sabato, marzo 31, 2018

Happy Holidays!

I wish to everyone happy holidays!

Anna Maria Polidori

Talking into the Typewriter Selected Letters 1973-1983 by Christina Stead with an introduction by Hilary McPhee

Talking into the Typewriter Selected Letters 1973-1983 by Christina Stead with an introduction by Hilary McPhee a book by Melbourne University Publishing Limited presents the latest decade by this beloved writer seen as letter-writer.
Once her husband died in 1968, alone, Christina lived in poor health, without money, drinking too much, missing her husband, enjoying the company of her family.
At first letters were compiled for publication by her friend Ron Geering.
Many letters including notes and greeting cards from a voracious letter-writer as Stead was during her life, and in particular once her husband William Blake died and she understood that it would have been impossible to re-meet with simplicity her American connections and friends, she replied to every letter received with joy, enthusiasm, writing about books, writers, political views. This one is a selection of drafts of  letters and cards, sent to different people. Stead loved to rewrite letters before posting them.
An epistolary book speaking about creativity, books, travels, literature, policy, last part of the life.
What I love the most of Christina Stead as a letter-writer is her spontaneity and that "being there" for her connections with all herself.


Anna Maria Polidori

On the Couch A Representative History of the Analytic Couch from Plato to Freud by Nathan Kravis

On the Couch A Representative History of the Analytic Couch from Plato to Freud by Nathan Kravis published by MIT Press is an intelligent  and captivating book. Absorbing, interesting original, enthralling this volume is not only the story of the psychoanalytic couch, a method started by Freud, so that the patient "couldn't see" the psychoanalyst while he was "telling" him his problems in a relaxation state, but it is a cultural and historical trip of the couch starting with Jewish, Greek and Romans and what it meant to them the recumbent posture, in particular when they ate or searched for some relaxation.
The born of another beloved furniture like the sofa in the XIX century, the necessity of portable and invalid furniture because of wars and TB without forgetting  the cultural meaning of the couch, what the couch represents in psychoanalysis and the debate psychoanalysts "live" regarding the couch other thematics of the book like also curiosities involving Freud and his special couch.
This volume is an aesthetic trip through sculptures, pictures, paintings by Canova, Titian, Picasso, Renoir and many other immortal creatives of the past representing women, men on the couch, without forgetting funny cartoons by some New York's magazines.

Wonderful, original, visual book!


Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, marzo 28, 2018

The Da Vinci Campus and its experience with Susan Fransisca


I knew the MIT at first because of Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher) of Two Men and Half and later because of Sheldon Cooper Big Bang Theory. Plus because of the articles of the Boston Globe.

But...I didn't wait for a surprise like this one. One day I had just received a catholic magazine when visiting  the page of my city  what I read? A student of the MIT was at Umbertide? Much better than to discover that your favorite actor is in the area, or that your favorite band will sing at your birthday, I started to call the school for arranging an interview.

I met an enchanting atmosphere and the desire of sharing with passion what students and teachers are doing. I found a healthy place that I would suggest to all your children if you live in the area and if they love math. physics, or if they want to study languages, because oh boy! the Da Vinci is extraordinary. I don't have other words for describing it.

That night I didn't sleep. To me the idea of meeting a great brain was too exciting. Boston and Cambridge are cities I feel a lot because I established with the time contacts, I live Boston with an immense love, it would have been a great day.

I was living a pretty stressing existential moment and I was so sad and this one was and unexpected joy and a good reason for a moment of escapism and a splash in the unknown. And yes, while I was at the Da Vinci there was a moment in which I thought that I was becoming like a dinosaurs. Lost in my books, with a PC still with dial-up connection it was great to discover what an excellence the Da Vinci is.


In Italy best schools are not private ones but public ones in general and everyone can go proud of a high-school with great potentialities, donating to their students so many tools for understandi the present and the future. A future in continuous evolution. 
 Enjoy this article.

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It's a sunny and beautiful day this Tuesday 25th, when I drive to Umbertide, italian city in the center of Italy for meeting one of the most beautiful minds of the MIT Susan Fransisca a senior student researcher in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning, in the city and in the Da Vinci Campus thanks to the GPL, Global Teaching Labs proposed by the italian MIUR Ministry of Education University and Research last October.

Some MIT's students thanks to their preparation afforded to Italy on Jan 8th for "helping" local teachers  during their lessons, sharing  important information with them and their colleagues.

Twenty-one italian public schools involved in the GPL the only Campus selected for Region Umbria called also the Green Heart of Italy the prestigious Da Vinci Campus.

Umbertide is a city devoted to foreigners. More than 100 families are from UK, USA, Australia, Ireland and there are more than 2200 muslim in the city.

A charity created by some British and American ladies called Books for Dogs supports with success a local shelter located to Lerchi. They bring progress and dignity in the structure selling used books, DVDS, clothes, and many other items.

Once at the Da Vinci I discover a relaxing and at the same time stimulating reality.
Happy students, happy teachers, the headmaster Franca Burzigotti tells me she studied in that school, the taught there and now, eventually, she ended up to become the headmaster from more than a decade. She is happy and she can't complain at all because her students, more than 1000, are good people and don't give problems.

For trying to stimulate their students to read much more Burzigotti tells me she created special mini-libraries  points in every floor of the school. "You can see. Students pick up what they want.
Plus we have started the digitization of our library, thanks to the help of 4-5 staffers of our school. Students accesses this service online with our tablets. We go proud of our library. It contains a debate point where teachers and students spend time discussing of interesting topics."

The Da Vinci section of "Liceo Scientifico" as it is called in Italy the most important preparatory high school for university involving subjects like math, physics, presents, I discover diversified branches for every taste.

The "Scientifico" passes through the Cambridge course, to the linguistic or socio-economical course, but students can also "pick up" human sciences or applied sciences.

Another part of the Campus is dedicated at the ITI where students are formed for working directly after the high school with efficiency if they don't want to go to the university and branches in this case are mechatronics and energy.

The IPC's branches are Computer Science and linguistic.

I visit the Labs where Susan spends her days with teachers and students with Giuseppe Giorgi staffer of the Da Vinci and great Cicero.

I see a reality in motion, creation of products, models, ideas, demonstrations of the laws of Gay-Lussac. There is fertile imagination, harmony and relaxation between students and teachers and a wonderful place where to become good men and women.
I meet Anna, a girl with some problems, followed with devotion and attention. "We do appreciate and love her a lot" confirms the teacher.

Ms Tironzelli of the Lab Biology is teaching at some students of the Cambridge course.
"They follow english lessons without troubles."
I ask to the students how many hours of english they attend.
"We study three hours of english, then other two ones with a mother tongue teacher and then we study various topics in english."
I ask to these students if they want to stay in Italy once they will complete the high school.
"No, we want to go away."
Where would you want to go?
"Boston" is their answer.
The teacher, smiling says me that they are enchanted by the presence of Susan, a girl everyone appreciate a lot.
These students during the summer-time spend weeks in foreign countries where english is the first language spoken. This summer has been chosen Belfast. They have been in the past to Dublin and Cambridge.

Scientific instruments at the Da Vinci are new and the best ones. 
I see microscopes with cameras, LIM blackboards  connected with PCs in every classroom so that it is possible to save lessons sharing them later with students.
PCS are Windows 10. The Da Vinci organizes courses for externals for ECDL, the European Computer Driving Licence.

In a Lab there are different new 3-D printers and a plotter , in another a teacher explains me he brought from home his old 3-D printer for being fixed. "It's 7-8 years old. We ordered pieces from China. Look at these ones. Let's hope for better" explains with enthusiasm.

At the ITI I see where prototypes born everyday. The most touching one a little shooting ball machine for a student in a wheelchair with the desire of playing basket ,  thanks to the Baskin project.

Another classroom enchants me with the model of a beautiful little house. The teacher tells me that that one has been a project created by a student of the fifth year.

"Thanks to the structure of the house and these wires we can think at the house in its complexity and visibly. Wires for electricity, water, but also for alarms, and many other options and connections."

Another stunning project the one of a model of a greenhouse . "In this project we thought at the aspects that a good greenhouse should have from water to warm, with the chance of opening the roof if warm is too much. It's a centralized and creative greenhouse."

I enter in a classroom where Susan will help teacher Trombettoni with her lesson. A student is connected via Skype.
"Guglielmo is sick but he choose to follow this lesson as well. Thanks for being with us, Guglielmo."
The teacher explains that with the PC on her desk she follows the PCS of all her students.

Once my tour in the various labs ends I return to the office of the headmaster for my meeting with Susan Fransisca.

A girl of apparently great simplicity, big warm smile, she smiles most of the time, she checks her smart-phone for messages continuously, she wears a necklace with a cross.  I ask if she is catholic.
Followed like a shadow by Sonia Bartocci,  a lady who shared with her most of the time, following our interview as well, she confirms my suspects. "Yes, she is catholic and she also attended the mass two weeks ago."
Sonia continues: "She didn't sleep in my house, she had her own independent apartment, but we shared most of our time together, meals, good Lord she is a robust fork for sure, she eats everything and with great appetite. One day we went to Tuscany. She celebrated her birthday here cuddled by everyone and this past week-end she decided to flying to Paris for meeting some friends."

Susan Fransisca's life has been intense, wonderful and plenty of satisfactions.

She told me that she thought she had a special gift in math when she started to take part at the International Mathematical Olympiads reaching important scores and winning bronze and silver medals.

"I left Indonesia for studying in Lawrenceville, NJ for three years, and then I was accepted at the MIT."

I ask for the atmosphere of cities like Boston and Cambridge.

"They're cities plenty of students and culture thanks to the Universities and you see everywhere students studying. Including during week-ends" she says smiling.

Susan is not new at this experience of student/teacher that she considers funny.

"Last year I have been to Mexico as a student/teacher. In general before we leave we participate at some courses regarding the culture of the country where we will spend our time in, how to interact with students, without forgetting materials we want to share with students and teachers."

Susan visited Italy in the past in the classic tour loved by foreigners: "I have been to Milan, Venice, Florence. This one is my first time in Umbria."

Susan's future is clear. She will become a researcher.

I ask her something about the MIT: "It will be my last year as a student. The motto of our Institute is: Mens et Manus so it says all. It's pretty learning by doing. The atmosphere is academic although everyone is excited for what we are doing."



The best approach for a sunny future.


Anna Maria Polidori

21st-Century Oxford Authors Robert Browning Selected Writings Edited by Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan

21st-Century Oxford Authors Robert Browning Selected Writings Edited by Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan is a beautiful tome born with the intention of presenting a great instrument of knowlege of Browing and his poems to students, teachers and common people.
In this book also some of the most important letters he wrote during his life.
Browning was a first and only child, born on May 7 1812 at Camberwell. His dad was a collector of old books and it's not wrong to saying that he experienced a privileged homeschooling. He started to compose pretty soon.


Fertile, creative, you will discover in this anthology  his dramatic monologues. Browning was a master of the genre.

I thank Oxford Press for this beautiful book.


Anna Maria Polidori





martedì, marzo 27, 2018

Ciao, Fabrizio

An angel with a wonderful smile, under the semblance of a gentleman,  with the treats of a man of another time,  the spirit of a kid enchanted by the life returned to Heaven this Monday.

60 years ago God sent him on Earth with a mission: to present smiles, joy happiness and enchantment to everyone he would have met.

Wonderful character,  harmonic, gentle, educated, nice, good with everyone like a common TV viewer, since I was little, I want to remember Tandem, later important TV programs like Telethon Italia, I Fatti Vostri, Scommettiamo Che? L'Eredità,  you have been part of that life I spent watching intelligent TV programs.

Thanks.


Your legacy is immense and your cordiality and enthusiasm for the life  never forgotten like also your generosity.

Many condolences to the family.


Anna Maria Polidori





venerdì, marzo 23, 2018

Packing my Library An Elegy and Ten Digressions by Alberto Manguel

Packing my Library An Elegy and Ten Digressions by Alberto Manguel by Yale Press is the story of his immense library given away by the owner and his wife when they were still settled in France in 2015 and they decided to moving away and a celebration of this library and all  libraries of the world, not forgetting the main protagonists: books.

Alberto Manguel, best-selling author and bibliophile will soon introduce you to his immense library.
He describes it in all its magnificence.
At first he discovered shelves plenty of children's books when little, thanks to his parents. The most read and beloved classics.
Later he built book by book his library.
Each library "tells" his owner, affirms Manguel. His books, his tastes, and where the life has brought him or will bring him. Books read by reader influences his life as well. I agree.

But not only private libraries speak to us: also public ones where everyone can borrow books home.
The author confirms that he has been tempted of keeping books he borrowed home from public libraries because he fell in love for them.

Public libraries are crucial points where people find informations, read, surf the web.

A public library located in a certain city meets the exigencies of its readers and its cultural tradition offering certain literature, and each public library will "meet" along its path different motivations, tastes respect to a library of another city or country.

Manguel analyzes the advent of eBooks considering them a good instrument although he prefers an old-fashioned copy of a book because of the physical contact and same he does with dictionaries a bit "lost" at the moment because of new technologies, but when he was little a passionate instrument for discovering meanings, new words. A door into the knowledge.

Packing and unpacking his library meant when he moved somewhere a lot of help because Manguel accumulated 35.000 volumes.

Manguel treats history, celebration and later departure of the important and legendary library of Alexandria of Egypt with its main protagonists. It is still unknown while later it disappeared.

Although he "lost" his library because he decided to moving from France to an apartment on Manhattan Upper West Side Alberto Manguel received soon the offer for becoming the director of the National Library of Argentina. Born in Buenos Aires, he didn't live for a long time in Argentina but he replied enthusiastically at this offer.

This book is for all book lovers of this world.

Highly recommended.

Anna Maria Polidori

Let's clarify a point once for all: William Blake and Christina Stead WERE NOT MARRIED!

It will happen again but please let me know next time immediately my error because I know the truth and I have correct perceptions but there is nothing to do: sometimes my mind and brain wants to report incorrect  informations believing a different reality and there is nothing to do!
Trust me: it's worse than fake news!




Telling to you the truth I laughed when I discovered where the error in these reviews was but I know me and my good soul, my character and my lacks.

I guess that the authors involved were pretty upset because believing or imagining with my mind a fact not existing at all and mixing like in a modern fairy-tales characters taken in other periods is not at all great a great idea. Plus the idea is that the book hasn't been read or not interpreted well.

Everything started today with an e-mail that kept me mentally busy and later the clarification when I received the new book by Christina Stead from Melbourne Press: Talking Into the Typewriter.
Thanks to Melbourne Press and NetGalley, I appreciated a lot to reading A Web of Friendship. Unfortunately with the departures experienced during this past year the second one was more hard to digest and more sad, The Salzburg Tales.

But problem is not this one: Christina Stead became invariably in every book  involving William Blake sculpture, poet, writer, painter of late 1770 her wife, her second wife, her devoted wife.
I also loved to remark this wonderful marriage plenty of love.
Pity it was fruit of my fantasy and not because the two parts didn't want to live it, who knows it? but because they lived in a complete different period.

Now: William Blake was born in London on 28 November 1757 (we share the same zodiacal sign, decade) and he died in London on august 1827.


Christina Stead was born in Australia in 1902 and died in 1983 and yes she was married with a writer called William Blake but that he is not associated in any possible way with the painter and writer of 1770s.

Not only: I read previously her letters and I knew she was born in 1900s.


Rationally I knew all of it, irrationally, it's all another story.

I am truly sorry with the publishing houses connected with reviews involving Blake and Christina Stead, somewhere baptized also Catherine by me, Princeton Yale and Melbourne Press. I don't know what they can have thought but I just can tell them that it's...me.

I commit these mental errors.

Days ago I sent an e-mail telling to someone I liked the book I was reading about Dahl. Well that biography was about Dr.Seuss. I knew that he was Dr.Seuss.
I don't know why it happens. I know that it happens.

So please, when in the future you see some errors like these ones, drop me a line because I know that the reality is different but my brain sometimes wants to escape in another land imagining something else.

Many thanks for your attention.


Anna Maria Polidori




PS: I am cleaning all reviews from these errors and I will re-share them soon.

mercoledì, marzo 21, 2018

This is Service Design Doing, Applying Service Design Thinking in the Real World A Practitioner's Handbook by Marc Stickdorn, Adam Lawrence, Marcus Hormess, Jacob Schneider

This is Service Design Doing, Applying Service Design Thinking in the Real World A Practitioner's Handbook by Marc Stickdorn, Adam Lawrence, Marcus Hormess, Jacob Schneider a book published by O'Reilly. Aggressive style, colored book, a splash in our reality, made by frenetic life, the advent of the net.

Service Design promotes a new way for reaching possible customers also in distant corners of the world where once an unthinkable option offering the best services and trying to attract in the best possible way people for monetizing, but keeping in the mind the centrality of the whole: the customer and his/her most secret desires for a constant success.

This book is of great help in terms of ideas for every kind of business you develop. You can have a  store, you can sell shoes or guitars, or you want to promote your latest song or you are a creative in search for additional help, or an organization, a hospital, a public or private structure. This book will be more than helpful.

What Service Design does in fact is to provide services that final people, customers, patients, consumers will appreciate. The work of Service Designers is finalized at the satisfaction of consumers and customers.
What Service Design does is not to add lipstick on a pig as they write but creates value in a structure, brand, company, reality so that later it is appreciated.

How do they do that at Service Design? Through an interdisciplinary approach, visualization tools, creativity for meeting the exigencies of a certain shop, organization, store.

First of all Service Design will search for data. Data is a mixture of facts, that will be read and interpreted. Divided in two parts, raw data and empirical data (the latest ones produced by experience) they give a first asset; then Service Design will search for persona so a group of people, customers or users based on real research.

It's important to understand for a store with the desire of increasing customers to understand first of all what expectations their customers have and so demographic informations, location will give a best idea of the tastes of that kind of customers.

Then will be monitored a journey map of this persona (group of people) for trying to understand their "mood" as customers.
Of course these journey maps could involve a lot of people and more these personas are large and more they give a good vision of the whole.
The next step is the prototypization of products and ideas for later being shared once tasted and felt winners with and for customers.

For this discipline ideas are neither good or bad but they must be useful for the purpose exactly as this book will be for you if you have an activity or you need to revitalize your store or your brand.

This discipline is used in every possible life-sectors: examples in the book let us see a prototyping idea for reducing the waiting time for breast cancer patients, or redesigning the experience of customers of an airplane company following the steps said before and adding much more at all of it.
Not only: Service Design is a topic in Austrian's high schools integrated into a subject called: "Business and Service Management."

Highly recommended!

I thank mr. Stickdorn for the physical copy of this important book!

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, marzo 19, 2018

Portraits from Life Modernist, Novelists and Autobiography by Jerome Boyd Mansell

Beautiful, interesting, and attracting.
These ones are the words for describing Portraits from Life Modernist, Novelists and Autobiography by Jerome Boyd Mansell an enchanting book about modern novelists and their personal relationship with biography and auto-biography.

You can read this book "disconnected" so, if you are in love for certain authors, reading the portion of biographies involving them or you can use this book for creating a profound connection with all these seven authors interconnected together.

The authors taken in consideration: Joseph Conrad, Henry James, Ford Madox Ford, Edith Wathron, H.G.Wells, Gertrude Stein, Wyndham Lewis.

Some anecdotes you will find in this book?

Well, in general during their auto-biographies these authors will try to write something in a different ways, altering episodes, reality. Conrad was famous for "painting in his books" facts and people realistically lived.

He avoided of telling in his autobiography of a tentative of suicide he experienced. Maybe he didn't want to return to think at such a depressing moment. Understandable.

We will discover that the fascination felt by Gertrude Stein for paintings, she was a beloved friend of Matisse, Picasso was later projected in words. She wrote their biographies, without neglecting her own one.

Henry James lived a strained life, surrounded by a lot of tragedies, sufferances and personal breakdowns for this reason. Maybe that was why he searched to analyze so scrupulously the life and its events and people. He is the writer of the self-revelation, he is the author of the immense stage that it is called life in all its tragicity sometimes.
His characters, never trivialized are seen in a psychological intense lens, and that cruelty sometimes the life can presents to people thanks to ambiguous people and situations.

Edith Warthon, another example wrote a wonderful autobiography of her early years, treated with great lucidity and passion. Many problems in Wharton's life, in her auto-biography she will portray a great Henry James, seen more like a man than not like a writer giving of him a private aspect unknown to the most.

This one is a very good book, where you will breath the sophisticated atmosphere where these wonderful writers lived in, appreciating their existence, their personal torments, their joys,  that later would have been put in words, or in most cases treated with distance or avoided. After all, everyone would want to re-write some part of his/her existence, giving a best expression and most of all by-passing the atrocity of sufferance.


Writing sometimes is a process chosen for healing from internal pains exactly like for a painter painting, a singer singing an actor acting. We mustn't never forget it.


Buy this book with the certainty not only of a great product but of a wonderful fluid book, where there are a lot of interesting facts and a full sophisticated immersion in the Modernism. The lives of these writers are lived with brightness, lightness and at the same time accuracy and yes, love.

Highly recommended if you love literature, if you want to discover something of your favorite authors, if you are curious to discover more about autobiographical dimension and process experienced and lived by these seven writers.

I find fascinating the cover where the life's lightness and heaviness, immortality and mortality are mixed together displayed by the beautiful day, seen by an open window but at the same time by  the hand put on the shutter and on the right the darkness that can be read as the most obscure dimension of the spirit.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, marzo 18, 2018

Greta Grintosa by Astrid Lindgren illustrated by Ingrid Vang Nyman and Eva Billow

Greta Grintosa  or Gritty Greta by Astrid Lindgren illustrated by Ingrid Vang Nyman and Eva Billow published with great success by the publishing italian house Iperborea is a children's book that you and your children will love so badly because in some cases you will be transported in magical worlds as it happens for Goran and his sick leg. A magical friend will let him discover every night a wonderful world where it's possible the impossible and where he can enjoys to walk because there, nothing cares and that one is not a problem.

The book opens with Greta (that will also give the title at all these short tales) a solid little kid of 7 years and her sick granny. She loves her sick granny and now, look, she is sick close to Christmas' Time. What to do? Greta will sort out everything with success.

In another story a little bird hidden in a magical clock will help two children to buying gifts with its gold eggs keeping them company.

The story I loved the most maybe the one of Albin and Stig. That two babies, later toddlers, later kids, later teen-agers spent a real hell during their life thanks to the competition started by their respective parents about their own abilities. So each parent pretended that the child had to be like the other one and vice-versa. An incident lived by the two ones will let them discover the silly situation in which they were been catapulted by their parents for all the existence, still brief, understanding that each person is unique and rich of potentialities and can't be a copy of another one.

He was a joyous and peaceful animal Adam Engelbrekt a bull of great respect, surrounded by a lot of cows, but nothing to do, one day he becomes crazy, aggressive. Just the sweetness of someone will fix this problem.

There is another wonderful tale this time involving a princess all alone surrounded by all possible games but unhappy. She doesn't want to play with anything and she is always unsatisfied and unhappy.
Only the discovery of a new kid, with which she can plays, chats, will let her discover the joy of playing.
In this tale we notice many important aspects: the discovery of a place plenty of things in grade to present solitude. Company, friendship, real precious gifts that two parents can donates to her daughter; precious material things sometimes are not the most beautiful ones (they can keep the Princess in solitude), the importance of a life shared with others is the answer. Friends in grade to make happy the Princess are priceless although they are poor as in the case of this kid, accepted by all Princess' family.

The adventure of Nils Karlsson will be great you will see.
He is very little, like a thumb, and he lives in a mouse's house. The mouse-house is in the bedroom where Bertil a kid stays, and one day he materializes his presence. Bertil is alone and doesn't have a lot of company and friends so he is more than happy not only to discover that he has a new little friend but to become part of the magic. This fairy-tale is beautiful because it talks of friendship, sharing, donating, giving, playing, having fun, spending time together. One of the best fairy-tales of this book.

Samuel August is a very poor kid. In his dreams he imagines to start to breed rabbits. Two white rabbits.
He doesn't have money for this dream. He lives in a very poor house, but one day he met along the road a very rich man and thanks to a work he does for this man he receives a pay in grade to cover the cost of the rabbits.

Eva's tale is very sad because her mom is sick and she must stay with that two disgusting aunts. Another tale will treat the thematic of death.

All these fairy-tales are beautiful and they have as you will see profound meanings.

I highly suggest to everyone this book because it is spectacularly funny,  and at the same time it will permit to your children some moments of escapism without forgetting the important lessons that these tales wants to share with the readers of all ages.

I thank Iperborea for the physical copy of this beautiful book!

Anna Maria Polidori



sabato, marzo 17, 2018

Blackberry Winter (Neve a Primavera) by Sarah Jio

Days ago I was searching for a book when I noticed the one by Sarah Jio, Blackberry Winter italian version called Neve a Primavera in one of my shelves bought time ago. I felt a strong sensation when I bought this book. I knew that it would have been a great read.
A book is a magical object.
As I say often books will search for you for being read, and when it will be their moment. The moment for this book was days ago. 

Sarah Jio's books are intriguing, interesting, there is nothing to do: they are intelligent ones.

She is a reporter and it makes the difference in the narration of the story. In love for homeless, this reporter and writer will always treat these thematic in her books.

The story "starts" in a newsroom. Do you know how to keep a reader interested? Giving to him/her the best in terms of news.
Simple?
Not always, but sometimes some events are in grade to re-connect old times with current events and it's a true success of public.

The old with the new is a winning match because it speaks of memory, old times, episodes remembered, desire of re-telling and sharing.

It's local history re-emerging on the surface and recreating an old magic: the unity for an entire community, joy, enthusiasm, new passion because these old facts still taken in consideration.

An old news re-treated in a newsmagazine if told well will present a great fascination.

New readers who didn't live in that historical moment will find it interesting and old people will remember that moments with pleasure.

Frank, the vice-chief editor of the newsmagazine where Claire Aldridge works in Seattle knows this guideline very well and calls her.

On May 2 1010 a big snow falls covers of some inches the streets of Seattle exactly like on May First 1933.
He is excited.
He doesn't want to lose the opportunity of telling this story.
He asks Claire a great story. Not a simple one but one in grade to make the difference.
A story in grade to create a powerful bridge between past and present, presenting to his readers interesting facts and anecdotes of that year and that snow.

Claire lives a delicate moment of her existence and she is in crisis with her husband as well. She lost her sparkle and enthusiasm for this work and this piece doesn't present to her any kind of enthusiasm but additional stress.
With the help of Abby, the researcher of the newsmagazine she tries to discover something.
What attracts her, apart of course the big surprise for snow, some events without too much significance for a piece will be the disappearing of a toddler of just 3 years, David. Yes: this one a stunning news.

Why did he disappear? What happened? Where did he go? Was he found alive? Who was her mother?

The story leaves 2010 for joining Vera Ray on May 1 1933. It was a cold day in Seattle, where desperation, frustration, starvation were the situations Vera was living in.

Vera...Years before she lived a beautiful, wonderful love-story with someone more important than her but that didn't mind of classes and appearances.

Desperate, when Vera lost her toddler she will try all her best for finding him.

Claire investigates,  interviewing people remembering that little kid David and Vera, she will read the acts of the trial discovering the entire shocking story that there was behind.

I don't want to add anymore. If you haven't still read this book, go for it with the certainty of finding intriguing characters, a great plot, wonderful investigation and two stunning love-stories.



TEALIBRI.

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, marzo 16, 2018

Theodor Geisel: A Portrait of the Man Who Became Dr.Seuss by Donald E. Pease

I discovered Dr.Seuss for case. Once some American friends sent me pictures of rompers for their children. There was written One and they were red. They explained me that it was because of a famous Dr.Seuss' book, The Cat in the Hat. I decided to buying that book, The Cat in the Hat and sequel. Funny stories for sure, now when I find Dr. Seuss' books I buy them immediately!

Dr.Seuss has been a caricaturist but mainly an author of children's and adult's books. Children's books born for learning and having fun at the same time. Plenty of irony, of healthy nonsense the messages contained? All that weird possibilities and chances offered  by the life if seen under different perspective, glasses.

There is an optimistic vision in these books, there is  a possibility of escapism in every situation thanks to original problem-solving methods discovered for example by the cat in The Cat In the Hat in the second episode in particular.

Who read Dr.Seuss when little develops to me a vision of the life in grade to let him/her sorting out problems once adult with more creativity respect to other children who didn't read him, developing at the same time a great sense of humor.


When one night, surfing the web, I discovered the book Theodor Geisel: A Portrait of the Man Who Became Dr.Seuss by Donald E. Pease, published by Oxford University Press with the smiling, kindly face of an elderly man, close to the portrait of the most iconic character he created The Cat in the Hat I thought: I want to read it!
What a life he lived!
His family with his ancestors afforded in Springfield Massachusetts immediately after the 1850s. German origins, Springfield a city in expansion presented a lot of success for the family involved in various business, including brewery.
Then Theodor Robert, the dad of Dr.Seuss married Henrietta Seuss in 1901. Dr. Seuss would have arrived to this world in 1904.

This little man suffered a lot because of the discrimination suffered during the first world war. Not only: Germans tried their best for demonstrate that they loved the USA fighting this anti-German sentiment. The same little Dr.Seuss involved in various initiatives for helping and supporting soldiers but not only it didn't help but he lived a very and unpleasant episode with President Roosevelt. This episode will sign all his existence. When Dr.Seuss constricted to speak, or appear in public he found this problematic because of that traumatic and humiliating experience he lived.


Very soon it was clear that Dr.Seuss was talented in writing and drawings and was encouraged to continuing to do that.
The first and most important publication in 1937: And to Think That I saw It on Mulberry Street. The most important American magazines and newsmagazines wrote wonderful, splendid reviews. To him it was a success.

The years he spent to Dartmouth coincided also with the collaboration with the Jack-O-Lantern's magazine although later because of an episode involving alcohol and prohibitionism Dr.Seuss constricted to abandon it  and working under pseudonym.

 One day he said to his dad that he would have wanted to study to Oxford. His dad was so thrilled! to accomplishing his desire, although the year spent at the Lincoln College not remembered very well by Dr.Seuss.

Then the Second World War, his works for prestigious magazines, and the arrival as casualty at the great success with The Cat in the Hat. New formula, with the one of a good, pretty crazy eccentric intruder in the life of two children Johnny and Sally left all alone at home by their mother and in grade to bring into their life a sparkle of magic with its imagination: the cat element of disturb when the conservative, worried fish would have wanted that the children wisely would have sent the cat to hell, also for obvious reasons of safety eheheh.

The book is composed with rhymes so that children can also enjoy reading, appreciating rhymes and the magic brought by the Cat. But look at the sequel for experiencing maybe the best of the best with the return of the cat and a lot of tricks for sorting out a problem created by him.

The Cat is the metaphor of Imagination to me, the Cat is that unexpressed desires of children that take shape under the semblance of a cat and in grade not only to present a lot of fun and magic, with some extraordinary adventures but opening to them a world of possibilities.

Dr.Seuss created not only intelligent characters but characters in grade of helping children to develop imagination while they are learning.

The most famous long book written by Dr.Seuss is How the Grinch Stole Christmas! although every book by Dr.Seuss is a masterpiece of creativity and good humor and you are more than welcome to buying them for you :-) and your children.

After a traumatic episode in his life he also developed passion for adult literature. Dead in 1991, generations of children grew up and are growing up with his books.

I thank Oxford University Press for the physical copy of this extraordinary biography!


Anna Maria Polidori



giovedì, marzo 15, 2018

I Wish I Was Sick Too! by Franz Brandenberg, illustrated by ALIKI

"The best part of being sick is getting well" with this phrase said by the parents of the two sick kittens I can synthesize this beautiful children's book by NYRB: I Wish I Was Sick, Too! by Franz Brandenberg, illustrated by ALIKI.
The protagonists of this so cute and sweet children's book story is a cats' family.

Edward one of the kittens of the couple falls sick and so he receives a lot of attention of course from his parents. Grand-mother stops-by for telling him stories and fairy-tales, Aunt Anna and Uncle Peter call for discovering if situation starts to going on well.

Elizabeth, Edward's sister is upset because she has to do everything. Homework, piano lessons, dishes, feeding the pets.

She wishes to be sick as well, but you know: be careful what you wish for... The desire is materialized soon.

Edward when Elizabeth is sick tells to his sister that now he does all the part of jobs that their parents can't do because she is sick, exactly as she did.

The two smiles.

The two kittens understands the important message of gratitude. Gratitude for help and attentions received by their parents during the illness; gratitude for their granny who read them fairy-tales while they were sick; gratitude to all that people like aunt Anna and uncle Paul who called for asking about their health. So the two kittens decide to thank everyone for all that love and support received while they were sick: they prepared a special meal for their parents, reading a story to their grand-mother, and calling their uncle Paul and aunt Anna for chatting with them.

It's a powerful message this one.

We mustn't never forget people who love us and the ones who stay close to us and wants to stay close to us..
People who care for us are very important and spreading our love and tenderness to them it's important and indispensable. Let's start to bless our family with good sentiments starting with gratitude and good actions.
Always.

I thank NYRB for the beautiful copy of this book!


Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, marzo 14, 2018

Oxford by Martin Parr

I discovered Oxford in a very old issue of an italian magazine dedicated to Italians who wants to learn english. It was a dream to me that atmosphere, sophisticated, exclusive. At that time I was just 14 years old. Oxford, Britain so different from our schools and atmosphere.

I wouldn't never imagined that in the future I would have been in grade  to read with passion Oxford Press books and neither that I would have reviewed them. No, because dreams are dreams and this one was a dream to me.

I can tell you that I also found  a wonderful warm team of people with which I collaborate at Oxford Press and I am very happy for it.

So with these premises you can imagine that I was more than tempted when I noticed this photographic book just called: Oxford written in pictures mostly by Martin Parr.
I love photography. I am an addicted of photographic books, plus re-discovering Oxford from the inside...
Why not?

I requested it immediately and thrilled my expectations plenty confirmed. It's a photographic jewel that you can't lose to buying.

There is a big warm in Oxford, for what I can see, with a big sense of normality, relaxation, but at the same time there is a special vibe, an energy and an enthusiasm that it is wonderful and captivating. 

Oxford is solid with its traditions,timeless tables where generations of students studied, ate, shared their dreams and expectations, immense libraries, good memories.

Alumni of decades ago won't forget this special place and they will see each others for special events, remembering the old times when they studied there, without forgetting these new students with their diversified voices.

Pictures portray the normality of gestures. Knitting with the group of "Knitters Friends" yes, there is also this group in Oxford, but I found fascinating also the Oxford University Press Choir, a picture of the head gardener of Corpus Christy College mr David Leake.

You will admire the hierarchy of various teachers, and traditions and customs like the ones of Oration at the beginning of each academy year in Convocation House.

Bodleian library where students study and research. The camera of mr. Parr will try to penetrate in the most peaceful place of Oxford finding busy students absorbed to studying.

I want to remember a picture taken by mr. Parr with Stephen Hawkin dead today, the most important physician after Albert Einstein so in love for black holes and the mystery still hidden by them during the opening of the Weston Library. A man who created a dialogue between common people and science with an accessible language, trying to transmit his love for physics and astronomy to everyone, being very popular. He appeared on The Simpson, The Big Band Theory.

Once when I looked at a picture of Simon Tsang, custodian of Christ Church I thought: oh, look, what a paradisiac place, it seems Harry Potter's Hogwarts.
Ahem, yes I completely forgot it: most of  scenes of Harry Potter were filmed in Christ Church! That picture is a real passport for the magical land of Harry Potter's world just in a click. Impressive.

Oxford celebrated famous feasts like the Summer Heights.

You can see pictures of beautiful, very good-looking boys, happy and cheerful during various sportive or mundane events.

There is a big curiosity: for the first time after 800 years Professor Louise Richardson a woman became vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

I can't help myself but I couldn't stop to crying looking at the pictures of graduation. It's a step reached, and one of the most beautiful of the existence. It's not just study. It's a phase of the existence where a boy or a girl lived with other colleagues, experienced, breathed a certain atmosphere, grew up, matured, studied, learnt now ready for winning other fights.

No sure if you knew it, but exams are taken in academic dress. White carnation is for the first exam, pink for an ongoing exam and red for the final one.

But look: graduation won't leave too many tears to your eyes after that you will see what happens after the ceremony to graduated students!!! for their fun, fun of their friends and our own fun and smiles.

Did you know that dogs are banned from Oxford colleges? Yes, they are but...There is an intruder. And he is admitted! A little dog proudly called cat. Better not asking him what he thinks of that name maybe he would be upset, who knows?

I have had the sensation looking at these pictures that people are relaxed, cheerful, joyous, happy confirming me that where there is culture there is peace. In every sense.

Don't lose the afterword by Simon Winchester!

Highly recommended book to everyone!

I thank so much Oxford University Press for the physical copy of its soul.



Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, marzo 12, 2018

Conquering Lyme Disease Science Bridges The Great Divide by Brian A.Fallon, MD and Jennifer Sotsky, MD

Spring will come to town soon. Gardening, long walks, hours of sun, possibilities of walks in forests with our friends and with our dear dogs, roads in lovely countrysides will become our best allied for re-generating mind and body, picnics, taking pictures of beautiful seascapes and landscapes, gym in opened-spaces or reading a book under a big refreshing tree-shadow, adventurous trips...
This one is the most magical moment of the year so waited and loved because in grade of refreshing body and soul after a rigid winter-time.

Yes: spring and summer are all of it and much more.

Less romantically it's also the moment of the arrival of ticks. Yes: the negative part of the story.

Columbia University Press recently published: Conquering Lyme Disease Science Bridges The Great Divide by Brian A.Fallon, MD and Jennifer Sotsky, MD a wonderful, impressive study on the topic, under all possible angles.
Ticks, diagnosis of Lyme Disease, tests, exams, treatments, family and psychological support and much much more explained with clarity and desire of being helpful.

It is crucial to understand what can potentially means for a body Lyme Disease if contracted because of a tick bite, and important in particular if you live in certain areas of the USA.

But... I wouldn't want to relegate, confine this book just at American readers. Lyme Disease is a reality in most places and countries and it is better to know what it could means to suffer because of this illness.
Informative, captivating, very-well written and for specialists and common people, you will be more than satisfied of all the informations received, trust me.

What is exactly Lyme Disease? Authors explains that it is the most commonly reported vector-born illness in the USA.

I would add that this one is a "systemic illness" because if not treated it involves all organs of our body, brain and heart included.

Discovered in the USA the Lyme disease is a complicated illness.

This book will catapult you in a dimension of great complexity with an apparent innocuous illness starting like a common flu in most cases  becoming a terrible, horrible illness with invalidant symptoms, long cures, sometimes per years and with a medical world skeptical and divided regarding Lyme Disease.

Step-by step, with photographic help, it will be clear what happens when you starts to develop symptoms, what damaging this illness can does at various levels, cardiac and brain one included, but also the latest tests, exams and treatments discovered more recently without forgetting that ticks brings with them potentially other infections explained with clarity like also diagnosis and treatments.
An interesting topic the one about the cycle of a tick-life and what can be done by population for trying to avoid this danger, staying safe.

A chapter involves all that illnesses apparently considered part of Lyme Disease but that are a complete different story. Some example? Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Celiac Disease,  Chronic Heavy Metal Poisoning and so on.

It's important to understand that prevention is important with Lyme Disease. An environment plenty of deer, wild pigs, rats, can be a great humus for ticks.

Good news: although this one is a spirochetal infection, and syphilis transmitted sexually, studies say that in this case there is no evidence of sexual transmission.

A special section is dedicated to newest vaccines but also what to do when you are bitten by a tick, how to do for removing the tick successfully and when we should start to be alarmed because bitten.

Lyme Disease is still a dividing illness and a controversial illness as said before. Not all doctors accept the illness and treat it with desire. I found hilarious the cartoon I am posting here and taken from the book:

but it is true.

This book has a very optimistic approach and soon let's hope this illness will be defeated and just a distant memory.
If you want to stay informed about Lyme Disease, this book is for you and for all your dear ones.

Highly suggested to everyone.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, marzo 10, 2018

Becoming Fluent How Cognitive Science can Help Adults Learn a Foreign Language by Richard Roberts and Roger Kreuz

I have chosen this book by MIT press Becoming Fluent How Cognitive Science can Help Adults Learn a Foreign Language by Richard Roberts and Roger Kreuz because I know a lot of people who learnt a foreign language once adults and with great success.

Learning a foreign language means a lot of motivation but with this book you won't fail for sure, because it unifies the best new informations that there are about learning and also how to do this with profit and without losing too much time.

All of this, thanks to cognitive science. This one is an interdisciplinary movement that began visible in the 1960s knowing affirmation in the 1970s. Cognitive science involves a lot of disciplines: psychology, linguistics, philosophy, neurosciences, artificial intelligence, anthropology, education.

Cognitive scientists promote inclusivity and new points of views.

But, first of all Becoming Fluent starts from an encouraging assumption: forget that if you are adult you can't learn another language if you put desire, hope, expectations, work and enthusiasm in this adventure.
The adult brain is more "flexible" (look at the chapter "meta") because more experienced than the one of the child so there are strategies that can be found and used for learning a language only in an adult brain.

Sure: the brain of the adult is not anymore a sponge in grade of absorb everything. The adult brain absorbed, elaborated and became what it became also thanks to experiences, facts, and life spent.

Less fresh than the one of a child positively let's add that a new language means a new start.

New enthusiasm for a new culture, new people, a different country, different traditions, new discoveries. Learning a language is not simply a story confined in a different tongue but it is also the adoption of an entire different way of living that maybe will always remain abstract and distant for you but that you wouldn't never have known or appreciated if you wouldn't have embarked yourself in this adventure.

Becoming Fluent will explore with you all that errors you shouldn't commit like learning words or phrases memorizing them and then, of course once the lesson is gone and you made good figure with your satisfied language teacher (eheheh), not remembering where to allocate them and more horribly discovering that you don't know anymore what they mean because you used them just for that lesson.

A common error this one.

I have known people like these ones. They have excellent scores in general. I remember a classmate in grade to learn an entire book as a parrot but if interrupted wasn't in grade to tell to teacher nothing of what previously said.

Where these people lack?

They memorize but they don't learn.

The important process when you want to start to learn a language is  setting some goals trying to imagine yourself and what you will learn in a month, two or three with realism, without putting you too down or in a stellar position.

If you do that and if you surround yourself with people more or less of your same learning-level you will see improvements because you won't be alone. A companion, a friend, is important during a course and being surrounded by a person at your same level will create a comfort-zone. You won't be surrounded by a person too prepared and in grade of putting you down or less prepared than you and in grade of not adding anything good to you.

In english there are levels of knowledge of language from 0 to 5 but did you know that in the USA there are people who couldn't pass a level 5 test for example? A language is tested by fluency and of course accent.

In the book various exercises for stimulating our memory.

There is to saying that many scientists think that knowing another language can exercise the brain in a very healthy way keeping it young.

Another interesting experiment proposed by the author will involve distant memory.

In the book is cited a book I love so badly and that I read when I was a teen-ager, Psycho-Cybernetics: A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life by Maxwell Maltz. Maltz was a plastic surgeon. He discovered that most of his patients wanted to change their faces or part of their bodies because of a profound interior sadness and that's why he wrote this motivational self-help book.
Maltz talking of  new houses said that it is necessary three weeks for perceiving a new house as home. At the moment scientists think that things can be different, it mustn't be precisely three weeks and same is for a language.

Try to incorporate your new language into your daily life because as previously said it will be a winning strategy.

Why reading this book?

Because it speaks of new languages, of our brain, of our habits, of errors  frequently committed when we learn a new language, because it will give the proper tricks for not failing thanks to innovative studies and because it is encouraging.

Highly suggested! to everyone good luck with your new language.


I thank MIT press for the physical copy of this beautiful book!

Anna Maria Polidori 







venerdì, marzo 09, 2018

When I was a Photographer by Felix Nadar Translated by Eduard Cadava and Liana Teodoratou

When I was a Photographer by Felix Nadar Translated by Eduard Cadava and Liana Teodoratou is a book published by MIT Press.

The author was a french photographer, novelist, intellectual although in this book what you will "read" are his own words.
This one a wonderful according to my point of view translation of Nadar's book: "Quand J'étais photographe."

I adore photography because every picture is a little big history.

A picture doesn't say anything the first second you take it, but after a minute or a day it starts to be part of your history and the history of your loved ones or a landscape or seascape you visited.
It's important to remember and this visual art gives us this precious gift.
I am a compulsive photographer so when I saw this book I fell immediately attracted by it.

Digital pictures revolutioned years ago under many aspects the "taking a picture" moment more "calm" meditative with the old common camera but at the same time digital cameras are keeping the process of taking pictures more "democratic" and accessible to everyone so that moments can be remembered massively.

With this book we descend at the beginning of the creation of photography.

Mr Nadar was born in 1820 probably in Paris.
Nadar wanted to become a reporter but later became an estimated writer and photographer and he was also known because of his passion for taking areal pictures thanks to a big baloon.

At that time it was more than clear that it was possible to use light for impressing something spectacularly interesting: it could have been possible to capture an instant and a touch of eternity for all men and the world thanks to a special instrument, fixing faces, places, giving a new sense to the world and leaving to the posterity a real trace of ourselves.

At that time a picture was a stratospheric experience, so unique that every place was taken in consideration with great surprise, enchantment and curiosity.
Nadar was very severe with his own work, as you will see and if not satisfied by his results he would have thrown away the proofs considered unacceptable.

I found beautiful the stories in his photographic studio, where you will see mr Nadar lived his own experiences.
He was a good expert of human souls. After all: how can you capture in a picture the soul of a man or a woman if you can't penetrate their mystery?
I think you will be delighted to read the differences that there are between a man or a woman's vanity, or the experience Nadar lived with a young guy one day.
But not only: Nadar's writing-style is beautiful. He speaks intellectually well of a certain topic, leaving you absorbed in the reading for then being back abruptly at the story that he started at first and immersing you in a fresh and intelligent dialogue often with a lot of interesting life-experiences, vivid, real and I am more than sure that you will fall in love for these stories so badly from the first line.

You will capture the sensation of freedom and distance from the common world and its problems while Nadar is flying in a balloon for taking pictures seeing wonderful fields colored like a big and natural quilt.

Very humorist man, plenty of wise anecdotes and profound connoisseur of life and what it is, I suggest this book to all that people who wants to read it as a sort of mirror of the times.

The past is our present, reading between the lines of Nadar's stories and you will discover a shocking relevance with our times seen through the lenses of common but special and precious stories of his daily-life as a photographer or just as a man.

I consider of great modernity the story of the pharmacist, "the other" and his wife but also the one of the Bee Tamer.

Nadar wasn't just in grade to take great pictures but to my own point of view to take a general photography of the society where he was living in, the one of 1800, with lucidity, humor and some touch of melancholy for the good past times as for example in this passage of the book where he says:

"We are far from the days when, as children, we would hold our caps low even in the most humble shop, where we were told to take them off in order to give a penny to a poor man, and when mom would refuse our pleas to replace our hold hat, the whole thing being superfluous, because a hat "is held in he hand."

Always in the same page:

"Some old families still try to keep and transmit received traditions; but everything wears out, and very soon we will wonder what could well be the nature of that politeness whose evocation would find nothing to respond to it in the new order of things. What a pity! Courtesy, amiability, affability, were not, in fact, other than delicate means, dilutions of sensitivity, of goodness- and this politeness which seems to be lost forever was not one of the least charms of our France race..."


This book speaks of change of times, habits, and also new opportunities and discoveries. A moment of ferment for the world, exciting and an opportunity for discovering places in different cases that no one would have visited for sure with new, incredible instruments.

Nadar portrayed dead people as part of his works, and I guess you will find interesting a story of a picture taken at a young dead man and the persecution the photographer felt upon him for the rest of his life because of a woman relative of this man...

Nadar visited Paris's catacombs, he was the man who portrayed also, let's also add this curiosity Honoré de Balzac, Baudelaire and many other well-known people of that times although I would want to remember him as the "Flying Photographer!"

What a freedom!

Highly recommended to all pictures-lovers but also to all that people fascinated by story-telling. Nadar was a great story-teller.

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



Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, marzo 05, 2018

Uitgeverij Huis Clos publishing house thumbs up the latest book by Jasia Reichardt and Nick Wadley

Uitgeverij Huis Clos publishing house let know that Biografie van een uitgeverij | Biography of a Publishing House. Stefan & Franciszka Themerson & Gaberbocchus by Walter van der Star, Jasia Reichardt and Nick Wadley has been chosen as one of the best designed books of 2017.
The book designed by Piet Gerards and Stephan de Smet.

The jury composed by designers Yolanda Huntelaar, Michaël Snitker, Freek Kuin, Creative Director drukker robstolk, Marije Saeed Director Uitgeverij Loopvis and Suzanne Baker Head Publications Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam choose in a selection of 342 entries the best designed books, counting their distinctiveness in content, design, image treatment, typography, choice of materials, printing and binding method.

Like every year there will be the Best Dutch Book Design exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam and at the publishing house they specify that we will know the dates pretty soon. So, stay tuned!

Congratulations to Jasia Reichardt and Nick Wadley.

Whoever would want to read the book: Biografie van een uitgeverij | Biography of a Publishing House. Stefan & Franciszka Themerson & Gaberbocchus can order by e-mail to info@uitgeverijhuisclos.nl





Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, marzo 04, 2018

Sunflowers in February Life, Death and Everything in Between by Phyllida Shrimpton

Sunflowers in February   Life, Death and Everything in Between by Phyllida Shrimpton reached me during the Siberian Burian  . In the envelope, thanks I did appreciated the gesture so badly considering the cold and ice felt that days also some chocolate ...

Sunflowers in February is a book for believers to me written very well and with great lightness, vivacity and hope by ms.Shrimpton although the thematic treated not the simplest one and nothing will be missed of the atmosphere immediately after the departure of a dear one.

A book that can be read with simplicity from people who knows that the death of a person doesn't mean the end of everything but that there will always exist a profound and invisible wire in grade to connect us all forever and that people not anymore visible in this dimension are helping us to realize what we must become in this world.
It can be a book in grade to give new hope to parents who lost their children.

Said that life and death dances together in great harmony in this book.

In this case to disappearing pretty tragically is a teenager Lily, twin with Ben. She is badly injured by a car and left alone at her destiny. It was a common day the one of her death, one of that common days that in a way or in another can make the difference.

It's strange to dying and seeing from the limbo of the afterlife what it is going on in the various situations that her family will experience. Lily was healthy so this news unexpected and terrible.

Plus, the driver left her alone rushing away. And Lily knows the name of her killer.

Lily felt a strong connection with her twin Ben. Ben was her apposite in many ways. He is a boy, he loves things that Lily couldn't never appreciate and vice-versa.
But Lily dreams. She dreams to find a connection with him, she dreams of being listened although she is not physically there anymore and ops! all her dreams are realized when she will become Ben! Or better, she will enter in Ben's body.

The rest of the book are the adventures lived by Lily-Ben at school  with her/his  friends, sport, love, moments shared with his/her parents. One of Lily/Ben's main purpose to trying to let know to everyone who committed the crime, and saying a proper arrivederci.

I loved the conclusion, so badly! because it is so true.

Honoring cemeteries very important because there we find the graves where they're buried the corpses of our beloved ones as we have known them physically and a place where to remember them but it is true that spirits of our passed loved ones are everywhere and they're close to us. This is pretty comforting.


I hope that they will make a movie with this book. It would be interesting!

I thank Bonnier Zaffre for the physical copy of this book!

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, marzo 03, 2018

The Origins of Happiness The Science of Well-Being over the Life Course by Andrew E.Clark, Sarah Flèche, Richard Layard, Nattavudh Powdthavee and George Ward

What is happiness and what kind of factors determine the happiness of an individual or a family?
In this new book by Princeton University Press The Origins of Happiness The Science of Well-Being over the Life Course by Andrew E.Clark, Sarah Flèche, Richard Layard, Nattavudh Powdthavee and George Ward an analysis of the factors that make us happy.
Angela Merkel two years ago  asked: "What Matters to Us?"

It is true that from a certain time at this part the sensation that there is less less happiness in the population is more than real.

What make us happy?

"Our progress is given by how much people are enjoying their lives" add the authors re-thinking at the saying of Anglo-Saxon Enlightenment of the 18th century.

Are we living in a moment of regress?

A lot of indicators are taken in consideration, from individual income, education, schools, mental and physical health, advanced age, work, unemployment, children, taking in consideration the status of the individual married, separated, single for giving a proper answer.

Some examples of what you will find?

The unhappiest factor of an individual is being unemployed.
And it happens something strange, singular:  this unhappiness won't go away when a new work will be found at first. I guess because of the broken dreams and expectations and delusions experienced before and the time lost.


How much the family income will tell something about the future studies of their children?. More a couple can shares with children culture giving  to them the possibility of learning and more children will love in general, to studying and to reading, appreciating arts,  museums and theaters,  cinema and writing, because after all culture is this one and much more. In opposite case it will be more difficult, and not because there are not abilities but because no one encouraged these children at making the difference in that existential field.


This book is plenty of graphics, statistics. Every chapter is opened by a cute, sweet, hilarious cartoons, for a healthy smile.

Divided in three parts, the first one will treat what makes an individual happy, the second what makes a successful child, ending with the conclusions in the third part.

Highly suggested! to everyone.

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



Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, marzo 02, 2018

A Blessing in Disguise Love is often found in the most unexpected places by Pamela Fudge

What happens when a lady of 45 years old remains pregnant and her husband with an affair going on doesn't want to have anything to do with that baby?

It's this one the main thematic of A Blessing in Disguise Love is often found in the most unexpected  places by Pamela Fudge.

No one can tell at first the frustration of Alexandria, when communicated the news at her husband Phil she doesn't see fireworks but a strong opposition. Phil doesn't want any baby at all.

This novel analyzes the various steps and considerations of the protagonist regarding the arrival of this baby with the conclusion, after all, once discovered the affair of Phil that, who cares?

Alexandria will grow up with tranquility the baby alone without the support of her ex-husband but with a lot of other help along her way and new more sincere support from other people.

I also appreciated the name given at the baby because the reflection of the months spent before not a nice walk but the re-organization of the life.

Highly recommended.

I thank Endeavour Media Limited for the ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, marzo 01, 2018

The Little Queen by Meia Geddes illustrated by Sara Zieve Miller

I am enthusiastic by this second book written by Meia Geddes graduated student from Brown University in Rhode Island and now a  graduate student at Simmons School of Library and  Information Science in Massachusetts and writer. I liked her first book Love Letters to the World but this one makes a big difference.

Meia was very worried when we talked a month ago.
"I don't know Anna if it's the case that you read this book now. This story starts with important losses for the protagonist, her parents, you lost your dad recently..."
Considering that death plays an important role in my life I said her that I could cope with gravestones, sad thoughts and all the rest.

It's a big, wonderful and poetic metaphor of life this delicate, dreaming romantic and at the same time felt vintage book The Little Queen illustrated by Sara Zieve Miller with main thematic death and re-born thanks to travel and new meetings.

First of all the most important thematic the one of travel as interior and exterior research of the self when the person is lost without forgetting encounters that  we make along our life, pretty important when we don't know anymore what we are searching and what can make us happy and who we are.

As adds the author in a passage of the book: "Asking what one did was like asking who they were and that was a  too simple a question for a very complex answer."

Who can make the difference in our existence if not "the others?"

But who are "the others?"

Sure: people close to us, but when we want to go in profundity, researching for the essence of our life and our real self, in general people who we meet along our own and unique journey on this Earth and the ones more apparently "disconnected" with us and our world.

The Little Queen is so sad at first when both of her parents are dead. She also puts her tears in a jar, a truly beauty romantic vision of sufferance. It is not possible to give away that tears when parents disappear because they rest with us, with our history. It's a sufferance that will become melancholy with the time but that can't be thrown away, because there is a sensation of possession. Parents mean the history of a person and her roots. Tears included. I want to read in this way this passage of the book.

Having lost her coordinates  although it is clear that she is The Little Queen, The Little Queen starts a journey for meeting new people, diversified from her.
They are unusual. eccentric, sometimes weird.
They are creative, readers, poets, special souls all there for exchanging some chats with her along her journey.

Every situation The Little Queen meets is good for growing up and becoming a better person, for discovering who she is. Let's remember that the protagonist of this tale is in search of her place in this world.

Her meetings?

In an immense library mr.Book Sniffer and  Wall Sawyer.
There is  then Lady Tree a lady who wanted to be a tree but also in the market the window builder.

Each of these people treated philosophically by Meia. What is a window if not an open space for seeing this world and a part of a house and figuratively our interior windows where there is clarity and where there is vision?

But our little protagonist will also sleeps in a coffin for then being back to searching for other friends, like the Digital Director of Sounds.
The sound of the lost of her parents is devastating...
This one is a very important character because at the end The Little Princess will marry her.

This apparently light book, this fairy-tale, or this personal research will reserve to all of your a lot of surprises.
I appreciated the delicate touch, the poetry and the vision of a world that, if looked with the eyes of Meia Geddes would be not only pacific but immersed in art, books, poetry, roses, enchantment.

What a great reading and relaxation for the heart and mind!

Highly suggested to everyone.

Anna Maria Polidori