martedì, ottobre 31, 2017

9/11 and the Visual Culture of Disaster by Thomas Stubblefield

9/11 and the Visual Culture of Disaster by Thomas Stubblefield assistant professor of Art History at the University of Massachusetts, is a psychoanalytic book and trip thanks to pictures in the tragedy, or spectacle (never thought that the terrorist attack could have been read also under this perspective) of 9/11.

It's an interesting book because it filters the events of that days reading it psychologically, analyzing the meaning of fall under many perspectives like also the meaning of symbols like the Twin Towers were for Western Civilization.

We will see that in particular movie industry tried all its best at first to remove any mention of the terrorist attack "deleting" the Twin Towers in movies still in post-productions like Serendipity was.

To me changed also the elaboration of new movies. Hollywood focused much more on thematic involving death and after-life and tragedies, sufferance in general leaving the lightness apart. Art followed a similar scenario, preferring to avoid a real representation of the disaster.

Not only: we will read something about the key-role played by digital pictures. That year, 2001, digital cameras appeared to the horizon and played their key-role in this tragedy.

Many pictures taken of the various people, who, that day decided to fall from the Towers because too warm for staying there. The choice, the alternative was to burn in the buildings.

I also thought while I looked at that pictures of falling people if someone recognized their dear ones, thinking also at the horrific scenario people in the streets, spectators were seeing.
I still remember the crying of the people: "Oh my God!" was the main expression, observing the various falls with the consequent horrible departure of that men during a sunny beautiful September Day a normal work-day for them all, unexpectedly the day of their death.

Analyzed also the symbolic meaning of fall.

I highly suggest to everyone to read this book. For not forgetting and for trying to remember the world before 9/11, sunny and beauty and the society created later. It will be a strong reflection.

I thank a lot Indiana Press University for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

AnyDay by Henry Mitchell

AnyDay by Henry Mitchell preface by John Gallman was born thanks to the love of Mr. Gallman from Washington for his land. Although Mr Gallman at some point left his native State for Indiana, he continued to receive The Washington Post appreciating in particular the articles by Henry Mitchell about gardening.

Mitchell anyway loved also to writing about customs and society, I would classify these articles in that way, and when Mitchell died  the idea of publishing some pieces of his column AnyDay, the last article appeared on October 5 1984, the first on Dec 29 1973, born thanks to an intuition of Mitchell's wife Virginia. Mr.Gallman appreciated the gardening pieces by Henry Mitchell but these ones...Could they find readers? Yes because Henry Mitchell in that pieces writes about customs, about society. There is everything for everyone but this everything for everyone will be sufficient? thought Gallman.

Gallman started to read these pieces and wow! yes, they deserved to be published!

Henry Mitchell wrote about a potpourri of facts: from his aunt real rats hunter, to bad and good coffee, or bad and good food, passing through the advent of a so-called new curse for the world according to the conservatives, AIDS,  to Christmas, without forgetting Richard Nixon's tapes.  He portrays a stunning portrait of E.B.White, but will also write about dogs and other animals as well. Mitchell has a special fixation you will find also when he doesn't write directly of it: he loves Christmas and when he can writes of it,  it does it with joy.
Mitchell is dense and ironic at the same time, never "light" in his writing-style and AnyDay is this: the image of a country lived and seen through the eye of this columnist per years. A picture each time of new customs, new problems, new ideas, or just little facts of his ordinary day.

The cover is beautiful and the book created with great love.

Enjoy this book.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, ottobre 27, 2017

Cake, I Love You by Jill O'Connor photographs by Leigh Beisch Illustrations by Jordan Sondler

Cake, I Love You by Jill O'Connor photographs by Leigh Beisch Illustrations by Jordan Sondler is a sunny, absolutely delicious new baking cookbooks by Chronicle. It will surely bring sunshine in your life and the contagious enthusiasm of the author will conquer you!

If you follow Jill O'Connor you know that all her cookbooks are precious.
She studied at Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School in London and she loves to add in every cake a strong personal touch and a lot of fantasy for trying everytime to create a special cake, a cake remembered by everyone. As the author adds, I agree! a cake brings good mood and it's a joy for a family.
So: without forgetting our daily diet, adds the author, it's important to live this life giving some space to delicious cakes.
Chapters after a first introduction in the world of cakes and how to obtain a great cake with precious advice, are divided in flavors. Banana, Coconut, Chocolate, Caramel & Butterscotch, Citrus, Spirits & Spices, Garden & Orchard, but more what this book with its triumphant cakes will teach us is this: to add fantasy while we are baking.
The book is plenty of great examples, most of these cakes are simply superlative, incredibly elaborated and absolutely stunning. 
Each of them is explained very well so that you won't get lost and you can choose with logic what you will prefer to realize for a certain moment or special occasion.
They're for all tastes!

Highly recommended.
I immensely love the cover as well! It's a triumph of joy and happiness!

I thank Chronicle Books for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

The Hygge Life Embracing the Nordic art of coziness through recipes entertaining, decorating, simple rituals and family traditions by Gunnar Karl Gislason & Jody Eddy

The Hygge Life Embracing the Nordic art of coziness through recipes entertaining, decorating, simple rituals and family traditions by Gunnar Karl Gislason & Jody Eddy is a warm book about Nordic traditions In Winter-Time that lands don't see any kind of light for example but people not only are not discouraged but plenty of enthusiasm for enjoying time with family and friends, for staying together and for trying to create wonderful moments to remember forever.
The word hygge for example means taking care of yourself and your dear ones.

Translated, the word means: "coziness" although for Scandinavian it doesn't just mean creating a warm and inviting space.

Hygge it's an attitude for Scandinavian: it's that "feeling cozy from the inside out" says the author so that wherever people go they transmit happiness and joy. A positive attitude.

This book was born not just for Scandinavians: they know the meaning of a hygge life, but for all the rest of the people in the world. A special warm guide for taking good care of yourself and your dear ones.
Hygge means says the author: "Illuminating your world with value and grace." If you give importance at these two words in your life you won't never get lost.

Of course all recipes in this book are strictly Scandinavians but it's possible of course to copy some of them, and to enjoying the great advice of this book. What I loved the most reading The Hygge Life was to discover this sensation of attention, warm, cure for every details, because love means to sharing our devotion to others, to being there to others also for just an evening or a lunch or a special moment in our life curing particulars, details in the house, meals.

You will discover the main passion-beverages of Scandinavians, coffee and tea and how they love to drink them with a lot of suggestions!
but also how to take care of yourself, how to organize memorable  home meals during the weekend, or for a special movie night.

I found interesting and so funny the Hygge pizza party. All the participants will cook their own pizza! and it seems great. No one will complain ;-)
At the end of the book great advice regarding gardening and  for children how to raise a butterfly!
What a magic!
Highly recommended.

I thank NetGalley and Ten Speed Press for this beautiful eBook!

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, ottobre 26, 2017

Zingerman's Bakehouse by Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo pictures by Antonis Achilleos

Zingerman's Bakehouse by Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo pictures by Antonis Achilleos is a book celebrating the first 25st anniversary of this yummy reality! born in Michigan and feeding up people from that State but also the rest of the USA.

This book doesn't want just to let you know this important reality from Michigan and OK its special successful birthday and anniversary, but wants to share with you all their best recipes, some of them authors tell are still unknown and never never shared in the baking classrooms that they often organize.
Zingerman's own hundreds of recipes from bread to cakes. During these years they  opened other 10 businesses stores and 700  people work for them.

Zingerman's wants to be an artisan bakery with traditional methods.

Frank was born from Sicilian's parents in Detroit. He enjoyed pasta and arancini and later when he moved to Ann Arbor he started to work in a restaurant and he discovered he loved it!
Amy Emberling was born in Nova Scotia, Canada and then she studied  cooking and baking in Paris. She is with Frank one of the founders of Zingerman's.

In the book at the beginning how to start to bake with success, necessary tools, ingredients. Then enjoy yourself and your eyes in this delicious trip through the best of baking.
Every recipe explained in detail, sometimes you can discover its story. Every treat is born once for a reason, you must know. Hungarian and Jewish  baking the most favorite ones at Zingerman's. You will find, we are in theme, close to Halloween, A Transylvanian's Cinnamon Swirl Bread, a Boston Cream Pie, a delicious Challah (Jewish baking tradition), Ginger Jump-up Cookies, a wonderful Sour Cream Coffee Cake, and you can try the Sicilian Sesame Semolina Bread just for naming some of the recipes you'll discover in this wonderful cook book.
It's not important if it's a feast, it's not important if it's  a special occasion, a cake or some cookies will always be loved and appreciated by your family and friends and a part of that "Sharing Memories Passing through Food" so important in our existence.

Highly recommended.

I thank Chronicle Books for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

The Wompananny Witches Make One Pizza by Jennie Palmer

You know: being a witch is not simple. You can be misunderstood, surely you are not the most loved creature on the face of this Planet and more or less people don't want to have anything to do with you. If they know that YOU are a witch of course.

Anita and Winifred Wompananny love to cook to badly and that's what they love to do all the time and everyday. In particular what they love to cook the most is pizza, their favorite food (who knows if Anita is related with someone close to Garibaldi and Italy? We will never know).

They hate, strongly hate children. Just the pale idea of them scare them to death and so also for this reason they prefer to stay inside and cooking, cooking, cooking but one day some children ring their doorbell...

It's a theory I know: if you put your fears and anxiety in your dishes while you are cooking they won't be great. And same it happens to these poor witches and their pizza. They create a one mean pizza and this pizza starts to go out, without any control. Poor them! Everyone was scared and children the order of not eating it, but once a toddler thought: why not? discovering that it was simply divine! and spreading the word so that everywhere children ate the delicious one mean pizza of these two after all funny witches.

Not only these poor witches who thought that they were discriminated started to be loved by all children but they simply enjoyed and adored to cooking for children.

Being appreciated, and being considered is the main lesson of this book. If we give importance to people, people will be more joyous and happy sharing with us with joy and harmony their numerous or little talents.

Perfect for Halloween, The Wompananny Witches Make One Pizza by Jennie Palmer writer and illustrator is a cute, wonderful children book. At the end  the recipe of the famous One Mean  Pizza (be careful who knows what can happens when you cook it in particular if you are  a witch eheheh...) for the joy of everyone!

I thank ABRAMS and Abrams&Chronicle Books for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

Vintage McCall's Journal by The McCall Pattern Company

If you want to be trendy as you are, elegant, and vintage at the same time, also when you write your thoughts in a journal, a little snob but not too much, and you are an addicted of dresses, hair, make-up, and you search for a sophisticated journal, able to keep you company, where to write down your thoughts, and your best moments, the time you spend with your friends outside, what you do, what you like, and what you dislike also in terms of fashion and latest gadgets and bags, go for Vintage McCall's Journal   by The McCall Pattern Company.
Trendy boys and girls' illustrations will invite you to share with them your thoughts. You can do that with simplicity because the pages are lined and elegantly illustrated so you will be precise and perfect! all the time exactly as when you go out with your latest incredible outfit!

I thank Chronicle Books for the physical copy of this journal.

Anna Maria Polidori

Herbert's First Halloween by Cynthia Rylant illustrated by Steven Henry

Herbert's First Halloween   by Cynthia Rylant illustrated by Steven Henry is a wonderful cute story for little children: the story of Herbert and his first Halloween.

Herbert is a cute little pig and he doesn't know for sure what Halloween is, and if he can loves it. He is skeptical. He wouldn't want to go outside the night of Oct 31, he wouldn't want to celebrate, he would want to stay in his little house. His daddy, big smile on his face let him see the pictures of his own first Halloween when he was a little tender pig and so Herb starts to ask if he can be a tiger, not a phantom or a ghost, and his dad says that yes it is possible. Herbert's dad carves a very smiling pumpkin and the costume for the night of Oct 31 and they put it on the porch . When they goes outside, Herbert notices with joy that also all the other parents are with their children outside asking house after house for some candies and sweet treats. What a joy to receive all that candies!!! thinks Herbert.

Beautiful, sunny story I strongly suggest it to your little children!
They will love it so badly. Illustrations are sunny, and familiar, for a fresh approach, without any scaring important thematic regarding this feast. The feast, Halloween, lived like a wonderful, sunny celebration, as it should be.
Herbert and his dad are two sunny characters you'll love a lot!

I thank Chronicle Books for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

Earth+Space 100 postcards featuring photographs from the archive of NASA text by Nirmala Nataraj

Are you a fan of postcards? Are you a postcrosser and you search for something different than the common postcards of the place where you live in? Are you an enthusiastic of our Earth and Space? A fan of planets, stars, satellite, nebula, closest galaxies? Do you want to see our Planet from various different perspectives like also the rest of our Planets? Do you want to get lost in the wonderful magical nebula of our Space? Ready to discover the beauty things and scenarios of all the rest of our other Planets and their satellites? Are you fascinated by our Moon and you would want to discover a different perspective of it? Do you want to enter in the Sun for discovering its hidden secrets and...spots? Would you want to see  and send our Milky Way? If your answers are all yes or most of them yes, Earth+Space 100 postcards featuring photographs from the archive of NASA text by Nirmala Nataraj by Chronicle Books is a great product for you! and all your dear ones.
Impressive, superlative, of course dreaming, the Universe is seen in all its most powerful and spectacular beauty, for enjoying more than staying in the clouds :-) a complete different dimension and wonderful moments.
Share these postcards with all the people you know and stay sure of something: that this gift, this thought will always be appreciated! because extra-special and...galactic!

I thank Chronicle Books for the physical copy of these postcards.

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, ottobre 25, 2017

Historic Rural Churches of Georgia by Sonny Seals and George S.Hart, foreword by Jimmy Carter

It's a wonderful, important, heavy, precious tome Historic Rural   Churches of Georgia by Sonny Seals and George S.Hart, foreword curated by ex Former President Jimmy Carter published in association with Georgia Humanities by Georgia University Press.

I asked for this book because I live in a countryside and our church is a rural one and when I can immerse myself in the green I am always happy!

The main sensation that this book will present you when you will open it? A big tranquillity, a great peace, derived by a harmony of environment, people (you will imagine them) and places lost in an undefined time, and in grade to penetrate violently in your soul for restoring it and staying there at long, trust me.

The book speaks of Sundays Masses, people and communities.
Also during difficult times, hard work in the fields, a hardest life if compared at the one we are living in now, these religious christian communities, Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, found proudly time for God.

These ones in the book can be rural black churches, or rural white churches, the cult and cure for these sacred places the same one: precious, intense and felt. (Churches of black and white were separated because of racial problems in the past.)

Each of these rural churches has an iconic start, an iconic beginning and a great, little story behind. A pastor desired to build a church supported by the entire community; the community asking for a church.
Every church speaks of a precise historic moment and every church has an important story behind. Every church speaks of a precise, defined christian community.
All these rural churches although now most of the time closed are very well-preserved and remembered. Some of these churches restored just in very recent years; other ones still in function for special events, other ones property of some privates, a rural church still opened in the 1980s with a community of 81 members.

Why a rural church was so important in the past?
In general the desire from the emigrants of having a place where finding God, where praying God with dignity where staying together also for some moments exchanging the latest news of their little corner of the world where they lived in was felt as a necessity. A church meant this and more in the Old World like in the New One.

You breath all the warm of the purest South reading the various stories of these rural churches and the little cemeteries close to them admiring the beautiful, stunning pictures of this book, inspired by a divine touch.

There are cemeteries where the most eminent people seen in all the magnificence of their graves; there are cemeteries where there are still the graves of the founders of the congregations; you will see gravestones of soldiers of the Secession War (1861-1865).
Yes: people in rural Georgia rest seriously  in peace in these little cemeteries where memory is preserved like a relic.
These cemeteries gives a sensation of peace, of relaxation.

Like a big city, also rural towns tell the story of a State, sometimes with a most vibrant intensity.
Like for all the territories of the USA, you will read an articulated story of the creation of the State of Georgia. Territories were Native Americans and slowly they became property of the white man, let's use this expression and the last ones of giving up the tribe of Cherokee.

Most of these rural churches built at the end of 1700.
Each rural church "illustrated with words" and then with  wonderful pictures for recreate the magic of the past and the beauty of the present: a calm sensation of being in a place of peace beloved by everyone.

I have seen just a church in bad condition in this book, strangely one of the most recent ones from the end of 1800.

All the other ones have great dignity, and they remain special sanctuaries and guardians of a territory. Some of these churches have separate entrances for men and women and some of them still the spring-fed baptismal pool, some are brick constructions.

But why this interest for these peculiar churches?

The authors at first were searching for their origins and the idea started to take shape thanks to this reason: they thought that searching for rural churches would have been captivating. A rural church was the center of the aggregation of an entire community.

The authors opened a Facebook page, asked for information and received a lot of pictures, suggestions.

Ex Former President Jimmy Carter lived in Plains. It was a real emotion reading his foreword because I read Christmas in Plains , in 2003, it was a Christmas gift from Constance and Bert an American family from the South who bought a house in our corner of the world. As also President Carter remarked in little rural places schools and churches the only buildings presenting to people life and community.

Times changed customs and most of the people who spent their life in rural places preferred to abandon these lands for searching for a best life maybe in a big city, but these rural churches and their cemeteries remain for report to everyone the story of a solid past, of solid people with values, of ancestors still whispering their little or big "Spoon River" in the closest cemeteries.

This book can be according to my point of view a great start for a trip in the most profound, real and rural Georgia.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, ottobre 24, 2017

Sweet Christmas Romances 2017 by Sharon Kleve, Jennifer Conner, Angela Ford, Tammy Tate and Laura Strickland

You will feel all the magical atmosphere of Christmas with Sweet Christmas Romances 2017 written by Sharon Kleve, Jennifer Conner, Angela Ford, Tammy Tate and Laura Strickland published by Books to Go Now.
Sweet, romantic, touching tales, they will pass through the most special moment of the year, Christmas. Everyone should be happy and joyous during this period of the year but sometimes it's not like that.
I want to focus the attention on the first tale: Evie’s Christmas Chocolate Kisses by Sharon Kleve.
Evie, the protagonist, is not particularly happy at the beginning of the story. She lost both her parents the past Christmas and she is also stalked by her ex boyfriend. Confection Connection the delicious workplace where she works in located in Boston Massachusetts. That work and the production of a lot of delicious cookies keeps her busy most of her time although the owner of the store worried for her, suggests her of adopting an animal for not staying completely isolated from the rest of the world. While the store is visited by Boston Food Finds receiving great reviews, and so more and more success, Evie thinks that maybe it is arrived the moment of choosing a pet.
While she is choosing the dog  she will adopt, she meets Nick, the vet of the structure and it's love at first sight. Evie doesn't choose a common dog, but someone special with wounds still to heal called  Brewster. Like her he suffered a lot...

All these tales are framed by sweet memories, great moments, delicious recipes, friendship, love, a wonderful happy end and a lot of Christmas Spirit!
The other tales are: Analeigh’s Christmas Cupcakes, Chrissy’s Christmas Sugar Cookies, Amy’s Christmas Casserole, Margie’s Magic Cookie Bars.
Enjoy these tales! They're all deliciously optimistic, relaxing, beauty, written with great passion and perfect to be read during a relaxing moment with a good warm cup of tea close to you!

I thank NetGalley and Books to Go Now for this eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, ottobre 23, 2017

The Happiness Hack: How to Take Charge of Your Brain and Program More Happiness into Your Life by Ellen Petry Leanse

The Happiness Hack: How to Take Charge of Your Brain and Program More Happiness into Your Life by Ellen Petry Leanse by Simple Truths will be released at the beginning of November.

Like other self-book this one is born for a necessity: to describe to readers how to be happy, once the author discovered this process thanks to a personal intimate research.

The author tells that she spent very heavy moments and she didn't know what to do of her life. Apparently everyone close to her were happy and cheerful, while her existence didn't have any sense anymore.

She asked for help but this help too quick and she said no. She started to read. A lot but only when she met a crucial organ for our body, she thought she had discovered everything: we speak of our brain.

It's substantially our brain the boss, CEO of everything for our body. Heart included.

It's our brain that permits us the simplest and more articulated actions  during the day although of course we can't notice it too often and we don't think of it at all most of the time.

Ellen Petry Leanse started to read how our brain works and later, how we can control ourselves re-educating our behavior, our habits, trying to diminish the time we spend close to devices like PCS or smart phones and giving more importance to our life.

A very excellent self-help book brief but intense.

Highly recommended.

I thank NetGalley for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, ottobre 20, 2017

The 9/11 Generation Youth, Rights, and Solidarity in the War on Terror by Sunaina Marr Maira

It is a theme I love to treat this one.
I had three correspondents in NYC and the day of 9/11 I lived a real nightmare because I didn't still know if they were all safe.

That terrorist attack was for all of us a sort of before and after.

We understood someone launched an unclear war with hidden soldiers: phantom ones ready to sacrifice their lives for destroying our Western civilization and many poor innocent human beings. A dirty war.
It was more than clear that our old world would have changed forever. Like also our destiny.

This one is a book that wants to let us discover the other face of that post-terrorist attack; the most hidden part of it, the one no one speak about too much: what happened in the immediate in the Muslim communities located in the USA and interacting with the rest of people mainly white ones.
We speak of South Asians, Arabs and Afghan Americans.
The discrimination they lived because of this terrorist attack and diffidence they experienced but also their fight for being considered well and not included in the spiral of diffidence created and wanted by terrorists.
What did they start to be? Activists, rising their voices against discrimination, fighting for human rights of every sorta.

The 9/11 Generation Youth, Rights, and Solidarity in the War on Terror  by Sunaina Marr Maira published recently by New York University Press starts the trip in the democratic California in a place like the Silicon Valley for brains arriving from every part of the world.

The Silicon Valley and San Jose are places populated by open minded minds but where, young people from the ethnic groups said before experienced psychological violence, verbal violence, after 9/11 in particular if they were undocumented citizens just for the fact of being of the same ethnic group or religion of the terrorists. And sometimes not just verbal.

The answer the creation of an activist movement in grade to speak internally and externally at the USA.
Why this?

Because young people understood first of all that it was necessary  sharing a best knowledge of their communities, their religion and their customs in the USA and with the other Americans, although they were ready to fight and promote their activism outside as well.

It's a very interesting book. It speaks at the mind and heart of everyone and again this one another book reporting of communities and ethnic groups fighting in the USA for their Rights and the rights of an entire, wounded humanity devastated by hate, diffidence, racism and persecution.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, ottobre 19, 2017

Breaking Bad 101: The Complete Critical Companion by Alan Sepinwall

Breaking Bad 101: The Complete Critical Companion is a book by ABRAMS written by Alan Sepinwall.
Created by Vince Gilligan, I admit I didn't know this TV series but the book is written divinely well,  giving to  the fans all the best  they want to know and appreciate of the various series.
It will be for sure a wonderful gift or a great present for yourself if you are a fan!

I thank NetGalley and ABRAMS for this eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori

Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen

Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen is a funny, intelligent, and entertaining book by Workman about the past methods used for curing the most important or little illness.
Historical, precious, great old-fashioned illustrations, you will fall in love for Quackery because it will make you smile, laugh, it will entertain you and at the same time will inform you about various chemical elements adopted in the past for the cure of various illness. We will discover the collateral effects for the body with historical important examples.

The book is divided in: Elements, Plants and Soil, Tools, Animals, Mysterious Powers.

Some example?

We will learn that President Lincoln started to suffer of bad headaches and they became more horribly important at some point because doctors insisted to curing them with mercury pills and so with devastating consequences for his body. A man was buried because a mercury addicted; he thought he discovered the fountain of youth; surely a luminous fountain of death.

Arsenic is another important poison. In the past a perfect and elegant "gun" for killing someone. Tasteless, it could be added in food or drinks. Medici and Borgia fans of this poison.

Someone else tried to cure alcoholism with a potion including gold! symbol of immortality as well.

I could continue with long descriptions of other various chemical elements (and not only) used in the past for trying to heal people from the most diversified illness, imagination has no boundaries in this sense, but I just can tell you something: I have a digital copy of this eBook and it's stunning. I guess that the physical copy is incredible and trust me when I tell you that if you will buy this book your money very well spent. There is great quality, it's an old-fashioned book, with a lot of medical history treated with lightness and a lot of fun, and plenty of funny medical stories.

Highly recommended.

I thank NetGalley for this beautiful eBook!

Anna Maria Polidori

A Precautionary Tale: How One Small Town Banned Pesticides, Preserved Its Food Heritage, and Inspired a Movement by Philip Ackerman-Leist, foreword by Vandana Shiva

A Precautionary Tale: How One Small Town Banned Pesticides, Preserved Its Food Heritage, and Inspired a Movement by Philip Ackerman-Leist, foreword by Vandana Shiva is a shocking tale about a little italian South Tirol town called Mals and some citizens like Gunter the first believer in this dream, helped by a new young mayor, and a lady called Annemarie. They created a town pesticide-free and a movement against the use of pesticides. A strong battle, as you will read.

The area where they live in, Val Venosta, in fact is shockingly productive regarding a fruit everyday we all eat on our tables: apples.
Only Val Venosta produces the author tells the 10-12% of all European apples available in a year.
Apple producers wanted to create a cohesive brand giving quality and origin adds the author. The product created in less than 50 years with this expansion. Orchards tells the author are sprayed also 20 times per season.

For this reason and many other ones Mals, this little town started a crusade for staying out from all of it, preserving its food traditions and they do it with success.

At the end of the book useful informations and what to do if also your community lives a situation like the one of Mals.

The book doesn't forget legislative informations regarding the use of pesticides in the USA.

I thank NetGalley for this  ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

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