaggerated a lot but who knows?

Stig curious of the apartment at the second floor opens it and finds a precious object. Should they open it?
And if it contains a treasure? A treasure can make happy two elderly people or also I would add two young people?

The book wants to let us reflect about what it is not ours. Stealing can't never give happiness and it's a risk.

While they were working a lady scared with two children enters in the house asking for a phone and telling that her husband is violent.

It's a relative of Stig this man, Alfred although he still doesn't know it.

A painter...What is a painting if not the representation of the reality? But what is reality?

The end of the story leaves open various scenarios to the readers.
Maybe Stig is too absorbed by the story previously told by Affe, his golden fishes, his good house, big car, the absence of a good hospitality because the wife doesn't mind of treating well a good relative of his husband, the material things he possesses thanks to a work after all not completely honest and what these material things caused to his existence: perdition and jail when more or less he tried to kill a man and not for a story of honor, but because of a material object.

Where this world is going on? What kind of behavior can be the one of
a man trying to killing a person because of an object?
It's the same story lived by Stig with a public phone. Some young people devastated it and why? For sport. Because too boring, because there wasn't anything else to do.
Or just for an act of cruelty and because people are not anymore in grade to appreciate anything and nothing is anymore precious to their eyes. Maybe because normality and humanity got lost at a certain point.

Yes. It's a book that you will enjoy to read and that will leave you with a lot of questions. To me the centrality of this tale is not the failure of existences but what a person can choose to become also considering external influences and necessities.

It's a reflection, a powerful reflection about a reality paradoxically illogical where who is right and who is wrong are undefined if I take in consideration the story of the lady, two babies and Affe, but also the behavior kept by the other protagonists.

In a world so confused people can just rest for relaxing their mind and their hearts breathing the whispers of their old times when certainties were strong and where reality clear and happiest.

That's why to me mr. Gustafsson closed the book in this way.

I highly suggest this book to everyone.

I thank Iperbora for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, febbraio 06, 2018

More Than Just Making It Hope for the Heart of Financially Frustrated by Edin Odom

More Than Just Making It Hope for the Heart of Financially Frustrated by Erin Odom the so-called Humbled Homemaker because later Erin created a beautiful blog about this thematic published by West Bow Press E-Books is a beautiful and captivating book and you won't never put it down, because too interesting.

The real story told in this stunning book that you will appreciate if you are poor, because helpful, like also if you are rich and you want to save much more money becoming frugal, is this one.

Will and Erin are a wonderful couple. They grew up in two middle-class families in the 80s and 90s with a strong christian touch and at the same time with a certainty: that they wouldn't never experienced poverty but that they would have lived a wonderful existence plenty of satisfactions.
They attended private schools all the time, college included and they knew that they would have been winners.

Poverty was lived as a distant scenario, something that wouldn't never been part of their lives and poor people were the ones they looked at distantly.

The two got married, bought a beautiful house, both teachers their income was good, 65.000 dollar per year, but when the wild wind of the big financial crisis and recession appeared to the horizon affecting a lot of families and putting them in a condition of misery, also their family was invested by this terrible condition. 
Will and Erin lost their work abandoning their house and returning at Erin's parents' home just for a little while, changing State and life.

Erin felt a lot of shame for being back home.
Asking help to her parents again. No possible. What to do now?

Erin was and she is a freelance journalist. Sometimes magazines paid her 200 dollars per month, other times 40-50 dollars per month, but that amount of money insufficient for a living.
Erin understood that this one was her path but what to do?

In the while the couple starts to live in a little apartment, so that they can be independent from Erin's parents, but they can spend just 250 dollars every month considering Will's work, 600 dollar per month and the apartment's rent.

Their main priority is food.

Erin discovers that they are poor.
That shadow, that horrible ghost she thought a prerogative of other people was now affecting her and her husband. A friend told them: "You have an income problem." Reality was this one.

The beauty of this Christian couple is that they found along their way and their big economical problem a lot of help thanks to a strong connection of new friends but  also thanks to the...government. Food stamps for Erin and Will's children and medicaid.
A large part of the USA considers poor people joining medicaid abusers of taxes that they pay every year.

After many years of pain, sufferance, humiliations, Erin tells that it was impossible to share with some of their old friends  that they were going on thanks to government's help and so thanks to their own friends' taxes' money or people plenty of generosity and good heart.  Erin removed herself and her children from the food stamps program and medicaid when she saw that the wind was changed and money back refusing other 6 months of program. They were free.

It's a book that will let you understand how to save money, how to spend less, how to eat more and healthiest food for sure :-) how to save accepting every kind of help while you sort out your problems, from clothes to food.
Erin tells the story of a lady who presented her persimmons for example a robust, succulent  fall fruit good for all family.

Erin and Will experienced a lot of years of pain, sufferance, humiliations, embarrassment before to sorting out their problems, but they did it.
With the help of God but also with the help of so many people who believed in them and helped them in different ways.

Now Erin thanks to this experience writes books, she has a beautiful blog that monetizes a lot, and she created a sunny reality with the sadness she previously lived sharing with other people what to do when there are financial problems in a family.

One of the most beautiful treats of Americans is that they try to look at the positive side of a sad story they lived and sometimes these experiences become very well-paid works.
It's great to me and an important lesson.

Highly recommended, I also invite you all to join Erin's website.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers, book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, febbraio 04, 2018

Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter

Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter is a beautiful romance book about returns and surprises published by Thomas Nelson Books.
Zoe returns home to Copper Creek in Georgia after a long time and because her beloved  granny passed away. It is a return plenty of emotions. Zoe left behind conflicts and her beloved Cruz, a strong passion of her teenage age and a person still in grade to causing her strong emotions.
Time sometimes changes everything and Zoe left for other places building a different existence. Now she has a daughter Gracie and a companion, Kyle.

Her granny left to her brother Brady a lot of money, she lived frugally but they discovered she accumulated a lot of money and strangely, to her, the cottage and the pear orchard.
Zoe would want to close this chapter of her existence as soon as possible, she doesn't want to stay at all but now, what to do?

And what will happen with Cruz?

It's a book about love, respect for elderly people. This book is quick, plenty of dialogues, never boring, very modern.

It will let you think about the meaning of "returning home."

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers, book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Anna Maria Polidori