lunedì, novembre 28, 2016

Chef Q in Paris the Winter Collection by Didier Quemener

What a delicious, sunny, absolutely yummy cook book is Chef Q in Paris the Winter Collection, written by Didier Quemener published by Velvet Morning Press.
Warm thanks at the tales of Didier, his anecdotes of his living in France, his favorite recipe, the cook book is wonderful.

Relaxing cover, ask this to yourself: are you scared by winter? Sad because days are shortest and you start to feel cold outside? Don't worry, with this cook book in your hands you will have sorted out most of your problems. Surely your culinary problems ones.
Trust me.

This book is a delicious blanket to use for your self and your dear ones when you want to let me think, use some good and warm comfort food.

In this cookbook various delicious soups, puré, various incredibly good chocolate recipes, passing from the most common but always superlative hot chocolate to the intense chocolate cake!

The author suggests you should shop with multi-color ingredients!

Some of them suggested by him? Apples, pears, citrus, chocolate, sweet potato, (yum!) radicchio, brussels sprouts...
You will find in the book tips for a perfect Valentine Dinner and if you love pasta, why not indulge in a linguine with Butternut Squash?

It's not important what you will eat, because in this book every recipe will become your favorite recipe and everyone will be happy and cheerful and first of all, warm and satisfied.

So, bon appetit!

I thank LibraryThing and the publishing house for this eBook. A special thanks to NetGalley where I discovered, thanks to them, Library Thing!

Anna Maria Polidori

I AM BRIDE - How to take the WE Out of Wedding (and other useful advice) by Laura Willcox

Super-mega-galactically funny I AM BRIDE - How to take the WE Out of Wedding (and other useful advice) by Laura Willcox, by ABRAMS BOOKS on Jan 3 2017 and illustrated by Jason O’Malley..

To Willcox a wedding is a paradisiac, funny, wonderful adventure, in a land where we should forget to plan thinking at money budget and where the groom must be kept apart. The mainly planner helped by the wedding planner one, must be surely the bride.

Why the bride? Because that day is focused on her. This one will be her unforgettable special day and so everything must be perfect. Final last words? Well using some advice, your nuptial feast will be incredibly funny and surely wonderful.

Social media changed customs of also an event like the one of: "I am dating Mr. Right!" According to the author the news should be spread at the four winds, with, including, pictures, better if many of the soon-to-be-bride with the engagement ring.

Diet, gym, exercises for the perfect dress in the perfect body and skin, with many tests for trying to understand what kind of bride you are, including of course the facial expressions for that special day, each for a proper word and occasion.

A gift registry and then the guests list, people surely you will invite and other you will avoid to invite for not ruining your wonderful day.

Plenty of useful and at the same time so funny and hilarious informations, you will find this world and the other in this stunning book including the honeymoon and first moment after...well the big step of your life.

Written with a wonderful funny, sunny writing-style you will enjoy to read it and to plan a funny, unforgettable wedding day!

Many thanks to Netgalley and ABRAMS Books.

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, novembre 23, 2016

The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg

The books I pick up from NetGalley are all dreaming. Of course I have also my favorite authors and when I ask to read a book written by one of them, when I am approved I am more than just thrilled.

One day I saw the book of one of my favorite authors in absolute: Fanny Flagg. I decided to ask to read The Whole's Town Talking because saying that I adore Fannie Flagg's books is reductive.

I love the messages contained in every book she writes. She is able to spread positive vibes, she talks at the heart of people/readers in incisive, sweet ways. Her world is beauty with some dramas here and there but always, with a happy, relaxing end.

My love for Fannie Flagg's books started many years ago with Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and since there I follow her.
Wise, compassionate, she analyzes a reality that is simply beautiful because focused on positive values. Optimism, friendship, help, brotherhood. The people she portrays are wonderful because hectically correct, and able to create a good world around them.

Able to look at the world with beautiful lenses, her books are never discouraging but bring a positive message, encouragements, love, friendship.

When I was approved for reading his latest creation I cried for the joy. The realization of a dream to me.

At that time my world was normal, my routine not altered. But in a short time my dad fell sick and in 25 days he died, the day of the Dead.

He wanted to be remembered picking up a special date. Typical of him.

When I started to read this book I thought at the irony of the case. A cemetery, the After Life, another little community as also our community is, but considering that I have the same sensations regarding the Other World, it was with great joy that I read these wise, calm, funny words, balm for my mind and heart.

You will find in Flagg's books will find stories of common extraordinary people able to add something beauty to this world thanks to their ethic behavior and thanks to the fact that they live with great harmony with everyone else.

In this book we are back to Elmwood Spring, and in particular the book starts at the beginning of all of it, when some Swedish settlers, including the shy Lordor Nordstrom decided to start a village. Lordor created also a cemetery in a stunning close locality of Elmwood Spring called Still Meadows.

The book will cover all the 20th century including the first 20 years of the 21st century so our days.

Fannie Flagg has a particular spirituality. If you have read also her previous books, you will know how profound and deep is her connection with the After Life lived in a sunny, absolutely relaxing way, able to keep cheerful everyone.

Lordor is a wonderful man, nice, but although he owns a farm with a lot of cows he is a bit shy with women and there are not too many there for him.

So he decides thanks also to the help of some ladies and men of the place to write for finding a mail-order bride.
In the past in fact men or women asked for someone via mail. In the  case of this couple it was a success, because Katrina loved the idea of living in a farm distant from Chicago.
She was a so-called good Swedish country-girl. She was missing her country life lived in Sweden and Chicago too crowded for her spirit.

She left at Chicago a girlfriend able to change boyfriend in a split of second, and with which she would have continued to write with for all her life.
In this new country life she found very good people.
Society of little realities very controlled and people helped each other without problems. Once people of doubts reputation tried to start an existence in Elmwood Spring but without success.

In this book you will understand how to keep a little community happy and cheerful.

The mayor of the city will be Lordor and later once he will die his son Ted because no one would have wanted someone else or someone with another last name.

The book tells the stories not just of Lordor and his wife but mainly of the descendants of these first settlers of people of this village in Missouri.

Lordor once he understood he would have dead soon passed the farm at a worker he trusted a lot.

Yes because Elmwood Spring had all the characteristic of a sunny place.

At the beginning of 1900 a place where people tried first of all to find a place where to staying, building their houses and their existence and thinking only later, at the creation of schools, ambulatories, some stores for not affording in very distant cities for some shopping.

Later a more serious expansion of the village always more big and crowded.

It is a historical trip as well. Thanks to the arrival of the cinema everyone dreamed to have the hair cut of the latest famous actress of the moment and Ginger Rogers once in Elmwood Spring.

Slowly slowly we will understand the influence that the new medium created in people's life-style as also of course social and political changes. The Depression of 1929 touched the citizens of Elmwood Spring but being the locality marginal less than what it would have been expected.

The impact of wars, as for example the Second World War, saluted at the end with great joy had seen busy women and men.

It will be only with the Viet Nam war that the town will discover another face of pain...

With the decades arrived also a rail-station. The place wasn't anymore just a little village but a  populated town.

There was the local newsmagazine. It informed people of all the latest events with the characteristic reporter of Elmwood Spring and her specific familiar treats she loved to give at the news.

You will ask: why this title? Why The Whole Town's Talking?

Because the centrality of the book is this one: the profound connection between dead people and people still alive, and their continuation in the after life at helping all of us still in life and their incredible chats at the cemetery Still Meadows while they are resting, following and gossiping about people alive. Any new arrival reason reason for ask for that person or the other one still in the town. Little centers are like this.
And so that's why this title: because if we include the dead ones a large number of people are chatting for sure! Dead and alive.

All the dead people of Elmwood Spring and I guess of all the other cemeteries of this world didn't  feel any pain, they could hear, if they didn't hear, or they hadn't heard at all during their life, seeing, feeling as if they would have been still perfect and intact. Of course they were. They were dead so pains, afflictions, physical problems over.

The place in which in fact slowly slowly all the protagonists of the book will end up, Still Meadows oh, was dreaming.

Beautiful view, it was wonderful to staying there, watching the stars, smelling the flowers, and at the same time trying to understand what was happening to the people, relatives, friends still alive.

It is hilarious and joyous trust me this After-Life parallel world able to help.

As the author remarks the place, the cemetery, lost its sparkle at the end when, focusing incredibly well in our most recent years, 2020, the memory of the past, forgotten, will bring less respect for holy places like a cemetery is and for people who made the history of that place.

As also in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café the book closes adding that also Elmwood Spring, as Whistle Stop once all the initial settlers and the ones who made the History of that Place dead, ended its experience. Population moved mainly in biggest cities and no one interested to staying there anymore for a reason or another.

In Fried Green Tomatoes the reason was the rail station. At a certain point they suppressed that, and the town lost all the vivacity it had known.

I love the cover so badly!

Why buying this book? Why to present this book? You will find funny, moving, wise, positive, real, optimistic values.

Plus it can gives to you the positive meter of the life and the sense of a life well-spent, where death is not as scaring as it is often but a passage and where connections between the two dimensions more strong than what you can believe.

Try to ask at a certain crow ;-) ....

Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for this book!

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, novembre 19, 2016

The Art of Selling Movies by John McElwee

Going to the cinema to me means everytime to feel that strong magic. It's a strange sensation. It's
like to leaving once I am in the theater the old normal dimension of my reality for living a dream. A
door of a theater to me means the entrance in another dimension: the one of a dream for a hour and
half for two hours. It's something I can't completely describe because too profound and felt.

It's like if a portion of me would abandon the normality for being completely immersed in a
different and new exciting world. Movies are these: dreams created by a lot of
dream-makers not just movie-makers. It would be too
simplistic according to my point of view. I love all-fashioned things, stories, I go crazy for
vintage, romanticism and where possible the past world, more suggestive, real, cleaned, less predictable and more normal under many aspects. It is also for this reason that I requested and I was approved by NetGalley for reading
The Art of Selling Movies by John McElwee by GoodKnight Books.

If you want and if you love to understand much better what it meant publicity, ads in newspapers at first the only way for communicating to the people that a new movie was coming to their town, this book is for you. We are at the beginning of 1900 a long walk since at 1960s.

Wagons and wagons of ads of every possible movie, the author is an avid collectors of ads. These movies will live again bringing back to you joy for a past period maybe you have lived or maybe not, as it happened for me, although I grew up with the movies of most of these remarkable, immense stars because programmed on TV.

The net didn't exist in 1910,for example and families couldn't have any clue of what to go to see to the cinema. They couldn't surf the web for discovering the opinions of Rotten Tomatoes, they couldn't watch some trailers. And so?

In the past each theater mainly organized at first ads and publicity in local newsmagazines. They emphasized the arrival of the movie. At that time people tried all their best through drawings,beautiful fonts, incisive phrases for gently forcing people or entire families to spend some time to the cinema. What is cinema if not one of the most wonderful
dream of our times?
Somewhere someone has put all his intelligence and creativity for creating a dream. It can be a beautiful dream, a dream for the entire family, a horror. Whatever will be it will be a masterpiece and a creature of many minds and creators.

The book analyzes of course the various phases of the ads. In 1920s for example movies like Variety, 1926 with
the entrance in scene of new boats, fastest cars and biggest industrialization made the difference.
Sounds added to the movies and it meant that people could hear also the voices of their favorite actors and actresses.
In many cases ads put their accent on the beauty of the protagonists of the movie, others tried to tell the story in few lines, strong and of secure effect able to speak at women firstly, children and men in this order.  Also in ads no one forgot to add that there was air conditioned in their theaters, a luxury just richest ones could afford in that old times.  Everything, from pop-corn to the diversified
possibility of food and drinks offered to the viewers published.

A ticket in the 20's cost just 50 cents.
The big crisis of 1929 created a big depression also in the sector. Many theaters' owners constricted to close their theaters in particular in little towns. In the while ads of the five most important studios became more sophisticated.

In 1933 arrives on the big screen King Kong, a timeless classic. Censorship a reality. Horror starts to be an important voice in Hollywood's industry like also foreign wild places and stories. Look at Tarzan and not only Tarzan...

Tom Sawyer written by Mark Twain? Its appearance on theaters in 1930.

A new movie in particular in a little town was a sensational event and theaters tried all their best for attracting as many people as possible. In 1939 the arrival of Judy Garland and The Wizard of Oz.
Actors became icons for people.

Stanlio & Ollio presented to the viewers  wagons of smiles and great laughs. Why modern comicity is so sad why Stanlio & Ollio so wonderful? Clark Gable one of the sexiest and recognized talented actors of Hollywood. Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire began to flying, ops, to dance on the big screen for the joy and happiness of American families.

The Gulliver's Travel a new dream of 1939 like also Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by Disney.

The 1940's are the age of boom and a different market but also of Hitler portrayed by Charlie Chaplin.

When war finished saluted with great joy and enthusiasm by everyone. Feasts were lived with enthusiasm and everyone loved to celebrate. In these celebrations cinema was a voice more than welcomed and surely included by everyone.
Stars like Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller on screen and everyone wanted to go to see them to the cinema singing and acting and dancing. John Wayne a name of western movies, Bela Lugosi of  horror movies, Bugs Bunny and friends another great reality for children, Mickey Rooney, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum, Rita Hayworth, Elizabeth Taylor,Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck,the biggest stars of Hollywood.

The 50s speaks of more acculturated viewers,  tired of what they were seeing to the cinema. 
The arrival of TV meant a new different phase in the sense that competition and different opportunities for movies were born.

Theaters changed, for better the vision of the movies with Cinerama.
Drive-ins after the Second World War returned to be a reality for  families, couples, some friends who wanted to enjoy some outdoor moments with joy, serenity living a different evening enjoying at the same time a good meal and great company.

More adult contents, a market created only for some people, sectors, children for example, while in 1955 movies  and their promotion starts to be seen also on TV.

Newspapers ads so in the 60s lost their big and central importance considering that other medium involved and movies could be seen at home as well.

I consider this book a rich story of the American cinema. If you love newsmagazines and the power of  illustrations, if you treasure the past, if you want to keep close to you a piece of cinema, the ones most hidden the one brought people to the theater for seeing a movie, this book is for you!

You will find in every pages many wonderful ads, a joy to see these ads, never seen before and how America and the imaginations of a lot of men and women described the movies. Movies with which I grew up with and
that let me fell in love once for cinema. Each ad of the newspaper commented by the author.

This book is a real treasure and will be released this new year, on Feb 28th. Don't miss this date!

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publishing house GoodKnight Books.

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, novembre 12, 2016

Charles Dickens as I knew Him by George Dolby

Dickens looked under the perspective of his own manager George Dolby. Charles Dickens as I knew him by George Dolby published by Endeavour Press this past Oct 14 is a real portrait of this genius of the literature of all the time.
Who could have known Dickens better than his manager? This one is a complete profile, the book is short and so it won't take a lot of time to read it. The most remarkable British author of all the times won't have many other secrets to you. I love Dickens and his books. Every time a new book appears in term of biographies, I love the ones of Peter Ackroyd dedicated to Dickens, I try to capture it.

Go for this eBook with the certainty of finding very good informations and a great biography. Dickens as I knew Him focuses also on the private life of Dickens and his various tours in particular in the USA. It is known that maybe he was inspired by his trip to Boston for his masterpiece, A Christmas Carol.

In this book taken in consideration his second trip/tour to the USA.
Dickens lived a life plenty of success but as it happens often to genius also contradictory and plenty of events.

He could be a hard man, celebrating the joy of family in his books and researching the joy and warm of a family in fictional books, being at the same time indifferent at his own family and indifferent of what was going on. Who knows? Maybe he dreamed to have an ideal family but he didn't love his family after all.
Not the real one maybe because in his thoughts family was perfect, while in the reality it is a continuous problem-solving. Who knows?

His intelligence moved him here and there but if we remain at the imagine we have of his writings, we can absolutely affirm he has been a genius.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Endeavour Press for this eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, novembre 11, 2016

Love, Alice by Barbara Davis

Have you ever fought with all yourself for reading a book not yet appeared to the horizon because you simply thought that you had a strong connection with it and/ or you thought that it deserved to be read?

It happened to me. When last summer I joined NetGalley discovering wagons of wonderful books, one of those books became my obsession: Love, Alice by Barbara Davis.

At first I requested it through NetGalley, but being a book reserved only for Americans readers and reviewers I tried but I was declined.
Not happy I sent an e-mail to the author.
Time passed by but my obstinacy for reading this book remained intact.

In recent times somewhere I guess in one of the newsletters of books I receive I read again something of this book and I thought: I must obtain a copy, let me go and see how I can do that. I discovered the Facebook page of the author.

Great, let's see...

The giveaways through Goodreads gone, but there was a final chance I noticed looking at one of her posts: the possibility of reading it through First to Read the website set up by Penguin and Random House for introducing to readers/reviewers their latest novelties. I joined it immediately, I requested the book and this time hooray, I was picked up!

Sadly when I was accepted my dad fell also very sick. He died this Nov 2. If possible the message of this book is also more powerful according to my point of view and considering the main set of the story: a cemetery.

I want to add that all my fights for reading a copy of this book for a review deserved the time I spent online. This book is superbly written, magical, very well constructed, with few characters and all portrayed wonderfully well. Never confused, past and present a miscellaneous where you will love to indulge for find again a beautiful present and a brilliant future for the protagonists. I love these genre of books and I knew that this one would have been a great winning one for sure.
Tender, sweet, wise, Love, Alice by Barbara Davis is a sort of American/British Philomena as she will also specify by the same author at the end of the book in a note for the readers. Strangely, stories like this one are still a taboo and considered, obvious, a big shame for places like UK and Ireland where there was a strong commerce the past decades of little unwanted or maybe so wanted babies that couldn't be kept by these horrible, terrible sinner-girls. Rich couples in places like Canada, USA adopted these children paying a lot of money and giving to them a wonderful existence.

The story takes place in the 1960s and although pretty similar to the one of Philomena in this case is fictional.  Powerful, moving, the book will be released this Dec 6th.

While I was reading it, I thought that although I live in Italy, so a Catholic place we haven't known this problem and it's comforting.

Charleston, profound South of the USA.

Dovie works in a museum and she is an efficient girl.
She had a life once, she must have thought while she was looking at the grave of her beloved fiance William. At the moment her best friend is one of the guardians of the cemetery, cemetery where she loves to eat everyday her lunch sat on a bench close to William's grave (sometimes sharing the lunch with the guardian) and where she tries to find profound answers because of the departure of her wonderful boyfriend. He killed himself.
Why William decided to kill himself without to specifying the reason a month before their wedding that had to be celebrated a year ago?
Why a gesture so absurd?

We all have known situations like these ones and we all know how difficult can be to give an answer at these gestures and how hard is to going on for the so-called survivors.

When not any single word is left at the imagination, as William Dovie's fiance decides to do, people can think this world and the other.
And Dovie feels that maybe she didn't understand completely her fiance, that maybe, why not? it was also her fault if William killed himself, because she didn't notice any signal. If she would have guessed some signals, if she would have noticed something, if...
History is not made with if, or but and rationalize a departure like this one sometimes difficult.

Close to William the grave of Alice Tandy, a young girl lost her life in a mysterious way more than 40 years ago. There was a sculpture dedicated to her. The Tate Family a very rich and influential family loved this girl for sure, thought Dovie.

Sure stories surrounding Alice were many and most of them focused on a relationship maybe with Mr Tate, Gemma's husband.

Alice worked in their family as nanny of Austin their only son.

Dovie didn't mind after all. These ones were words reported by people and a lot of time in the while passed by.

But, one day, a devastated lady leaves a letter close to Alice Tandy's grave, and this first letter captures the attention of Dovie. Dovie in fact spends most of her time in the cemetery when she has some free time. Her friend Theda thinks she should return to live, like also the guardian of the cemetery, but without any kind of answer, without to discovering why her William committed such a horrible act, how can she think to return to live a complete and normal life?

She can't.

She decides to bring home this letter, and she discovers the devastated letter of a mom to a daughter lost forever, not just because in a grave, but because of her horrible behavior as a mom not anymore forgotten by Alice. This lady, Dora, lost her daughter more than 40 years ago. Dora, sick and in the final part of her existence arrived from the Old Continent in search for answers and she found just a grave.

Dovie read this first letter and once returned to the cemetery she opens her heart with the guardian of the cemetery at the same time becoming a friend of Dora.
If at first the man is skeptical and thinks as always that she should return to the life, he understand something: that maybe trying to understand the past of Alice Tandy and her family, Dovie can re-start to find her own peace. Although it was still unclear in what way. So he will help her thanks to other letters and a final box of letters of Alice Tandy completely forgotten for decades.

But who was Alice?

A terribly sad creature. She was admitted at Blackhursts a British catholic institution as a terrible sinner when pregnant of the baby she created with Johnny. When her mom Dora discovered she was pregnant and Alice's boyfriend dead, she decided that Alice had to go away for a while. Times were different, and talked girls wouldn't never have found a husband and a future.

Dora didn't use any kind of compassion for Alice, her condition and the  baby Alice would have wanted to keep so badly.
Dora had other plans for her daughter.
She had made many sacrifices, setting aside for her daughter money for her studies. Dora couldn't imagine  her daughter would have followed her disgraceful destiny. Alice was born because of an "error" of love and hormones.
She imagined a brightest future for her daughter, but now? Her same sad destiny? And was it an error to Dora a daughter like Alice? Of course not, but Dora wanted to see realized the dreams she would have wanted to live and that she hadn't never seen realized for herself and projected in her daughter's life.  Failing.

Alice won't find any kind of forgiveness for such insensitive mother once returned home deciding to afford to the USA where with certainty she could have found her baby.

Of course Dora wanted just what it was the best for her daughter, no doubt of it, but who knows what can be the best for our children and for us?

At the same time thanks to her work at the museum Dovie must organize with Gemma Tate and her son Austin a fund rising and she will start to spend some time with Austin Tate, falling in love for this troubled fascinating man with a lot of problems and fears and scars from the past.

The family Tate treated with great respect considering the social status of the people involved, Dovie will discovered that maybe the past she is absorbed and she is "swimming" in is more close than the one she could have thought at first...

Why buying this book?  It's warm, first of all. Written very well,
you will discover compassion, true good heart, good values, maturity. The most profound real pains analyzed with great respect under the  respective lenses and point of views of the various protagonists all anyway very positive people, clear, cleaned in their actions, also when things were hidden. There is great freshness, the past is not lived as a horrible mistake but as a redemption. After all not big errors committed by the various protagonists and love was a constant theme of them all. The reader will have a complete prospect of what the various protagonists felt correct to do under certain circumstances.

Sometimes we can be guilty or victims. Guilty when we try to change the destiny of other people or maybe victims of people or circumstances that choose our destiny for us. Wrongly.

Reality again won't be the one lived by the various protagonists and what it will appear, at first a facade of joy, happiness, will reveal another side of the story as it happens for Dovie and her beloved William.

But you mustn't never think for a second that the acts of the various protagonists acid or perfidious. You will love all of them for different, various reasons. Austin for his fragility, Dovie for her devotion to William, Kristopher because he loves to be clear, Gemma simply because she is a real sweet protective mature Lady, Alice because of her desire to be mom, Dora because she wants to be forgiven but what she meets is just a grave and new friends able to reveal her the real life-story of her beloved daughter. And you will love Dora because a mom can be wrong but acts always with love.
Dora lost her daughter, as Alice would have lost her son because of her "sin". After all: two souls in pain.

Later we will see how all the protagonists will be set free because after all, the most important and urgent questions answered. The people involved in this story will find peace and they will be in grade to continue to live with lightness their life.

Life after all it's a story of waves and fate...

This book has meant the world to me and I wanted to read it so badly. I  thank firstly NetGalley because I discovered it thanks to them and First To Read, because they donated me the opportunity of realize this dream.

Of course a great Christmas Gift!

Anna Maria Polidori