mercoledì, ottobre 18, 2017

A Very Vintage Christmas - A Heart Warming Christmas Romance by Tilly Tennant

Tilly Tennant knows how to keep warm the heart of her readers.

What I loved the most from the first lines of A Very Vintage Christmas - A Heart Warming Christmas Romance is the warm, joyous atmosphere and this mix of old and modern, old-fashioned and present, old times and new frenetic life.
You know I love vintage and I love old stories and I love letters and I love past connected with them. It's not a surprise if you read my reviews.

This romance will be a trip: a trip in the past staying in the present in an unforgettable beautiful warm tale able to bring goodness to all the protagonists and readers as well.

Dodie is the main protagonist of this story and the owner of a vintage second hand store where she sells old clothes. You know very well second hand stores. They have a particular smell, they have a particular atmosphere.
Dodie is connected with the past just for the fact she sells old things.
Every time new items arrive Dodie controls that they are OK, but once, magic, she finds a letter in a coat. The letter is pretty old, written during last Second World War and important.
Dodie had never read a more beauty love-letter than this one and thinking better at her relationships at the moment with the other sex, she thinks that she hasn't never seen all that romanticism portrayed in the letter she just finished to read like an intruder, from the other sex. But you know in modern times is just a story of texts, chats, video calling. It's this.
Dodie thinks that it's better to start to search for the characters of this letter. She knows that the last second world war gone from a long while, and sure that girl won't live anymore in that house where that young soldier wanted to send the letter at, but she must tries because maybe that letter for someone means a lot...

Beautifully written, I enjoy the Christmas' atmosphere and that sensation of warm and friendship, love, good values that from the beginning to the end surrounds the book like in a special aura.
I hope to continue to read all the books written by Tennant!
The cover is wonderful!

I thank NetGalley for this ebook!

Anna Maria Polidori

Goat Castle A True Story of Murder, Race and Gothic South by Karen L.Cox

I admit that from the beginning to the end you are captured by Goat Castle A True Story of Murder, Race and Gothic South by Karen L.Cox published by North Carolina University Press.

First of all it has been written with great love, accuracy and passion. It pays a lot.
The author says that it was just for case that she "met" one day this story along her way, but she immediately understood that this one would have been her next book.
Second because the tale is vivid, characters centered very well, and it seems to stay there, it seems that this murder took place just last night and not in 1932, 85 years ago.
Third because of the location: the profound South of the USA, with all its magic, mystery.
Fourth: it's written with great participation.

You must know that Natchez, Mississippi tried to stimulate tourism thanks to  big mansions of planters at the beginning of 1900s and tourism intrigued by this spot of the world.
No one would have thought that the criminal case we will treat in a few seconds would have brought extra-publicity thanks also at the people involved in this story.

Protagonists are in fact not common.
They were all very rich people once and introduced in the best local and international society.
In 1932 when the facts took place, not anymore young, they lived weird, eccentric existences and all the glamour, richness, joy, happiness only a distant memory of the past.

Jennie Miller lived at Glenwood at the times of the facts baptized by  media and for decades Goat Castle because goats as you will see will play their role in this crime-story.

When young her reputation was beautiful because she was part of that great wealthy society able to make the difference, then with the time and when various facts signed her life everything changed and when she decided of buying this last house where she would have found her end, she became a secluded person.

The story of their friends Octavia and Richard, you will see is  fascinating and interesting as well.
After a close friendship when young now they where Jennie's closest neighbors.

It was a night like another one in Natchez. Duncan would have stopped by at the house of Jennie as he did all nights that Aug 4 1932, but when Duncan once arrived at Goat Castle, found the crime-scene and a missing Jennie, later discovered by the police men outside. Killed.

At first Richard and Octavia were the first ones to be suspected and they ended up in jail, but maybe the story will be different and more complicated as you will see.

What I can add is that of course we are in the the profound South of the USA and racism will play a big role as well.

Unbelievable but true, some of these protagonists, because the author will also let us know what happened to them in their life after jail, will take advantage from this crime for a long long time creating a sort of business with this story.

I thank NetGalley and North Carolina University Press for this stunning ebook!

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, ottobre 15, 2017

Success and Luck Good fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy by Robert H.Frank

Meritocracy exists in American culture or is it a mixture of a good moment, good luck, great encounters, able to make the difference in the existence of a person?

Success and Luck Good fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy by Robert H.Frank by Princeton University Press is to me a very courageous book because it speaks of a delicate theme: the one of luck not always accepted by Americans, in particular when they are rich and famous.

Don't tell to someone rich and famous he became rich and famous thanks to the good moment, good business, good connections because you will see that he/she will start to be upset. Try and then let me know.

The myth of the self-made man, hard worker, intelligent man, able to make the difference,  is a priority.

But are we completely sure that luck is not involved in this process?

Once Bert my American neighbor said me: "Anna it's not important where you live, but who you know in that place."

And he was completely right because people you know can make the difference, in better and in worse and the social tissue of a place says all for the future development of a person and the career of this one.
If a person with abilities meet people in grade of helping him/her to coming out he/she is lucky. If he/she meets people who wants to cause troubles without being helpful it's a story of bad luck and impossibility of express the potentialities that there are. 

The author tells that it was a struck of good luck being hired by the Cornwell University. A professor would have wanted to hire someone else, but another professor thought that Mr Frank was the best person and so he was hired and started to work in that prestigious university.

At first, because of a nasty divorce and his sons to growing up, Frank, a professor of Economics, didn't find the time the first three years at Cornwell to publishing anything because of these familiar problems.

During this period he met along his way Mr. Gramlich,  policy economist professor, and thanks to their chats about economy and thanks to the encouragements received by him Mr. Frank started to publish without to being fired.
As also remarks Mr. Frank if he wouldn't have received this help, who knows what would have happened to him and his future? He continued to work in this university mainly because Mr.Gramlich's help and support. It was a good stroke of luck having met this man along his way.

A person born wealthy can theoretically and practically have much more success thanks to this first stroke of luck (being born rich and let's remember that no one chooses parents, environment and potential friends) than a common person. A good house plenty of books can help culture, and a best instruction and best schools although of course it's not said. But whatever that kid will want to do once adult, his/her options will be endless in comparison to the ones of a common person. It's a great luck that one as well.

The same author tells that he was adopted by a very wealthy family and only later when he was 35 years old,  ready and helped by some friends for starting to search for his real mother and possible siblings. It is moving. Of course the situation of the adopted family permitted to the author of studying in good schools and having a great life.
Considering the first bad luck of being abandoned it was a great luck to being so loved and wanted by this new family don't you think so?

Once Mr. Frank talks of an interview with a famous reporter. The reporter wanted to clarify with him that the American dream is just hard work. Luck doesn't count. It was a big polemic. Later the author thought that maybe during the TV program he stayed too much "passive" because that reporter complained saying he left UK for affording in another very different country, and who knows what would have happened to him, and plus with his British accent!

Mr. Frank seeing the records of this reporter tells with tranquillity that he studied in prestigious schools, what a privilege! and so affording to the USA not like for the emigration of  the beginning of 1900s. It was simple to find a great work place with that past and schools and plus British Accent is accepted and loved by Americans.

There are, insists Mr.Frank people with the same intelligence than other ones, the same abilities, but unfortunately they don't become successful as their similar ones.

A mystery? No, a story of luck. And good encounters.
We will also see the existing gap between the CEO of a big society and the pay received by the workers, and how a CEO is elected.

This book wants to share with you many economic facts with a lot of example that will let you think about what it can means a good struck of luck.

I want to share with you an example as well.
The one of our most important emigrant: Ivo Martinelli.

He lived in our little countryside, Morena, Umbria, Italia and left for good in 1948. Our countryside was very poor in that moment.
At school you could study just 'till the third elementary, there wasn't electricity, no bathrooms, no warm water in the houses.
He went at first in Venezuela. After a while he thought his dream the USA. He arrived to NYC. He told me that the first time he sat in a restaurant he just signed with a finger on the menu what he wanted to eat, without to have any pale idea of what he ordered. It was a hot dog. Ivo didn't know english at all.
After it, he did various works, in the American radar-spy in Alaska for more than 3 years and half and later opened a movie theater in Montreal.
There were some problems in Montreal with some people, not a great luck at all and he decided to move on and to change again, going to Vancouver.

Let's say that in that city Ivo has been very lucky because he met very good conditions and people (Ivo first on the right in the picture) as he told me who helped him to realize all his dreams without the problems experienced in the past.
There he owned six movie theaters, including a drive-in! Ivo invited in his theaters people like Mina, Rita Pavone, Claudio Villa our most important italian singers, because he told me that Italians felt melancholy for Italy and music the best cement. He shared a dinner with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

Luck, and lucky encounters are realistically important and a great part of our life.

Enjoy this very interesting book. It's for everyone and I wish to all: GOOD LUCK!

Thanks a lot Princeton Press for the physical copy of this amazing lucky book.

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, ottobre 14, 2017

Silent Sparks The Wondrous World of Fireflies by Sara Lewis

This past summer we were walking with some friends when we heard some horrible crying somewhere. We thought that maybe someone  needed help. A disgrace? I am a person with a vivid imagination and also when we discovered that everything was OK my brain was still in the "disgrace mood," tired and under shock. 

When we returned home from this walk (we stopped by at the house of some friends) was night and I was still disturbed.

It was a beautiful night illuminated by hundreds of wonderful and dreaming fireflies. In the straight road close to our house, we were surrounded by trees in both sides of the road and by all those living lights in the middle. The scenario? A wonderful illuminated tunnel guiding us I thought in a magical land or another dimension and I felt peace, harmony and a complete restoration.

When I was little I loved to walk in our country roads during the summer-time with my friends, sharing thoughts and dreams and fireflies, stars and moon were there listening to us, and keeping us out from the terrible obscurity of the night.

Fireflies are the most magical creatures we know but...
How much we know them? I decided to explore their world reading the wonderful, magical book written with great love by Sara Lewis: Silent Sparks The Wondrous World of Fireflies published by Princeton Press.

When I read that fireflies are also associated at dead people I wasn't surprised.

There is a special aura in these creatures, a dimension of dream, magic, mystery that other animals don't have.

They follow us, our destinies, our pains, our expectations all along the summer-time, in our region very brief, like a dream and they are part of our thoughts, part of our chats, part of our projects still in motion, part of our hidden desires.
They're there, silent, but luminous like our unexpressed sensations, for  reminding us of the short time we spend on this Earth and the importance of being a light in this world. A beautiful light. For giving us some restoration if we are too stressed and we search for a dimension distant from reality, because these creatures capture our imagination and escapism is more than possible.
These little animals are studied by a lot of scientists. I read a lot about them when I was 8-9 years thanks to a  science book. It was one of the most passionate reading I did about an animal.

These scientists, starting from the author are passionate ones, who spend their time, their days and summer weeks following fireflies during their life and involving in most cases all their families in this passionate adventure.

Let's start to saying that a good environment will see fireflies joyous and abundant around and that of course pesticides alter their habitat. These animals in fact love to staying in the same place where they are born forever. Year after year. Generation after generation. Following the destiny of the people of the area, if we want to think at this poetically.

Their life is absolutely interesting. Do you know the story of the caterpillar and the butterfly?

There is a magical transformation. The ugly caterpillar will become a stunning butterfly thanks to a process called metamorphoses. A real magic.
A process like this one, although different will interest fireflies.

At first they born as larva and for 18 months what they will do is eating voraciously little animals. They kill victims paralyzing them and then they will do all the rest. Eating and eating and eating. Yes well, the comparison made by the author with Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde is great. Let's say that before the redemption, these little insects will kill avidly for obtaining food. In great quantity, because they have a great and good appetite. Once they end this phase of their existence for two weeks they are pupa for becoming then fireflies. Fireflies, the final stage, the one we see and observe and we love so badly, like all the  insects don't have a long life. More or less 3 weeks of life but during this period they will search obsessively only for one thing: sex and reproduction with the best mate they find completely uninterested to food anymore.

So, when during the night you observe these beautiful lights, these ones are messages of love of males contacting females. When these females answer to them they create with these "light-messages" a beautiful light-song. When the intensity of feelings and lights are great, you can see it clearly because the two fireflies will live a deeply light-connection.

A sex session of a couple of fireflies after this long court is very long if compared to the one of mammals in general much more brief. It can takes and entire night, but also longest time.
You will also discover the complexity of the trip of sperm of the male firefly for reaching the female one and also the copulative phase of a little male with a wingless female very different from the fireflies we know.

You will discover that substantially the world of fireflies is very selective. Do you know that just few of them will copulate with their mate? Most of them will end up in enthusiastically hands of children, put in glasses for being observed closely, but when oxygen will be over the poor creatures will die. The worst case the one of spider webs because the light of firefly remains active and will attract other fireflies in the same spider web.
It's a karma-law or a law of nature if you prefer. If as a larva they ate voraciously other creature paralyzing their victims and eating them later, now other animals like spiders will do exactly the same job with them and their bodies.  This book is amazing, because will capture you from the beginning to the end in a trip that it is sensual and sanguinary, beautiful and tremendous, enchanting and at the same time shocking.

It's the trip of a dream: the dream of light during the obscurity of the world. What does this mean? A firefly, before to appear in all its beauty and romanticism has been tremendous, because has known the obscurity and the devastation of death caused by the larva, the first of its stadium, eating and predating, killing without compassion other creatures for its own nutrition.
Just in this little final, romantic phase firefly sees the beauty of the world, what it means to be free, what it means to be alive and what it means to love, be loved and remaining thanks to the copulative act and the deposition of eggs and perpetuity of life. Most important: to bring after all the obscurity it brought, light and dream to the world.

Metaphorically fireflies live the opposite life of a human being or any other animal: they lives the most ugliest moments of the existence developing cruelty in the first part of their life , enjoying peace, happiness, light, in chemical sense, of course but also metaphorically and sex only in the latest part. They donate to people the best of them: serenity, enchantment, dreams, expectations, peace and let's hope that these creatures will remain with us forever.

Enjoy this book, as I did. It is plenty of a lot of other informations! For everyone children and adults and for all the dreamers and romantic people of this world.

Another great book from Princeton Press that you must read!

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

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, ottobre 12, 2017

21st-century Oxford Authors John Keats Edited by John Barnard

Oh, there is not another poet more passionate, noble, inspired, and absorbing than John  Keats. In every poem, in every composition he donated all himself to the Muse and to his potential readers.
He expressed his thoughts and feelings "transmitting" his beautiful soul and mind completely to compositions and without any kind of reticence.
There is no doubt that this one is a poet very loved and appreciated in particular by youngsters and romantic people, because his words penetrates with great intensity, simplicity and strength the souls of everyone he reaches. He is pure light, he is real and while you read his poems you can't stop to falling in love for his compositions and his soul.

He was an enthusiastic soul John Keats, and in this new prestigious book by Oxford Press 21st-century Oxford Authors John Keats Edited by John Barnard, the poet is revealed in all his beautiful essence thanks to a special "fusion" of letters written to his friends, his family, and other people he knew and poems, romances. The portrait of Keats thanks to his works and private life seen through the mirror of his letter complete and beautiful.

Thanks to it, we will discover at the same time the young man, Keats died in Rome at the age of 25 in 1821, and the wonderful poet he was, understanding that in his case there hasn't been any kind of construction or division between the two spheres of his character (his private life and his being a poet)  but a fusion of the poet and the letter-writer. We will discover that there is not division between the poet and the person and the magical aspect of Keats is this one: he was real, emphatic, sincere, and donated his soul to poetry and people he knew entirely with the same force, with the same enthusiasm and passion he put in poetry.
That's why we are still writing and celebrating him: because he has been big, because he was a beautiful, special human being and because he was a sincere soul, although we lost him too soon. Still in his spring he would adds Keats. The same passions, genuine touch, love, John put in writing a poem was the same one he put when he wrote a letter to his beloved only sister, or other relatives. We find in the letter-writer the same passionate man we discover reading his poems most of them plenty of beauty, humanity, joy and also the sad ones don't fall in desperation. He was a joyous soul, Keats, although he had his own problems. His health, and then constant money-problems and at the end he suffered a lot before to dying.

Keats is bucolic seeing in nature a reason for dreaming and staying happy and joyous and a reason for falling in love for life, for a girl, for a moment, for an instant, appreciating this world and the beauty that there is in it.

At the same time John Keats loves to add often precious details with introduction of gold, mythological creatures like nymphs, muses,  for donating a touch of divinity to his poems. 
He also loved to present to his friends letter-poems. What a joy!
Inspired by Milton, there is to say that Keats added in a letter he studied Shakespeare all the time.

Absolutely the most beautiful, fascinating Romantic poet of this important movement.

I highly suggest John Keats to everyone: young and adult, because he will bring peace to your soul, a big joy and refreshment.

I thank Oxford University for the physical copy of this stunning book I will always bring with me!

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, ottobre 11, 2017

Gaslight by Joachim Kalka

Gaslight by Joachim Kalka, a book published by New York Review Book is a tour de force.
In the introduction the author asks if for case the XX century has been a dream. Most of the anticipations seen in fact in the XIX century.

Many great books scrutinized by the author like the Recherche by Marcel Proust and A woman of thirty by Balzac. In Proust's work, the author sees with strength the relevance of Jewish characters.

The author won't forget to mention any fact, event pretty relevant  in the XIX century like also the most iconic characters of that age including a serial-killer like Jack the Ripper was, Goethe, Wagner.

A series of essays with a strong intellectual density.

I thank NYRB for this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, ottobre 10, 2017

MAKE ART NOT WAR Political protest posters from the Twentieth Century edited by Ralph Young

MAKE ART NOT WAR Political protest posters from the Twentieth Century edited by Ralph Young published by New York University Press is a fascinating, thrilling, wonderful, aggressive, colored trip in the American protests along the decades of the past century.
American History is very complicated and the country just apparently "young" because substantially people arrived from Europe are part of the Old Continents, so they brought with them their own old problems, that they thought they had left behind.

Americans are in fact people who left as said, their European lands for precise reasons, mainly religious in search for a new land, and a new life.

They didn't know that peace was just apparent and that new fights for their rights were waiting for them.
The creators of the Constitution wisely inserted this point, the freedom of dissent just in case, in the First Amendment.

Americans did all their best, rising their voices, using all medias and strategies for protesting against for what they cared the most.

The 1900s offered a myriad of reasons for protesting leaving alone here the other centuries. At the beginning of the century we can find women's rights movement.
Sorted out this problem, the 1960s will pass at the history as the decade of idealism, new hopes, dreams and expectations. A new wild wind of great ideas, human rights, peace, freedom was borning.

Let's see: John Fitzgerald Kennedy from Boston because the first Catholic American President.
He was assassinated in Dallas on Nov 22 1963 but his voice and his speech if you read them are still in grade to warm souls all around the world. He was a great visionary man.

New People fighting for the right of black citizens: Reverend Martin Luther King, Malcom X, the Black Panther movement.
Both these first two leaders would have been killed.
Martin Luther King in 1968 in a motel in Memphis, TN just some days before the assassination of the candidate of left Bobbie Kennedy, running for the Oval Office, and brother of the unforgettable John Fitzgerald Kennedy. It was after the assassination of JFK that people organized Selma and the central government started to take very seriously the cause of black people.

The USA are real fighters for  their rights and their ideas.

Later the opposition at the Vietnam War with anti-war movements and the creations of the hippies-season, and then gay rights, without to count the protests citizens clearly expressed for some Presidents seen like imperialists, during the first Gulf War, while the USA should have been a peaceful land in grade of helping other Nations in difficulty and not a place where wars started with great facility.

Cinema, theaters, photography, puppets, mural art, graffiti, art in general helped to spread the discontent of people. Andy Warhol publishing serially pictures of the same topic during the 1960s remarked in this way the obsessive consumerism and standardization of the Americans and their way of living.

The author has taken inspiration from the Tamiment Library located at New York University where there is a big collection of posters you will find in this book. All stunning, all created for a specific strong reason because Americans when decide to protest don't joke. They do that with great intensity.

The fights that they intended to win against the central government in a precise historical moment are lived strongly.
Women's rights, labor, civil protests, black conditions, feminism, Vietnam War, anti-war movements, these ones are citizens and real crusaders of ideas, human rights and mainly: fighters for their research of happiness. It passes also through the proper rights for everyone, for having peace and for staying in peace.

Great book! Highly suggested to everyone. If your child doesn't understand history, it's very common, goes for this book, because it's very stimulating and because I want to hope that the revolutionary side ;-) in children and teenagers pretty developed. No one is insensitive at human rights and so following these decades and thanks to these posters, it will be very simple to create historical connections, and to discover how, facts, people, Presidents, associations tried their best for bettering this world or the opposite.

I thanks NYU Press for the physical copy of this stunning book!

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, ottobre 09, 2017

Happy Days of the Grump Everyone Knows a Grump by Tuomas Kyro

Happy Days of the Grump Everyone Knows a Grump by Tuomas Kyro is a book released this month by Bonnier Zaffre and it is, trust me, spectacularly beauty!
Funny, ironic,dense of considerations about death, life, existence as every book written by a Nordic - Finnish in this case - author is.

The book is written following the thoughts in first person of The Grump. An R-x of this society without too much compassion from the Grump born in the 1930s and unable to understand the abrupt changes of the society and its new rules and "guidelines."
The modern society read and seen through the eyes of The Grump.

I knew more than a grump. My dad was born in 1926 and he was a grump exactly like the protagonist of this book. The people of this generation more or less Kyro considers the ones born in 1930s are all part of one of the most enchanting generations to me.
They experienced Mondial War, they have been starved, they worked hard for re-building the country where they lived or live in, but although the hard life they suffered, misery, poverty, God I don't think I will meet anymore special people like these ones.
Generous, altruists, they donate themselves to the others genuinely, people in grade to share good feelings and sentiments with other ones. Real friendship, real connections, real character, without masks, they are people of peace because they experienced the sufferance of war and they knew what it meant to live in time of wars and in time of peace and appreciated and enjoyed peace so badly.
It's a contradiction in terms but although we were born in a best time, with more modernity, peace, with good houses where to staying we are different.
Our generations to me has lost the humanity of that people.
Well, not everyone.

Reading this book will mean also to understand the point of view of someone who had known a different system where the navigator was the mind, where Instagram meant a good walk enjoying the beauty of nature, where Facebook a real house with real friends and real chats.

Mr. Grump is 80 years, and he lives alone. Sure he has a wife. Unfortunately because of her mental illness she was brought in a home and everyday The Grump loves to visit her, cooking for her some good meals so that she can eat with good appetite. Dear old times where he also discussed with his wife, where not all the moments were plain but love existed and was strong enough for arriving 'till here.
The Grump feels that he is like a fish out of the water when he is in company of his son, because the new generations changed this world completely.

And he complains. Please read this extract about the youth  and how frenetic is lived the perception of life from The Grump. It's because of the use of these devices. There is more velocity than not in the past in every sense.

His son tries to let him understand that after all this society is not so bad. The Grump wants to build two coffins for himself and his wife, in his spare time. There is a dissertation at this point about the burial traditions in the world.

The son of the Grump tried to let him appreciate during a trip the navigator, but the Grump doesn't understand why it's necessary a navigator. According to him this society creates lazy people because most of the intellectual work is done by PCS and other devices. Another guy will ask him to take a picture for posting it on Instagram.

Yes, another dimension for someone who enjoyed long walks, real talks with friends, good company.

I admit that some of the written words in this book are also the ones said by our priest every Sunday. Who became God for people with the time?

Please, read this passage of the book as well, and if you can please buy Happy Days of the Grump.
Maybe you have some grumpy relatives close to you, and so it will be a pleasure to discover the similarities that there are in these minds.

The experience of this Grump Old Man, will portray a picture of our society without too many compliments saying what there is to be said frankly.  It's better to understand where we are going.

I thank surely Bonnier Zaffre for the physical copy of this wonderful book. It reminded me every page at my dad! Another grump man I will always miss a lot.

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, ottobre 08, 2017

Death Makes the News How the Media Censor and Display the Dead by Jessica M. Fishman

Death Makes the News How the Media Censor and Display the Dead by Jessica M. Fishman is a very interesting book in particular if you are in the media, because it explains the profound meaning of death and how death and dead people are daily treated in the news.

Death  is everywhere today. Cinema, video games, TV.

We mustn't forget the reality. Terrorist attacks, yesterday an episode in London disconnected by ISIS and terrorist attacks in grade to case a lot of mess, with some people injured. Devastation, quakes, floods.
We are bombarded by death and so by a lot of sadness don't you think so?

But...There is a segment of this society, the one of mass media uninterested to let us see, talking of photojournalism, death or dead people.

Let's say in general that American newsmagazines won't never tend to publish any corpse of an American citizen dead, (and the life of an American citizen is more important than the one of any other person in the globe) but sometimes media can indulge in pictures of foreigners dead somewhere for some specific reasons and the news relevant in the American territory as well.

Mostly, corpses, and postmortem pictures are more seen in tabloids newsmagazines than not in newsmagazines like the NYT, the Washington Post or the Boston Globe (treated in the book the Boston Marathon Bombing) where the corpse and what happened to it in the while, - reasons of death etc - is left to the imagination of the reader.

Not all the time: true. Once it was published, interesting story, the execution of a lady at the beginning of 1900 through the electric chair on the first page of a newsmagazine. 

We will see that the same treatment is reserved for public people. When Lady Diana died 20 years ago there were pictures of the Princess in the car after the car incident thanks to the presence of a lot of paparazzi around but newsmagazines refused to launch that final imagines of the princess, preferring to present, and to continue to give to the readers an imagine of a healthy, positive lady, passed away too soon.

Many example from the world, from the US territory, the book offers a complete coverage of the meaning of death and dead people and events covered by the media during these past recent years.

Being a reporter I can tell you I go proud of our field where decency is respected in most cases, people and children not too scared by a vision too hard in a newsmagazine and where a condition of normality is, anyway always searched for not falling into a morbidity never wanted by respectable, big mass media.

The book will be released on Nov 21.

I thank NetGalley and NYUPress for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, ottobre 05, 2017

Desk the Halls by Donna Alward

George and Amy are two lost souls. They are both in search of answers, they are both in search of a definitive truth from the past. A past too painful for being lived alone, in solitude; a past this one reclaiming to being told once and for all for bringing peace in the hearts of all the protagonists and for dis-veiling the truth: what happened in the remote past.

A past this one too terrible for bringing peace and light in hearts.

If you haven't never known a Veteran, he could be a veteran from the Vietnam war but also the most recent ones, in Desk the Halls by Donna Alward the story of a veteran of the First Gulf War, you can't understand. You can't understand the devastation of a soul, the black hole these wars create in normal boys, plenty of life, sunny, and with great life-projects, "before." Before the war, before to seeing the horror.

They return devastated from wars, and without a proper support, a good family behind them it will be a nightmare to cope with because what their eyes saw while they were in war is too much for everyone.

George lives now in Darling a little town located in Vermont, he has a job in a garden center, a house, dignity. 

But his life, after what happened in war at his best mate Ian meant later to him a homeless life, a life spent without any purpose but constantly feeling a sensation of profound guiltiness: George hasn't been in grade to save his best mate from that death.

Ian to him like also Amy, Ian's twin sister and also their parents were an idyllic "picture, painting" to him.
They were perfect.
They were united.
They were a family.
George would have wanted to be like them: someone loved by someone else because part of a family, a sensation this one George never lived.
He didn't have a family, and to him just looking at Ian and Amy's family, just being part of their life as a friend meant the life.

When the two friends, George and Ian left for Iraq they joked about a possible return for Christmas, but then...
There was just horror: sufferance, self-punishment through alcohol and a gypsy life lived in the streets as a homeless for George, desperation for a terrible loss for Ian's family.

There was a black hole in George's soul.

Impossible to think... An adorable past, a perfect past with people genuinely in love for him and vice versa.
Their smiles, their laughs, their spontaneity, their being together and their living life with lightness, joy, projection for a radiant future. All gone in a second.
The shadows of the past too horrible because the change too unexpected, traumatic. Present a desert-land of feelings, friendship, love, expectations. Present didn't exist anymore. Life didn't exist anymore.

This long night over at some point, George saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and now thanks to the help of Laurel the owner of the garden center and her new husband Aiden, George has a new life, new friends, dignity and just this normality is very precious because abnormal in his errand existence.

Dignity, a decent pay, a house where to return. A stability. A new fresh start.

He was creating a Christmas wreath when Amy stopped by at the store and George looking at her and at her eyes returned with the mind at his remote past, that past he was running away desperately because George knew what happiness meant and what also meant to lose it.

Amy, the sunny twin of Ian, Amy the girl plenty of life and expectations, Amy the girl he kissed before to leave from Iraq, when life was normal and before that horror.

Amy knows that the man she will meet is probably very different from the past one. After all they are both grown-ups. She has her own past made also by private sufferance and a divorce.

At first she finds in George a wall, in terms of communication. George doesn't want to communicate, doesn't want to tell what happened to Ian but maybe Amy will be in grade through an inclusive Christmas to restore much better George's life, letting him appreciate the little things of life unlocking the door of his soul. In search of answers but also for finding something else.

What I also love the most in this book is the sensation that George is not being left behind.
George is very helped by everyone.
By Laurel and her husband, by their friends, by Amy, and not only: thanks to Amy George will understand that self-punishment is not necessary, and every life is important and deserves to be lived.
Mostly if this life is the one of a survivor. That one a sign.

This book is a powerful message for sharing our love, for helping others, for being good and inclusive people for open our interior and exterior doors to others, for understanding them and for create new conditions for bettering the existence of people with problematic, like the ones of the veterans can be but also of people who lived a lot of traumatic facts and unfortunately our reality is plenty of these situations. Quakes, terrorist attacks, devastation of various genres, we can see it in a daily base How can we forget what happened to Las Vegas for example? You mustn't be a veteran for devastate your mind and soul with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder  the so-called PTSD. Or better: not necessarily. Undoubtedly it helps a lot unfortunately.
In a world like this one, it's important a constant support from communities and people and listening. Through the listening, through dialogues, a lot of problems can be healed.

I truly suggest this novel by Donna Alward to everyone as a gift and a book to treasure forever and to read and re-read.

I thank NetGalley and St.Martin's Press for this wonderful eBook!

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, ottobre 01, 2017

Hollywood and Aesthetic Pleasure in American Cinema by Todd Berliner

Hollywood and aesthetic. A great thematic this one in particular if we connect aesthetic with movies. When a movie is aesthetically appealing?
When it wins not just the box office but the Time and we can tell it is still a success after two generations or more. A classics in a word.

What give to these movies these peculiar characteristics? Surely a strong sense of aesthetic. Aesthetic pass through beauty actors, but also through "all the rest" that it is the compendium of a movie: a very good script, beautiful stunning locations, etc.

In general spectators are never passive and when they choose to "thumb up" a production there is a reason.
Flops a product of an aesthetic that didn't work out, was misunderstood or times not yet ready.

The book is divided in five important parts:

Hollywood and Classicism where through various movies and examples we will discover how Hollywood is in grade to give to its audience a product in grade to make the difference following classicism standards.

In the second part Hollywood Storytelling.

A good storytelling is indispensable.
It's important to divide moments of the creation: plot and story.
Plot is the presentation of the events, while story the narrative process.
In general there is a dual plot: romance with also work/other problems.
The narrative unity is better because presents a logical theme in the spectators although recently disunity starts to become interesting. An example of disunity is The Sixth Sense when one of the main character a ghost, but explained only at the end.
The classical narration enables the spectators of a movie "made in Hollywood" to enjoy the whole product.

Plots are strong in Hollywood environment. They avoid ambiguity, weak connections.
In general movies present a question/answer like we can see in the Titanic. In this case people will follow clearly the story satisfied by the product.
Long chapters will be dedicated in this section at disunity.

In the third part: Style a fusion between story, sound...

In the fourth part Ideology and in the fifth Genre, with the analyses of the success of Star Wars and other successful characters.
This book will also treat musicals and western movies.

Beautiful and interesting book if you want to discover the hidden dynamics of Hollywood, and not for everyone but particularly dedicated to scholars, teachers.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, settembre 29, 2017

Pennsylvania Germans An interpretative Encyclopedia edited by Simon J. Bronner and Joshua Brown

I downloaded time ago a book about Pennsylvania German baking and cooking with great soup recipes (yum!), and I read and reviewed thanks to NetGalley a book about German Baking.

When I noticed this book: Pennsylvania Germans An interpretative Encyclopedia edited by Simon J. Bronner and Joshua Brown published by Johns Hopkins University I couldn't resist.

This beautiful Encyclopedia is born as a new studies about the Pennsylvania Germans for remarking their characteristic identity and expression.

The book, very friendly, a great reading for everyone, I can tell you that, is very interesting and inclusive and starts with a first part dedicated to the Old World, the migration of Germans later in the USA, the reasons why they emigrated, their first communities in the various lands of the States.

The second part, both are cured by various teachers contributors will treat every single segment of American and Pennsylvania Germans, from food to folklore, from agriculture, to textile, from Amish to religion from education to medicine and much more.

Great farmers and workers, in love for agriculture, we can describe the Pennsylvania Germans like great workers, warm, adorable people in love for big houses, big garden, freedom, a good big stove (this one was a distinctive treat of a German family) during the long winter-time.
Their farms, from animals to plants and products rich and productive. One of the main characteristic of the Pennsylvania Germans farms were big colored barns another typical treats of their way of feeling and living in the USA.

Pennsylvania Germans people who loved to plant and to seeing growing any kind of seed.
Their food robust and yummy, passing through their favorite meat the pork one, although in love also for turkeys and chickens as well.
We find cows and many other animals in their farms with, of course, milk and butter of great quality.
They loved to cook many great specialties. Meat, pies, soups very relevant but...

The art of baking one of the most loved activities by the Pennsylvanian Germans women. Most of the American food influenced by their way of baking.

Many cookies baked for Christmas, with a lot of spices. Pennsylvania Germans ladies loved to prepare homemade candies.

Pretzels a very characteristic food in the USA is a German food imported in the USA by this group of people who wanted to keep something of the old world also in the new one.

Textile one of the main activity of ladies during the winter-time, and bed quilts (but you can use them also somewhere else) are one of the characteristic creations of the Pennsylvania Germans ladies, and a characteristic of Amish culture as well. The written words seen in many decorative objects for the house: "Home Sweet Home" spread thanks to them and their colored creations.

Their dresses characteristics, rigorous, large, lovely, precise, dreaming I would add, Pennsylvania Germans are also craftsmen, people in grade to enrich this world with beautiful creations thanks to their hands, some wood and their imagination.
Men loved wood and realized beautiful furniture for every corner of the house. Chairs, tables, chests, but also decorative objects, without to forget other materials like metal, ceramic. Their world populated by colors and a strong identity you could feel in every aspect of their social life.

The Amish are a religious group. They have chosen from their arrival in the USA a distant life from the progress and their world is old-fashioned, their life simpler in comparison with the one of common people but the community very united and in case of difficulty they all help their people in need.
There is a big portion of literature involving the Amish culture for the profound impact that this one has had and has in the USA.

The literature of the Pennsylvania Germans focused mainly about thematic like religion, at first their arrival in the New World, the Amish, without forgetting poetry.

This interpretative encyclopedia talks of diversified topics, for let us discover a world where people considered life very precious and every thing they did was done with great love and without forgetting a religious touch in their daily life. Every plant planted, every cookie baked, every animal they decided to keep, every meal cooked, every quilt completed was done with love. It was a moment of great beauty for the world and we can breath it reading through these pages the normality and beauty of all these families.

This book is also an example of a society in love for themselves and for the others and for the territories where they live in, in love for what they did for the society and for themselves, their houses, their animals, their products. Proud of their origins and friendly, Pennsylvania Germans were and are people with a great heart and industriousity and their impact in the USA as we have seen in various existential sectors is extremely relevant and crucial.

Proud of their origin the group founded also the The Pennsylvania German Society 125 years ago!

This book is highly suggested! to everyone.

I thank Johns Hopkins University Press for the beautiful physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

giovedì, settembre 28, 2017

Grimm Legacies The magic Spell of the Grimm's Folk and Fairy Tales by Jack Zipes

In this book  Grimm Legacies  The magic Spell of the Grimm's Folk and Fairy Tales by Jack Zipes in a collection of essays created because of the bicentenary of the first edition of Children and Household Tales in 1812 the author will reveal to the readers the various legacies left by the Brothers, in most cases very precious for all of us and our society.

Starting from the story of the Brothers Grimm.

I couldn't believe possible this, but it seems that in the USA Zipes says no one know exactly who the brothers Grimm are and what they did with their immense work although Americans know very well their fairy-tales thanks to the  Americanization of their stories, read and seen and lived under so many different aspects thanks to cinema, theater and various other mediums.

The Grimms changed de facto their destiny. At first they studied law but the premature departure of their dad left the family in disastrous economical conditions and the Brothers tried all their best for bettering the financial situation of all their family helping the siblings and receiving some help at first as well.

While they were studying at the university a teacher let them discover the importance of fairy-tales, verses, poems, and the Brothers started to be captivated by this topic. Not only. They asked for help for collecting them. Their friends, people they knew but also peasants were visited by the Brothers interested to discover the fairy-tales of the past and...present. Fairy-tales in fact are a tradition mainly oral. We must thank Dorothea Viehmann for example, the wife of a village tailor for more than 40 tales told to the Brothers Grimm.

These fairy-tales were impressive, sometimes pretty scaring or dirty, for an adult public, and so the Brothers the first ones who re-edited these tales trying to "modernize" them, trying to cementing them with the German culture, giving to them a new appeal.

The Brothers added some "sweetness" removing the adult part of the stories so that their availability could also be extended to a largest public and children although the success with children and fairy-tales was a casualty.
The first edition of their book published in 1812 a success and since there the brothers have worked for enriching and bettering their tales.

Not only. The news that there was an interesting fairy-tale book published in Germany arrived at the ears of a British young man Edgar Taylor. He was a lawyer but he discovered a great passion for fairy-tales and so he decided to contact the Brothers, translating the tales for the british folk.

There's to say that Taylor and his associates adapted the tales and created something different from the Brothers and their conception of these tales but it worked and it was a success.

But no one can be more grateful than Disney to the Brothers Grimm because the major has treated, adapted, modernized the various fairy-tales from decades giving to the viewers, and the spectators the sense of the current culture.

What Zipes remarks is  that he hasn't yet seen any good movie based on the biography of the Brothers Grimm in the USA while it would be suggestive! considering the global impact that this American major has in all the world and the fascinating historical moment in which the Brothers lived in.

Why reading this book?

Because you will find all that you want for understand where fairy-tales you tell to your children every night and someone told to you when you were little comes from.

Because it will be a discovery of a birth: the one of a fairy-tale. You will understand what it means for Hollywood the patrimony and legacy left by the Brothers Grimm like also for Germany and their culture.

Because you will understand there was an age when people dreamed of other world, other creatures.
People were in grade of dreaming, without to materializing their horrors, dreams or expectations but projecting them just in their imagination (thank Lord!) and there is nothing more beauty than dreaming.

They weren't rich people, they didn't do this for work. In  most cases they were peasants, sat close to their fireplace after dinner and a long day spent in a field, maybe with the companion of other friends, in their hand a good class of red wine and a piece of tart or cake, sharing stories old like the world is. It was because of the necessity of escapism from the reality they lived in maybe or it was because inventing, creating stories a wonderful process of the mind and a remind of what reality could be and mustn't be or sometimes should be. These stories reached the Brothers Grimm and thanks to them we can perpetuate them.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, settembre 25, 2017

Titanic The Last Night of a Small Town by John Welsham

Titanic The Last Night of a Small Town by John Welsham will let you live intensely and vividly the night of April 14 1912 when the Titanic the  biggest transatlantic of the world sank because of an iceberg during its inauguration trip.

It was hallucinating for all the people in that ship.

At first an idylliac trip, with some bad omens we must admit the first four days dreaming ones, in 48 hous the ship would have reached triumphantly New York City, while the end all the opposite.

The story seen under the perspective of various voices who, mixed all together will create an only chant and an only reportage looked under different respective "angolations" and places, from the first, second and third class, of the most horrible absurd tragedy of the seas in modern time.

The sinking of the Titanic has been shocking maybe because it was  its inaugurational trip, maybe because the historical moment delicate, maybe because this one the biggest ship of the world, surely because there weren't sufficient lifeboats for aesthetics reason and so most of the passenger and voyagers lost their life for this absurb reason. Anyway nothing returned to the normality for all the protagonists of this story after it.

The sinking of the Titanic meant metaphorically, for rich people the end of an age of certainty as written wonderfully well by the author regarding their future.

A modern comparison with this tragedy of the past can be 9/11.

The White Star from Belfast constructed the Titanic. This modern sophisticated, wonderful and apparently "unsinkable" translatlantic, decided for the inaugurational trip on April 1912. Everyone electrified and curious for the novelty.
Smith the captain chosen for the inaugurational trip. Very educated, nice man, everyone wanted to work with him because a man of peace.

Passengers and crew were in total 2.201, 1731 men, 470 women with little children.
At the end 1490 people lost, 161 women and children.
373 women and children in lifeboats, 338 the men.

These tales will enrich with details, facts, anecdots and memories what happened minutes after minutes after the collision with the iceberg in that little town that 'till the end no one would have thought that was sinkable.

There are histories of immigrants in search of fortune or in a trip to the USA for being reunited with their relatives, there are stories of rich and poor, of children and adults of the most diversified people.

And there is the Titanic lived like a dream by everyone and how could it be different? A ship and a trip means a new adventure in the unknwon and what is it more extraordinary than to travelling the Atlantic from the Old Continent for reaching the New World in an inagurational trip in the biggest transatlantic of the world?

A trip meant also the unknown for immigrants plenty of great expectations for the choice made: to try a new life in the USA and for the richest part of the world (there was also the constructor of the Brooklyn Bridge of New York City, many writers, intellectuals, writers and so on) maybe the curiosity and priviledge of a trip in this stunning transatlantic the biggest one of this world.

Every tale is in grade to add something more to the perception of each person during that night. A night plenty of stars, a wonderful sky that more beauty you couldn't search for sure and maybe later a consolation for the people in opposite case lost in the absolute oscurity and profoundity of the ocean once the Titanic sank and once also the latest cries ended up signing the end of any life close to the lifeboats and a new start for everyone. New widows, new orphans, a new terrible reality consumned in just few hours.

At first it didn't sound a tragedy that deaf sound felt by everyone in the first, second and third class and the interruption of all the engines at 11 and something of the night. A passenger injured also the index finger because of it. Other ones decided to going out for trying to see what it was going on although the weather was so cold. Stewards, very polite and in their role added that there wasn't anything to be worried about and it was better to return to the cabin considering the cold outside. But situation appeared dramatic from the beginning and that lifeboats slowly slowly plenty of people at first just for precaution "because we will receive soon some help" de facto after a while left for good the Titanic, and most people said good-byes to their husbands, wives, relatives forever.
Maybe the idea of sinking appeared more clear and vivid when from the Titanic they ordered of lunching rockets for signaling the presence of the ship. An extreme sign of desperation for not losing all that human lives.
The story was not a joke.
A ship was a ship but the departure of wagons of people a complete different and very sad story.

Some people choose of dying in the Titanic as well as another life-adventure.
While people were trying in general to understand what it was going on wearing life belts (there is an interesting story  about life belts in the book as well) jumping in some lifeboats at the same time, the Titanic crew tried all its best for reaching some other closest ships and trying to avoid what happened later: an immense tragedy caused by cold water and weather for the people who fell in the water once the ship sank without possibility of being saved.

People in lifeboats felt people crying desperately and searching for help for 40 minutes after the sinking of the ship. Later, nothing more.

The Carpathia although many other ships were also contacted the one closest. They assured a tempestive arrival. Captain Rostron couldn't believe at the news: "Are you sure you understood well?" asked the Captain at his man when he received the news that the Titanic was sinking. This one was the inaugurational trip...
But the Carpathia arrived.
Later for the people in water, because of the cold water there was nothing to do, but for the survivors - some of them died also in lifeboats - it meant the end of a nightmare and the beginning of a new and different life. Because this experience signed everyone forever.

When I looked at the picture of Edith Brown  it seemed to see the old Rose Dawson  from the movie Titanic with Leo DiCaprio  and Kate Winslet, but it is true: who survived the sinking of the Titanic and later experienced the first and second world war had this face: in peace with the world, with themselves and with the others.

I highly recommend to everyone this book.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, settembre 22, 2017

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid

I do really appreciate the books published by Timber Press.

They are inspiring, botanically erudite, and they add something more to the knowledge of the environment.

With this sentiment and being a fan of Anne of Green Gables, I requested The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid.

I was waiting for sure a beautiful book but this one is not just beauty, this one is not just interesting, this one has been in grade to capture in a brilliantly, poetic, wonderful way the character of Anne and mrs Montgomery.
I guess that the writer is a fan of the writer and of Anne of Green Gables.

This book is simply amazing! Wonderful pictures, resonanting quotes from Anne of Green Gables or mrs Montgomery Journals, The Alpine Path or from poets she appreciated a lot like Robert Browning.

The book is a tribute and a compenetration of the essence of work of Montgomery that couldn't never be separated by her alter-ego Anne Shirley the character of Anne of Green Gables and her beloved island of Prince Edwards because an unicum.

Mrs Montgomery was a wonderful, optimistic lady in particular for other people presenting to them always a reason for going on, and as we will vividly see thorough this book she projected herself with all her best, in terms of encouragement, in terms of optimism in little Anne Shirley.
I was thinking that another modern actor with these extraordinary treats was Robin Williams.

There are many similarities with the personal life-story lived by Montgomery and little Anne. Yes: mrs Montgmery didn't have red hair and didn't suffer all the troubles suffered by Anne but she also remained orphan when she was 21 months old and although she developed a beautiful relationship with her dad she absolutely found the lady he re-married a very disgusting and horrible woman.

She continued to keep an intense correspondent with her dad 'till at the departure of her beloved father a terrible news this one for her.

Mrs Montgomery loved nature and in the nature of her beloved Prince Edwards Island she was in grade of going on and re-birth all the time from the various life-sufferences she was experiencing.

The island at the moment is more modern than the one Mrs. Maud knew but substantially it is possible to recognize very vividly the locations in part recreated of the places where Anne of Green Gables or also the author lived. The tourism  is one of the most important voices thanks to the books about Anne and Green Gables and the following notoriety brought to the island by mrs. Maud. Other important voices are agriculture and fishing. A land where it was possible to find peace, a beautiful land where nature was friend, and where to restore the soul.

The tourism is mainly a spring-summer tourism because later like for most other places in the world, fall and winter are pretty long and cold months. Population, if in the past diminuished became more interesting during these past decades.

Although Anne Shirley was a fictional character without doubt she also was the alter-ego of Montgomery, the person with which mrs Montgomery communicated her beautiful thoughts of encouragements, with the world, people and with generations of children and adults.

We will visit thanks to this book also the house of Anne of Green Gables, the bedroom where she lived in, the one of Marilla, the one of Matthew and we will see the kitchen and the most important spots re-created at the perfection. We will find Bonny the geranium Anne started to be so affectionted at immediately after her arrival at the farm of the siblings Cuthbert and all her world, for the joy of the estimators of the author and this legendary character.

The island is plenty of great resources regarding Anne and mrs.Montgomery.

Mrs Montgomery loved nature and she idealized it so badly. It was to her the best refugee where to escape  and to discover the harmony of this world. Spring, summer, fall and winter were beautiful for various different reasons, although we will find her discouraged in some part of her life for the arrival of winter. But all these personal state of her soul won't never filter outside if not in the pages of her journals or letters. She won't never ask for a help, she won't never ask for some joy. She will continue to tell to everyone how wonderful was the world to her.

Looking through the idealistic, dreaming eyes the world by Montgomery is an experience that you can't miss because this lady was in grade to capture like a radar mentally only the best sentiments, only the best part of the world, keeping out stress, sadness, unhappiness state that world can present to people, for de-stressing psychologically for example Anne when the situation was too ugly for going on.

In this book we will also discover the favorite gardens by Montgomery. The old-fashioned garden, where various plants and herbs planted in the remote past by the ancestors of the family; a wild garden, and a woodland garden. All these gardens for different reasons are important for the author, because they put her, and Anne of Green Gables in connection with nature.

Why Anne of Green Gables and L.M.Montgomery can be a very happy re-discover for the children but also for adults?

First of all because Montgomery speaks of universal themes like love, friendship, being happy with little things, appreciating life also when it becomes very hard, and at the same time finding harmony in a harmonic world where man has respect for this one and using and directing our mind at happy thoughts also when situations are difficult.

Second: because in a world always more confused there is not another voice more strong and secure, optimistic and certain than the one of Anne of Green Gables assuring ourselves that life will be good.

Third because Anne suffered a lot and for this reason her happiness is so important.
You can't discover real joy and happiness if before you won't have met the sufferance, although you must know that after a period of sufference happiness will return with prepotence. It's a life-lesson for everyone.

Anne didn't lose her smile because of her sufferances but she continued to stay positive, appreciating later all the joy life donated her and at the same time constructing into himself a parallel reality for surviving during the hardest moments.

So that's why she created invisible friends for chatting when too discouraged and why she re-named various locations with appropriate sunny names.
She wanted to feel that the places were part of her and they were also part of that Anne in search for approval in search for love, in search for friendship.

The beauty of Anne has always been the optimistic approach to life remaining open to the others and opening the door of her soul to everyone.
These people touched directly by Anne were lucky because they learned  how to cope much better with life thanks to the example presented them by Anne and her enthusiasm.

This book is a masterpiece because more than telling to you which plants and flowers there are in Prince Edwards, (of course it's explained by poetically) we will compenetrate the nature of L.M. Montgomery and her alter ego Anne and thanks to them we will see the world with different lenses, more beauty, more clean, more relaxing, more loving. I strongly encourage all parents to buying to their children Anne of Green Gables' books.

I surely thanks NetGalley and Timber Press for this wonderful book!

Anna Maria Polidori

Evergreen The Garrett Family, Collectors and Connoisseurs Evergreen Museum & Library

Welcome to Evergreen.
Located at 4545 North Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland, this house has been for two generations the house of the Garretts one of the most influential families of the area.
Their story is wonderful because the real realization of the so-wanted and so-dreamed American Dream.
It was 1790 when from Ireland a man, John Garrett with his wife and his numerous family, six children! left Ireland for the USA in search of more luck.
John died during the trip but the family was numerous and in grade to find a farm where to work once in the USA.
One of their son Robert, the youngest one, at the age of 16 left with his oldest brother the family for going to Ohio trading manufactured goods for furs with Native Americans.
This one was their great luck and the following years Robert opened the Robert Garrett And Company.
With the time the Garretts became one of the biggest philantropists families of the areas, financing every sector of the existence of the State where they lived in: from health to education.
Johns Hopskins was a very close family friend of the Garretts. Before to dying, the old philantropist Johns Hopkins decided to leave most of his money for the creation of the Johns Hopkins University and Hospital.
Time passed by in the while and the Johns Hopkins reality needed some more money for opening the medical school. Family Garrett agreed to put his money in the adventure but at a condition: that also women students could be admitted and that this institution a graduate level one.

The Garretts are people in love for books, culture absolutely! art, coins, Japanese culture, and everything beauty!

When they left this stunning, absolutely wonderful mansion at the Johns Hopkins University in the will they asked to keep Evergreen House "Open to the lovers of music, art, beautiful things and to qualified and competent students and investigators, who could make use of its collections, and in additions, that might be made to them from time to time...Certain traditions and ideals have been created and preserved (by my father and mother, my brothers and my wife and myself... said the donor). I am greatly desirous that these traditions and ideals be perpetuated."

The Garretts are not just generous but they want to continue to perpetuate who they are and who they have been so that they can be identified and recognized. A family is this one. The perpetuity of the value transmitted and lived during the existence.

It's a magnificent, beautiful trip in a mansion, a house plenty of story, culture, art, memories and desire to be a real mecenate for whoever interested to whispering what these walls and objects can tell.

Well the Garretts have been massive collectors and from the entire world. Objects, from chairs to tables, from glasses, to chandelier from votive objects to plate, from France, Italy, the USA, Persia, India, Japan, with always an exquisite great taste.

It was mainly T.Harrison Garrett at first the great collector one and his successor, John Work Garrett tried to preserve this treat of his family member. It's thanks to Alice Warrett Garrett the wife of John W. Garrett a hostess if the collection grew up with the time. Alice intertained very often actors, painters, musicians, dancers, sculpturs. There is a picture in the book with our Arturo Toscanini, when the couple hosted an event at Villa Taverna, the American Ambassador residence in Rome. It was 1930.

Alice Warrett Garrett loved to being portrayed by her painters and friends. She was portrayed by Zuloaga, like also by Leon Baskt and other ones as well involving also her husband.
From Walter Berry she inherited five works by Picasso, Degas, Vuillard. Her collections, and her friendships didn't end here. Thanks to these painters and Alice's wonderful taste now Everygreen can shows to the visitors a great collection of paintings.

It is called the Main Library the place where you can find the most beautiful and distinguish books by the Garretts collections.
The best of American and mondial literature including the Decameron by Boccaccio, the Rime by Petrarca, Plutarch's Moralia.

Other books you will love ornithologists' ones, historic ones. The library includes many important documents and manuscripts.

Amazing. Amazing to think that a house is still so alive like Evergreen continues to be: a cultural laboratory where people, artists, book lovers, students, continue the family Garrett's legacy.

I haven't never been to the USA but I hope with all myself to visit Evergreen one day!

I thank Johns Hoekins University for this wonderful book!

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, settembre 21, 2017

The Anne of Green Gables Cookbooks Charming recipes from Anne and her friends in Avonlea by Kate MacDonald

I guess that we all remember Anne of Green Gables's books, cartoons, movies, TV series and her sad at first, unhappy life as a orphan and her new wonderful life with Marilla and Matthew. One of the best books, cartoons, movies that a kid can sees, because they're plenty of encouragement, positive vibe, great values.

But... What kind of food Anne ate at the Cuthbert's house?

In this book by QuartoKnows, and discovered thanks to NetGalley a new edition with more recipes of: The Anne of Green Gables Cookbooks Charming recipes from Anne and her friends in Avonlea written by Kate MacDonald the grandchild of mrs. L.M.Montgomery and L. M. Montgomery the creator and writer of the various books about Anne of Green Gables.

We will discover dozens of delicious old-fashioned recipes that you can try for the joy of your loved ones, your neighbors, your children.
Chocolate caramels, the recipe of Marilla's plum pudding, a sunshiny corn soufflé, little rapsberry tarts, the rapsberry cordial, but also a good cake with delicious chocolate inside and outside.

We will find an italian recipe in Miss Stacy's baked macaroni :-) but also some recipes of biscuits for tea, like also Matthew Cuthbert's Yummy Biscuit Sandwich.

If you want to try, during the warm summer time, there is also an old fashioned lemonade recipe for restoring your body and soul.

Do you want to refresh yourself with veggies? Why not to eat a delicious lettuce salad?
If you want to stay warm or you search for a healthy dish goes for the a thick and creamy vegetable soup.

Mrs. Irving's delicious shortbread is waiting for you like also Miss Ellen's Pound Cake or a yummy orange angel cake.

During this season don't forget one of the best Montgomerys favorite's recipes:  Fire and Dew Sweet Potatoes.

The book is divided in four sections. While the first three follow Anne's books the last one the kitchen by mrs. Montgomery.

Enjoy this book. Pity that the PDF is so poor and frustrating in the visualization through Adobe Digital Edition.

Highly recommended.

I thank NetGalley for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, settembre 17, 2017

Traces of Vermeer by Jane Jelley

It's a real love this one expressed Jane Jelley for the art and person of Johannes Vermeer in her latest book: Traces of Vermeer. The story public and private, artistic and human of the one of the Dutch painter who lived and produced 36 masterpiece in Delft,  in 1660s, and was part of the so called genre painters.

It was a  great joy to read her book: Traces of Vermeer published by Oxford Press is an extraordinary new book.

You can breath in every page Jane Jelley's passion, devotion and enthusiasm for this painter and I can tell you that, thanks to it this one has been the most beautiful, sunny art book I have ever read in all my life because it doesn't treat the topic with a cold analysis of the artist, but with a love and an intensity that it is pretty unusual. You can feel the warmth of that time, you can visualize thanks to the vivid, rich, loving description of the author the Delft of 1660s, you can imagine the painter while he works or he lives a day in his city.

There are also technical parts of course but the book is lovely and absolutely readable by everyone. In particular if you are a painter, or a passionate of painters and painting and art this book is for you! It's too beauty for not buying it!

Who was Vermeer?
A mysterious painter after all, but not too much distant from some painters I know, "bears" as Vermeer was after all.

He didn't leave a lot of traces of himself.

Van Gogh wrote wagons of letters, for example and we know a lot about him, his character, his thoughts, his feelings.

Vermeer didn't leave journals, letters, or anything else for the so-called posterity, nothing able to give us a real perception of the man and the artist.

The place where he worked in, a beautiful little city, was spectacular at that time and very cold let's add this, that's why there was an extreme richness of warm clothes and hats and other ornaments in Vermeer's paintings. The houses the one the painter described, and the heavy warm clothes because winters were long and rigid, very cold.

Vermeer's houses were also destroyed after his death and later re-built when local people discovered the genius he was.
Delft at the moment lives and breath Vermeer's atmosphere and the painter is lived like the greatest icon that they have had although the author remarks that there is not any painting in the city by Vermeer but just copies.

When Vermeer died abruptly and unexpectedly leaving a wife and so many children, a real soccer team! :-) he was poor and more important indebted, so the wife constricted to sell most of the items in the house.

Vermeer lived the second part of his married life in the house owned by the mother of his wife. It was a very large house with twelve rooms. It is not excluded that the lady helped financially Vermeer and his numerous family in the most critical economical moments of their existence.

Sure a man like him was busy in various directions: family first of all, work, business and the house was plenty of people most of the time.

Vermeer became painter after a long stage, we would use this word today with a master painter. It is unknown who was Vermeer's masterpainter.

The author describes also our way of living art now, in comparison to the historical moment in which Vermeer's lived in, the art of painting.
It's possible at the moment, it is still an expensive hobby, if there is sufficient money to buying canvas, colors and tools via internet for starting a career as painter without too many problems.

In 1600s this one for a Dutch boy or man was a serious profession and in general painters worked for rich people so that later they could have been paid for their work. An intelligent approach to life and art after all.

Vermeer's dad was a painter and maybe to him it was more simple to find a master painter. It is unknown if the same Vermeer has had a scholar and he was a master for some other painters.
There are not letters or anything written by any other contemporaries, painters in Delft in grade to reveal this particular so maybe Vermeer worked alone and in the "chaotic solitude" of his house.

As we will see also the famous painting: The Girl with a Pearl Earring although a movie traced a sort of romantic story between the painter and his muse can't give us a defined identity of this girl. It could have been also one of his numerous daughters. Yes we are in a sort of condition like Leonardo and his controversial Monna Lisa. A man, a woman and so on...

In this case without doubt we have a girl, very young, looking at the painter. The scenario is dark as loved by the genre painters for  giving big result at the main subject in a complete warm light.

The girl wears  an exotic clothe a turban and a pearl earring.
What it is more important to seeing is her facial expression.
There is tenderness, her eyes are vigil, the mouth is just open for giving at the expression more mobility.
In my personal interpretation of this painting maybe the painter wanted to portray an action as they always did in every paintings you will observe of the genre painters: there is never passivity, always mobility.

In this case to me the action of the girl was this one: she was called by someone and she was in the act of answering.

In fact the girl's mouth is open as if she would have wanted to saying something leaving the words suspended or not yet said, or like if she would have been called by someone and turning her back, she was in the act of answering and looking at the person at the same time.

Enjoy this book for discovering all Vermeer's world. From his techniques of painting, the colors he used and the differences between our colors and the colors of the past and the other tools used by Vermeer  for obtaining certain specific effects including maybe the use of lenses and a dark chamber. No, pictures were not yet invented...
Last but not least immerse yourself in the wonderful Delft of the 1660s. Magnificent book.

Highly suggested!

I thanks Oxford University Press for this wonderful book!

Anna Maria Polidori

Strange Glow The Story of Radiation by Timothy J. Jorgensen

Strange Glow The Story of Radiation by Timothy J. Jorgensen is a stunning book published by Princeton University Press. I waited it with trepidation.

You know, apart the daily base use and abuse of radiation we do everyday using PC and a cell phone, what moved me to read this book was the risk of a nuclear attack, so distant, an old phantom of the past unthinkable since at recent times, but now back to popularity (sic!)

I grew up with this horror, watching movies like The Day After Tomorrow and remembering very well what my teachers told us about Hiroshima and Nagasaki starting from the elementary school 'till the high school because it was necessary after that mess for the next generations to build a world of peace, nuclear-free.

No sure if teachers are still involved in telling to their students the risks of a nuclear war but I warmly suggest them to add this chapter, terrorism apart in their scholastic lessons because the senseless of a war like that one would mean the most horrible scenario that could be created by human beings and must be avoided.

Did we forget what it means radioactivity? Did we forget the risks for the humanity, for the environment, for fishes and plants, and every other human being? Did we forget what it meant for the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki the survivors? Did we forget what said Einstein?
"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Right.
It's impossible to experience another World War because it would mean the end of the world.

Also for this reason I decided to read this book.

I can start to tell you that this reading is captivating and simple also for the most profane person like me without too many intense and profound notions of physics. The purpose of the author: the creation of a book in grade to reach everyone. The masses and not just professors or scholars.

It's a story, this book. The history of radiation. One of the most fascinating stories of our modern age and this approach payed a lot because the book remains colloquial, historical, very clear and the exposition of the various facts is all the time attractive, brutal and interesting. There are no boring times.

At first you know it was electricity. Electricity can be seen and we know risks of electricity everywhere and dangers that an improper use can produce in our body, killing us at the instant as well, bloody hell.

Problem is that the rest of the big family of radiation is invisible at the eyes and so we don't know what to do or how to act sometimes in our daily life.

The story of radiation started exactly with electricity. After it someone discovered waves, and Guglielmo Marconi tried thanks to them to transmit a message via radio waves in the USA. It was a success and a new instrument of communication was born. When Marconi died it was a terrible loss for Italy and was paid great respect for the scientist.

Roentgen discovered that rays could pass through solid objects and bodies as well. We will see in the book the first r-x pic of the story. The hand of his wife with a ring.

Francis H.Williams and William H.Rollins a physician and a dentist from Boston thought that this intuition was great and they started to use this invention for medical purposes. Williams and Rollins because of this intuition became the fathers of diagnostic radiology.

Becquerel was attracted by uranium dividing the Nobel with the Curies at the beginning of 1900s. The couple was  working on the radium sadly famous for what happened in various factories in the USA at many girls.

But what is radioactivity exactly?

The definition given by the author:

"The ability of an atom to spontaneously release radiation without any stimulation from light, electricity or any other form of energy. It is a property intrinsic to the nucleus of an atom and resistant to modification by any outside forces."

When we will discover what can "neutralize" the radioactivity, thanks to an outside force in grade to giving us back the old state of things then we will be free from the most scaring experience that a massive radiation can bring with it.

Ernest Rutherford was the founder of the nuclear physics with his discovery about the atom. It is analyzed not just the composition of the atom but also the scission and fission.

After this first knowledge, mainly historical but also with some technical and physical notions, the second part of the book treats the health effects of radiation.

Yes: you will largely find  the story of the so-called radium girls.

I also reviewed months ago a wonderful and truly sad book published by Sourcebooks called The radium Girls. The link is this one if you are curious to discover more

These happy girls, plenty of life, expectations and with a great good pay  worked per years in several factories in the USA where they massively stayed at close contact, in particular their mouth, with radium.

Later most of them became very sick and died. The autoptic exam revealed that their bodies were radioactive. What an irony: radium was considered a magic "ingredient."

Some men experienced similar problems in particular the ones working in Schneeberg's mines. Doctors through autoptic exams discovered that twenty of these men died for the same exact reason: lung cancer.

The most scaring and of course massive and terrible example of an exposure with deadly results at radioactivity was the one of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where two bombs where launched by the Americans last second world war after the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor.

Sasaki one of the doctors still healthy immediately after the explosion of the nuclear bomb in Hiroshima tried to help all the people arrived to the hospital immediately after the explosion of the bomb.

The atomic bomb is the most horrible possible scenario for the humanity and no one should never think of using this bomb for a second according to my modest point of view because after it there is no return and the land can't be lived anymore.

What saw Sasaki with his eyes immediately after at the hospital ?

There were people with strange symptoms never seen before and although treated they died pretty abruptly and for horrible reasons.

Apart the ones disappeared immediately, there was the case of a family who discovered just the bones of their dear one, still yet sat where they had left him just few minutes before. Just he was disintegrated. His tissues, muscles, hair, gone.
Just the skeleton could tell that the man sat there, was the one of the dear one of that two ladies.

The wristwatch was not destroyed by the atomic bomb.

The survivors, in general would have been dead in a few days experiencing horrible pains and sufferance at various levels.

Some of them knew the destruction, disintegration of brain cells. These cells have a massive destruction when exposed so massively at radioactivity with the implosion of all the body.

There are people who vomited although no one knew at first the reason, other ones were treated because of horrible burns.
There was a man in company of a friend.
The friend apparently untouched by the bomb, the other man burned. But later, the burned friend the one who will carry the other one to the hospital because his friend developed much more profound problems.

Other patients suffered before to dying of severe diarrhea, hair loss, high fever, dehydration before to dying.

All the bodies accumulated in the hospital were burned.

We leave Hiroshima alone for a while.

If radiation kill outside they cure cancer as discovered the Curies inside.

Is it possibility to develop a new cancer because of the assimilation of radiations during chemotherapy and radiation from a person in cure? Yes it's possible and the author says that the period should be taken in consideration is ten years.
The author suggests everyone with this problem of continuing these cures because it's just a probability and anyway in an old person the possibility of re-develop a cancer diminish a lot.

Fukushima. The tsunami of various years ago provoked as we all know also a big environmentalist problem similar to the one Chernobyl lived in Europe in 1986.
A site like that one won't never be back at the normality, not for the people still alive and not in a very close future, because once a place is attacked by radioactivity can't be cultivated anymore, can't be secure anymore.
It's dead, dead. Fruits, veggies, milk, meat, tea, everything is radioactive. Nothing is anymore normal but altered and extremely dangerous for the health of people.
If people survive, the only answer is to going away forever and for good as it happened for the people living close to Fukushima.

The book later will also treat new technologies like cell phones and radiation in our daily life.

In conclusion Timothy J. Jorgensen is more than sure of something: that after we have read his book we will be more conscious of our daily life, of the radioactive instruments close to us in a daily base from the microwave to the smart phone and how we can use them. We will be in grade to make wisest choices for us, the community and maybe the world.
I agree.
He closes his foreword wishing to all of us: good luck!

I thanks Princeton University Press for this wonderful book!

Anna Maria Polidori