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

martedì, giugno 19, 2018

California Summer by Anita Hughes

Another beautiful book, if you search for escapism, incredible locations, and characters, California Summer written by Anita Hughes and published today by St.Martin's Press.

This time the dreaming location chosen by this succulent author is California, the land of dreams.

Ben and Rosie are the perfect couple.
They work in Hollywood as director and producer, their  existences are brilliant, wonderful, successful.
They participated at the Sundance Film Festival created by Robert Redford, and since there their existence have been a continuous success.

Rosie is happy with her fertile, beautiful, dreaming existence. She wouldn't want anything more, but Ben, well, yes.

He wants the entire package: a house in Beverly Hills, a lot of money, big cars and his name remembered forever.
Talent unfortunately is not sufficient for reaching that goals, so he will sleep with the most important producer.

Rosie is devastated. Why Ben acted like that?

She decides that maybe is better to leave stars, starlets and that wonderful world for a more relaxing place where to de-stress herself.
Montecito, her best-friend's estate seems perfect for recovering from all that mess.

Rosie will re-start a new existence. She will meet Rachel, the owner of a chocolate store, Josh in love for surf and classic cars.

Rosie decides to open a fish taco store considering also her winning secret college recipe...

Beautiful, sunny, Anita Hughes mixes her optimistic positive character with perfect descriptions, delicious recipes, stunning locations.

Beautiful, relaxing and romantic cover.

Anita Hughes previously has written Monarch Beach, Market Street, Lake Como, French Coast, Rome in Love, Island in the Sea, Santorini Sunsets, Christmas in Paris, White Sand, Blue Sea, Emerald Coast, and Christmas in London. At the moment she is working at her next novel.

I thank NetGalley and St.Martin's Press for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, giugno 18, 2018

In pursuit of Privilege A History of New York City's Upper Class & the Making of a Metropolis by Clifton Hood


Fascinating, absolutely absorbing, rich of anecdotes and stories that will let you discover people, places, who made New York City.
Ladies and gentlemen in this review we will treat the big, diversified story of New York's upper class.
Starting from a beautiful cover, In pursuit of Privilege A History of New York City's Upper Class & the Making of a Metropolis by Clifton Hood, published by Columbia University Press is a wonderful reading.

New Yorkers: starting from 1750 to recent times we will discover the main differences between NYC upper class and the ones of Philadelphia and Boston, created ethically and under a religious perspective.
New Yorkers didn't mind of ethic: the important fact was money-making and thanks to commerce, business in many fields, good weather a lot of people became not just very rich, but powerful, influential and an elite in grade to give directions to the society.

We will read that the funeral of Waldorf Astor was the celebration of an eminent man, but we will also assist at the division created by the seven year war  against UK with two factions in the upper class.

We will understand why the elite decided to build in the exclusive Upper West Side. Brooklyn was a good choice but too distant for staying connected with friends, family members, schools attended by their children.

For trying to give directions to the rest of population someone published American Chesterfield although this book received a lot of negative reviews because there was written that middle-class people who displayed merit and good breeding could readily enter high society, when facts were completely different, because a different system and a different social condition from the one of the middle-class with more lacks in comparison to the upper class standard.

Most of these gentlemen loved to keep journals and diaries but in general avoided to report the real New York they met along their way but only the New York that they wanted to remember, portraying their friends, the estates of their friends, social life.

We will visit New Yorkers' households, understanding feasts, celebrations, balls in a typical upper class' estate. Mr. Hadden for example wanted to meet only people of quality.
Servants of the upper class were Irish.

The book will analyze the difficult years of the Secession War.
New York didn't lose its appeal and in 1892 counted 1265 millionaires and more people benefitted of best life's conditions. The elite grew up much more during these decades.
A special chapter is dedicated at that exclusive men's clubs created by the elite, the most diversified ones.
The book treats the story and creation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Metropolitan Opera, like also the fertile activity of the upper class for the creation of high culture thanks to a lot of philanthropists.
We are now at the 1940s with Rockefeller, but also with a newborn upper class by bankers, lawyers etc. The author will visit for us the most relevant country clubs talking also of that prep schools attended by the children of the upper class people.

Final chapters are dedicated at the decline of the upper class thanks to a change of habits, different situations, as you will read.
I loved to read the story of John Zacharias.
He studied in Princeton, son of a modest family but in grade with the time of building a solid existence. Now his family is solid and important.

We will also see how the money of upper class' people is spent now:  not anymore in frivolous objects, but invested in their children's education, for securing them the best jobs in the market.

I thank Columbia University Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

The Snowman Paul Series Vol. 1-4 by Yossi Lapid Illustrated by Joanna Pasek.

The Snowman Paul Series Vol. 1-4 by Yossi Lapid is a little treasure that you will appreciate so badly I can tell you that. The episodes for your children are: My SnowMan Paul where we assist at the creation and friendship of SnowMan Paul with Dan. The second one, SnowmanPaul at the Winter Olympics tells the story of powerful SnowMan Paul in grade to win every possible medal because helped by Mother Nature. So tender the end of the story.
The third and most yummy story is called SnowMan Paul Saves Kate's Birthday. It's the birthday of Kate but someone let's put things in this way couldn't resist at that beautiful birthday cake and...ATE IT! Help! What can SnowMan Paul does for saving the situation?
The fourth story is Snowman Paul at the Concert Hall. SnowMan Paul this time will be motivated to learn to play some musical instruments and also to perform in public.

I find these stories of Snowman Paul so cute, tender, beauty, and relaxing, and illustrated magnificently well by Joanna Pasek.

I know that your children will adore them!

I thank the author for this ebook!

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, giugno 14, 2018

Primo Levi The Last Interview Conversations with Giovanni Tesio

Primo Levi The Last Interview Conversations with Giovanni Tesio published by Polity is a book that you will cherish a lot, for many reasons. It's incomplete true, because this interview was in progress when Levi died tragically, but in this interview we see a fresh perspective of the author of If This is a Man.
Thanks to a chronological reconstruction that starts from Levi's childhood, we will read about beautiful fresh memories of a child with strong opinions regarding teachers not always great or particularly intelligent, or members of his family, like his dad, in grade of buying him every sorta of books, but distant from him for behavior, passions, and character.
Close to his mother, Primo Levi told to us everything about elementary school, high school. I remembered thanks to him the so-called "pensierini" that we had to write during the elementary school.

It will be touched the Gentile reform of the school wanted by Mussolini during the fascist era and what it meant studying in particular at the high school.

Levi will largely describe his difficult relationship with sex, an experience that he would have experienced later, after Auschwitz, but this being shy with the other sex meant to him a sufferance when very young because he saw the difference with his contemporaries.

He also told to Tesio that his grand-dad killed himself but he didn't know why and he hasn't never asked anything of it.
Suicide sometimes a thematic appearing during this interview.

Tesio, at the same time will tell that he visited him with the idea of the creation of an authorized biography in grade to include everything, starting from his childhood but also for keeping him some company. He knew he was depressed and that this depression could not let him write anymore. 
The idea of a biography appeared abruptly in Tesio's mind.

I was curious to read which were the favorite books of Levi's childhood, and more or less he read the same italian classics books that we all read, starting from Cuore by Edmondo de Amicis, although he didn't go crazy for Salgari, but fell in love for Pinocchio by Collodi and American classics like the ones of Kipling. He said he loved to read a magazine very well done called Il Corriere dei Piccoli.
This book gives a reassuring dimension of Primo Levi's life.
If his life wouldn't have been so "broken" with discrimination because of the racial laws and later with the Second World War and Auschwitz' s experience" it would have been beautiful.

He was a chemist and he will tell later where he worked, what he did, his relationship with his boss, and also the reaction of his boss at Levi's success with his books.

Levi has always been in grade to divide the public Primo Levi, the one who told and re-told what happened to him and wagons of other people to Auschwitz, and his private life.

This, because of his origins, from Turin, a city in general where people are discreet and appreciate their privacy.

Maybe the immense success of If This is A Man, the translation in most countries catapulted Levi in a dimension as also written completely unwanted.
Levi didn't become "famous" because he wrote a novel of success. Levi became famous because a real witness of the devastating Nazi government policy against Jewish people and because he wrote of it reporting the dishumanity he experienced. It's a completely different perspective.
The last pages are white, as you will see, because there is an interruption.

Wanted? Unwanted? My brain started to work.

I remembered the news of the death of Levi of course, there was a great resonance in Italy.
We studied him, I read his book, but I didn't remember the day of his departure.
It was a Saturday, April 11 1987 the Jewish week day feast as it is for us Sunday. A day of feast...He told to the author that on Sunday he was waiting for an American photographer...

I thank Polity Books for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, giugno 13, 2018

The Pilgrims Society and Public Diplomacy 1895-1945 by Stephen Bowman

The Pilgrims Society and Public Diplomacy 1895-1945 is an important tome written by and published by Edinburgh University Press.

It intrigued me a lot because I didn't know this society and its existence, but at the same time I wanted to try to understand more of it.

What was and still is the Pilgrims Society, first of all?

It was and it is a society composed by very wealthy American men, mainly from NYC and London.

The society was founded in 1902 by the elite of people of these two cities.
It is possible to classify this society as an "elite dining club."
The purposes of this elite, American and British? Trying to improve good relationship between UK and USA.

Some names of people involved in the society? William Waldorf Astor one for all.

The first chairman was William Sinclair Archdeacon of London while for the USA the society picked up Lindsay Russell directly from North Carolina.
This attorney worked also in New York and London and lived in many parts of the USA.
The society was just opened to British and American men.

Later, the society considered also an expansion in Boston and the West Coast substantially remaining affectionate at the city of NYC and London.
Only when Jimmy Carter understood that there weren't women in the society and he didn't want to accept the honor membership offered by the society if the society not open to women, the Pilgrims decided to accept membership from women.

As you will read the membership was very wanted and researched but at the same time there were several passages before that a new member was approved.
The Pilgrims Society played a diplomatic role like the Earl Grey Dinner can testifies but the society was active also before during and after the two world conflicts.

You mustn't never think that the involvement of this society in international relations was or is "open."
As the author says: "The Pilgrims represented an exclusive net-
work of elites, closed to democratic accountability or popular
involvement."

This society like all the other ones is closed and remains old-fashioned and as it adds the author "isolated" and defined in the Anglo-Saxon world.
Pilgrims thanks to this society searched for "commercial success and imperial prestige."

Although it is a society that of course doesn't add posters everywhere for let know to all the people that exists, it played and and still plays an important role in the backstage of our world.
If diplomacy, if foreign policy has been treated in a certain way, well, that was and is also thanks to this society.

If you love American and British culture, if you love history, if you want to understand better the world where you live in, if you love NYC or London goes for this book.

Highly suggested!

I thank Edinburgh University Press for the copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori


martedì, giugno 12, 2018

No more bonbons, no more jelly! What you gonna do with all that belly? by Daniel Georges

Beautiful children's book this one written and illustrated by Daniel Georges: No more bonbons, no more jelly! What you gonna do with all that belly? Published by Asala Publishers.

This children's book is not just fun and colored but it is a great lesson for everyone.
Let's see: who, during the childhood don't remember with great love the sweet candies we ate with great love? We all have memories of our sweet addictions. We would have wanted to swim in the marshmallow, we would have wanted to eat, perennially eat, sweet things.

Like Ronnie does.
He eats, he eats, and he eats compulsively eats bonbons and jelly all the time.
Alone, with friends, who cares? Then once, an evening when he goes to bed he imagines...
He imagines that his yellow little bear sat pacifically on his desk could become  big and big and big so that he can eats a lot of bonbons and jelly. An immensity of candies.
Be careful what you wish for tell a saying, that night the bear starts to be animated, eating all the stuff he meets along his way, from the furniture in Ronnie's bedroom, with great horror, and then outside, same story with all the things he sees. Yes, ahem this bear doesn't go just for honey, you know.

Poor Ronnie is devastated: "No, no please, look at your belly! It's enormous" tells the kid devastated to the bear.
The bear doesn't know what to do for bettering his devastated body and so the kid starts with him a gym session. The bear will restore his body and will magically return to be little and pacific sat inanimated as the perfect guardian on Ronnie's bedroom's desk and Ronnie after that, who knows? nightmare, premonition, learns an important lesson: moderation!

I loved this children's book so badly! and I highly suggest it to all of you in particular if, as a parent you have some kid too in love for jelly and bonbons ;-)


I thank Library Thing and Daniel Georges for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison foreword by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison foreword by Ta-Nehisi Coates was born thanks to a series of talks that the author delivered at Harvard University two years ago.
Morrison picked up a theme still unresolved in the USA, the racial one presenting us in these pages a prospect of who the Other is and why he/she is painted like that.

It's a strong vision the one of Toni Morrison. A sad one.

The American society has been unable to consider for a long time black people as people.
Yes, you read well: as people.
White people didn't consider black people as people for a long time.
During the Secession War and also later black people were seen as beasts, degradating them and their dignity at a maximum level.

The situation between these two groups has been critical from the beginning and the reason was that at first black people were brought to the USA for a story of...slavery, not for setting them free from some enemies, for saving them, so they couldn't have rights, they couldn't learn to write, to read, they didn't have any rights, they couldn't be humans under many aspects.

Not just black people were discriminated. Italians and Russians didn't experience at first great moments although later these ethnic groups  discovered a sort of rehabilitation.

Analysis by Morrison involves literature like Uncle Tom's Cabin, politically correct so that it could be read by white people, and some books by Hemingway and Faulkner, both unable to treat black people as the white ones.

Restrictions lived by black people have been immense, if we think that they couldn't enter in white churches, bars, cafés where white people spent time and same it was for schools, universities.

So these two worlds, the white and the black one grew up and matured separately, to my point of view without maybe a honest confrontation, because the white people generated a certain answer: another life with churches created by black people for black people, schools for black people and so on.

What Morrison tried to do at first when she decided to become a writer was to attract black people readers promoting also literature written by black authors.
Reading for black community has never been a great priority and so Morrison tried at first with a scrapbook plenty of pictures, a lot of imagines and a visual attracting story of American black people.

This book, The Origin of Others is very little. Bring it with you in your tote bag, read it in the metro or in the bus, it's apparently light, but dense of concepts.

It's a sufferance when we treat a topic  like this one.
The Others don't exist, we are only a race, we are only a world with many human beings.
A world with multiform cultures, diversifications, but it's thanks to this that we appreciate the colored  kaleidoscope of life that multiculturalism brings with it and where it is beautiful to immerse ourselves.

What I hope is that in a not too distant day I will read a book called: "The Origin of Us." 


Highly suggested.

I thank Harvard University Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori