sabato, giugno 30, 2018

Atlante Leggendario delle Strade d'Islanda, "The Legendary Atlas of Iceland's Roads" edited by Jon R.HJALMARSSON and translated by Silvia Cosimini

What a joy to receive and read Atlante Leggendario delle Strade d'Islanda, "The Legendary Atlas of Iceland's Roads" published by Iperborea with great success.
This book can be seen and used as a touristic folklorist guide in one of the most enchanting corner and magical lands of all the Northern European Countries if you are planning a trip in Iceland or as a great reading during the summer or winter-time and for being re-read a lot of times.

Edited by Jon R.HJALMARSSON and translated by Silvia Cosimini  divided in various areas, and following the highway number one this book collects for every territory peculiar stories and characters starting the tales with the legend of a cruel whale. At first the whale was a man, but this man didn't recognize the child he had had with an elf and so he became this terrible animal.

Another tale speaks of the devil. He loved to compose with a poet some verses. At the end the poet will be tired of the company of the devil...

There is a special hill where you can asks for three wishes if you won't look back and if you won't talk at all.

The legend of Sveinn will speak of elves, a lot of tales of peaceless phantoms, but also of the  tricks of a peasant in search of help for cutting  his grass. Everyone had cut the grass. That year the peasant asked this favor at the devil in person.

The devil in general is read in these legends, mainly as an ingenuous chap that men can cheat after all.

Interesting the legend of the girl who killed herself and the destiny of the reverend object of her love.

There are legends of gratitude, like the ones of Snorri and his lost sheep kept well during the winter-time in a distant land by another peasant. For this reason Snorri will be very gentle with him.

A particular meaning has Christmas Time.

I found enchanting the legend of Pordur because also in this case we see another gesture of gratitude.

It is better as we will see to believe in legends. Once a peasant tried to continue to live in the same farm for more than 20 years and his wife disappeared because of it.

Tender the story of the peasant and the white bear. The white bear fed him up and the peasant won't forget this gesture.
There are stories of trolls, but also of a gentle female troll, can you believe it?

A queen of the elves will be set free and a seal transformed in a devoted wife. A man who firstly had kept away her seal's skin later found the seal transformed in a beautiful and naked girl. He kept jealously the skin of this seal in a special place, but one day...

Enjoy also the wonderful hilarious tale of the Wise Reverend and the devil.

The fairy-tale of the newt is symbolic of situations that we can experience in our life.

Beautiful, wonderful I read this book in few hours. Enjoy it, because it is a dreaming book!

Highly recommended.

I thank Iperborea for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, giugno 29, 2018

Fortune's Fool The Life of John Wilkes Booth by Terry Alford

Fortune's Fool The Life of John Wilkes Booth by Terry Alford attracted my attention because since at recent years, my knowledge of Lincoln's assassination was pretty brief. He was killed in a theater. That was the story.

Then, thanks to the Boston Globe and later reading and reviewing American historical books I discovered who the killer was and I felt the desire of understanding more of this young boy. Maybe because he wasn't a desperate person, someone in search of attention; he wasn't a poor devil, but someone affirmed. So, why addressing a life plenty successful life in this direction?

I didn't know that since now no one had written a real biography about Booth.
I just can tell you that this one is an extraordinary biography.
It is written with love, passion, it is plenty of great material, sources. You won't put down  this book 'till the end because it's written for capture the attention of the reader, it's written for remain and not for passing. Like the story of J.Wilkes Booth.
For the first time Alford gives an exact portrait of the controversial young man passed at the history for having killed Abraham Lincoln and it is a spectacular reconstruction, vivid, sincere.

Published by Oxford University Press, this remarkable biography will explain in detail the brief, short, tormented life of John Wilkes Booth, true, but it will be a portrait, of John's family as well.

J.Wilkes Booth's dad and mother were British but Junius Brutus Booth an actor, violent sometimes, absolutely eccentric, a drunker, someone also completely unclear regarding his relationship with the wife, tried to search fortune in the USA with great success.

A family this one of "revolutionaries men," I would say considering the names that they put at the various males, members of the family.

Actors, of course and the best ones (could you doubt it for a second?) if you look closely at the book cover pic of John Booth (and at the other three pictures inside the book) you can see the tragicity of his existence, his peaceless heart, this spasmodic research for something or someone. You can see through that eyes his extreme dangerous flame, his instability.

Soon other brothers of John, Edwin for all involved by his father in acting. Junius would have preferred another path for his troubled son John, a military career, but it was a complete failure. The school added that they were not a reformatory. John Wilkes was a rebel.

Many brothers and sisters, little John suffered a lot for the eccentricities of his dad and his departure later meant for the family who lived in Bel Air Maryland and in the countryside, economical restrictions. The family established the residence in the country house, although they experienced serious problems.

Edwin helped the family financially, and John, the family returned to live in the city, started to act as well.
He was a boy grown up in a countryside, so, at first, it was a hard job to educate him at the art of acting but John excelled soon, devoted in particular to that South of the US who welcomed him, falling in love for the ideals of the Southerners.

His life was pretty short and since Lincoln was elected John Wilkes Booth adopted severe words against him.
But...
What it was shocking, was this escalation, no, better, fixation and hate for President Lincoln, this desire of kidnapping President Lincoln for later kill him, studied with  great precision. John would have been helped by a lot of people.
Then, the final idea: the anti-heroic act: to kill the President while he assisted in the theater at a play. Pure tragicity, pure melodrama. Pure drama. Everyone would have assisted at a real death maybe not on stage but close to it.
Not anymore fiction but reality.
A real President, a real actor, real blood, real sufferance, real crying, real desperation, real chaos.

It was Booth who suggested once to invite the President at the Ford theater and they accomplished this desire.
President Lincoln loved to attend these events. He grew up pretty poor, he was a peasant at long, he lived in a countryside, he experienced a lot of sad events, he lost various children, his mother when little. It was a pretty sad life the one of Lincoln.

Great knowledge of the Ford theater, John killed the President with simplicity, and also the manhunt (he rushed away with a horse and a broken leg) was long from April 14-26 when he was found and shot. He didn't die immediately. It was a long agony, a doctor was called for trying to see if this killer could have been saved but no, that one was a mortal wound.
In his agony Booth continued to repeat that he killed the President because he thought that it was the proper thing to do.

A problem also the place where John Wilkes Booth was buried. Edwin, his brother didn't want to assign him any kind of gravestone. What John did too horrible for them, for the USA, but as you will read the place was soon discovered...Newsmagazines hypothesized that he was still alive but that one was a pure legend.

The destiny of John Wilkes Booth a talented actor, a big star who could have had a brilliant future, a wonderful family, honor, and that would have been remembered forever as the most important actor of theater of 1860s and so on was interrupted tragically at 27 years for a horrible act and for personal desire.
A gesture this one of killing the President that affected also all his family per generations, because these tragedies are never isolated and confined in the personal sphere.

I love this cover. I didn't noticed it at first...There are some glitters.

J.Wilkes Booth after all has been a fallen and tragic star but for some time his personal star and talent was bright, radiant and superlative as actor.

Bert Sheldon Lincoln estimator said: "When Lincoln made his ascent into immortality, he took J.Wilkes Booth with him."

Highly recommended to everyone, but also to all that people in love for  Lincoln's biographies, theater, American history, biographies in general

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

Anna Maria Polidori








martedì, giugno 26, 2018

The Quotable Guide to Punctuation by Stephen Spector

While I was reading The Quotable Guide to Punctuation by Stephen Spector published by Oxford University Press I thought that yes, there is difference from teacher to teacher. This teacher is sublime in the explanation of concepts and all his love for grammar is abundantly shared with his readers in an understandable,engaging book.

There is to add that the author for intriguing much more readers in the various punctuation-chapters-cases picked up examples of quotes of a lot of VIPS. Johnny Depp, Billy Crystal, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Shakespeare, Woody Allen and so on will help us to understand much more clearly punctuation-concepts.

I am also a bit scared in reviewing this book, because I know that my english grammar is not yet still wonderfully correct, punctuation included, and I am italian. I self-learned most of the english I know on the road, and it means without an academic support.

I think I read somewhere that punctuation is a surplus sometimes, although punctuation is important for other reasons that at first we can't imagine.

When we speak, in fact, we tend to pause or accelerate, we are calm, anxious, we move our hands, we smile, we are serious, the tone of our voice, there are many signals that invariably let know to the other ones, a person or some people, what we want to transmit. The power of oral communication.

Story changes when we write, because we are alone and we will be read only later and so for describe our moods, our state, our emotions there is punctuation.

It serves as a contact, as a key for reaching  other people with our articles, with a book, and that's why it is so important.

Commas the most common punctuation. Commas serve for a very brief pause.

I didn't know that existed also an Oxford Comma. It does.

An example?
A funny one:

I hate housework. You make the beds, you do the dishes, and six months later you have to start all over again. (Joan Rivers)

We will learn how to use commas with and and but but also with the so-called fanboys: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yes, So.

An example from Tolkien:

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick of anger (The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring.)

Colons and semi-colons are two important topics of this grammar-punctuation book.

I do use both of them, I confess: when someone told me that semi-colons were disappearing, I felt compassion. In our work they are not considered too much but as also colons, they're interruptions for create a bridge with what said before; semi-colons help to going on, to create new conceptual ideas without to lose the contact with what previously elaborated and written; real mates for writers and reporters.

We will understand when and how to use quotation marks. American and British journalists have different guidelines in this sense, but also when we should avoid to use exclamation points!!! not very loved.

Another controversial punctuation mark?
Dashes. They are more a fascination, a literary form of expression, empathizing the condition and mood of the writer. They can abruptly interrupt your writing, so that you'll restart from something new or they  add more intensity to your written words.

This solid, beautiful book, with an encouraging and colored cover! will start to be your perfect guide for a best punctuation. I am sure that you'll keep it close to you for being inspired, refreshed by it.

The Quotable Guide to Punctuation is for students, writers, reporters, for people in love for writing and for all that ones curious of their language and learners of all ages.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, giugno 25, 2018

Nora Ephron The Last Interview and Other Conversations

I was returning home from school when I saw the big poster of When Harry met Sally, in italian "Harry, ti Presento Sally." I felt a strong energy. I couldn't go to the cinema for seeing this movie but when later appeared on VHS I remember that I started my collection of movies with this one, bought with a magazine. And of course, I fell in love for all Nora Ephron's romantic movies since there.

They're not just well constructed, they're intelligent, there is no dispersion, the story has a start, a middle and an end but they're clear in their being...dreaming.

When I noticed that Melville House Publishing published Nora Ephron The Last Interview and Other Conversations I asked to read this book. To me Ephron hasn't just been a director, a great screenwriter, but someone in grade to present a dream, and apart Woody Allen she has been the best touristic promoter for New York City letting us discover the most suggestive parts of the city. No other one can replace that important empty place in Hollywood.
It was...her way to see the world that was in grade to make the difference in her productions, that magical touch.

I read this little book in a few hours but it's simply enchanting and I think that every person who wants to enter in the sector of media, journalism, movies should read it because it is pretty informative and interesting.

Nora Ephron was born in NYC, but grew up, she didn't like at all that place, in Los Angeles. She didn't want to become who their parents were: playwrights. As she said, she wanted to become a journalist and pretty soon, once concluded her studies, she started to work for prestigious realities in New York. Not only: once she was also an editor, but she added it was devastating because she would have wanted to write the pieces that pooped up in her mind while she had to assign them to her reporters. To her, but it is physiological, living in big cities it's the best thing to do for whoever want to become a reporter because there are more chances and possibilities. Nora wrote about every sort of possible current events, and to her who wants to make movies previously should have been a reporter and vice-versa, because a reporter can captures the various shades of life, in particular if he/she can writes of everything. That luggage, later very important for being a good screenwriter.

During these interviews she will speak of the realization of Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally because in the first case Tom Hanks forced her, Delia Ephron, her sister, to re-write together the script for obtain a bigger role in the movie. The part of the lion was in fact at first dedicated at Joshua, devastated for the departure of his mother.
In When Harry met Sally we will see also why Nora Ephron picked up Billy Crystal, and the development of the famous scene of the orgasm.

Nora Ephron will also tell that in her profession in particular the one of journalist has never written with difficult words. According to her it is essential to reach everyone and to be clear.

In the first interview I found interesting her role as full-time freelancer.
A starving situation if you don't live in big cities and if you don't have good contacts, in her case a successful and lucrative profession.

Having a husband for Nora meant more freedom because she could live with more lightness her daily schedule.
For a creative in fact there is nothing more annoying than the alteration of the daily routine. To her the answer was her husband.

It's indispensable to Ephron to see always the good side of the story. It happened to her when she broke up with her husband when still pregnant because her husband had an affair with another lady. Once, the husband of that lady, called Ephron asking her to go out together.
While she was crying hugging him, that man made her laugh.
It's important to see the good side of a story wherever it is possible. Also when your husband has an affair and you are pregnant and you decide to move on.

Blogs are to Ephron, one of the creators and believers of the Huffington Post places where you are there for saying what you feel in that moment.
There is more intellectual fluidity according to her than not in a written piece for a newsmagazine or a magazine or in the severe structure of a movie.

Aging means to be the same person that you have been when little and young, although the body in the while changed, adding wrinkles.

The portrait emerging from these interviews by Michael L.Lasky, Patrick McGilligan, Kerry Lauerman and Kathryn Borel the ones of a sunny lady and I suggest you this book so badly.


I thank Melville House Publishing for the physical copy of this book.


Anna Maria Polidori

From New York to San Francisco Travel Sketches from the Year 1869 by Ernst Mendelssohn-Bartholdy translated by Barbara H.Thiem Edited by Gertrud Graubart Champe

Fresh, wonderful, captivating. If you love epistolary genre and the USA and if you want to understand how Americans lived immediately after the Secession War, From New York to San Francisco Travel Sketches from the Year 1869 by Ernst Mendelssohn-Bartholdy translated by Barbara H.Thiem Edited by Gertrud Graubart Champe is the book you were waiting for.

Not just common letters of a Berliner's rich traveler in the USA written at his parents, but a stunning detailed portrait of the New World seen with the eyes of a traveler from the Old World.
Barbara Thiem a relative of mr. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy writes she would have wanted to re-print this epistolary book as it happened two centuries ago for all the clan, but then...Why not to think at a different project, involving many more readers? The intuition was more than right.

There is no limit at the beauty of these letters, in fact.

Ernst was a great observer and voracious letter writer so he loved to report in every letter written to his parents, every little detail his eyes and senses could capture about the life-style he met during this trip long three months from the east to the west coast followed by his cousin Ernst Westphal.

The life-story of the Mendelssohn family is wonderful: creative people but also bankers, I will keep this part suspended for you adding that this three month-trip wanted by Ernst's father Paul meant a precious occasion for trying to see if it would have been possible to invest some money in the New World.

Ernst will start to tell candidly to his mother the problems of seasickness experienced during the trip for reach New York, but also their interesting meetings.
The arrival at New York City was surprising and electrifying. New Yorkers considered important people with money. Money-making the most important activity of New Yorkers. Ernst tells that what it is important for New Yorkers is the possession of money.

He will also describe to her mother not just the hotel, what they ate, people met along their way, but also the vehicles for reaching other close localities, the omnibus, weird trains, discovering at the same time black people mainly as servants, girls absolutely too elegant if compared to the European ones, set free by the new world and candidly in grade to live their life with more freedom.

If New York City impressed Ernst for the immensity of the city, Boston touched his heart for its culture, university in Cambridge, and beautiful landscapes. Ernst will write that it was simple to find books everywhere adding: "They say that money reigns in New York, blood in Boston. That means that name and descent are important here while in New York one is "worth" so and so many thousand dollars....Its society is famous for appreciating knowledge, erudition, and the arts."

Ernst Mendelssohn-Bartholdy will also later meet in Washington President Grant seen before at another event. A man portrayed impressively well, Ernst will tell anecdotes, tics and fascinations not just of a man but also of a city, Washington still not that impressive.

The trip of these men then will also touch Niagara Falls with a breathless description of their adventure for discover this giant of nature but also the stunning Yosemite Park when in California or the incredible sunsets of the immense American prairies. Fascinating the description of San Francisco, meteorologically as well.

Another important voice and curiosity of this book will be for the reader the transportations. Detailed, you will discover the difficulties experienced by the protagonists for reach distant places, in particular the west part of the USA, because the various railroads were still in construction.

Ernst will meet people from Germany living in Pennsylvania with weird accent, a mixture of english and German that he hadn't never heard before.
He will send a letter to his parents telling them everything about the social conditions of black people, and what the Secession war meant to the North and the South.

He will tell that Americans don't love people in uniforms because it means authority (the story is about a train station...And you will also understand that train stations were sometimes houses...)
He will be pretty shocked by a man who asked him some money for accelerate the process of control of his luggage once arrived in the New World remarking also the melting pot existing in the USA, where in some cities people could speak different languages considering the diversified ethnic groups. He will travel in cities with high percentage of black people.

Salt Lake City inspired him because of the big community of Mormons and their fascinating story stimulated his fantasy.

You'll appreciate vivid descriptions of cities, people, landscapes thanks to the acute observation of this witness, a man who wanted to leave a trace of this unique experience at the posterity reaching a great success.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori






giovedì, giugno 21, 2018

The Best American Magazine Writing 2016 edited by Sid Holt Introduction by Roger Hodge

The Best American Magazine Writing 2016  is an affectionate appointment. Published every year, edited by Sid Holt for the American Society of Magazine Editors the principal organization for magazine journalists in the United States, this book is sponsored in association with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Introduction by Roger Hodge, national editor of The Intercept in this book an interview with ex former President Barack Obama "Fixing the System," another piece is about the importance of software and technology with "The Code." I appreciated all the JavaScript  part.
BuzzFeed News in the while excelled for investigative journalism about that employers benefiting of the H-2 visa program for hiring temporary foreign workers.
Cosmo investigated pregnancies, old-fashioned ideas, religious strength, abortion, in "Pregnant? Scared? Need options? Too bad"
If you are interested in epidemic situations, Joshua Hammer is ready for you with "My nurses are Dead, and I don't know if I'm already infected" about  Dr.Sheik Humarr Khan as an Ebola patient and what it meant living in a country like Sierra Leone where a high percentage of people close to him fell sick and sometimes died because of Ebola.
Interesting "The Really Big One" by Kathryn Schulz about a potential major earthquake in the Pacific Northwest
You'll find much much more in this book and I am sure you'll love it.

Highly recommended to everyone in love for journalism, current events or just curious about the world and what it is going on.

And if you are in the media, read the best for...being the best :-)

I thank NetGalley and Columbia University Press for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, giugno 19, 2018

California Summer by Anita Hughes

Another beautiful book, if you search for escapism, incredible locations, and characters, California Summer written by Anita Hughes and published today by St.Martin's Press.

This time the dreaming location chosen by this succulent author is California, the land of dreams.

Ben and Rosie are the perfect couple.
They work in Hollywood as director and producer, their  existences are brilliant, wonderful, successful.
They participated at the Sundance Film Festival created by Robert Redford, and since there their existence have been a continuous success.

Rosie is happy with her fertile, beautiful, dreaming existence. She wouldn't want anything more, but Ben, well, yes.

He wants the entire package: a house in Beverly Hills, a lot of money, big cars and his name remembered forever.
Talent unfortunately is not sufficient for reaching that goals, so he will sleep with the most important producer.

Rosie is devastated. Why Ben acted like that?

She decides that maybe is better to leave stars, starlets and that wonderful world for a more relaxing place where to de-stress herself.
Montecito, her best-friend's estate seems perfect for recovering from all that mess.

Rosie will re-start a new existence. She will meet Rachel, the owner of a chocolate store, Josh in love for surf and classic cars.

Rosie decides to open a fish taco store considering also her winning secret college recipe...

Beautiful, sunny, Anita Hughes mixes her optimistic positive character with perfect descriptions, delicious recipes, stunning locations.

Beautiful, relaxing and romantic cover.

Anita Hughes previously has written Monarch Beach, Market Street, Lake Como, French Coast, Rome in Love, Island in the Sea, Santorini Sunsets, Christmas in Paris, White Sand, Blue Sea, Emerald Coast, and Christmas in London. At the moment she is working at her next novel.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, giugno 18, 2018

In pursuit of Privilege A History of New York City's Upper Class & the Making of a Metropolis by Clifton Hood


Fascinating, absolutely absorbing, rich of anecdotes and stories that will let you discover people, places, who made New York City.
Ladies and gentlemen in this review we will treat the big, diversified story of New York's upper class.
Starting from a beautiful cover, In pursuit of Privilege A History of New York City's Upper Class & the Making of a Metropolis by Clifton Hood, published by Columbia University Press is a wonderful reading.

New Yorkers: starting from 1750 to recent times we will discover the main differences between NYC upper class and the ones of Philadelphia and Boston, created ethically and under a religious perspective.
New Yorkers didn't mind of ethic: the important fact was money-making and thanks to commerce, business in many fields, good weather a lot of people became not just very rich, but powerful, influential and an elite in grade to give directions to the society.

We will read that the funeral of Waldorf Astor was the celebration of an eminent man, but we will also assist at the division created by the seven year war  against UK with two factions in the upper class.

We will understand why the elite decided to build in the exclusive Upper West Side. Brooklyn was a good choice but too distant for staying connected with friends, family members, schools attended by their children.

For trying to give directions to the rest of population someone published American Chesterfield although this book received a lot of negative reviews because there was written that middle-class people who displayed merit and good breeding could readily enter high society, when facts were completely different, because a different system and a different social condition from the one of the middle-class with more lacks in comparison to the upper class standard.

Most of these gentlemen loved to keep journals and diaries but in general avoided to report the real New York they met along their way but only the New York that they wanted to remember, portraying their friends, the estates of their friends, social life.

We will visit New Yorkers' households, understanding feasts, celebrations, balls in a typical upper class' estate. Mr. Hadden for example wanted to meet only people of quality.
Servants of the upper class were Irish.

The book will analyze the difficult years of the Secession War.
New York didn't lose its appeal and in 1892 counted 1265 millionaires and more people benefitted of best life's conditions. The elite grew up much more during these decades.
A special chapter is dedicated at that exclusive men's clubs created by the elite, the most diversified ones.
The book treats the story and creation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Metropolitan Opera, like also the fertile activity of the upper class for the creation of high culture thanks to a lot of philanthropists.
We are now at the 1940s with Rockefeller, but also with a newborn upper class by bankers, lawyers etc. The author will visit for us the most relevant country clubs talking also of that prep schools attended by the children of the upper class people.

Final chapters are dedicated at the decline of the upper class thanks to a change of habits, different situations, as you will read.
I loved to read the story of John Zacharias.
He studied in Princeton, son of a modest family but in grade with the time of building a solid existence. Now his family is solid and important.

We will also see how the money of upper class' people is spent now:  not anymore in frivolous objects, but invested in their children's education, for securing them the best jobs in the market.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

The Snowman Paul Series Vol. 1-4 by Yossi Lapid Illustrated by Joanna Pasek.

The Snowman Paul Series Vol. 1-4 by Yossi Lapid is a little treasure that you will appreciate so badly I can tell you that. The episodes for your children are: My SnowMan Paul where we assist at the creation and friendship of SnowMan Paul with Dan. The second one, SnowmanPaul at the Winter Olympics tells the story of powerful SnowMan Paul in grade to win every possible medal because helped by Mother Nature. So tender the end of the story.
The third and most yummy story is called SnowMan Paul Saves Kate's Birthday. It's the birthday of Kate but someone let's put things in this way couldn't resist at that beautiful birthday cake and...ATE IT! Help! What can SnowMan Paul does for saving the situation?
The fourth story is Snowman Paul at the Concert Hall. SnowMan Paul this time will be motivated to learn to play some musical instruments and also to perform in public.

I find these stories of Snowman Paul so cute, tender, beauty, and relaxing, and illustrated magnificently well by Joanna Pasek.

I know that your children will adore them!

I thank the author for this ebook!

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, giugno 14, 2018

Primo Levi The Last Interview Conversations with Giovanni Tesio

Primo Levi The Last Interview Conversations with Giovanni Tesio published by Polity is a book that you will cherish a lot, for many reasons. It's incomplete true, because this interview was in progress when Levi died tragically, but in this interview we see a fresh perspective of the author of If This is a Man.
Thanks to a chronological reconstruction that starts from Levi's childhood, we will read about beautiful fresh memories of a child with strong opinions regarding teachers not always great or particularly intelligent, or members of his family, like his dad, in grade of buying him every sorta of books, but distant from him for behavior, passions, and character.
Close to his mother, Primo Levi told to us everything about elementary school, high school. I remembered thanks to him the so-called "pensierini" that we had to write during the elementary school.

It will be touched the Gentile reform of the school wanted by Mussolini during the fascist era and what it meant studying in particular at the high school.

Levi will largely describe his difficult relationship with sex, an experience that he would have experienced later, after Auschwitz, but this being shy with the other sex meant to him a sufferance when very young because he saw the difference with his contemporaries.

He also told to Tesio that his grand-dad killed himself but he didn't know why and he hasn't never asked anything of it.
Suicide sometimes a thematic appearing during this interview.

Tesio, at the same time will tell that he visited him with the idea of the creation of an authorized biography in grade to include everything, starting from his childhood but also for keeping him some company. He knew he was depressed and that this depression could not let him write anymore. 
The idea of a biography appeared abruptly in Tesio's mind.

I was curious to read which were the favorite books of Levi's childhood, and more or less he read the same italian classics books that we all read, starting from Cuore by Edmondo de Amicis, although he didn't go crazy for Salgari, but fell in love for Pinocchio by Collodi and American classics like the ones of Kipling. He said he loved to read a magazine very well done called Il Corriere dei Piccoli.
This book gives a reassuring dimension of Primo Levi's life.
If his life wouldn't have been so "broken" with discrimination because of the racial laws and later with the Second World War and Auschwitz' s experience" it would have been beautiful.

He was a chemist and he will tell later where he worked, what he did, his relationship with his boss, and also the reaction of his boss at Levi's success with his books.

Levi has always been in grade to divide the public Primo Levi, the one who told and re-told what happened to him and wagons of other people to Auschwitz, and his private life.

This, because of his origins, from Turin, a city in general where people are discreet and appreciate their privacy.

Maybe the immense success of If This is A Man, the translation in most countries catapulted Levi in a dimension as also written completely unwanted.
Levi didn't become "famous" because he wrote a novel of success. Levi became famous because a real witness of the devastating Nazi government policy against Jewish people and because he wrote of it reporting the dishumanity he experienced. It's a completely different perspective.
The last pages are white, as you will see, because there is an interruption.

Wanted? Unwanted? My brain started to work.

I remembered the news of the death of Levi of course, there was a great resonance in Italy.
We studied him, I read his book, but I didn't remember the day of his departure.
It was a Saturday, April 11 1987 the Jewish week day feast as it is for us Sunday. A day of feast...He told to the author that on Sunday he was waiting for an American photographer...

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

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, giugno 13, 2018

The Pilgrims Society and Public Diplomacy 1895-1945 by Stephen Bowman

The Pilgrims Society and Public Diplomacy 1895-1945 is an important tome written by and published by Edinburgh University Press.

It intrigued me a lot because I didn't know this society and its existence, but at the same time I wanted to try to understand more of it.

What was and still is the Pilgrims Society, first of all?

It was and it is a society composed by very wealthy American men, mainly from NYC and London.

The society was founded in 1902 by the elite of people of these two cities.
It is possible to classify this society as an "elite dining club."
The purposes of this elite, American and British? Trying to improve good relationship between UK and USA.

Some names of people involved in the society? William Waldorf Astor one for all.

The first chairman was William Sinclair Archdeacon of London while for the USA the society picked up Lindsay Russell directly from North Carolina.
This attorney worked also in New York and London and lived in many parts of the USA.
The society was just opened to British and American men.

Later, the society considered also an expansion in Boston and the West Coast substantially remaining affectionate at the city of NYC and London.
Only when Jimmy Carter understood that there weren't women in the society and he didn't want to accept the honor membership offered by the society if the society not open to women, the Pilgrims decided to accept membership from women.

As you will read the membership was very wanted and researched but at the same time there were several passages before that a new member was approved.
The Pilgrims Society played a diplomatic role like the Earl Grey Dinner can testifies but the society was active also before during and after the two world conflicts.

You mustn't never think that the involvement of this society in international relations was or is "open."
As the author says: "The Pilgrims represented an exclusive net-
work of elites, closed to democratic accountability or popular
involvement."

This society like all the other ones is closed and remains old-fashioned and as it adds the author "isolated" and defined in the Anglo-Saxon world.
Pilgrims thanks to this society searched for "commercial success and imperial prestige."

Although it is a society that of course doesn't add posters everywhere for let know to all the people that exists, it played and and still plays an important role in the backstage of our world.
If diplomacy, if foreign policy has been treated in a certain way, well, that was and is also thanks to this society.

If you love American and British culture, if you love history, if you want to understand better the world where you live in, if you love NYC or London goes for this book.

Highly suggested!

I thank Edinburgh University Press for the copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori


martedì, giugno 12, 2018

No more bonbons, no more jelly! What you gonna do with all that belly? by Daniel Georges

Beautiful children's book this one written and illustrated by Daniel Georges: No more bonbons, no more jelly! What you gonna do with all that belly? Published by Asala Publishers.

This children's book is not just fun and colored but it is a great lesson for everyone.
Let's see: who, during the childhood don't remember with great love the sweet candies we ate with great love? We all have memories of our sweet addictions. We would have wanted to swim in the marshmallow, we would have wanted to eat, perennially eat, sweet things.

Like Ronnie does.
He eats, he eats, and he eats compulsively eats bonbons and jelly all the time.
Alone, with friends, who cares? Then once, an evening when he goes to bed he imagines...
He imagines that his yellow little bear sat pacifically on his desk could become  big and big and big so that he can eats a lot of bonbons and jelly. An immensity of candies.
Be careful what you wish for tell a saying, that night the bear starts to be animated, eating all the stuff he meets along his way, from the furniture in Ronnie's bedroom, with great horror, and then outside, same story with all the things he sees. Yes, ahem this bear doesn't go just for honey, you know.

Poor Ronnie is devastated: "No, no please, look at your belly! It's enormous" tells the kid devastated to the bear.
The bear doesn't know what to do for bettering his devastated body and so the kid starts with him a gym session. The bear will restore his body and will magically return to be little and pacific sat inanimated as the perfect guardian on Ronnie's bedroom's desk and Ronnie after that, who knows? nightmare, premonition, learns an important lesson: moderation!

I loved this children's book so badly! and I highly suggest it to all of you in particular if, as a parent you have some kid too in love for jelly and bonbons ;-)


I thank Library Thing and Daniel Georges for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison foreword by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison foreword by Ta-Nehisi Coates was born thanks to a series of talks that the author delivered at Harvard University two years ago.
Morrison picked up a theme still unresolved in the USA, the racial one presenting us in these pages a prospect of who the Other is and why he/she is painted like that.

It's a strong vision the one of Toni Morrison. A sad one.

The American society has been unable to consider for a long time black people as people.
Yes, you read well: as people.
White people didn't consider black people as people for a long time.
During the Secession War and also later black people were seen as beasts, degradating them and their dignity at a maximum level.

The situation between these two groups has been critical from the beginning and the reason was that at first black people were brought to the USA for a story of...slavery, not for setting them free from some enemies, for saving them, so they couldn't have rights, they couldn't learn to write, to read, they didn't have any rights, they couldn't be humans under many aspects.

Not just black people were discriminated. Italians and Russians didn't experience at first great moments although later these ethnic groups  discovered a sort of rehabilitation.

Analysis by Morrison involves literature like Uncle Tom's Cabin, politically correct so that it could be read by white people, and some books by Hemingway and Faulkner, both unable to treat black people as the white ones.

Restrictions lived by black people have been immense, if we think that they couldn't enter in white churches, bars, cafés where white people spent time and same it was for schools, universities.

So these two worlds, the white and the black one grew up and matured separately, to my point of view without maybe a honest confrontation, because the white people generated a certain answer: another life with churches created by black people for black people, schools for black people and so on.

What Morrison tried to do at first when she decided to become a writer was to attract black people readers promoting also literature written by black authors.
Reading for black community has never been a great priority and so Morrison tried at first with a scrapbook plenty of pictures, a lot of imagines and a visual attracting story of American black people.

This book, The Origin of Others is very little. Bring it with you in your tote bag, read it in the metro or in the bus, it's apparently light, but dense of concepts.

It's a sufferance when we treat a topic  like this one.
The Others don't exist, we are only a race, we are only a world with many human beings.
A world with multiform cultures, diversifications, but it's thanks to this that we appreciate the colored  kaleidoscope of life that multiculturalism brings with it and where it is beautiful to immerse ourselves.

What I hope is that in a not too distant day I will read a book called: "The Origin of Us." 


Highly suggested.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, giugno 11, 2018

Just enough Sufficiency as a Demand of Justice by Liam Shields

Just enough Sufficiency as a Demand of Justice by Liam Shields explores the territory of human sufficiency for everyone. We live in a society where the middle class is disappearing and where social injustices are more frequents, and where we see a big disparities between the very rich and the poor unable to cope with the most necessary exigencies.
What to do? People started recently to talk about what it should be done for a better life.  This book says the author take in consideration the word,  philosophic concept of  "Sufficiency" as the main answer to people's need in every field of their existence. The author explains the meaning of sufficiency in this way: "A principle of distributive justice indispensable only when we cannot do without it in the most plausible account of justice."
Passing through the various sectors of the existence, the author will define a vision for the future.

I thank Edinburgh University Press for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, giugno 10, 2018

L'Estate senza Ritorno by Viveca Sten

L'Estate senza Ritorno by Viveca Sten is a book published by Marsilio. Once I ended up this book I felt a great sadness.

Why?

It is changed from a certain time at this part the perception of the importance of life.
It is becoming too common, too excusable, too simple to kill someone for the simplest reason in this world.

It's the day of Solstice and in the locality of Sandhamn, Sweden, a lot of teenagers as it happens every June 21 decide to have some fun. But their fun is not after all so beauty. They drink too much and at the same time they abuse of drugs, without, at the end to being in grade to recognize where they are, who they are and why they are in company of a certain girl or a certain boy, or company, why they are sleeping in a certain place, forgetting the sequence of their life.

Sometimes perception of what it is good and what it is bad, and what it means to have some fun, (giving some limits just for remembering what it happened in the while, it wouldn't be bad), is relative and subjective as we will see.

The son of a business man, Victor is found killed.
Thomas Andreasson will follow this case.
He will try to understand who the killer is but the final result will be shocking and surely not the one imagined by him and the men of his pool.

The book at the same time focuses also on the importance of teen-agers and their relationships with parents and new companions like it happens with the love-story between Nora and Jonas. No one notices that Wilma the daughter of Jonas is upset because they're happy. Happiness happens but sometimes it is difficult to be digested in particular when there is a new companion for dad or mom.

Not only: revenge will be another powerful chapter that the book will treat and the possibility of killing the responsible of a murder. Too pain for thinking that the responsible will live when the other one is dead and his life interrupted forever.

Can revenge re-pays a dad or a family for the loss of a child? The answer is no and in this case is more bitter because of the shocking revelations revealed by Thomas for interrupt maybe another homicide...I

The end of the book says a lot in this sense: "There are no murderers nor victims, just a series of unfortunate events."

Is this true?

Yes, under many aspects yes and it is very sad, because no one of the people involved were mentally healthy, lucid, they were all drugged and plenty of alcohol in their body and they didn't just remember fragments of reality and moment spent with their friends. Teenagers involved in this crime story written wonderfully well, by Viveca Sten anyway are "guilty."
Too weak, too irresponsible, they deleted their own self, accepting for not losing their friends, to drug themselves, spending an insane life, ending up to be different people and generating wherever it was possible uncontrolled reactions and not just the day of the homicide.

But responsibility in this sense is also in the hands of parents, in particular when very wealthy as it is in this case.

It's not necessary to inundate children, in particular teenagers of a lot of money if good at school. Better some gifts or some words of appreciation.
It is too known that certain environments "experiences" more than other ones certain problems.

Sure, no one can thinks that the teenager rewarded with a lot of money because good at school can ending up to buying drug with that money, you think that he/she will save that money somewhere but sometimes it's better to be stingy and prudent.

Lack of lucidity is a violent passage in this book and it made me so sad.
No one more or less (I can't tell you everything) would have done what it did if mentally healthy.

Just few of these people knew exactly what they wanted and why they wanted that.

This one is a sad story of someone without control, and surrounded by people who lost their control as well.
But...Where and how we should stop all this violence? Life is very important.
It's the main question to me.

The portrait of these Swedish youngsters is terribly poor and discomforting and this book to me wants to launch also another strong message: the one of "a drugged teenager society." These teenagers have some fun time if drugged, if under effects of some pills, some drugs, or alcohol.
It says a lot about a society that we think it's wonderful, rich, but that hides horrible, horrible aspects: the research of great, toxic, chemical emotions for later understand the miserable condition of desperation in which these teenagers will fall once the effects of drugs and alcohol mixed together over.

Teenagers involved in drugs of every genre, including pills taken by their own parents, cocaine, cannabis, alcohol, stealing money to their parents, teenagers completely "disconnected" by the reality.
Their parents trust them because they remember that "having some fun" in a healthiest ways, projecting in their children their same ingenuous and still beauty old world, for later discovering with horror that their world is not the world where their children are growing up in and that this one is much much more complicated, difficult and dangerous.

Under many aspects it's a strong very sad book. More than a crime story, it's the sad story of youngsters lost because of their personal problems. Drugs and alcohol are powerful answers in particular if families are not united anymore and if there are problems at home.

But, it's not an excuse for descending in another hell.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori





sabato, giugno 09, 2018

Strength for the Moment Inspiration for Caregivers by Lori Hogan

Coping with old age, the ones of more adult friends, relatives, parents, sometimes unknown people and being there for them: this one the mission of every caregiver.

It's all of it and more the new book by Lori Hogan Strength for the Moment Inspiration for Caregivers published by Crown publishing.
Hogan is very famous in the sector. She created Home Instead Senior Care and it helped a lot and lot of elderly people in many corners of the world.

A diversified, pretty colorful world the one of caregivers. They sometimes cope with stress, discomfort, learning in the while important lessons for their own life, because receiving and giving love to their parents, relatives, friends, or people is priceless.

Caregiving is to focus on the beloved parent, relative, giving him/her the best attention he/she deserves and mainly all the possible dignity. This last moment of his/her life mustn't be a nightmare but a joyous moment.

Examples that you will meet in this book are many and the most diversified.
There is a family who tried to fix all the most important problematic of the beloved dad of the narrator, keeping him with them for seven year;  other couples spent hard times before to find the proper place for their beloved parents, or decided to keep their parents with them  and just when too sick for a proper assistance leaving them in a home.
Other children coped with distance and sufferance...
Each story of this book, fifty-four in total have a common treat: the love creates by sufferance and assistance to an old person and lessons learned about old age, importance of staying connected talking of children for example with that parents who once donated them life. Soul of a caregiver becomes more human, compassionate, there is a different understanding of the world.

Caregiving happens sometimes as we will see.

When parents are unable to be the strongest and solid people we knew; when they become frail, when they need more assistance.
Every story starts with an anecdote, then the heart, the little story of the caregiver and at the end a caregiver's prayer. In the middle of the tale a quote of the most important consideration expressed by the caregiver.

Because let's admit it, without God and His precious invisible help where could a caregiver goes?

I assisted my dad as he assisted me when I was little and I grew up.
He became more frail with the time and because deaf (we bought ears aids but he was terrible because he didn't want to keep them) he also met along his way some dementia.
No: it hasn't been a strong dementia.
He knew who he was, who we were, just sometimes he was fixated with cemeteries, he saw a lot of people digging a lot of graves, and during that agitated times I remember that, for calming him down I brought him to the cemetery.
"Situation is tranquil as you can see, no one is digging new graves, after all it is true that Jesus Christ prepares for us a place in Heaven but without rush...
But...If your ardent desire is to go at a funeral let me check out, I am sure that someone is dead yesterday, everyday die someone and maybe if we are lucky enough we can go at a funeral." While he was thinking, in the while visited the graves of his dad and mom and then I knew what he would have added looking at the empty space close to the one of granny Marietta: "Look: this one will become soon my new house." I told him in that cases: "OK dad let's go and please, stop to say that! Live your life, dad, don't think at this place."

I knew that he was scared to staying there and that's why that when he died I have wanted a serene, peaceful afterlife-house where, everyone stopping by for a visit making dad in Heaven cheerful can smile, staying tranquil, forgetting after all that it is a grave, surrounded by the protection of Saint Mary, many angels, tranquillity, roses, flowers and my dad's saying, pretty human: "Don't start to walk if your mouth doesn't taste of wine." Passions are passions and they should remarked! for keeping people constantly alive also when they're passed away.

I highly suggest to everyone this book in particular if you live a situation of: "Oh my God and now what to do?" with your old parent, because  you will understand thanks to this book what to do and you will find the way, understanding how precious and unique this life is. Sharing it with your old parent in need, donating some part of it at the most important people of your existence is the most beautiful gift you can do. To yourself and to themselves.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, giugno 08, 2018

Life and Work Writers, Readers, and the Conversations Between Them by Tim Parks

That books are inspired by the personal life of authors it is known and that the reaction experienced by people when they read a book are different from person to person it is known as well. It's a cultural story, but...not only.
Sometimes when we re-read a book we feel that book "different" from the first time we read it, because in the while we grew up mentally, we experienced more life.

Writing is a process of an author who, maybe, is writing down certain things, topics, defining, creating some characters because he is in trouble, because he is searching in that moment some answers, because he needs to "throw up" what it is burning in his soul.

Tim Parks, in this stunning book Life and Work Writers, Readers, and the Conversations Between Them by Yale University Book remarks powerfully this.

What is a classics after all if not a wonderfully well written book where the soul of the author is impregnated in every word and every page? What is a classics if not a book that it is immortal thanks to the intellectual honesty of the writer?

The knowledge of the life of the author will add a lot at the reading because will reveal to the reader a lot not just of that book but of the author himself and why there was the creation of a certain masterpiece or book.

I know very well Charles Dickens' biography because I love this author. He idealized family in his books, but when there was to cope with his own family Dickens wasn't always so great and he reduced the first daughter at a life of singletude although that lady remarked that it was great to be the daughter of Dickens.

The biography I loved the most intersected with the book of the author?
The one of James Joyce.
Shocked ad traumatized by The Dubliners that our english teacher pretended from us the first year of high school without any kind of  knowledge of english, this author meant to me an intellectual block and per years just seeing the written name James Joyce meant panic.
I have been in great to buying a second hand edition of The Dubliners just some months ago thinking that I had to make peace with this author.

Joyce spent most of his time distant from Ireland writing only about Irish people, never affectionated to the people he would have met along his way in the foreign places he lived in. In this sense similar to his dad James Joyce remained someone who felt the compulsive desire of writing about irish. He married a lady not appropriate to him, he was a man with strong sexual appetite, and at the same time someone who thought that his writing couldn't be put in discussion. He would have been helped, strongly helped by Ezra Pound. Joyce became a name thanks to her.

Feodor Dostoevsky we will see will cope all his life with epilepsy and other addictions and he will remark in his writing his condition, while Haruki Murakami will confess that writing was to him a suprise like also his success and he is happy now to seeing how enthusiastic are his readers when he publishes a new book. Son of a Buddhist priest he writes about modern Japan; Philip Roth's characters will be taken in considerations and read under their pessimistic approaches to life like also the mood of most of his novels analyzed in detail.

Authors treated in this books are many, not just the ones I told you and Tim Parks with his fluid narrative style will keep you engaged in a reading that will mean to enter pretty closely in the private existences of writers for understanding their personal writing and at least their choices, why some characters were born in a certain way and why they decided to treat a particular thematic, maybe influenced by current events as well.

This book indispensable to my point of view will help you in the future to understand better some of the main masterpieces, classics or modern book of our literature and their authors thanks to a vision inter-connected with the time the writer was/is writing in, his character, illnesses, addictions, environment, family, behaviors, trips, friends.

Authors taken in consideration: Charles Dickens, Feodor Dostoevsky, Thomas Hardy, Anton Chekhov, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Gorges Simenon, Muriel Spark, Philip Roth, J.M. Coetzee, Julian Barnes, Colm Toibin, Geoff Dyer, Peter Stamm, Graham Swift, David Eggers, Haruki Murakami, Peter Matthiessen, Stieg Larsson, E.L. James.



I thank NetGalley and Yale University Press for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori


martedì, giugno 05, 2018

Primo Levi Auschwitz Testimonies 1945-1986 with Leonardo De Benedetti

Primo Levi Auschwitz Testimonies 1945-1986 with Leonardo De Benedetti is a book published by Polity. This book contains never seen before documents implementing the knowledge that there is about Auschwitz.
Primo Levi to my point of view has been the most important witness of the Holocaust during the last second world war conflict. He survived thanks to good health, thanks to his frugality (Primo Levi didn't eat a lot normally) and a work as chemist in the camp thanks to his knowledge of German and many other languages as well.
He spent all his life telling once free what happened to Auschwitz and his powerful words resonates now in the entire world as stones.
He survived at that horror, but he didn't survive at the sad memories that followed him for the rest of his life.
He was in his twenties when he was deported to Auschwitz.

Mr. De Benedetti was a physician and it helped a lot because when Mengele the horrible Nazi who sent immediately to death in the gas chambers people arriving to Auschwitz with the trains of the horror, was "saved" also because of he was a doctor. He was in his 40s when deported.
Mr. De Benedetti learned thanks to a friend the importance of telling to Mengele his work because it would have meant saving his own life although De Benedetti added that all Jewish people were hated and Germans wanted the death of all of them.

Primo Levi started once returned home to tell what experienced, the atrocities he lived, describing in particular in his most famous book: If this is a Man the bestial conditions in which they all lived at the Auschwitz camp.

Levi told that for killing people at the gas chambers Germans used the poison for the disinfection of rats, concluding that that one was a truly painful departure.
He will report in this book on his Report on Monowitz Lager (Auschwitz) what people ate, where and how they were put once survived at the Mengele's "right and left first approach" with the camp overcrowded, what kind of clothes they wore and when they could take a shower, illness affecting the people in the camp, approach to cures, treatments but also experiments on people.
Primo Levi is detailed without to lose his big humanity. He told he passed all the exams and thesis at the university with great success but  close to the Jewish racial laws he didn't at first found a proper job.
I love the words he used for portraying in the newsmagazine La Stampa De Benedetti once dead.

This one of Levi was a generation who lived and experienced the horror, but although they knew what the horror was these people developed a great compassion, a great humanity for the rest of people, because they knew the meaning of true and good values.

His words for De Benedetti: "Fail but not broken by the brutal life of the Lager, mildly and calmly aware, a friend to everyone incapable of rancor,without anguish and without fear...He lived for almost forty years....Surrounded by a multitude of friends, old and new, all of whom felt indebted to him for something: many for their health, others for a piece of advice, others still simply for his presence and for his smile, childlike but never unmindful or sad, which lightened the heart."

What Levi wanted to do was to let know at youngest generations what happened during the last Second World War so that memory wouldn't never be lost and atrocities like these ones no more committed because senseless.

Invited to speak in many universities, schools, he cured The Deportation Exhibition in Turin for four years. One day he received a letter from a fascist's daughter. She was doubting of the authenticity of that imagines.

The answers of Levi: "Those things really happened...in the heart of this Europe of ours....It is not strange that many people, even innocent ones, feel ashamed when faced with these facts and prefer to keep silent. ...The shame and the silence of the innocent can mask the guilty silence of the perpetrators, allowing them to defer and evade the judgement of history....The Exhibition is addressed...To children, and to the children of children, with the aim of demonstrating what reserves of ferocity lie in the depths of the human spirit, and what dangers, today as yesterday, threaten our civilization."

I largely read since I was little a lot of books, interviews about Holocaust.
I interviewed an Auschwitz survivor as well.
I strongly suggest to everyone this book for continuing to understand, for not forgetting, for preserving the memory of that atrocities. When you must read a book about Holocaust read books of people who experienced it, like in this case, because the impact will be completely different, more persistent, real.

Afterwords by Fabio Levi and Domenico Scarpa.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, giugno 04, 2018

The Sarashina Diary A Woman's Life in Eleven-Century Japan by Sugawara no Takasue no Musume and translated, with an introduction by Sonja Arntzen and Ito Moriyuki

The Sarashina Diary A Woman's Life in Eleven-Century Japan by Sugawara no Takasue no Musume and translated, with an introduction by Sonja Arntzen and Ito Moriyuki published by Columbia University Press will transport us in the old-fashioned Japan. We don't know the name of this woman the author of The Sarashina Diary, because women couldn't receive names in old Japan, that one was another society dominated by men, but we know that Sugawara no Takasue no Musume was the daughter of a governer of an important Japanese province.
This diary is extremely important because it focuses forty years of life of the writer and in this sense it's the diary in the genre more long temporally.
Sugawara no Takasue no Musume was very careful in her entries, because she didn't want to leave a diary just for herself but for the eternity and for being read later. Inspired by other diaries, like The Tale of Genji, the diary will reveal the life of a woman with her intense life, emotions, a long marriage, the sadness for the departure of her beloved ones, registered for giving to the readers her personal emotions, but also nice anecdotes like the arrival of a cat in the house, the beauty of the various seasons during the year, description of blooming trees during spring-time, landscapes portrayed with intensity as when she says:

How I would love to show
someone who could understand-
this mountain village
in the depths of an autumn night,
the moon at daybreak.

Great observer, Sugawara no Takasue no Musume was a lady who thought that women deserved a special place in the society, and more independence. She confesses in the diary, one of the most important ones of the mid-Heian period her love for books and reading like also her relationship with Buddhist religion, her vision of an harmonic, tender world, her worries, her relationship, her first love, her sensations when she visited new places, religious ones included adding poems entries exchanged with relatives and friends via post at first.
This writer gives to the reader what she thinks they should know of her.
Plenty of sense of humor, poems, reflections, I am sure you will love this book from the past. Trust me when I tell you that it doesn't seem so old, because the mirror of life portrayed by Sugawara no Takasue no Musume reflects universal thematics.

I picked up this diary because I love the genre and because Japanese books presents to the reader with their wisdom and beauty am enchanting and relaxing reading.


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

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, giugno 03, 2018

Futur Artic Field Notes from a World on the Edge by Edward Struzik

Futur Artic Field Notes from a World on the Edge by Edward Struzik published by Island Press is the chronicle of what will happen these next decades to the Artic if the state of things will remain this one.

But...

When global change became a reality? It happened in Canada, Alberta.
It was 1950.  People didn't imagine a different future from the secure one in which they were living in. A wild fire for 222 days burned more than 3.5 million acres.
Not only: this fire was spotted also in Northern European countries, can you imagine it, as in the USA, as well.

But what about the Artic? The Artic has a special population of animals, let's remember caribou, reindeer, polar bears, seal.
In 2100 probably there won't be any more ice and of course these spieces will find a different environment if of course they will be in grade to survive. Maybe the polar bear will start to be a great mate of the Grizzly the biggest American bear, more adaptable in that new conditions.

Problems won't effect just animals devastated, disoriented if not disappeared from this abrupt climatical "diversification" and conditions but also people strongly connected with an eco-system that it is changing, like the native American tribe of the Inuit. The adaptation at the climate change have created a diversified approach during the years also in the members of this tribe involving their hunting, their favorite meal and meat, but losing that territory as they remember it, a magical land where animals, like the Polar Bear and the rest of them are celebrated in legends and tales will mean a strong impact for sure.

A curiosity expressed by the author intrigued me a lot. In the remote past the Artic was a fertile region, with a good eco-system mammoths including, and that was why they were discovered in the Artic. The future of the Artic will return to be this one 'till at the next...Glaciation!


I thank NetGalley and Island Press for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

1918 L'Influenza Spagnola La Pandemia che cambiò il Mondo by Laura Spinney

1918 L'Influenza Spagnola La Pandemia che cambiò il Mondo by Laura Spinney published by Marsilio Nodi in english Pale Rider attracted me a lot because of an anecdote told me once by my dad, born in 1926 while we were watching on TV a program about the Spanish Influenza of 1918.


"It was tremendous. At that time we were more than 600 people in the area. An entire family was killed by this flu. They died in 1919. Everyday people celebrated a funeral for and of one of the member of that family. Five people in total, of all that family just an adult child survived."

Strong of that fact, and because I am a pretty alarmistic person I read this book with great interest.

The Spanish flu arrived in the world with fury and death 100 years ago and although scientists are not still sure where it was born it took the name of Spanish Flu. I consider the author's dissertation about names given at various illness enchanting.

There is a known fact: that a man from Kansas fell sick at a certain point. That one is still considered the Patient Number Zero.

100 years ago world was completely different (and similar) at this one and trying to understand the devastation caused by this pandemic flu took a lot of years because in that sense the only way of communication with the world were ships, the ones that would have disseminated in the entire world that horrible virus, because infected.

This pandemia caused in total 100 million dead in just a year.
Its virulence was situated into the lungs with heavy hemorrhages. People died pretty quickly.

Many anecdotes from the world, I would want to fly with you in New Yprk City because this story involves our immigrants in the States.
Mainly peasants, escaped from a reality of great poverty in their native land, 4 million and more lived in places called Little Italy.
These poor people not acculturated and in search of fortune were like suffocated in a city like New York and pretty soon they lost their strength.
They lived in poor places without any kind of comfort.
Possibility of starting to fall sick a condition more superior than the one of people living in beauty houses.
Italians believed that doctors were not friendly at all and they preferred to cure themselves with other alternative methods.
Mr Copeland an homeopathic doctor and the responsible of this pandemic flu for NYC understood that it was crucial not only to "domesticate" this big italian community, but also to try to let understand to Italians the importance of proper cures.
School during the pandemic flu were not closed in New York City. Children spent best days at school nurtured and treated well, in warm and protected places than not in that poor houses without any comforts and with the possibility of becoming real great, powerful vehicles for that terrible illness. New houses were built with more modernity.

Some places for trying to stop the arrival of this flu celebrated strange pagan rituals, choosing an improbable couple and then as location for the wedding...A cemetery.

Australia tried its best for avoiding flu, as you will read, while Odessa lived the arrival of a wonderful actress, maybe a spy as well. An intriguing story.


Problems given by this pandemic influenza were devastating also in trenches, and wherever you were looking at, from China to Western Countries.
Some countries were more "intellectually and medically" ready for it than not other ones.

The advent of viruses as we will see was still germinal and most people thought that this influenza was weird, scaring and caused by a bacteria.
Plus hygienical situations, conditions, and behaviors were still becoming part of the medicine's ABC, while some countries didn't imagine that the importance of a good hygienic behavior could make the difference.

In this situation the pandemic influenza was a big chaos also with hospitals sometimes created here and there for people still sick, while dead people were amassed along the streets waiting to be buried.
There is the touching story of a man with a son dead in their house and the impossibility of finding a little coffin for burying him per days.

It was a real and scary emergence this one, although this big problem hasn't never been greatly studied at school, or no one talked of it a lot. The four years that goes from 1914 and 1918 are remembered mainly because of the First Mondial War. An important event, but this pandemic flu killed 100 million of people so more than the first, and second world war put together, explains the author. It says a lot.

The book later will also take in consideration the role of viruses and their mutations, the importance of pigs, and domestic animals for developing new kind of aggressive flu describing the virus of the Spanish Influenza in detail and where and how they searched for that one for analyzing it.
At first the book starts with a history of flu and when it was discovered the first case of flu in the remote past.

We all know admits the author that maybe another pandemic influenza is possible. Sure we don't know yet when and what we can do for avoid any possible disaster and possibly to save as many people as possible.

The cover says all of this illness: a family the one of Egon Schiele wouldn't never known the baby his wife was waiting, this couple both died of Spanish Flu, but before to donate his life to death Schiele decided of fixing on the canvas his family, baby included.

I suggest you this book because it is not just a readable book but it is plenty of stories, common ones of normal people, mixed at the history of the various nations. All the world taken in consideration.

Highly recommended.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori