domenica, luglio 23, 2017

The Ring of Truth and other myths of sex and jewelry by Wendy Doniger

Why rings are so special for men and women? What do they represent in our imaginary and in our subconscious?
A ring: the never-ending love, the infinite relationship with the other one. The shape of the ring, round, in general gold, gives a sense of precious love and an endless love-story.
But how much important is the ring as distinctive element in our society passing through the history of jewelry?

It's what will explain to us in this wonderful, captivating, fascinating, sexy and sensual trip Wendy Doniger in her latest book:  The Ring of Truth and other myths of sex and jewelry published by Oxford University Press.
A ring is not just a ring. A ring is sensuality, sexuality, a strong symbolism of loyalty or infidelity, a mask for infidelities, a passionate sensual game for obtaining what we want to obtain, a horrible object hiding a terrible past.

A ring has a great power: the power of love, hate, destruction, memory, loss of memory, and in the past, rings were also associated to abandoned children.
In general these poor moms put in the basket close to their babies a little jewel.
In some case this object was a ring. In most cases these moms being illiterate couldn't add anything else, not a message to the posterity for their beloved children for explaining why, with the death in their heart constricted to abandon them. A ring was a gift for remembering them the family where they were from.

When a man declares his love to a girl presents her a ring.
Symbolically it's like to close a circle in term of affectivity, sensuality and sexuality as you will discover. The choice has been done and the ring means that the girl is under the man's power.

The story of Cinderella will "shock" you because revisited under a sexual "vision", the story of King Solomon the wise man able to speak with every creature is treated for remarking the importance of a lost object like a ring later found again in his case while he was eating a fish. There are several versions of this story in the book.

We find Boccaccio with the tale from the Decameron of the clever wife, but also the love-story of Tristan and Isolde, the ones by Shakespeare where rings are centrals for sorting out stories, passing through the big scandal that would have brought Marie Antoinette Queen of France in a difficult position and would have increased the big hate felt by french folk for monarchy, Louis XVI and this Queen in particular with also tales written by Dumas and other french writers, who with their fertile imagination tried to guess or imagining the real version of the facts.
The most painful chapter the one of incestuous love with examples taken also by Indian literature. Suggestive the chapter all dedicated to Indians and their relationship with jewels and rings.

Thanks to modern literature, let's remember Henry James, Somerset Maugham, we will explore another side of the story of ring and jewelry after the painful chapter dedicated to Marie Antoinette Queen of France: the one of the slut assumption. Jewelry are pretty expensive and of course if they can't be presented or bought there are some ethical problems: where these jewels come from? Is this fruit of a honest relationship?
No, of course.

It's not forgotten Hollywood with Marylin Monroe iconic symbol of that phrase passed at the History: "Diamonds are girls's best friends,"

and with many anecdotes from movies and stars and ads remembering that diamonds are indestructible and that's why they are picked up for cementing with a good ring a solid union.

The book is clear, written with great warm, love, passion, continuously stimulating, the example taking in consideration for explaining the story of the ring through myth, legends, literature very interesting.

I know for sure that this book will be loved by everyone!

I thank Oxford University Press for this beautiful book!

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, luglio 21, 2017

The Imperfect Disciple Grace for People who can't get their act together by Jared C.Wilson

Who is the imperfect disciple for Jared C.Wilson author of The Imperfect Disciple  Grace for People who can't get their act together published by Baker Books?
Substantially someone who is growing up with Jesus although he/she is not perfect, although he/she can be messy or his/her life can be messy. He/she is also someone who believes that after all God has a plan for him/her although he/she can't believe anymore to it.

Mr.Jared doesn't search for perfection and he knows how living this life can means imperfection.
We search for good actions but sometimes we are not ethical, and attracted by badness. In synthesis we are not good people. It's like if we would be dual. But Jesus asks and wants for these people: sinners.
People who perennially fight against the badness and evil temptations in a daily base. I's simple to fall. Evil is hidden behind a beautiful angel adds Wilson.

Some indications were left by Jesus for all of us. Who are the most Blessed people?

Well, Jesus explains everything in the Sermon of the Mount, where he clarifies to everyone what it means to live a good and complete blessed life.
He says:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed at the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness'sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account."

It was another Scripture this one truly loved by my beloved priest Marino. He stayed with us for 63 years and every morning he picked up this scripture for the daily mass dedicated at the Dead ones.

These people portrayed here are the luckiest ones of this world for Jesus.
They are persecuted, after all they're not successful people but Jesus, first of all search for them.
Maybe He also search for them for trying to let show to the rest of people the world with the eyes of these people. Seeing the world with the glasses of these people is wonderful.
Sure no one wants to see around people like these ones assures the author making various example. We don't search for them in press conferences, we don't want to hear their opinion because they're border-line, they're losers.

But...This world needs the real Jesus so badly affirms the author and so each of us should follow these Beatitudes.
Jesus promised to help the most stressed people in this world.
But where to start?
First of all we could start to be similar to Him.
Jesus was a revolutionary for his time and his thoughts immensely important and young also for our culture.
And then...
Go out observing the world.
The author speaks of his daughter.
Once she found him peacefully sat. He enjoyed to seeing people and observing the world in a public space.
He wasn't reading anything on his smartphone. The smart phone wasn't around.
What it was important in that moment was enjoying the moment, being there, looking at people, looking at the life close to him and that was what it mattered the most.
The author thinks that we are too occupied with little things.
Jobs will make people holy but we must also remember that we are not holy for what we have done but because of what Jesus has done remarks Wilson.

Jesus is not distant from us. We are not his servants, but substantially men and women who follow His word and his example being sinners  trying to do the best.

The author then analyzes his readers. Most of these people live in a big city.
Sure: where we live and how we live it says a lot about us, our way of living our life-style, work, friendships and so on.

Living in a city in general let us introduce another word: "Self." We work and we establish first of all a big connection with ourselves, and it becomes like if we would be trapped by society and its values and standards of living.
Reading what it writes Mr Wilson is like to listening the Sunday sermon of my priest Bruno: we give to Lord and Jesus the time we think we should give Him but priorities are others. Cars, work, family, friends, hobbies.
It's a story of society and of course our addiction to all the things it offers us for making us happy.
Reading the Bible in a daily base will be helpful for keeping Christ and not us at the center of the Universe.
It's important to give voice to God and to hearing His voice and so to trying to find some places where for some minutes we can rest and meditate about the Scripture or just for praying establishing a contact with Him.
It is also true that at the end praying everyday is seeing like a sort of obligation but as also adds the author what it is important to do is to speak clearly to God trying to understand thanks to Him what it is going on in our life.
The author suggests various prayers.
Mr.Wilson suggests also the importance of being part of the Church's community where we live in revealing us at some point the nine irrefutable laws of Followship adding also to becoming who you are.

Highly recommended.

I thank Baker Books Bloggers for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

The California Garden Tour by Donald Olson

The California Garden Tour by Donald Olson will be published soon by Timber Press a specialized American publishing house about gardens, plants and flowers. This one is an interesting book about the most iconic, important gardens of this superb and diversified State of the West American Coast that it is: California. 

A dream for many thanks in general at the good weather,California offers spectacular views, thanks to the extension of this State, but also wonderful landscapes, beautiful corners.
We will also find different kind of weather and so diversified  plants, and flowers.

The book is divided in sections: Northern California, East Bay, Sonoma & Vicinity, Central and North Coast, Southern California starting with Los Angeles & Vicinity, Pasadena & Vicinity, South Coast, Santa Barbara & Vicinity, Palm Springs & Vicinity, San Diego & Vicinity.

In each section you will find the various private mansions, parks or universities gardens of the area where you live in or where maybe you are in vacation in at the moment and a visit in some of these places don't appear to be bad considering that it is summer-time.
From the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden with its carnivorous plants, to the Getty Center and Getty Villa in which they incorporated diversified genre of plants including beautiful superb succulents but also romantic flowers, passing through The Secret Garden of Monterey located in the heart of the old part of the city,  to the beautiful Californian vineyards seen in all their beauty thanks to the chapter dedicated at the Ferrary-Carano vineyards and winery,  Alcatraz won't disappoint you as well. You can't believe it, but they created a stunning and remarkable garden in the island and considering the weather, plants and flowers are pretty interesting.

I thank NetGalley and Timber Press for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, luglio 19, 2017

Danish Fairy-Tales

Danish Fairy-Tales  in italian Fiabe Danesi is a book published by the italian publishing house Iperborea specialized in North European literature.  Let me add, I loved to read it so badly.
When I was little I was a voracious readers of fables and fairy-tales.
I remain of the idea that the mental structure of a good kid, his/her character, the good brain and the ethicity he/she will develop is a work done by parents thanks to imagination, dream, reality, and good fairy-tales and books as well.

Fables and fairy-tales are crucial for children because  they speak to the heart going deep in the soul and working in the morality and conscience of any individual little or adult.
A fairy-tale won't pass once it is told but will remain impressed as a tattoo in the soul of any person and with the time, when the kid will be adult in grade to let him show, in less creative ways, reality, ethical behaviors, the paradoxical side of life, constricting him to confront his life with our modern ogres, witches, terrible creatures in general. It's possible to be these characters as well because life is long and situations change of course and we are not angels all the times. At the same time, if during the childhood the kid has discovered the world of fairy-tales he will be in grade to sort out problems with more creativity. In moment of desperation fairy-tales will be helpful to find a good solution to the problems.
What it is sure is that a strong morality is waiting the kid or the adult behind each fairy-tale.

In this book created by Iperborea the attention is focused on the various most known Danish fairy-tales.
First of all I want to re-assure everyone. They have all a wonderful happy-end!

What I noticed is that they're all very ethical and the scheme is similar: good people will win against sly, dishonest, cruel men or creatures that they meet along their way.

Not only: there is great respect for old ones. Sometimes old people are seen as people in grade to sort out the problems of the youngest ones, because wise.

In general it's a fairy "buried, hidden" in a body of an old woman for seeing if the person in front of her is someone in grade to prove respect, decency for the old person. In this case, only in this case they will present him joy and happiness in this life, but the message is clear: being compassionate and educated pay always.

Sometimes we speak of a little elf in grade to being helpful.

What I found extremely interesting has been the connection of two beautiful fairy-tales connected with St. John's day a very important pagan feast as well. It's a very famous feast in our little corner of the world where we love to celebrate as well. On St.John's Day's Eve we pick up perfumed wild flowers, some walnuts leaves, three kind of waters, leaving the perfumed water outside for being blessed by St.John. The day of St.John we love to wash our body with this blessed perfumed water.

Said that, in these two fairy-tales St.John's day is lived as a day in which a field destructed by someone every year. A boy will discover that substantially three girls danced all the time in the field because once they lived there...It's a wonderful fairy-tale, you will see. The boy will break the curse.
Then there is the story of a gold flower captured by a bird with beautiful gold feathers...

There is blessed money ended in good hands, but also money ended in bad hands like in the fairy-tale of the little coin of luck. You know: sometimes you must preserve the littlest and most "insignificant" coin that you keep in your pocket, because that one could make the difference.

I found absolutely hilarious the fairy-tale of the wife, the cow and the husband. This cow was sold at the market. Three people paid the cow like if it would have been a goat. Everyone repeated to that poor lady that her cow was a goat and after all she started to believe it.
The husband of this wife not happy for the pay, but he will be in grade to recuperate all his money and much more. I laughed a lot reading it.
The box of desires is suggestive, like also the two tales of the sheet, and in the second fairy-tale the knapsack is included.

What also I loved so badly is that people portrayed in these fairy-tales are very good. Good people live a good life, bad people live a bad life.
If a treasure is discovered there is loyalty and people will divide money or will tell them that there is this money.
No one will do anything if not ethical and nothing against other people for damaging them apart witches, evil spirits etc. It's a very important message. Just for this reason these fairy-tales should be read and re-read considering the historical moment we are living in.

I found so sweet and beauty the tale of the three little pink pigs. The nephew was instructed by his old granny of selling the cow, but he returned home with three little pink pigs. He met in fact along his way an old lady and he "sold" her the cow for these three little pink pigs.
Although his granny at first very upset and desperate, she will discover that these three little pink pigs could make their fortune!

Go for this book if you have a kid and you want to tell him/her wonderful, serious, beautiful, sometimes scaring fairy-tales. And go for that ones as well. They won't sleep once, but then they will be fearless. Go for this book if, adult, you search for a beautiful world where at the end good people will win against bad people, for once :-)

Highly recommended.

I surely thank Iperborea for this wonderful fairy-tale book! I returned a little kid for some while! Thanks a lot!

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, luglio 18, 2017

Cages by Sylvia Torti

Cages is an interesting book written by Sylvia Torti.  This one is the first book I read about the life spent by scientists in laboratory. 

Songbirds is the song of God thinks more than sure David one of the scientists in the lab studying the birdsong of many and beautiful diversified birds and trying, with the help of Anton to discover the interactions and implications that there are between these animals with us and our illnesses. The two scientists work well until the arrival of Rebecca. 
Rebecca lost her previous work as a photographer and so now she thinks that working in a laboratory is another great chance. She loves birds and plus she can put some food on her table and paying her bills. It helps.
Anton's origins are italian and he starts to make friendship with Rebecca. He tells her about San Gimignano. He is a good cook and he starts to taking care a lot about Rebecca and the two thanks also to a trip to Miami of their colleague David lives the perfect  moment for falling in love as later David will discover with a certain disappointment and.. a sabotage and someone fired as well...

Culturally great. Highly recommended.

I thank Schaffner Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, luglio 16, 2017

Kierkegaard's Muse The Mystery of Regine Olsen by Joachim Garff

I was intrigued by this book: Kierkegaard's Muse The Mystery of Regine Olsen written by Joachim Garff, the official biographer of the philosopher.
Published by Princeton Press, on the cover the antique picture of an enigmatic,  sweet, melancholic, tender girl.
The story is stunning for sure and deserves a lot of attention.
In a society where love is consumed in a few hours and then forgotten for another new one, in this case I met an extraordinary and I want also to add sad love-story.

It's an old-fashioned love-story, the one between Regine Olsen and the known poet, philosopher and thinker Soren Kierkegaard.

This couple split up after a year, maybe - reading between the lines of what Kierkegaard wrote - because the thinker panicked for having met the right person. According to him no one could live close to him in a normal relationship.  Better to ends it.
Regine was devastated. From that point on they will live as if something unsaid was in the air; Kierkegaard writing down his reflections in various journals, Regine searching for him, destroyed, everywhere, for her lost love. Soren maybe happy to still have Regine's soul in his hands, Regine seeing that this love-story didn't end at all.
Kierkegaard was unable to move on although he decided to split up from Regine.
But not only: if Soren unable to going on with his existence, his ex fiance and now married woman was at the same time haunted by his presence, by her same feelings, by that lost opportunity without return, searching for him, waiting for him, meeting him in special places and routes of Copenhagen trying to establish not just a visual, but also an erotic contact with her past boyfriend.
The force of this love, able to survive at a husband, time, consumed Soren Kierkegaard, devoted forever to this dream, and his girlfriend became the main inspiration of his works.
Regine became his perfect spiritual sensual muse.

In a world where men kill women when there are problems, in a moment of extreme hate between couples this book is like a wonderful fresh rose, able to speak at the conscience of people, at their feelings, at their sentiments.
Sure: also the one lived by Soren Kierkegaard could be classified as a "sick love" because his torments, his idealization for Regine didn't know end. He interrupted his probable happiness and life shared with Regine for selfish reasons after all. The fear of being happy, the fear of not being perfect at her eyes, but....Ending this love-story  meant that he preserved it for the Eternity and at the same time his behavior after the split was sweet and not destructive.
He ended up their story before the monotony would have killed love and passion, preserving intact his love and permitting him to fall in love for her again forever and ever again.
It was a creative reaction at a great pain and sufferance, the elaboration created by the mind of this thinker able to enlarge the horizons and able to "read" and idealize his Regine living with this intact dream in his heart although it meant the sacrifice of a life.

Soren Kierkegaard has never forgotten her and this "disability" of forgetting who knows maybe once became his same illness, that illness who brought him to the grave. At the end "imprisoned" in his own body for a little while, he suffered a lot but I want to think that having experienced real love to him it was more than sufficient for going on.
I want to search this as consolation, because to him this girl, Regine meant not the world, but the Universe, and she was his... Queen :-) in real sense.

A love-story impossible to live at a certain point for this couple. When of course they split up and Regine started to dating her future husband Fritz Schlegel.

From the beginning: Soren Kierkegaard once met this girl and to him it was like a revelation for her purity. Later he asked to her if she wanted to become his girlfriend.
And from some point on, 1840 'till 1841 per a year, no problems for the couple but then, the engagement was broken by Soren and later, Regine started to dating and later married Fritz Schlegel. With the time Mr Schlegel became Governor of the Danish West Indian Island and Regine the Governess, an important institutional role of great prestige.

But...the invisible wire of affection, love, eroticism between the two lovers remained intact. In his journals Soren portrayed in great details his daily  "casual" meetings with the ex fiance and married woman where they exchanged some glances without to speak in a body language of extreme significance.

The profound love and affection lived by Kierkegaard for this lady remained intact also when she decided to move on with her life, choosing someone else.
When the poet and philosopher died, in a testament left all his properties to his beloved fiance, a real shock to the rest of the family.

Contacted the Schlegels, the husband of Regine answered back in a letter without too much sentimentalism that no one was interested in the properties left by Kierkegaard and that his wife, in case would have been grateful to have in return just some letters she exchanged with him during the period of their relationship and other few items.

The husband of Regine surely not very happy of discovering that the past abruptly was back in their lives and not just left behind in Copenhagen.

Once the couple returned to Copenhagen they found a different and at the same time similar world and also, you will see, after the departure of Kierkegaard the publications of the famous Journals written by Kierkegaard. Another reason for being upset for Fritz. He discovered in fact thanks to these journals everything about the daily meetings her wife had with Soren and more than surely he must have thought: "Why if all was ended up she was still thinking of him?"

The book is plenty of extracts from the letters exchanged between Regine and her sister Cornelia and the journals kept by Soren Kierkegaard. Many pictures of the various protagonists, locations, this one is a  historical beautiful book.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, luglio 15, 2017

How to fall in love with anyone by Mandy Len Catron

Love is love. We fantasize about love, we would believe that love is perfect and that the happy every after we see after a romantic cartoon or a movie will end well and that our relationship will be the best one, and no one, time, expectations and our personal growth can kill it.
My parents have been married for 60 years and 9 months and something. Then dad died last Nov 2.
And for mom is hard obviously.
Personally I am still single because I idealize love a lot giving to it expectations and perfection. I grew up with the movie by Norah Ephron and it says a lot. My favorite one is When Harry met Sally but also Sleepless in Seattle, You've got Mail are fantastic and I remain of the idea that although the most recent cynical pieces regarding When Harry met Sally, these love are not impossible. Nora Ephron was romantic in her screenplays but also pretty connected with the reality.

A long premise, because it was pretty interesting to read How to fall in love with anyone by Mandy Len Catron. Mandy was selected, chosen by the New York Times section Modern Love with the article: "To fall in love with anyone, Do This," one of the most clicked articles of 2015 with millions of visualizations in the world. After this beautiful experience the idea of writing a book in essays about love and what it is love.

But the book by Mandy wants to be to her also a self-therapy for the traumatic experience lived by her once their parents decided to split up after a long marriage. The author remembers the perfection of this love-story she loved to tell to anyone. His dad was the coach, her mom the reporter of the school magazine. They fell in love during an interview. A never-ending love. Their parents wouldn't never increased  the sad percentage of divorced couples because her parents were perfect, their love perfect, their times perfect.

Unfortunately when their fairy-tale ended Mandy felt a lot of sadness and I think also the incapacity of sorting out this loss. Because a dying love means a loss and if we want the failure of a couple and more of a life-project. Mandy felt all of it and started to read compulsively books and magazines about love.
Mandy didn't accept any new start of her parents too devastated for what happened to them: her dream of a perfect world where harmony would have reigned forever was broken and although time passed by this situation was lived by her with great internal conflict.

At the same time we will also follow Mandy and her love-story for Kevin, long ten years. A love-story of habits, of expectations, but also radical differences.
We will see thanks to her the online dating communities. We will discover the new phase she lived as single,  and then the re-discovery of love.

We will see how Hollywood lives love now.
Love is not anymore analyzed at the beginning the most beautiful phase, but in its pains, sufferance, maturity, problematic that there are in a couple. The first meeting is not anymore important to Hollywood and Nora Ephron is dead as well...

Intelligent book, sad because of course the author would have wanted a different end, but sometimes a terrible end is the beginning of something else.

Like this book is! A bad experience brought to Mandy notoriety, the possibility of sharing in a lot of prestigious places her thoughts and this one is positive and it will be a great new start to her.

Highly recommended.

I thank NetGalley and Simon&Schuster for this eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori