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

lunedì, marzo 19, 2018

Portraits from Life Modernist, Novelists and Autobiography by Jerome Boyd Mansell

Beautiful, interesting, and attracting.
These ones are the words for describing Portraits from Life Modernist, Novelists and Autobiography by Jerome Boyd Mansell an enchanting book about modern novelists and their personal relationship with biography and auto-biography.

You can read this book "disconnected" so, if you are in love for certain authors, reading the portion of biographies involving them or you can use this book for creating a profound connection with all these seven authors interconnected together.

The authors taken in consideration: Joseph Conrad, Henry James, Ford Madox Ford, Edith Wathron, H.G.Wells, Gertrude Stein, Wyndham Lewis.

Some anecdotes you will find in this book?

Well, in general during their auto-biographies these authors will try to write something in a different ways, altering episodes, reality. Conrad was famous for "painting in his books" facts and people realistically lived.

He avoided of telling in his autobiography of a tentative of suicide he experienced. Maybe he didn't want to return to think at such a depressing moment. Understandable.

We will discover that the fascination felt by Gertrude Stein for paintings, she was a beloved friend of Matisse, Picasso was later projected in words. She wrote their biographies, without neglecting her own one.

Henry James lived a strained life, surrounded by a lot of tragedies, sufferances and personal breakdowns for this reason. Maybe that was why he searched to analyze so scrupulously the life and its events and people. He is the writer of the self-revelation, he is the author of the immense stage that it is called life in all its tragicity sometimes.
His characters, never trivialized are seen in a psychological intense lens, and that cruelty sometimes the life can presents to people thanks to ambiguous people and situations.

Edith Warthon, another example wrote a wonderful autobiography of her early years, treated with great lucidity and passion. Many problems in Wharton's life, in her auto-biography she will portray a great Henry James, seen more like a man than not like a writer giving of him a private aspect unknown to the most.

This one is a very good book, where you will breath the sophisticated atmosphere where these wonderful writers lived in, appreciating their existence, their personal torments, their joys,  that later would have been put in words, or in most cases treated with distance or avoided. After all, everyone would want to re-write some part of his/her existence, giving a best expression and most of all by-passing the atrocity of sufferance.

Writing sometimes is a process chosen for healing from internal pains exactly like for a painter painting, a singer singing an actor acting. We mustn't never forget it.

Buy this book with the certainty not only of a great product but of a wonderful fluid book, where there are a lot of interesting facts and a full sophisticated immersion in the Modernism. The lives of these writers are lived with brightness, lightness and at the same time accuracy and yes, love.

Highly recommended if you love literature, if you want to discover something of your favorite authors, if you are curious to discover more about autobiographical dimension and process experienced and lived by these seven writers.

I find fascinating the cover where the life's lightness and heaviness, immortality and mortality are mixed together displayed by the beautiful day, seen by an open window but at the same time by  the hand put on the shutter and on the right the darkness that can be read as the most obscure dimension of the spirit.

I thank so much Oxford University Press for the physical copy of this wonderful book.

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, marzo 18, 2018

Greta Grintosa by Astrid Lindgren illustrated by Ingrid Vang Nyman and Eva Billow

Greta Grintosa  or Gritty Greta by Astrid Lindgren illustrated by Ingrid Vang Nyman and Eva Billow published with great success by the publishing italian house Iperborea is a children's book that you and your children will love so badly because in some cases you will be transported in magical worlds as it happens for Goran and his sick leg. A magical friend will let him discover every night a wonderful world where it's possible the impossible and where he can enjoys to walk because there, nothing cares and that one is not a problem.

The book opens with Greta (that will also give the title at all these short tales) a solid little kid of 7 years and her sick granny. She loves her sick granny and now, look, she is sick close to Christmas' Time. What to do? Greta will sort out everything with success.

In another story a little bird hidden in a magical clock will help two children to buying gifts with its gold eggs keeping them company.

The story I loved the most maybe the one of Albin and Stig. That two babies, later toddlers, later kids, later teen-agers spent a real hell during their life thanks to the competition started by their respective parents about their own abilities. So each parent pretended that the child had to be like the other one and vice-versa. An incident lived by the two ones will let them discover the silly situation in which they were been catapulted by their parents for all the existence, still brief, understanding that each person is unique and rich of potentialities and can't be a copy of another one.

He was a joyous and peaceful animal Adam Engelbrekt a bull of great respect, surrounded by a lot of cows, but nothing to do, one day he becomes crazy, aggressive. Just the sweetness of someone will fix this problem.

There is another wonderful tale this time involving a princess all alone surrounded by all possible games but unhappy. She doesn't want to play with anything and she is always unsatisfied and unhappy.
Only the discovery of a new kid, with which she can plays, chats, will let her discover the joy of playing.
In this tale we notice many important aspects: the discovery of a place plenty of things in grade to present solitude. Company, friendship, real precious gifts that two parents can donates to her daughter; precious material things sometimes are not the most beautiful ones (they can keep the Princess in solitude), the importance of a life shared with others is the answer. Friends in grade to make happy the Princess are priceless although they are poor as in the case of this kid, accepted by all Princess' family.

The adventure of Nils Karlsson will be great you will see.
He is very little, like a thumb, and he lives in a mouse's house. The mouse-house is in the bedroom where Bertil a kid stays, and one day he materializes his presence. Bertil is alone and doesn't have a lot of company and friends so he is more than happy not only to discover that he has a new little friend but to become part of the magic. This fairy-tale is beautiful because it talks of friendship, sharing, donating, giving, playing, having fun, spending time together. One of the best fairy-tales of this book.

Samuel August is a very poor kid. In his dreams he imagines to start to breed rabbits. Two white rabbits.
He doesn't have money for this dream. He lives in a very poor house, but one day he met along the road a very rich man and thanks to a work he does for this man he receives a pay in grade to cover the cost of the rabbits.

Eva's tale is very sad because her mom is sick and she must stay with that two disgusting aunts. Another tale will treat the thematic of death.

All these fairy-tales are beautiful and they have as you will see profound meanings.

I highly suggest to everyone this book because it is spectacularly funny,  and at the same time it will permit to your children some moments of escapism without forgetting the important lessons that these tales wants to share with the readers of all ages.

I thank Iperborea for the physical copy of this beautiful book!

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, marzo 17, 2018

Blackberry Winter (Neve a Primavera) by Sarah Jio

Days ago I was searching for a book when I noticed the one by Sarah Jio, Blackberry Winter italian version called Neve a Primavera in one of my shelves bought time ago. I felt a strong sensation when I bought this book. I knew that it would have been a great read.
A book is a magical object.
As I say often books will search for you for being read, and when it will be their moment. The moment for this book was days ago. 

Sarah Jio's books are intriguing, interesting, there is nothing to do: they are intelligent ones.

She is a reporter and it makes the difference in the narration of the story. In love for homeless, this reporter and writer will always treat these thematic in her books.

The story "starts" in a newsroom. Do you know how to keep a reader interested? Giving to him/her the best in terms of news.
Not always, but sometimes some events are in grade to re-connect old times with current events and it's a true success of public.

The old with the new is a winning match because it speaks of memory, old times, episodes remembered, desire of re-telling and sharing.

It's local history re-emerging on the surface and recreating an old magic: the unity for an entire community, joy, enthusiasm, new passion because these old facts still taken in consideration.

An old news re-treated in a newsmagazine if told well will present a great fascination.

New readers who didn't live in that historical moment will find it interesting and old people will remember that moments with pleasure.

Frank, the vice-chief editor of the newsmagazine where Claire Aldridge works in Seattle knows this guideline very well and calls her.

On May 2 1010 a big snow falls covers of some inches the streets of Seattle exactly like on May First 1933.
He is excited.
He doesn't want to lose the opportunity of telling this story.
He asks Claire a great story. Not a simple one but one in grade to make the difference.
A story in grade to create a powerful bridge between past and present, presenting to his readers interesting facts and anecdotes of that year and that snow.

Claire lives a delicate moment of her existence and she is in crisis with her husband as well. She lost her sparkle and enthusiasm for this work and this piece doesn't present to her any kind of enthusiasm but additional stress.
With the help of Abby, the researcher of the newsmagazine she tries to discover something.
What attracts her, apart of course the big surprise for snow, some events without too much significance for a piece will be the disappearing of a toddler of just 3 years, David. Yes: this one a stunning news.

Why did he disappear? What happened? Where did he go? Was he found alive? Who was her mother?

The story leaves 2010 for joining Vera Ray on May 1 1933. It was a cold day in Seattle, where desperation, frustration, starvation were the situations Vera was living in.

Vera...Years before she lived a beautiful, wonderful love-story with someone more important than her but that didn't mind of classes and appearances.

Desperate, when Vera lost her toddler she will try all her best for finding him.

Claire investigates,  interviewing people remembering that little kid David and Vera, she will read the acts of the trial discovering the entire shocking story that there was behind.

I don't want to add anymore. If you haven't still read this book, go for it with the certainty of finding intriguing characters, a great plot, wonderful investigation and two stunning love-stories.


Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, marzo 16, 2018

Theodor Geisel: A Portrait of the Man Who Became Dr.Seuss by Donald E. Pease

I discovered Dr.Seuss for case. Once some American friends sent me pictures of rompers for their children. There was written One and they were red. They explained me that it was because of a famous Dr.Seuss' book, The Cat in the Hat. I decided to buying that book, The Cat in the Hat and sequel. Funny stories for sure, now when I find Dr. Seuss' books I buy them immediately!

Dr.Seuss has been a caricaturist but mainly an author of children's and adult's books. Children's books born for learning and having fun at the same time. Plenty of irony, of healthy nonsense the messages contained? All that weird possibilities and chances offered  by the life if seen under different perspective, glasses.

There is an optimistic vision in these books, there is  a possibility of escapism in every situation thanks to original problem-solving methods discovered for example by the cat in The Cat In the Hat in the second episode in particular.

Who read Dr.Seuss when little develops to me a vision of the life in grade to let him/her sorting out problems once adult with more creativity respect to other children who didn't read him, developing at the same time a great sense of humor.

When one night, surfing the web, I discovered the book Theodor Geisel: A Portrait of the Man Who Became Dr.Seuss by Donald E. Pease, published by Oxford University Press with the smiling, kindly face of an elderly man, close to the portrait of the most iconic character he created The Cat in the Hat I thought: I want to read it!
What a life he lived!
His family with his ancestors afforded in Springfield Massachusetts immediately after the 1850s. German origins, Springfield a city in expansion presented a lot of success for the family involved in various business, including brewery.
Then Theodor Robert, the dad of Dr.Seuss married Henrietta Seuss in 1901. Dr. Seuss would have arrived to this world in 1904.

This little man suffered a lot because of the discrimination suffered during the first world war. Not only: Germans tried their best for demonstrate that they loved the USA fighting this anti-German sentiment. The same little Dr.Seuss involved in various initiatives for helping and supporting soldiers but not only it didn't help but he lived a very and unpleasant episode with President Roosevelt. This episode will sign all his existence. When Dr.Seuss constricted to speak, or appear in public he found this problematic because of that traumatic and humiliating experience he lived.

Very soon it was clear that Dr.Seuss was talented in writing and drawings and was encouraged to continuing to do that.
The first and most important publication in 1937: And to Think That I saw It on Mulberry Street. The most important American magazines and newsmagazines wrote wonderful, splendid reviews. To him it was a success.

The years he spent to Dartmouth coincided also with the collaboration with the Jack-O-Lantern's magazine although later because of an episode involving alcohol and prohibitionism Dr.Seuss constricted to abandon it  and working under pseudonym.

 One day he said to his dad that he would have wanted to study to Oxford. His dad was so thrilled! to accomplishing his desire, although the year spent at the Lincoln College not remembered very well by Dr.Seuss.

Then the Second World War, his works for prestigious magazines, and the arrival as casualty at the great success with The Cat in the Hat. New formula, with the one of a good, pretty crazy eccentric intruder in the life of two children Johnny and Sally left all alone at home by their mother and in grade to bring into their life a sparkle of magic with its imagination: the cat element of disturb when the conservative, worried fish would have wanted that the children wisely would have sent the cat to hell, also for obvious reasons of safety eheheh.

The book is composed with rhymes so that children can also enjoy reading, appreciating rhymes and the magic brought by the Cat. But look at the sequel for experiencing maybe the best of the best with the return of the cat and a lot of tricks for sorting out a problem created by him.

The Cat is the metaphor of Imagination to me, the Cat is that unexpressed desires of children that take shape under the semblance of a cat and in grade not only to present a lot of fun and magic, with some extraordinary adventures but opening to them a world of possibilities.

Dr.Seuss created not only intelligent characters but characters in grade of helping children to develop imagination while they are learning.

The most famous long book written by Dr.Seuss is How the Grinch Stole Christmas! although every book by Dr.Seuss is a masterpiece of creativity and good humor and you are more than welcome to buying them for you :-) and your children.

After a traumatic episode in his life he also developed passion for adult literature. Dead in 1991, generations of children grew up and are growing up with his books.

I thank Oxford University Press for the physical copy of this extraordinary biography!

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, marzo 15, 2018

I Wish I Was Sick Too! by Franz Brandenberg, illustrated by ALIKI

"The best part of being sick is getting well" with this phrase said by the parents of the two sick kittens I can synthesize this beautiful children's book by NYRB: I Wish I Was Sick, Too! by Franz Brandenberg, illustrated by ALIKI.
The protagonists of this so cute and sweet children's book story is a cats' family.

Edward one of the kittens of the couple falls sick and so he receives a lot of attention of course from his parents. Grand-mother stops-by for telling him stories and fairy-tales, Aunt Anna and Uncle Peter call for discovering if situation starts to going on well.

Elizabeth, Edward's sister is upset because she has to do everything. Homework, piano lessons, dishes, feeding the pets.

She wishes to be sick as well, but you know: be careful what you wish for... The desire is materialized soon.

Edward when Elizabeth is sick tells to his sister that now he does all the part of jobs that their parents can't do because she is sick, exactly as she did.

The two smiles.

The two kittens understands the important message of gratitude. Gratitude for help and attentions received by their parents during the illness; gratitude for their granny who read them fairy-tales while they were sick; gratitude to all that people like aunt Anna and uncle Paul who called for asking about their health. So the two kittens decide to thank everyone for all that love and support received while they were sick: they prepared a special meal for their parents, reading a story to their grand-mother, and calling their uncle Paul and aunt Anna for chatting with them.

It's a powerful message this one.

We mustn't never forget people who love us and the ones who stay close to us and wants to stay close to us..
People who care for us are very important and spreading our love and tenderness to them it's important and indispensable. Let's start to bless our family with good sentiments starting with gratitude and good actions.

I thank NYRB for the beautiful copy of this book!

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, marzo 14, 2018

Oxford by Martin Parr

I discovered Oxford in a very old issue of an italian magazine dedicated to Italians who wants to learn english. It was a dream to me that atmosphere, sophisticated, exclusive. At that time I was just 14 years old. Oxford, Britain so different from our schools and atmosphere.

I wouldn't never imagined that in the future I would have been in grade  to read with passion Oxford Press books and neither that I would have reviewed them. No, because dreams are dreams and this one was a dream to me.

I can tell you that I also found  a wonderful warm team of people with which I collaborate at Oxford Press and I am very happy for it.

So with these premises you can imagine that I was more than tempted when I noticed this photographic book just called: Oxford written in pictures mostly by Martin Parr.
I love photography. I am an addicted of photographic books, plus re-discovering Oxford from the inside...
Why not?

I requested it immediately and thrilled my expectations plenty confirmed. It's a photographic jewel that you can't lose to buying.

There is a big warm in Oxford, for what I can see, with a big sense of normality, relaxation, but at the same time there is a special vibe, an energy and an enthusiasm that it is wonderful and captivating. 

Oxford is solid with its traditions,timeless tables where generations of students studied, ate, shared their dreams and expectations, immense libraries, good memories.

Alumni of decades ago won't forget this special place and they will see each others for special events, remembering the old times when they studied there, without forgetting these new students with their diversified voices.

Pictures portray the normality of gestures. Knitting with the group of "Knitters Friends" yes, there is also this group in Oxford, but I found fascinating also the Oxford University Press Choir, a picture of the head gardener of Corpus Christy College mr David Leake.

You will admire the hierarchy of various teachers, and traditions and customs like the ones of Oration at the beginning of each academy year in Convocation House.

Bodleian library where students study and research. The camera of mr. Parr will try to penetrate in the most peaceful place of Oxford finding busy students absorbed to studying.

I want to remember a picture taken by mr. Parr with Stephen Hawkin dead today, the most important physician after Albert Einstein so in love for black holes and the mystery still hidden by them during the opening of the Weston Library. A man who created a dialogue between common people and science with an accessible language, trying to transmit his love for physics and astronomy to everyone, being very popular. He appeared on The Simpson, The Big Band Theory.

Once when I looked at a picture of Simon Tsang, custodian of Christ Church I thought: oh, look, what a paradisiac place, it seems Harry Potter's Hogwarts.
Ahem, yes I completely forgot it: most of  scenes of Harry Potter were filmed in Christ Church! That picture is a real passport for the magical land of Harry Potter's world just in a click. Impressive.

Oxford celebrated famous feasts like the Summer Heights.

You can see pictures of beautiful, very good-looking boys, happy and cheerful during various sportive or mundane events.

There is a big curiosity: for the first time after 800 years Professor Louise Richardson a woman became vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

I can't help myself but I couldn't stop to crying looking at the pictures of graduation. It's a step reached, and one of the most beautiful of the existence. It's not just study. It's a phase of the existence where a boy or a girl lived with other colleagues, experienced, breathed a certain atmosphere, grew up, matured, studied, learnt now ready for winning other fights.

No sure if you knew it, but exams are taken in academic dress. White carnation is for the first exam, pink for an ongoing exam and red for the final one.

But look: graduation won't leave too many tears to your eyes after that you will see what happens after the ceremony to graduated students!!! for their fun, fun of their friends and our own fun and smiles.

Did you know that dogs are banned from Oxford colleges? Yes, they are but...There is an intruder. And he is admitted! A little dog proudly called cat. Better not asking him what he thinks of that name maybe he would be upset, who knows?

I have had the sensation looking at these pictures that people are relaxed, cheerful, joyous, happy confirming me that where there is culture there is peace. In every sense.

Don't lose the afterword by Simon Winchester!

Highly recommended book to everyone!

I thank so much Oxford University Press for the physical copy of its soul.

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, marzo 12, 2018

Conquering Lyme Disease Science Bridges The Great Divide by Brian A.Fallon, MD and Jennifer Sotsky, MD

Spring will come to town soon. Gardening, long walks, hours of sun, possibilities of walks in forests with our friends and with our dear dogs, roads in lovely countrysides will become our best allied for re-generating mind and body, picnics, taking pictures of beautiful seascapes and landscapes, gym in opened-spaces or reading a book under a big refreshing tree-shadow, adventurous trips...
This one is the most magical moment of the year so waited and loved because in grade of refreshing body and soul after a rigid winter-time.

Yes: spring and summer are all of it and much more.

Less romantically it's also the moment of the arrival of ticks. Yes: the negative part of the story.

Columbia University Press recently published: Conquering Lyme Disease Science Bridges The Great Divide by Brian A.Fallon, MD and Jennifer Sotsky, MD a wonderful, impressive study on the topic, under all possible angles.
Ticks, diagnosis of Lyme Disease, tests, exams, treatments, family and psychological support and much much more explained with clarity and desire of being helpful.

It is crucial to understand what can potentially means for a body Lyme Disease if contracted because of a tick bite, and important in particular if you live in certain areas of the USA.

But... I wouldn't want to relegate, confine this book just at American readers. Lyme Disease is a reality in most places and countries and it is better to know what it could means to suffer because of this illness.
Informative, captivating, very-well written and for specialists and common people, you will be more than satisfied of all the informations received, trust me.

What is exactly Lyme Disease? Authors explains that it is the most commonly reported vector-born illness in the USA.

I would add that this one is a "systemic illness" because if not treated it involves all organs of our body, brain and heart included.

Discovered in the USA the Lyme disease is a complicated illness.

This book will catapult you in a dimension of great complexity with an apparent innocuous illness starting like a common flu in most cases  becoming a terrible, horrible illness with invalidant symptoms, long cures, sometimes per years and with a medical world skeptical and divided regarding Lyme Disease.

Step-by step, with photographic help, it will be clear what happens when you starts to develop symptoms, what damaging this illness can does at various levels, cardiac and brain one included, but also the latest tests, exams and treatments discovered more recently without forgetting that ticks brings with them potentially other infections explained with clarity like also diagnosis and treatments.
An interesting topic the one about the cycle of a tick-life and what can be done by population for trying to avoid this danger, staying safe.

A chapter involves all that illnesses apparently considered part of Lyme Disease but that are a complete different story. Some example? Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Celiac Disease,  Chronic Heavy Metal Poisoning and so on.

It's important to understand that prevention is important with Lyme Disease. An environment plenty of deer, wild pigs, rats, can be a great humus for ticks.

Good news: although this one is a spirochetal infection, and syphilis transmitted sexually, studies say that in this case there is no evidence of sexual transmission.

A special section is dedicated to newest vaccines but also what to do when you are bitten by a tick, how to do for removing the tick successfully and when we should start to be alarmed because bitten.

Lyme Disease is still a dividing illness and a controversial illness as said before. Not all doctors accept the illness and treat it with desire. I found hilarious the cartoon I am posting here and taken from the book:

but it is true.

This book has a very optimistic approach and soon let's hope this illness will be defeated and just a distant memory.
If you want to stay informed about Lyme Disease, this book is for you and for all your dear ones.

Highly suggested to everyone.

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

Anna Maria Polidori