giovedì, giugno 29, 2017

Heartthrobs A History of Women Desire by Carol Dyhouse

Heartthrobs A History of Women Desire by Carol Dyhouse is a very wonderful, interesting, captivating book about our desire regarding men and how this desire changed during the decades influenced by what society put out in terms of new actors, pop stars, bands, singers, movies, books, the net.
Beautiful cover, wonderful pictures inside, this one it's a book that you will read and re-read and that can be of great inspiration if you want to discover some romantic books, or movies that made the history of women's desire, or books where researching other informations about this topic.

This one is a real study of women's desire and their perception of men. We will see how myths like actors, pop-stars influenced us during the course of the decades.

In the past the idea of the perfect man was Mr.Darcy in literature, and in the past the doctor in real life appeared like a good social party for a good marriage and economic stability.

Women started to dream about Prince Charming an educated man, absolutely brave, fearless, with a lot of charm strong able to fight for reaching and winning the heart of his desired woman winning every possible battle helped by the arrival on the big screen of Cinderella and White Snow but also thanks to certain literature, where there was this scheme: the brave, masculine male character and the adoring sometimes problematic life of the girl that needed to be saved by him or that just knew this adoring and perfect man and fell in love for him.

A dream of course but generations of women grew up fed up by this ideal, although slowly things changed. Women started to settle down creating families in UK at 16-17 years, and only in the 1970s marriage won't be the first institution researched and time for a family procrastinated.

Also the sexual desire of women was seen under a different aspect if compared to the one of a man in the old times.
A man could feel his desire, could prove his desire, a woman until recent decades better if sexually docile, and that's why the poorest social classes and prostitutes the ones who could "feel it" and can you believe it? could be associated with beasts, because "socially authorized" to prove desire exactly like men, while a so-called good girl couldn't at all if of good family. With the time things changed and the discovery of a different and more free sexuality, lived with freedom and joy not anymore a taboo.

In the book analyzed various romantic books like Gone with the Wind, with a protagonist, Scarlett O'Hara, constantly dreaming for someone very weak like Ashley Wilkes while she unconsciously rejected her husband a symbol of sex-appeal as Rhett Butler was. Surely not a saint, but someone with clear ideas, a strong character and someone solid close to her under all aspects and in love for her. That man potentially would have donated to Scarlett everything just for being loved. But Scarlett didn't see his love, didn't see that she found happiness with Rhett, too tortured by her private obsession:  that wake man of Ashley, ruining everything.

The Thorn Birds, appeared in the 1970s and in this case it's the impossible love-story of Meggie and a priest: Ralph. Ralph, the story is set up in Australia will slowly grow up under all the possible aspects little Meggie. Once she will be married, with a violent man they will start an affair and this relationship long an entire life.

After a period of great success for Prince Charming, he could have signed, if existed autographs all over the world, in general Hollywood and literature thought that it was better to change song: Prince Charming became a weak ideal of man, someone without character, maybe more close to a woman than not to a realistic man and real men, with their lacks started to appear to the horizon. The book didn't consider cartoons like Shrek emblematic to me of a common ogre, ahem, man.

Apart Shrek and cartoons, strong of Nine and Half Weeks of the 1980s, unforgettable movie with Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke based on a real story of sex and perdition the arrival for newest generations of girls of Fifty Shades a trilogy of sexy books and movie about wild sex implemented by sex gadgets for experiencing additional sensations.

With the transgressive business man,never tired and always ready for great sex once returned home, another dreaming creature for women thanks to sexy young actors movies and books as well started to appear to the horizon for keeping our hormones in great mood: vampires.

Why vampires?

Substantially because in the female imagination vampires are symbolism of great sex. They're seductive creatures, someone in grade to keep the woman wanted and desired. Pity that, at the end what interest to them thinking also at their condition, they're not dead and they're not anymore alive, they live in a coffin, they can go out just during the night from their little tiny place, and they're damned and condemned to live an existence pretty heartless, is just woman's blood and nothing else.
Women's vampires are famous because they eat children, the same thing can be done by a male vampire. Have you seen the movie by Francis Ford Coppola? Right. And of course if they suck your blood be careful because you can also become a vampire as well.

But in the sexual imagination seeing two sexy beasts like Tom Cruise and Antonio Banderas in Interview with a Vampires based on the masterpiece written by Anne Rice more than a justification for dreaming the arrival of a great, sensual vampire in their life. With all the implications and complications of the case, of course.

New TV series and movies based on books like the saga of Vampires Diaries and Twilight revived the vampiric spirit.

I surely thank Oxford University Press for this entertaining, wonderful, old-fashioned book. Oh, I know it: you'll love it!

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, giugno 28, 2017

The Consolations of Writing Literary Strategies of Resistance from Boethius to Primo Levi by Rivkah Zim

What happens in the mind of a person when constricted to staying in jail for political reason or deported like Primo Levi during the last World Conflict spending for senseless reasons 18 months of his life in a Nazi camp, the one of Auschwitz, and becoming this one an experience with which he would have coped with extreme difficulty for the rest of his life? Why the innocent suffers? Why is there injustice in this world? How can a mind survive, without to become crazy, in a restricted, limited space?
Which are the intimate reasons that can stimulate the writing, trying to healing the wounds created by years spent segregated?

The Consolations of Writing Literary Strategies of Resistance from Boethius to Primo Levi written by Rivkah Zim takes in considerations various intellectuals, trying to describe their intimate horror because in jail or deported, and how their writing helped them to coping with what they lived at the moment.

I loved to read the chapters about Primo Levi. His masterpiece Se questo è un uomo, If this is a man should be read by everyone, because it's terribly important to discover the atrocities committed by the nazists for avoiding new episodes like the ones lived more than 70 years ago.
Telling, sharing, has a big power, although for example Primo Levi started to write at first with a sort of reluctance, only once returned home.

Why reluctance? First of all: people would have believed what he would have told them? The atrocities his eyes saw?

His writing is the voice and strength of the survivors, the voice of the man who, once returned home can tell, and can report the horrors committed by men against other men.

It is a resonant voice for all the voiceless people killed by Nazis and at the same time the most terrible experience for Levi: to be a survivor. Why did he survive while other people died? Living all his life with this sensation of culpability when substantially there wasn't any guilt in living and continuing to living and to being alive.
When it is impossible to escape from a prison that one can become also your mental prison, a prison Primo Levi has never completely abandoned because of the lack of dignity, the impossibility to be real men, because people reduced to live like beasts and treated not anymore as human being, something that persecuted Levi forever.
He will always ask: why?

Different situation the one experienced by Bunyan and Oscar Wilde. If the first one tried to search consolation in God, the second one once in jail because accused of homosexuality, lived the time spent  in prison with great intolerance and thinking that although he was in love with his partner Douglas maybe it was better if he would have given up this relationship for saving to himself all of it because for this love he was in jail. Oscar Wilde had a great consideration and self-esteem for his persona, and during the time of the confinement produced a beautiful work, the De Profundis remarking his love for Douglas but also his poor condition.

Other very interesting chapters involve Boethius and Bonhoeffer, More and Gramsci, Anne Frank and Roland.

It's an intense reading this one but if you love literature and you want to discover where and how and the reason why certain masterpieces are born  this book is for you.

Sometimes literature is not a product as this book wants to saying of freedom and relaxation, of a happy mind but of sufferance and deprivation of freedom although its message will result divine because felt, lived, real creating immortal masterpieces like the Diary of Anne Frank, the De Profundis, If this is a man entering in the hearts of readers for remaining there forever.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

The Doorman's Repose by Chris Raschka

A group of apartments: a little microcosm with its wonderful, mythical, surreal characters and histories.
It's this and much more the beautiful, funny, touching, moving children's book: The Doorman's  Repose by Chris Raschka by New York Review Children's Collection.
The title is referred at the last short tale published in this book. Ten in total, all felt, extraordinarily touching, funny, or moving.

New York City, 777 Garden Avenue it's where our stories will take place.
These short tales will let us discover the importance of the uniqueness of our lives, thanks to stories speaking of love, friendship, humanity.
In the last story we will understand the importance of people and the existing connections that we develop in a city, or wherever we live in. This world is just a big, little world.

At the beginning Mr. Bunchley the new doorman starts his service in this new place but without any kind of notion of sport, although acculturated in terms of gardening. Everyone wanted to talk of sport but simply Mr. Bunchley couldn't do that. He tried, but without any success.
At first he thought that he would have lost his job because of this lack but maybe it won't be like this.

Animals are humanized in two stories Anna and Pee Wee  and Mouse Exchange. In the second episode the family of mice living in a countryside will afford in the Big Apple and exactly in 777 Garden Avenue for living extraordinary adventures and vice-versa, with a lot of funny adventures.

I found poetic the short story Fred and the Pigeons with a melancholic end as just life can be, sophisticated the one of The Forgotten Room, where an enchanted place with a great story behind made of sentiments, love and loss and.. a piano hidden to life. The room rested isolated per decades before to being again re-discovered restoring not just the physical part of this room but also its magical touch, while the opera singer, a surreal episode, let me thought that yes, maybe it is true, wherever we are there is an opera singer. Truly funny!

Otis is the most romantic short story I have ever read. While you will start to read it you will be transported into a beautiful and moving love-story.

A children's book The Doorman's Repose written by a great story-teller, smitten by the dream of life, not forgetting that the poetry of everyday, like humor and a bit of surrealism can help all of us grown-ups children or children to going on well in life.

I thank The New York Review Children's Collection for the physical copy of this book!

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, giugno 24, 2017

The road to Relativity The History and meaning of Einstein's "The Foundation of general relativity" by Hanoch Gutfreund & Jurgen Renn

The road to Relativity The History and meaning of Einstein's "The Foundation of general relativity" by Hanoch Gutfreund & Jurgen Renn is a book you'll treasure forever.  If you are in love for manuscripts and sensational discoveries like the one of Albert Einstein this book is for you.
Principally that's why I requested this book at Princeton University Press.
The book is physically stunning, superb and warm.
Big, the cover is dreaming if a scientist can pass me this enthusiastic expression. Orange, a page of the manuscript of Einstein's relativity impressed on it and a pic of a meditative Einstein  in the left part of the cover.

We won't find an explanation of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity in this book: no. This book is something else because we will directly read from the manuscript of Albert Einstein what it meant step by step, thought after thought what it meant the creation of the general relativity.

It will be relative ;-) it you won't understand everything or most of it or nothing because you are not into physics, the important will be and you will discover it, the passion put by this scientist for give a new meaning at the world and Universe as past scientists like Galileo and Newton did in their times, "updating" their thoughts.

We will follow his hand-written words, his thoughts, and if you know it, his language. In the left you find the pages written by Einstein, in the right after a first introduction, foreword, the explanation of the pages taken in consideration. At the end in another chapter a list of physicists, mathematicians philosophers relevant to Einstein's thinking and a translation in english of Einstein's paper.

It's a great emotion and I found this editorial project creative and original.

102 years ago the big discovery of general relativity this book was published for celebrating this moment.

I am not a physics, I have high school notions and this book is not a joke although it is very friendly and funny with wonderful illustrations and pictures.

I have always been interested at the general theory of relativity because of the new notion of space and time.

Page after page the theory of relativity will take corporeality. A theory this one born in three suggestive, beautiful and remarkable cities, Prague, Zurich and Berlin from a beautiful, original and creative mind.

Which were the principal revolutionary ideas of Einstein?

First of all let's say that everything we see is part of physics. A static body, a ball in movement, the tea we add in a cup.

The light is a wave, atoms exists, space and time are intersected and mass is energy.

There is also to add that last Febr 10 2016 it was proved thanks to an instrument built by the California Institute of Technology and the MIT that the gravitational waves exist. The discovery of gravitational waves represent to astronomers the soundtrack of the Universe and a new way to explore the sky.

This one an article of the Boston Globe regarding the discovery of gravitational waves.

Highly recommended if you treasure old-written important documents, if you of course  are a physicist, (I shouldn't add this, it should be implied)  and if you are interested to discovering the general theory of Relativity or if you are a student searching for a very good book for preparing your thesis about this topic. It goes straight to the point. Trust me! You won't lose your time. You go directly at the main source: the creator of the general relativity. You can't fail! ;-)

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

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, giugno 23, 2017

The Lost Art of Letter Writing by Menna van Praag

I was searching for some books ten days ago and I decided to type for topics. I discovered  The Lost Art of Letter Writing by Menna van Praag and I fell immediately in love for this book. I contacted the author  and she answered me back with great joy.

I received a digital copy of the book and I read it very quickly. I also thank the staff of Allison & Busby for the help received.

The book is warm, very well written, and you will appreciate the wonderful writing-style used by Menna someone who loves writing letters and it's possible to seeing it because there is calm, reflection, meditation, moderation, very good times in the writing, the filters of common life and characters are portrayed with wonderful humanity, maturity, and the story doesn't suffer any rush .
Substantially the book by Menna is like reading a long, positive, relaxing letter with a lot of surprises in the middle.

Importance of letters is relevant in a society where this communication is rapidly disappearing because of the net, social networks and alternative, more instant way of communicating.
Why? Because it restores a value that it is constantly lost in modern times: privacy, discretion, sharing our thoughts just with a sender, giving to this person attention, love, consideration.
A letter's a tactile perception, thoughts and considerations written just for us or from us for some person we do care. A letter tells stories of distant places thanks to stamps, thanks to stationary, of a long trip.

It's a gem of joy, enthusiasm and reflection the book written by Menna.

Positive vibes in every page I fell in love for this book and let me add, originality is also the main thematic from the beginning to the end.

Clara lives in Cambridge and she has a precious store where she offers the chance of writing and sending letters to her customers. Of course her store is not so crowded.
A person once there asks for stationary, a pen and a desk. And then she/he writes his/her letter. Undisturbed.

Clara has a special gift: the one of understanding other people's feelings. Yes: she is magical person and strong of it, she loves to present to unknown people letters of encouragement so that their life can go on much better and will change for better.
She simply walks somewhere, after she closes her store everyday looking at the various houses and people, picking up a person in need, writing the letter as if she would know that person very well and then she sends it.
The destiny of that person is not anymore in her hands but in the hands of her letter, her words, real balm for the soul of the person taken in consideration.
The letter will be read and re-read hundreds of times since every word memorized and then life will discover a new sense again.

It's the case of Edward, for example a widow, still devastated by the departure of his beloved wife. Unemployed, devastated by this loss, he doesn't want to better his life anymore. He has a daughter, Tilly....

Clara doesn't have a man or children.

Once in the attic of her mother's house the discovery of a lot of letters  written during the last second world war by her great grand-mother Marthe, the mother of her beloved grand-father, a man Clara is very affectionate at and with which she lives a profound connection although he is dead from a while. His precious pen makes her company, his legacy of letter-writing, and maybe now, her grand-dad is ready to donating her the future as well with a shocking story from the past.
A letter in fact is for her.
For telling her exactly where she is now and what it must be changed thanks to this story buried in letters written in an another language.
Clara will try to search to discover more about these letters, written in Dutch, because her family was from Amsterdam going directly in the capital of Holland.

At the same time, there are other stories where Menna will introduce us also a wonderful violinist, Finn, two women in love for him, Geer and Ava (the first is a ghost), Ross, the man who knew the souls of people.

It's also a spiritual book The Lost Art of Letter Writing where life and death are intersecated, and where the ancestors will find the answers to the protagonists, or ghosts or people passed away recently will donate new life to their loved ones, leaving them changed for better.

I am more than sure that you will find these stories tender, original and felt like the principal one: the story of Clara.

I highly recommend this book to all of you!

I thanks Menna van Praag and Allison and Busby publishing house
for this wonderful book!

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, giugno 22, 2017

The Alice behind Wonderland by Simon Winchester

A lot of ink has been spent for trying to define the real character of Charles Dodgson, passed at the history for being the creator of a masterpiece like Alice in Wonderland under the name of Lewis Carroll.

But: who was this man?

What kind of connections existed between this writer with the children of family Liddell and other children as well?

Simon Winchester the author of the Professor and the Madman in this latest book The Alice behind Wonderland published by Oxford University Press  will answer these questions and more, looking at this man under a different perspective thanks to a compulsive passion that Dodgson loved to share with the children he loved to being surrounded the most with: the camera.

The book takes inspiration by some pics discovered thanks to an avid collector of Victorian books and materials: Morris Parrish from Philadelphia.
Mr Parrish was a very wealthy man and a student of Princeton. Uninterested to complete his studies, he was a voracious reader and book collector, a passion started by his dad with Charles Dickens' novels.
Parrish was in love with all Victorian literature and writers.
Not only: he read all the books he bought and collected.
He wanted that the books had to be in great condition and the term: "The book is in Parish condition" is still in use by booksellers for saying that books are of great quality.
Sixty-five hundred books were found in his house after his death in 1944 and in an album the picture of the cover of this book: the one of Alice Liddell. Dodgson loved obsessively to portraying children and this one was the little kid inspired him for Alice in Wonderland.

The book is interesting, original and not unidirectional.
Thanks to Mr. Winchester we will discover the fascinating history of the genesis of photography and how this new sport and passion attracted contagiously this young guy, Dodgson and some of other his friends and colleagues as well.
The book doesn't forget a good and informative history  of Dodgson's family, eleven children, just few of them married, sacrifices, the loss of the mother at a tender age, studies and success of this introvert boy.

We will discover that Dodgson loved to portraying children in pictures, spending with them a lot of time, particularly happy when he saw them around, deluded when they, normally, at last, grew up.

Enjoy this book a great portrait in pictures - pity that there is just a picture in the entire book although the description of all the other ones is sumptuous -  of a controversial writer like Lewis Carroll was, author of an immense masterpiece and classic like Alice in Wonderland is and will always be.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

Thanks The New York Review Children's Collection!

Thank you a lot! The New York Review  Children's Collection @nyrbclassics, I received The Doorman's Repose today!
You made my day!

Thank also for the catalogs. I know that we have started a great collaboration!

I want also to thank Shelf Awarness @shelfawarness. You are great, guys! Thanks to your collaboration this one is the first book I receive thanks to you and your help.
You are fantastic!

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, giugno 21, 2017

Eratosthenes and Hyginus Constellation Myths with Aratus's Phaenomena A new translation by Robin Hard

Nothing is more beauty during a summer evening than to go out with some friends, in a countryside, choosing a field, putting there a blanket and watching the stars in the sky.
Stars: the reflection of our past, they speak to us of us, of our Destiny, of our existence while they reflect their brightness to our hearts donating us dreams, expectations, illusions, hopes. They speak of past, present and future and our stories and what it will be of our life.

We mustn't forget captains and sailors.
They have always looked at the sky for finding the route during their trips in the Oceans.

If you want to read the sky and its stars, with  a lot of curiosity for a particular Constellation, looking at your zodiac Constellation or the ones of your friends, relatives, there is nothing more beauty than buying this book: Eratosthenes and Hyginus Constellation Myths with Aratus's Phaenomena A new translation by Robin Hard published by Oxford World's Classics for reading under a complete different aspect, thanks to the erudite thoughts of these wise men of the past, what Constellations and stars are telling to us, with their myths, legends.
Discovering that there is a special map in the Sky, connected for creating a beautiful masterpiece of incredible stories just written by the stars for us and forever!
Greek's myths mixed and intersected with other legends will take corporeality in a fusion of old and new, passions and feelings, death and life, and the stars will become a real tapestry of stories, passions giving us the exact portrait and mirror of what life was, is and will be for us common mortals: life.

These myths stories and legends are our stories, reflected and seen brightly in the sky in an eternal perpetuity for every human being.

The Constellations, have been completely accepted in their complexity of myths and legends in our modern age as well, following the Ptolemaic table of Constellations.

They are our visible Heaven on this Earth and at the same time what we must expect from life.

Heratosthenes from Cyrene: he portrayed himself like a philologos, inventing this new word and giving to it the meaning of someone interested to many topics. Heratosthenes loved to study philosophy, geography, astronomy. He passed at the story for the estimation of the circumference of the Earth.
When he compiled the myth map of the Universe with his Catasterisms he amplified and gave corporeality to the classic myths told and known previously.

Aratus wrote a long poem about the Universe called Phaenomena a word that in Greek means things that appear, while it will be Hyginus with his four books called: Astronomy who later will complete the work. His mentor the book written by Herathosthenes.

Enjoy this reading! Each myth, of each Constellation is interesting.
Past speaks to us with intensity, feeling and strong energy and you will feel that also the Sky is human like the Earth and the reflection of what we do on Earth.

Highly recommended!

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

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, giugno 18, 2017

The World Encyclopedia of Bread and Bread Making by Christine Ingram &Jennie Shapter

Two weeks ago I went to the market at Umbertide.

It was a sunny day and I stopped by at the second-hand bookstore created by the Books for Dogs Committee, searching for some used books.
It's impossible to go out without a book according to my point of view, but I am a real addicted. This time I brought home some cookbooks.

I don't know you but I love bread. I grew up with milk, chocolate and bread for breakfast, bread with nutella during the afternoon when I was more little or bread and honey or bread, butter and jam.

I love bread because it exists, because it's our primary source of food, because it's good and because it gives the sense of goodness and not just materially but spiritually.

The World Encyclopedia of Bread and Bread Making by Christine Ingram &Jennie Shapter by Anness Publishing Limited is a delicious, captivating trip in the world of bread. Thanks to this book we will  visit many countries in the world discovering their best bread.
My edition is pretty old but you can find the book in bookstores or Amazon.

After a first section all dedicated at the how-to-do-bread, so tools, different varieties of flour, various tips, because more than sure once you will finish to read this book you will want to try some culinary bread-trip somewhere in the world, the book dedicates a long yummy! section at the bread in the world.

Europe apart with a long section starting from UK, Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Cyprus, Turkey, then North Africa, Jewish bread, North American bread, Caribbean and Mexican bread, Australian, Indian and Japanese bread.

The second part, after this long introduction, all spent by the authors sharing with the readers various recipes of these countries explaining step-by-step how to prepare the most delicious bread you have ever tasted.
The cover and illustrations are beautiful, colored, extremely succulent and captivating.

I thank Books for Dogs for this book!

Anna Maria Polidori

One Unity in a Divided World by Deidra Riggs

The Bible says: "If it is possible as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
This book, published by Baker Books, One Unity in a Divided World by Deidra Riggs, wants to focus about oneness and unity in the church and in our society.
Very often we are like lost and we build walls that divide us from the other ones.
It can be because of a racial story, the author is a lady of color and she feels this sentiment so badly because there is a heavy racial history unfortunately in the USA, but also other reasons for discriminating people.
Someone different from us, with different customs, culture, place, religion.
And not only: maybe we don't believe sufficiently at the good actions of God.
God, says the author loves everyone. We must just search for his unconditional love.
But so what should we do? We should search for Oneness, so the capacity of interacting with everyone in positive ways in this world considering every human being as our brother because we are all brothers in every part of the world we live in.
Inclusion can be another word.
In this way there wouldn't be anymore any kind of division because we would be all equals and it's a great attitude this one. When a stranger for example is coming to our town we should embrace the person as if we would have known him/her from a life and not with circumspection. This one is real brotherhood. We should be in grade to reconciliate ourselves with other people and when necessary with God, and at the same time we should try to help others extending our grace to them, for "letting God be God in the life of another person" writes Deidra.
Space: space for reconciliation, for forgiveness, for grace.
Is it possible during a big disgrace to forgive?
Some people did it. I remember when  a very disturbed young white man killed various people of colors in the USA with a gun.
The most shocking reaction apart this senseless action, the reaction of the familiars: "We forgive you for what you did."
Shockingly beauty, intense because there was an immensity tremendously beauty and pure in this act, in these words, and in the terrible tragedy occurred to their dear ones that you would have thought that maybe some moment of reflections would have been necessary to their souls. They have been in grade to forgive. Immediately, without to thinking too much. Admirably beauty.
Let's try to develop mercy and compassion.
Where are human's limits? Our limits are our comfort zones and our impossibility to look at the other one as at a resource, a possibility of discovery and knowledge through a new friendship. Building bridges is better than building walls that won't bring anywhere because will close our horizons.
What it is important to do is to work in progress, for growing up leaving all the doors opened.

Sometimes Deidra told she closed doors to other people for discovering later that her neighbors were like her: people with questions, people with answers or "in need of grace" she writes. 

The main message by Deidra Riggs is to try to understand everyone, every point of view, because we are all creatures of God and in God once we will all return.
And do you know the irony?
Our enemies included.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

Extraordinary Adventures by Daniel Wallace

Funny, entertaining, surreal, dreaming, philosophic, exactly like any other books by Daniel Wallace his latest work: Extraordinary Adventures.
I won't never get bored by Wallace. The creator of Big Fish is back with a tender, fantastic (in both senses) novel.
I also love a lot the words he uses, and the mental situations in which sometimes his characters live in, with considerations about life, and death wonderfully well-structured.

The story is the one of Edsel Bronfman 34 years, still women inexperienced, without too much luck in his life.
The author will write somewhere that the failure of many is the success of someone else. If not, why should "someone else" be successful?

His mom suffers of dementia, she lives all alone in her little house talking with the ghost of Edsel's dad, never known by him. Edsel visits her mom discovering in an afternoon much more about his dad, a complete stranger to him since at that moment than in the rest of his life.

The book starts with a call from a certain  Carla D'Angelo at Edsel.

He has won a vacation  from Extraordinary Adventures.
He won a weekend in Destin, Florida, the name is all a promise, but the woman adds, he should bring with him a girl. He has 79 days of time to find the proper person before this expiration date, this deadline.

And now what to do?

There is still a lot of time: 79 days a long time for picking up the best choice, although the man is single.
This situation is paradoxically lived by Bronfman like a sort of count down.

He wants to find someone, he wants to go somewhere with someone, although he doesn't know what to do. He tried sex once when he was in the teenage age but it was devastatingly embarrassing.
Then time passed by and here he is.

His mom thinks he has never learned to live.

He doesn't want to invite the first girl he finds but what to do?

He has a friend, he suspects he stole his house's things, discovering he isn't surrounded at all by gentle people.
There are his memories about his past girls, because after all, bloody hell he had had someone during his teenage age and so all his mistakes and the reasons why it didn't work out return in his mind.

In the book many other surprises! A corpse as well and an investigation.

At the end Bronfman will pick up the perfect woman for him? Well you know the location is Destin, so maybe the end  positive. Who knows?


What I found hilarious were these escalation of events, started thanks to the call of Sant' Angelo.

There is always in our life an episode in grade to generate a reaction in our life and that will keep us more alive.
De fact, Bronfman is more alive, where possible, he is a calm boy, determined to spend some days relaxed, considering that he hasn't never won anything in his life.

As I told before, I fall in love for the writing-style of Wallace.
Poetic, surreal, suspended all the time between reality and dream, between irrational and rational.
His characters are immersed all the time in peculiar, wonderful, tender and absorbing dialogues with themselves and the other ones without any simplistic approach but going directly into that weird, sweet, hidden chords of our life that not all the time we explore.

Highly recommended for sure!

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

Elizabeth Taylor A Private Life for Public Consumption by Ellis Cashmore

Elizabeth Taylor A Private Life for Public Consumption by Ellis Cashmore is a Bloomsbury book. I really appreciated to read it. I enjoyed to seeing Liz Taylor in various movies like Cleopatra, The Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with another beautiful star like Paul Newman and, of course, at first, Lassie.

Reading this book, you will discover the story of the star in a fascinating and captivating way.
The book is written with a very fluid writing-style and will capture the attention of the reader 'till the end. It happened to me, it will happen to you as well.
Liz Taylor's life, like also the one of Michael Jackson or other stars in the system since they were little kids has been always "altered" by media, by photographers.
It hasn't never been normal in our most common sense of the word. She hasn't never discover the word privacy.

I didn't know that also when very young she suffered of so many disturbs and illness in particular pneumonia with which she hardly fought with a tracheotomy when very young. Liz Taylor had a frail health and fell sick often.
She suffered of anxiety and she was cured because of it with a medicine taking also Xanax for staying more happy and cheerful. It is also known that she loved to drink alcohol sometimes.
But what I remember the most of this lady is her class and beauty, her perfume Passion (beautiful story this one; Liz Taylor was the real first testimonial of a perfume something unusual for that times) her book I presented to a girlfriend of mine at the high school telling her: "If Taylor lost a lot of pounds for staying well, you can do that for sure losing just few pounds for being back to the normality" and her fight against AIDS that brought her to be the most important testimonial and crusader of massive found rising for trying to defeat this illness.
Maybe as wrote the author of the book, without her in first line the success obtained by the organization created by her amfAR fighting against AIDS wouldn't never have been so large and strong.
But Liz Taylor lost many friends with this horrible illness in particular Rock Hudson with which she also played in The Giant the movie where James Dean lost also his life in a terrible car incident.
She didn't forget his friends, she didn't forget that this illness started with a homosexual act in the gay community of NYC and later spread also in common heterosexual people, had and must find a cure, because everyone must have dignity and a moment of pleasure mustn't become perennial horror and discrimination.

I loved to read about her relationship with Tim Burton when they filmed Cleopatra. She was married with Fisher at that time.
He was married, but you know baby, this one is Hollywood.
They fell in love in our Rome and it was a scandal for our catholic Italy.
The two lived a tormented but beautiful relationship, and they became wife and husband two times, losing themselves in the eyes of the other one and also when they moved on with their own lives they didn't forget.

After the end of their relationship Liz Taylor married at some point Warren a senator. For some years she lived like a shadow close to him although press followed them very closely. Her hair, her make-up, her dresses. She was a beautiful woman.

Later, tired to be Warren's wife, divorced by him and returned to enjoy some moment of collaboration with his most important man: Burton. Burton was frequently sick and died abruptly at just 58 years.

The relationship with press, media and the so-called paparazzi, with an extensive story also of the born of this word, and via Veneto and La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini largely treated in the book.

I thank NetGalley and Bloomsbury for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

Martin Luther in His Own Words Essential Writings of the Reformation edited by Jack D. Kilcrease and Erwin W.Lutzers

Martin Luther left the Catholic Church of Rome tired of the system seen by himself per years and used by the Roman Catholic Church.
It's the beginning of 1500, there is a lot of poverty everywhere in Europe including in the Catholic Germany.

This spiral of protest started from him with the Reformation will create later in Europe other movements of protest against the Catholic Church  and other schismatics serious episodes like the one of Henry VIII in England with the creation of the Anglican religion while in Switzerland Calvin started the Calvinism, the most "radical" one of all of the new Christian religions after the first schism wanted by Martin Luther.

In this new book by Baker Books Martin Luther in His Own Words Essential Writings of the Reformation edited by Jack D. Kilcrease and Erwin W.Lutzers, we will discover the written words by Martin Luther more closely.

It's a book this one for Catholics, Protestants, for students interested at the topic for a research or an exam, for all that people curious to learn and discover the spiritual words written by Luther understanding also theologically what happened exactly that period and how and why  Luther started to see the Church with the Reformation differently from the Catholic Church.

That one, we mustn't never forget was a crucial moment for the Catholic Church and its new European assets.

Luther translated the Bible and made it available for everyone so that the message of God would have been understood better.

Luther couldn't tolerate anymore the numerous scandals of the Catholic Church. The Church asked to German poor peasants the payments of  high taxes. They couldn't pay the church as well, but they had to, although they were starved.

Luther thought that this and other stories as well were too much. There wasn't a serious example in the Church of Rome he thought.

In 1521 Luther started a Revolution, the Reformation that would have brought the Northern European countries in his direction although of course we are all brothers and sisters of the same religion.

Luther reintroduced with strength the doctrine of the justification by faith.
He suppressed the confession.
Each person speaks directly with God without any human intermediary, that in the Catholic church is the priest.

Plus: Luther introduced the freedom of religion fighting also with the emperor.

Luther was a revolutionary. He thought that for staying more close to God, the religion had to be preached in German and in the language of the people of the country where it was professed.
Not anymore in latin.
He was a great innovative, visionary man.

He was a very good man, someone with a strong integrity and someone who, made what he made for profound and specific reasons. For these reasons, I have always admired Martin Luther a lot.

You will be truly inspired by the words by Luther in the various treatises he wrote about interpretations of the New Testament or specific thematic he wanted to write about.

On Christians Liberty, written in 1520, famous his phrase that a Christian  is a "Free Lord of all and subject to none."
The ten commandments important to Luther but not like God's Law. That one given to us for remembering that we are mortals, that there are sins somewhere.

In the Letter of Saint Paul we see a more mature Luther.
He completed the translation of the Bible in German preferring to translate it from the greek version.
The letter at Saint Paul to the Romans let us show that God manifested his law to the human race for putting order in the society. But not only: God shared his Law for revealing to men what works of love they should do for thanking God and assist their neighbors.
The law is also a mirror for let us see human corruption and God's fight against it.

You can read this book entirely, you can pick up one of two chapters per day, I can tell you that whatever you will choose to do with it, this book has the power to connect you with God thanks to the Scriptures, and thanks to a thinker of great  integrity, a revolutionary man like Martin Luther was.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

Thanks Schaffner Press!

Many thanks Schaffner Press for Cages  by Sylvia Torti. I was waiting the book Dear Princess Grace, Dear Betty : The Memoir of a Romantic Feminist By Alida Brill but it will be great to start with this one ;-) as well.

Anna Maria Polidori

Thank you Princeton University Press

 thank Princeton University Press for the books I recently received.

The Sum of Small Things by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett isn't wonderful?
You find my review here:

The road to relativity by Hanoch Gutfreund & Jurgen Renn is a beautiful, sunny book describing thanks to the original manuscript donated by Einsten at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem the road brought Einsten to Relativity.
This one will be a fascinating trip: Einstein's geniality and his biggest discovery that as you know now has been confirmed.

The social meaning of money by Viviana A.Zelizer illustrates the meaning of money in our society starting from our little realities. This book is a classic and I am currently reading it (like other ones as well.)

The Consolation of Writing by Rivkah Zim is a book about writing in extreme condition, in particular when people segregated somewhere for the most different reasons.
Primo Levi experienced Auschwitz, Gramsci was taken prisoner. It will be an exploration of that particular state of soul.
I can tell you it's superlative.

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, giugno 15, 2017

Story Time Essays on the Betsy Beinecke Shirley Collection of American Children's Literature Edited by Timothy Young

Betsy Beinecke Shirley disappeared on September 4, 2004 at Bernardsville New Jersey. Her peculiarity? She was an avid collector of children's books. First editions, manuscripts, everything about children's literature.
And she wasn't the only one in the family. Her brother was a big collector of J.M.Barrie and Peter Pan.
For celebrating such beautiful, tender passion, Yale Press published recently a book edited by Timothy Young with contributions of other fourteen thinkers and the same Young.

Story Time Essays on the Betsy Beinecke Shirley Collection of American Children's Literature is a trip.
A social, political, exotic, custom-trip in the society of the USA of 200 years ago thanks to the various children's books taken in consideration.

This magical trip will bring us in the desert island of Robinson Crusoe, seen also under political aspects you will see, but also in the house of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March, the Little Women created by Louisa May Alcott and the various and diversified illustrations appeared during the time in the book by Alcott, taken in consideration in particular the character of Jo, the writer of the sisters March.

We will discover what read Gregory Maguire once he was a kid.  The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Mary Poppins some of his favorite books.

Contributors will analyze the relationship between people and animals and how they interacted together in the various children's books.

Another chapter will involve Norwegian children's literature brought in the USA thanks to The D'Aulaires.
Another chapter will be all dedicated at the importance of penmanship with many stories and anecdotes directly from Boston, Massachusetts at that time the place with most prominent, important schools.

The cover of this book is the back cover of By Land and Water published in 1888 by Louglin's Brothers. Besty  Beinecke Shirley bought these beautifully illustrated children's books in the 1990s.
The story of the illustrator of By Land and Water is fascinating!

I love this book starting from its cover and then I love it because it's strong resistant. Resistant and immortal like a children's book is.

When you open it, you are transported in another world and time while the imaginative dimension created by many children's books writers and illustrators starts to bloom analyzed with punctuality and profundity by various contributors.

This book is great for everyone in love for children's books with the desire and curiosity of exploring much more of this world.
Because, there is to say something: undoubtedly a children's book is much more than just... a book for children. 
 Encapsulated into it there is the reality the children are living in and where, in this case the children of two centuries ago lived in. 
It's a time-travel in the imagination, in the dream.
A jump in the past that you will love.
The book is plenty of great informations, and this book is the best resource also for students in search of material for a thesis on the topic.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, giugno 14, 2017

The Sum of Small Thing A theory of the Aspirational Class by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett

Very interesting book The Sum of Small Thing A theory of the Aspirational Class.

Written by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett  
and written taking inspiration by "The theory of the Leisure Class" published more than two centuries ago by Thorstein Veblen, this teacher will compare the situation found by Veblen analyzing the present condition of the new American elite called by her Aspirational Class.

This new elite brings in itself substance and essence because it's dominated by people of culture with interesting jobs. It's not said that they are rich by birth, maybe they became rich thanks to their work. Maybe they're not rich in the common sense of the word.

The Aspirational Class is not anymore attracted by the so-called "visible social status symbols."

In the past social status symbols of rich people recognized by certain objects that the working class and middle class could just blandly imitate.

The objects of luxury and distinction between the very rich American people (1% of the entire population) and the rest of people are yachts and private jets.

In the past rich people tended to buying Rolex, expensive shoes, clothes, big cars, Louis Vuitton's bags.

Some of these brands dedicated to this exclusive market opened, launched a special market also for common people. Objects, shoes, dresses.

Quality of course is still important for this niche of people, but there is a new movement dedicated to picking up  good clothes made in USA with good organic cotton.
Famous brands loved in the past are not anymore a top priority.
The trendy bag at the moment is a tote bag, better if it "speaks" about you and your tendencies,  policy  literature, environment.
The essence of a clothe? A shirt, a dress of good quality made respecting the environment the new direction given by the elite.

Money spent for unnecessary and expensive objects directed to  most important life's sectors.

We call conspicuous consumption the objects we buy and that we can classify as unnecessary.
This process is not new at all.
Rich Romans lived with a lot of conspicuous consumption at their times.
Egyptians in their graves! as well.
The only difference is that now there is a largest percentage of people, a sort of standardization of luxury and exclusive items ready for them and their wallets .

The real big difference between rich people and common ones can't be anymore the possession of an iPhone or a SUV.
Let's add that the middle class spend more money than not the rich class for these status symbols. 

The Aspirational Class, is in this sense different and they also go for the so-called inconspicuous Consumption.

The best is not necessary what they can buy, but what give satisfaction in terms of qualit.

These people will treasure for food, choosing the best ones directly from farms, eating well, organically, avoiding where possible industrialized food,  drinking well, doing Pilates.
They will preserve the tradition of sending letters and postcards,  living in an old-fashioned way and giving importance to little things and treasuring their time.

Women will choose to breast-feeding their children a habit pretty uncommon in the USA. 

They will have nannies for their children, they will avoid structures where to put them while they work.
This, for giving to their children a best quality of life.
These moms are more than 30s  because  they studied and they realized their life professionally.

Culture is the most important part of their life with good schools and later great colleges for their children, so that their quality-work will be great, their friends pretty good as they are, and once they will retire they will experience a lot of gratifications.

These people read a lot: surely The New York Times (if you also mention some reporters or very famous editorialists  you will see that they will be all happy and cheerful to talking to you all excited).
The NYT costs says the author 2 dollar and 50 cents everyday and 5 dollars on Sunday morning.
If you read the NYT you pay a lot for your culture add Currid-Halkett.
The New Yorker is another magazine that the Aspirational Class loves to read so badly.
These newsmagazine a magazine are read only by people of a certain culture.

Cities and life-styles different from the one lived in a little town.

The author told the example of her life while she was  studying in NYC.
She paid the rent of her apartment just for sleeping there.
For the rest, her life was all outside.
No one of the elite invites a friend in their flats in NYC, but everyone enjoy to seeing friends and colleagues in clubs, restaurants, theaters, cinemas.
NYC is a big home for its citizens and everyone love to go out from their flats, apartments, houses for living the city and socializing.

The book is very interesting, written with a captivating style, interest grows up every chapter you read.

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, giugno 13, 2017

Messy Beautiful Friendship Finding and nurturing deep and lasting relationships by Christine Hoover

It's a beautiful, inspiring book Messy Beautiful Friendship Finding and nurturing deep and lasting relationships by Christine Hoover published by BakerBooks.
The author is the wife of a pastor and she analyzes friendship and what friendship has meant and means for her and should mean for all of us seeing it under a christian perspective as well.
She starts from childhood when everything is simple, when friendship is more or less automatic. We are not yet into the adult age.
After it, Christine describes her high-school years and her best girlfriend with which she tried to keep a great friendship also after that they had finished high-school choosing different paths.

Because friendship is dedication.
Substantially we can't grow up a good garden of friends if we don't remove weeds, if we are not always there for irrigating our garden of friends with love, attention, good words, patience, energy, ability of forgiving, because we can be hurt and we can hurt during a friendship, being there in moments of need.

True, absolutely true that at university there is a great acceptance of the new ones and establishing good friendship is not substantially difficult. High school is over, character is formed, the biggest turbulence of teenage age over and young adults are ready to becoming what they want to become in life.

But the adult age is  tremendous for friendship because the person, the example the one of a woman, doesn't have anymore the spontaneity of the past in the approach with another person with which she thinks she could potentially become friends with.

The joy of being there with someone is replaced  by more responsibilities.
There is maybe a family with children, a house a husband, a work, a crazy life. Cultivating friendship become difficult. In particular if we have been hurt in the past, if we have hurt as well.

Christine defines a certain group of people: magnet friends. The ones with the capacity of being real magnets for other people. They start, develop and are in friendship with everyone, because everyone love them.

To these magnet-people Christine suggests a beautiful approach with people in need because these magnet-people received by God a great gift: they are charismatic and they're able to touch the chords of other human beings better than not another common person being so strongly helpful in difficult situations.

But what to do with friendship during our adult age?
Are we opened or closed?
We can't be closed to novelties and new friendship says the author, forgetting our wish-dream of a perfect friendship.

Some friends by Christine Hoover Kay and Kenny hung this sign when they were little: "Back-door friends are best."

It's wonderful.

When you receive the visit of a friend that doesn't need to knock to your door, and that it's like part of the family, a person or a girlfriend that mustn't be announced and she is there just for you, for chatting with you, for helping you, for drinking a tea with you with a slice of cake, for let you smile and receive your company, the best gift of this world.

Starting from this perspective, the author thought that at a certain point she had lost her "compass" in terms of friendships. She didn't want to make any new friends, she sounded uninterested to create other friends apart the old ones she had.
And it was, admits Christine, all her fault because she was searching for perfection.
Her friends had to be in a certain way.

Just later Christine understood that leaving open the door of friendship she would have met other wonderful girlfriends.
Giving hospitality a great start and a great example also for the most reluctant ones.
Yes because we mustn't search for perfection.
The perfect lunch, better if it's perfect but what we will be remembered are other sensations not just food, see at the voice Bridget Jones' blue broth.
Her friends didn't abandon her because that dinner well was a complete failure; the perfect house, the "what that x person will think of me?"...
These ones are intoxicating thoughts that won't bring anywhere.

No one is perfect but there is a singular imperfection in every friendship and in every human being and it's that peculiar imperfection of that person that maybe we are searching for, and not the perfection in a friend.

Hospitality and opening our doors will create great connections because we will open, opening our doors, also our hearts and permitting to everyone to be our friends.
Remember the quote in About a Boy a movie with Hugh Grant?
"Once you open your door to one person, anyone can come in."
Because: "No man is an island."

Let's also remember to be ourselves without too much interior and exterior make-up. I found fascinating the story told by Christine.

This book is not long but it is plenty of great suggestions if you want to keep, revive, living with Christianity your friendship with your girlfriends and all your friends.

At the end of the book questions for friends to discuss together, Lessons on Friendship, Wisdom from the Bible on Friendship.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, giugno 12, 2017

The Map that Leads to You by J.P. Monninger

I choose to read The Map that Leads to You by J.P. Monninger, you will find the books on bookstores tomorrow, because there are elements I found fascinating.

There is a young man of 28 years traveling through Europe with his friend and following the places his grand-dad touched a lot of decades ago. A precious journal this one of Jack's relative and kept as a relic. Jack is from a little town in Vermont and he is a revolutionary spirit.

Apart this, the story of three American girls Heather, Constance and Amy who, after their graduation from Amherst decide to visiting Europe in the so-called grand tour touching the most important and relevant European countries and cities, intriguing.
Museums, new friends, some relaxation before of the official entrance in every sense in real life and work of these rich, wealthy girls.

They are in a train when Heather meets for the first time Jack and it's love at first sight.

A rebel, Jack is a reporter for a little reality of Vermont but now, he confesses to the girl decided to stop for some while and to following the map of this old journal, plenty of suggestions, places to visit.
The journal of his grand-dad.

Heather doesn't imagine that this fatal encounter will be her destiny. Through Europe, and in particular to Paris the two fall in love and Heather find the determination of telling to her parents that she will return home with a boyfriend.

After all Constance is now truly taken by Jack's friend.
Her parents are a bit skeptical but... OK.
Just...Jack can't be found. 
Jack disappears like a phantom.

Months passed by and Heather feels a profound sadness.
Why Jack left her so abruptly?
Constance in the while tell her she will marry Raef and Raef later will tell her something crucial.

The trips of Heather in Europe are not yet finished...

The book is written very well. The narrative part is shockingly beauty, deep, profound, and I appreciated it for descriptions, intensity of places and situations.

It's a very quick reading thanks to the frequent dialogues.
I admit that this mix of narration and dialogues is fluid and the reader will finish the book in a very brief time.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, giugno 11, 2017

Llewellyns Complete Book of Ayurveda by Hans H. Rhyner

Vata, Pitta, Kapha, the main constitution of  individuals for Ayurvedic medicine plus mixed one types. Sixteen types of psychic constitutions.  Pathologies and diseases and much more.
Thanks to this book another great reality published by Llewellyns, you will discover your vital points, the physiology of the body, and what you want to discover and much more that you couldn't imagine existed in nature also in term of spirituality.

Llewellyns Complete Book of Ayurveda  by Hans H. Rhyner in online and physical bookstores will give to the reader all the necessary knowledge for discovering an alternative way of healing very known and with a great reputation: the Indian Ayurvedic holistic medicine.
We all know the profound spirituality of indians.
This art, the art of healing, will embrace not just a body approach, but a spiritual, psychological approach.

The Ayurvedic science has always been shared and never kept secret to common individuals so that everyone can enjoy and afford the powerful knowledge.

Considered like the mother of medicine it mustn't be treated like a Bible. It's a great reading the knowledge of our body, our mind and our spirit but there is not a definitive answer or perfection

This book offers great explanations and advice for many important topics including a daily healthy habit, an ethical life, purificatory treatments, medical astrology. You will know in fact that any zodiac sign is associated at some specific part of the body and that this part of the body (or these organs, they can be more than ones) is stimulated more than other organs and so the one that can fall sick with more simplicity.

Enjoy this book and discover much more of yourself, you body, your spirit!

I thank NetGalley and Llewellyns Publishing for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

Christmas at Lilac Cottage is a wonderful, romantic novel written by Holly Martin and published by Bonnier Zaffre.
Perfect for Christmas time but also for the good season it's the first book of White Cliff Bay series.

It's a beautiful, touching love-story this one told with perfect times, with great and very well constructed dialogues and long narrative psychological explorations of the various characters.
What I appreciated the most was the calm with which this book has been written, without any rush and with great descriptions of the daily life of the characters and moments they spend together.

It's like a long, beautiful, quiet walk or a hot chocolate cup this book where life has a meaning and where characters are treated with respect and consideration giving to them a big, clear soul and a punctual, global, amazing characterization.
Each character thanks to it, is alive, felt, portrayed with the exact profoundity and feeling and won't never be forgotten.

There is a lot in this book.

This one is not just a love-story with maybe, who knows? the happy end, (I won't tell you that!) but also the profound distress lived by some of the characters portrayed by Holly Martin.

So, also in this sense, when you will choose to read this book you will read a book plenty of meanings.

Penny Meadows first of all.

She was left years ago by her boyfriend, if he could be classified like that after her miscarriage.
A man unfortunately not interested to build any existence with her.
A miscarriage happens, you know and if there is real love no one would break-up a relationship for this reason.
Polemically her boyfriend will tell to everyone the superficiality by Penny.
No one believed him but the damage was done and Penny, devastated closed with men.

After all her relationship with him couldn't be classified like a proper relationship and well she isn't so great with men or self-confident with herself for trying to find other alternatives.

Penny is an ice-carver in love with her work.
She lives in a cottage and she has another part of the structure she can rent to someone.
Extra money.
Penny is thrilled by the arrival of this couple, for Christmas Time Daisy and Henry. She prepared them something delicious and ready to make friendship.
Just Henry arrives at first, plenty of good books from Hemingway to Steinbeck passing through Dickens, Hardy, Tolkien and the most recent Dan Brown and Ian Banks but a bit distant.
Penny is immediately fascinated by this man.
He is handsome and her attraction for him very strong although it appears clear than Henry can have all the women he wants and first of all there is a wife somewhere not yet arrived.

The arrival of Daisy for them, additional stress because Penny thinks at first that Daisy is his wife, while she is her daughter, someone abandoned by everyone when little and rescued by Henry.

From that point on Daisy suffers of a strong sensation of being abandoned by people of her life, she has nightmares and that's why Henry is cautious with women.

He doesn't want to start new and serious relationships with any of them also for not let feel Daisy like to being put aside.

Of course a relationship with a daughter is completely different from the one with a woman but to Henry is indispensable that Daisy wouldn't think that he neglects her and mainly he would want to find a lady accepted also by Daisy.
Daisy loves Penny and together creates some creations.
Daisy will accept Penny? And will Penny be in grade to win Henry and Daisy's hearts?

At the end of the book an interview with the author and also the recipe of Holly's mince pie cake.

I highly suggest you this love-story. Money very well spent and the sensation you will think is that in your hand you have a precious loved book.
First of all loved so badly by Holly Martin.

I thank NetGalley and Bonnier Zaffre for this other wonderful love-story!

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, giugno 09, 2017

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Illustrated by P. J. Lynch

Charles Dickens died this days, on June 9 1870.
And in this occasion it's a great pleasure for me to review A Christmas Carol published by Candlewick and illustrated by P. J. Lynch.

It's a story of redemption and of a soul, a lost soul saved thanks to the help of four spirits the one told wonderfully well by the big Victorian novelist.
I consider this one the most powerful Christmas' novel existing in this world and written by a divinely inspired Dickens as Dante did with his Comedia.

I reread this story every year once or two times, and trust me it's a balm for the soul.
The emotions, always the old, strong ones of the first time I read it.

I cry in precise moments of this moving, amazing story each time and I feel joy and sentiment of triumph when the story moves to a wonderful unexpected, beautiful conclusion.

Ebenezer Scrooge is a business man and what it counts the most to him is money.
Just that.
Because of his avarice his heart became terribly hard and closed to everyone.

He doesn't live well at all, he makes constant sacrifices, keeping cold also his workplace the firm he owns "The Scrooge and Marley" one.

Of course being so cruel with himself  he doesn't permit to the other people close to him to stay well, as well.

The opposite: Scrooge asks sacrifices to his clerk Bob Cratchit, avoiding him to add more coal at the fireplace, just in case.

Being Christmas's Eve the city of London is in ferment and that day keep busy a very irritated Scrooge.

His nephew Fred wanted to invite him for Christmas dinner, but Scrooge is pretty rude with his nephew, then two people asked for charity and sent to hell by Scrooge, then his own worker asking for a day off: the Christmas Day.
What a waste of time this celebration! think Scrooge upset with the world.

Not tired of being a solitary human being, he also send to hell a kid who wanted to help him when he fell because of snow-ice.

Thinking of course that being helped by the kid would have meant paying for it and not considering that the kid was simply gentle with a man in difficulty. Not everyone counts every action like Scrooge does with money.

At the end of a day after a meal spent in his favorite tavern all alone reading newsmagazines for free, he return home.

There, the spirit of Marley was waiting for him for presenting him the biggest gift he could have received in his life: the last chance for saving his life and...afterlife for better.

In this sense Scrooge has been a privilege because not everyone are advised so well of their bad behavior.

Marley's face was in the knocker of the door at first.

Scrooge is scared. No possible: Marley's face in that place...No, no, its no possible. Marley was dead he remembers it very well.

Once home he tries to see if for case there is something unusual in the house, thinking at some bad ingestion.

But strange sounds always more audible surrounds him 'till at the moment of the manifestation of Marley's spirit.

He was wearing a big chain.
All the good actions not done in his entire life, all his sins, were following him in this eternal prison and afterlife for reminding him of his absurd past life on Earth and keeping him into a darkness without peace and plenty of remorse.

But Marley doesn't want the same for Scrooge.
"You can still save your life, you can save you soul" he says him.

There is too much sufferance remembering what we could have done and what we haven't done for egoism.

Marley tells him that after his visit he will receive the visit of other three spirits: the spirit of the past Christmases, the spirit of the actual Christmas and the spirit of the future Christmases, so still in the shadows...

When Scrooge is left by Marley he notices that a lot of other business men close to him without peace and in the same Marley's condition. They were all crying in the darkness of the sky. "I knew most of them..." thinks a shocked Scrooge.

The first spirit of Christmas appear and bring back to the past Scrooge. Since he was little Ebenezer was a bit solitary and melancholic. Scrooge growing up had a fiancee and worked with a very good man who loved to give to him and Dick the other worker free time for celebrating Christmas and for enjoying life.
This man Fezziwig was a sunny man someone who wouldn't never have wanted to keep his workers in a miserable state.

But then, with the time Scrooge changed.
His avidity created a darkest heart unrecognizable by the same fiance who, one day decided to break up her relationship with him. She wasn't anymore important to him, money became his real love and she couldn't cope anymore with it.

These terrible memories moved Scrooge so badly. Once abandoned by this first spirit, the appearance of Christmas Present. A big, giant spirit with a sunny smile and abundant, because Christmas is this and more as well, warm and ready to guiding Scrooge through the various London's streets during this Christmas' Day.

Although Scrooge knows various people he doesn't know anything of their life.

They will stop by at his nephew's house, where Scrooge's nephew will tell the anecdotes of the previous days to the various people joined him and his wife for celebrating Christmas and although his wife not so indulgent with Scrooge he wishes all the best to this strange, avid and hard uncle.
After all he is his uncle.

But it's the house of Bob Cratchit, the biggest revelation for Scrooge.

A poor house with poor food, Little Tiny Tim is the kid of Bob with more problematics and he should be cured for surviving.
Unfortunately Bob's pay can't help too much.
Scrooge didn't know all of it but maybe also if he would have known it in the past, he wouldn't have cared at all.

Scrooge wants to know considering the condition of this kid if he will survive, but the spirit is hopeless.

IF things won't change: "I see a vacant seat in the poor chimney-corner, and a cratch without an owner, carefully preserved.
If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die."

Dickens can sees something precious, a great lesson in the family of Cratchit. They aren't rich, they are pretty poor, their shoes aren't beauty, their clothes aren't great at all of them all enjoyed to stay all together in peace.

The last of the three spirits will bring Scrooge in a darkest future where someone dies without to be at all mourned.
Tiny Tim gone, Mrs Dilber and her behavior...
His so-called business friends all happy for the departure of this man...

Possible that a dead man is so hated and so unwanted by anyone? Not cried  by anyone? Who is this ugly man?
Why the passage on this Earth was so disgusting?

He asks who this man is and the spirits materializing the cemetery where he is bury him point his finger on a grave: Ebenezer Scrooge.
Oh God, no! It's him!
It can't be possible.
His life has been a failure.
He asks for being forgiving.
Ebenezer asks for a change.

And then all the spirits gone.

When he get up he is a new man.
He asks to a kid what day it is and the kid tells him that it is Christmas.

From there Scrooge's behavior change drastically.

He doesn't mind after all if what he has seen real or fruit of hallucinations.
If these four spirits visited him or he lived just a strange episode.
He understands that life is too precious for living apart.
He understands that sharing and being a good friends and worker and uncle and relative is important.
He understand that being kind, generous, lovely is the key for reaching every person and every heart.
He understand that changing is possible and he wants to start immediately presenting the biggest turkey at his clerk Bob and family, accepting the invite of Fred for Christmas' dinner. The one of many other ones.
The day after Christmas, he waits with a strange patience the arrival of Bob at work. Bob is late. In the past this behavior would have irritated him or maybe he would have fired Bob.
But this Scrooge is another person.

He tell him immediately that he wants to increase his salary. He also promises to help his family and Tiny Tim who as Dickens wrote did NOT die!

Scrooge becomes for this kid like a second dad.

No one understood what happened to Scrooge.

Scrooge was not anymore visited by any other spirits but lived saintly every day and every Christmas as the best man in the world and it made the difference.

There is nothing to do: at this point you must just start to crying for the powerful message launched by Dickens.

This edition of A Christmas Carol has been illustrated by P. J. Lynch.

Warm, stunning illustrations at first Scrooge is portrayed like an old very mean man, diffident also with his own shadow and folded in himself.
A strange man because he choose to live isolated by everyone and to become who became with the time.
From a sunny normal boy, maybe a bit introverted when he was a kid to a very hard man.
Lunch captured very well the expression of stingy people.
The contracted face, as if he would be diffident also at the idea of giving out his breath just in case...
It seems to stay in London thanks to Lynch.
In particular in the illustration of Scrooge sending to hell the little boy, the contrast between the hard face and behavior of Scrooge with the rest of the scene and illustration, where the warm of candles and lampions keeps the city electrified and joyous for the arrival of Christmas with abundance of food, like ham and other seasons fruits and a joyous atmosphere.

London is portrayed as a warm city when in company, like an obscure city when a person decides to stay alone, alienated by all the rest of people.

I loved the illustration of Scrooge looking at the mirror the Christmas' day.
That one is such a weird smile for someone like him unable to smiling. Ebenezer feel joy, because he is still in grade to change his last, last page of his existence.

The predominant color of these illustration is yellow the color of light, of candles and the color not just of physical lights, the one of candles and streetlights but of interior light in grade to give to all of us the sense of life. When we don't see our own inner light anymore we are lost as Scrooge was.

To Scrooge seeing this light again meant like to be re-born.
To be conscious of what it means the meaning of life the most beautiful gift received.
It meant to him to re-born  a second time but with a different conscience.
The conscience that we can't destroy our life for living selfishly and that inclusion, altruism, joy, happiness and sharing and a generous attitude are not weak words but the engine of a wonderful, plenty and well spent existence.
Living well is not just important but indispensible so that once dead someone will remember the passage of our existence.

The joy proved later by Scrooge I just imagine was immense because changing in better the existence of people close to him is priceless and a great satisfaction for sure.

It's a novel this one I suggest warmly to everyone.

It can still be spring/summer time but there is not an iconic moment when to read this novel and let's remember that each of us can change and each of us can become a better man or a better woman imagining what it would happen if we would be visited by four spirits.

I thank P. J. Lynch and Candlewick Press for the physical copy of this precious, wonderful book.

Anna Maria Polidori