domenica, luglio 29, 2018

I Romanov Storia di una Dinastia tra Luci e Ombre by Raffaela Ranise

I Romanov Storia di una Dinastia tra Luci e Ombre by Raffaela Ranise published by Marsilio is an interesting short, condensed intriguing book about the Romanov. I didn't know all the story of this family: I knew that once Lenin took power in Russia they were killed. But modality, how, when, where, why or their role during their 300 years of reign to me not known.

Explored all the Romanov, I loved to read about Catherine the Great, with her modern ideas for a State less underdeveloped, plenty of young lovers also when old, she had to be an original, funny mind and person; we will assist at the profound hate of his son, who once became tzar tried all his best for destroying the beautiful imagine of his mother Catherine; not just failing; people, tired of that oppressor, killed him without too many compliments after just four years of reign.
Nicola and Alessandra the latest protagonists of this family. They appear to me like Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, King and Queen of France. Closed in their own, beautiful, rich world, unable to see what it was going on in the real one, they started to be profoundly hated by the entire population, in search of serious answers.

The advent of Communism with Lenin and the end of the Tzars, will also mean the sad departure of the entire Romanov.
A chapter apart is dedicated at the character of Rasputin, for sure a sly, manipulative person; a girl could purify herself going to bed with him: original idea that one of Rasputin for searching for some sex. Rasputin was also someone who cursed the family: "If some members of your family will kill me, you won't survive..." And the curse maintained its promise.

Enchanting, interesting book, when you start to read it, you won't put it down anymore, it's too much the curiosity to see what will happen at the next member of the family.

I love the cover. At first I was attracted by it. The symbol of the Romanov was a rose in fact, the so-called Romanov-Rose.

Warmly recommended.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, luglio 28, 2018

The most Beautiful Village in the World written by Yutaka Kobayashi

The most Beautiful Village in the World written by Yutaka Kobayashi is a strong, children's book that I warmly suggest to buying to your children for let them think of the importance of a peaceful place as the one where they are living in, and a country where this blessing is distant and where living and existing is just a story of luck and where, also life is much more hard.
This children's book starts with a great poeticity. Set in Afghanistan, during years of war and in a little town called, name of fantasy, Paghman enchanting and fertile, plenty of delicious fruits, beautiful sunny and colored flowers, the description the one of a rural reality the one experienced in Europe these past decades.
Illustrations are very colored, vivid, realistic, dreaming.
Yamo is a little boy and  goes to the town for helping his dad at selling for the first time fruits replacing his brother at war. With them the donkey called Pompa. They would have sold cherries and plums.
Once they have finished to sell all fruits Yamo's dad will present to his son a precious gift, a lamb called Spring for the good work done.

But, problem is another one: problem is that during the war this village was destroyed.

When you read this final phrase, "In the winter, the village was destroyed in the war. It no longer exists" after having read of animals, fruits, market, tea-rooms, chat with friends, dinamic life you feel a profound shock.

But it's important. It's important to understand the price of liberty, freedom, peace and the one of oppression, war, peril. It's important to understand that it's up to us, only to us, to build the society and the world where we want to live in, starting from the little actions of everyday. And that the difference is visibly  important and plenty of signification.

Also little ones should understand this. If you put on your children's hands this book I know how profound, long will be this conversation, because I experienced it.

As adds the author, our idea of Afghanistan is the one of an arid place but there are mountains, hills, and fertile places and most important, many gentle innocent people who were and still are paying a too high price just for being born and for living in a country of great torments and agitations.

As says the TAO when there is a war, "Every victory is a funeral; when you win a war, you celebrate by mourning."

I thank  Museyon Publishing House for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

Il Club delle lettere segrete, The Club of Secret Letters by Angeles Donate

Il Club delle lettere segrete, The Club of Secret Letters by Angeles Donate published by Feltrinelli and Mondolibri italian publishing houses is a suggestive novel that deserve your attention. We are in the little town of Porvenir, where the local post-woman Sara, 45 years old, three children risks to losing her job because no one send letters anymore and so the post office will close at the end of the year. She won't precisely lose her job, but she must leave the little town of 1000 souls where she was born for a biggest city. It is a thought this one for her.
But what to do?
An elderly lady, very affectionate to Rosa, can't believe at this news. Rosa is very affectionate to her and losing her company would mean to her to lose a part of what it remains of her world. Her world...
Who knows what end did her best teen-age friend? She lost contact with her 60 years ago when she started her relationship with Abel ending up to marrying him after three months of knowledge. A blessed union their one, where, including Luisa, her friend, cut out.

She thinks that if this one can be helpful for Sara  maybe it's better to write to this old lose friend. It will help her heart to healing for the pain of having excluded from her life Luisa.

She sends it...

Sara, in the while has a letter to bring to someone. A place where no one lives in  anymore and where affords just for case a 23 years old nephew of Luisa, dead time ago...

Alma 23 years old would want to become a poet and when reluctantly opens the letter sent to her poor granny and reads it, moved, she agrees that letters are important and when Rosa asks to supporting this crusade for helping Sara, she is enthusiastic of the idea.
Alma in fact followed an epistolary course at the university. A choice made that one not because in love with the topic but with her busy schedule. It was a happy surprise to her the world of letters and how big the impact of letters can be for a person.

Said that, she writes a letter and sends it to an American poet she knows she lives in this little town. Just...The American poet is devastated by alcohol, she doesn't live the happiest moment of her life and when she receives this letter, well, she is...Confused. Not anymore after that, skeptically she will read this letter, deciding to write back another letter to someone else for discovering that the joy of writing is back and enthusiasm not gone forever.

This chain will continue, and mixing technology and old-fashioned way of communication, with stamps, paper and ink, the happy end is more than sure!

To everyone in love for a happy, positive, wonderful story, love-stories included, this book brings with it a strong message: how a little, positive gesture can become viral, spreading new changes and new positive vibes in a little, apparently anonymous town.

Club per Voi the book club where I discovered this book!

Anna Maria Polidori

Translating Happiness A cross-Cultural Lexicon of Well-Bring by Tim Lomas

Translating Happiness A cross-Cultural Lexicon of Well-Bring by Tim Lomas is an original and curious book published by MIT press focused, interested, in searching for places, cultures and particularly words about happiness and all its meanings. A lot of words for a lot of harmony and joy in this world.

The author is a Lecturer in Positive Psychology and decided to reunite from the world, 80 languages, 400 words, starting from the italian Abbiocco :-)  all connected with joy, happiness and yes, well-being, analyzing and explaining this human state in words.
Also, adds the author, when we don't understand some words, the important is to penetrate their essence like when you speak a foreign language and you don't understand one or two words but the meaning of a phrase is complete.

This passion for happiness, but also for Buddhism, Chinese culture, Asia, started when mr.Lomas attended a trip to China at the age of 19,
discovering a different world and a different philosophy of living and..well-being.

He also discovered that the words that defined happiness were different from our ones, analyzing this difference seen with our western perception and "lenses" for using this expression.

Enjoy this book, fresh, positive, informative and plenty of happy and joyous words all waiting for you and for a wonderful trip on this Earth plenty of happiness!

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

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, luglio 26, 2018

The Country House Library by Mark Purcell

The Country House Library by Mark Purcell published for National Trust by Yale University Press is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated and warm literary trip a book-lover can starts to do thanks to the writer, who previously worked as Libraries Curator to the National Trust from 1999 to 2015: in this book mr.Purcell will focus his attention on the most beautiful  Irish, British  country-house libraries.
Mr. Purcell visited the most beautiful estates, with their stunning libraries, plenty as says the author "Of chairs, sofas, globes, bookcases." After all, what is a library if not a gracious room where there are our favorite books?
These libraries not only contain a large and remarkable amount of important old books, but they made the history of their owners as well, in particular when collecting books, when the creation of a beautiful library where to get lost became relevant: when did it happened? When print was born and english and Irish, voracious readers, developed a visceral passion for reading books of a lot of diversified topics.

If a library is so remarkable, you will think that it is also a place pretty estimated. No: completely different story. Libraries have never been in grade to emerge from the profundity of anonymity, although they tell, intrinsically tell, character, passions of their owner defining his character thanks to the books he read.

Starting from the most remote past, Egyptians, Romans, passing through more modern times, Tudor; then let's remember the advent of press, Eighteen Century, collecting, the arrival of a lot of diversified books, 'till at this new century, these stories of country-house libraries will conquer you.

Some of these libraries had or still have a curator, other have been sold and books dispersed or just they found a new owner in grade to appreciate them: some of  these libraries sometimes were opened for being visited by tourists.

But, we will also see that with the time this perception changed and that country-house ibraries were also important because thanks to them the owner established important relationship with his neighbors.
Sharing culture means connections and unity.
And then public libraries...

This one is the best book about books that I have ever read. Not only it speaks about books, but about history, private and public life of owners of country-house libraries, so a specific topic that I didn't know, keeping the narration captivating and intriguing.

A tome, this one, that I warmly suggest to everyone, because precious, plenty of informations, and, if you are a book-lover, undoubtedly a book that you can't leave alone.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

The Walls Have the Floor - Mural Journal - May '68 translated by Henry Vale, foreword by Tom McDonough afterword by Whitney Phillips edited by Julien Besançon

The Walls Have the Floor - Mural Journal - May '68 translated by Henry Vale, foreword by Tom McDonough afterword by Whitney Phillips edited by Julien Besançon, is just apparently a little book published by MIT Press about 1968.
Realistically, the book contained in this apparently innocuous book is incredibly powerful, young. Vital. These messages, phrases have great adherence to our reality as well.

Why 1968 made the difference? Well that one was a movement blessed by ideals, and when young people protest using ideals no one will be in grade to tame that fire. And that protest, maybe it's an "unicum," because the protest interested the entire world.

1968 was a crucial year for the world. In the USA Reverend Martin Luther King and Bob Kennedy, who was running for the Presidential Elections were killed. Five years before Robert Kennedy's brother,  President John Fitzgeral Kennedy was also killed in Dallas. World was a confused land. Protests, for the most diversified reasons increased quickly. People wanted answers to their needs, more rights and, implied, less wars.

Fifty years later maybe its better to return to speak of a movement in grade if not to change the world, to create a lot of pressure on the establishment for a better world and more rights.

This book prospects a different, curious, "new" point of view (the book was released in France on 1968) for trying to see more closely how students of Paris protested during that incredible year that was the 1968.

Did students protested in the streets? Of course. In squares and universities? Implied, but...Not only.
Another vehicle, a strong and powerful one considering the big visibility that they can offer, were walls as well. The ones of prestigious universities, the ones where people could capture the most the attention of students. On "their" walls, the ones of the universities were they were studying in,  placea for thinkers, places for learning they elaborated new theories for a best world adding also all their protest, their disaffection for the system, trying also in this way to reach as many people as possible.

In the while Julien Besançon, at that time a reporter of Europe no.1 started to notice these graffiti. They were so many! and he thought: why not to create a book reporting what these students, these people, so angry, are saying to politicians? It was a pure success. Why? Because this one is an angry book, a book that wants to let you think about a lot of situations.

The original author did all his best for reporting also the place where he found the messages launched by a unknown graffiti-lovers, written maybe during the night, or in a moment where no one could see him/her.

Some graffitis?

They talk of revolution, they talk of social change. In one of them:

"Watch out: careerists and kiss-asses can disguise themselves with a "sociological" mask."

"Liberty is not a good we possessed. It is a good they've prevented us from having thanks to laws, rules, prejudices, ignorance, etc..."

" A man is not stupid or intelligent: he is free or he isn't."

"Take the trip everyday of your life."

"I came.
I saw.
I believed."

"Don't liberate me I will take care of it."

"The forests precedes man, the desert follows him."

"All Power to the Imagination."

"Talk with your neighbors."

Times are changed and at the moment the new "walls" where to write about the most diversified protests are social medias, seen as the quickest modality for reaching as many people as possible. After all a lot of people in the world are connected to the net.
Comparisons with social media and impact different but similar because a vibrant and correct protest can seriously touch the chords of wagons of people as we have seen also during the past months with new movements like #NeverAgain, #MeToo and the Women's March in Washington.

After 50 years 1968 is continuing to whisper of a land of freedom and more rights.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, luglio 24, 2018

Making Oscar Wilde by Michèle Mendelssohn

"He will always be with us-daring, fresh, timeless." This one the last line of Making Oscar Wilde by Michèle Mendelssohn, book, biography published by Oxford University Press.

True: Oscar Wilde is one of my favorite writers and when I think of him I don't never associate him with the problems he would have experienced later, but personally with it's aphorisms, The Picture of Dorian Gray, the De Profundis, his culture, his ability of filtering feelings, with his being snob, so that sometimes when you read his aphorisms you think: "Oscar, Oscar..."

It's like if the final part of his life would be the appendix of another person.

This kind of "dissociation," possible just with him, maybe is permitted because he enters in the heart of readers  with freshness, simplicity, pathos and profundity, portraying after all who he was, without too many masks; and sincerity after all pays. Always.

This beautiful and intriguing biography doesn't focus on the final years of the writer, but explores with great interest what made, created the character Oscar Wilde: a trip to the USA, when, once he left Oxford for London, he became the main member of the Aestheticism.

Wilde was born in a rich Irish family.
His dad and his mother were true characters as well plenty of culture.

He left soon for Oxford where he attended with great success college, being one of the most brilliant students.
He would have wanted to reach notoriety, he wanted to become someone someday.

Oscar Wilde didn't love to live in frugality. He loved luxury and excesses and this one was the main cause of worries, when he could not find, at first, any kind of work in grade to present him stability and this so-wanted richness.

Oscar Wilde, thanks to a new current of though, organized long series of lectures in the USA from 1882 to 1883.

Oh: he was enchanting once arrived in the New World sharing as the author remembers, his big charisma with everyone. He enchanted a lady reporter from the West Coast, he loved to posing languidly during his interviews, ninety-eight in total during this long trip in the USA.

Although the arrival of Oscar Wilde was saluted with great appreciation, some reporters started to report that after all he was not so original. Wilde enchanted Boston, was theatrical in Memphis, TN,  (he reached all the Southerner States) affording to the West Coast as well.
During this long trip he met  the poet Walt Whitman. This meeting changed Wilde so badly and was remembered with great affection by the same Whitman.

At the same time the new-born interviews with famous and common people tried to define this man, but...He still remained a mystery.

Was he a man or a woman? first of all.
He had a beautiful body, strong as a Greek statue, but then he acted just...differently.

Rumors started to spread.

The success of this trip in the New World meant to Oscar Wilde, once back to London a great notoriety and the successful plays that he would have created later presented him a big celebrity, fame, notoriety, richness.

Portrayed also his marriage, final phase of his existence, legal problems, jail, lost of consideration and reputation and a very sad end.

I personally found beauty this  biography because of the passion, devotion  the author put in writing this, brilliantly and with genuine heart.Mendelssohn's words resonates with importance: "He was a martyr, but he was also a man. The truth behind the legend is that he was a paradox through and through-which is to say, real, broken, flawed, and human.
The same genius and free spirit that made him special also made him vulnerable."

Oscar Wilde is one of the most beloved authors we know.
A best description of who he was, the family and social, political tissue where he grew him up in Ireland, his friends, social life, this fabulous, sometimes tiring trip to the USA will be a beautiful, different approach to a man who made the difference, creating the "Dandies," presenting to the New World the European Victorian World and Aestheticism, looked with fascination and curiosity.

Highly recommended to everyone, from students, to common people.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, luglio 22, 2018

L'Incredibile storia dell'uomo che dall'India arrivò in Svezia in bicicletta per amore, The Incredible Story of the Man who, from India, afforded in Sweden in Bicycle for Love by Per J Andersson

L'Incredibile storia dell'uomo che dall'India arrivò in Svezia in bicicletta per amore, The Incredible Story of the Man who, from India, afforded in Sweden in Bicycle for Love by Per J Andersson is a stunning book published by Sonzogno.

This one is not just a love-story, it's also the personal story of the protagonist, immersed in the biggest cultural and political panorama of 1970s's India.

A story of redemption after humiliation, "mental segregation" true unhappiness that brought the protagonist to searching for suicide as a modality of escapism from the absurdity and incoherence of life.

This one is the fascinating, terrible, sad, dreaming story of a baby, kid, teen-ager, boy, man born with a precise destiny: oh, leaving alone the premonition this one is the story of Pikay.

This book is dreaming in the description of the life Pikay lived outdoor, and his great affection and love for every kind of animals, in a religion, Hinduism and Buddhism "horizontals" in this sense: every creature is at the same level of man and need to be respected, because the divinity is everywhere.

It was a sufferance reading the discriminatory part of the tale; truly painful. A horrible, sad system, created centuries ago and nurtured with care created great discrimination in India: the system of the castes.

Pikay was born in the jungle so he breathed more than anyone else what it means respect for nature, love for plants, spirits of forests and of course for animals, serpents included, because every creature must be loved and is a divinity.

But, what happens when a person is born in the "wrongest side" of the barricade, without any cast supporting him/her?

It's a mess. It's a mess because probably the circuit of discrimination created by centuries of culture of castes, won't never permit to this newborn people to develop a real life, left alone, discriminated, "untouched" because impure.

Discrimination is different from places to places. In the USA we assisted at a lot of discrimination because of a story of skin color but discrimination involves a lot of situation.
Illnesses, social status.
Everything can be part of a process of discrimination. The case of Pikay was his social status.

Pikay was not just born poor, he didn't just live in a hug, cabin, he was an untouchable.
India is divided per castes; the author at a certain point writing about castes, is pretty clear; in India also at school people are divided for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward castes, the latest one that defined Pikay; a pan.

Classified like impure, people of other castes must avoid  them because they would become impure as they are.
Look what a psychological problem these people must live. Pikay lived  a pretty stressing life when young.

What did it mean to him being at school?
A terrible segregation, distant from his schoolmates and close to them only when there were special visits of superiors when he was treated like the other schoolmates.
Of course, hypocrisy.

Situation changes when he goes to high school, when he changes place, and when he understands that in a city people don't mind who you are, the important is what you bring with you.

In particular when he decides to go to New Delhi for studying art he breaths an international communion of spirit and union with everyone.

Pikay has a talent: he loves to make portraits of people and he is great when he draws.

Sufferance won't end there because unfortunately when money run out he will sleep with the rest of homeless at the train station or in other places waiting for best times, interrupting in the while, school. A friend of him, they are still in contact remembers that the most urgent problem Pikay felt was the one of feeding himself. This one was his first stress and urgency.

Who is Lotta? Lotta lives in Sweden and she doesn't live at all the stresses of Pikay, but she has an adoration, who knows why? for  India and once she will afford this trip in India she will discover Pikay, falling in love for him and waiting for his arrival in Sweden.

What Pikay will do is to start this memorable trip plenty of anecdotes with a second-hand bicycle...

Beautiful descriptions, not just of this incredible trip but also of the historical moments Pikay lived in.
He met many important and influential people including Indira Gandhi, all requesting him a portrait.

Amazing love-story where past, present, premonitions, divination, made the difference in the life of these happy protagonists.

Yes, there is a wonderful happy end.

I highly suggest to all of you this book!

I thank Sonzogno for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, luglio 18, 2018

The Oxford Handbook of The Victorian Novel edited by Lisa Rodensky

You'll adore The Oxford Handbook of The Victorian Novel edited by Lisa Rodensky.

I confess: I always felt a great attraction for Victorian Age. It will be because a correspondent was fixated with Victorian Age, or maybe because when I was little someone presented me Little Dorrit and later I discovered A Christmas Carol by Dickens, or maybe because I read Oliver Twist and David Copperfield with which I share the day I was born in, Friday. Maybe because my favorite actor Johnny Depp portrayed Victorian Age in From Hell; Jack the Ripper is part of the mystery of that historical period.
Maybe just because during that age there was grace, elegance, but also a society, like this one, in turmoil and evolution in every field of society. Just, that one was still in its complexity, a healthy society.

A peculiar historical moment that one for UK, because rural places started to be abandoned by people in search for some jobs in cities.
Cities started to be "populated" by the most diversified factories, industrialization, unions, new illnesses brought by new works;  a complicated life the one that would have encountered most people originally born in a countryside as remembers very well Elizabeth Gaskell in one of the most enchanting, graceful book that you can read regarding this topic: North and South.
Not just beauty for the social description of that age and period, but because of the beautiful sentiments, language and dialogues descripted in the book;  an harmony difficult to find in modern books and a relaxation while you are reading this book that you thought it was gone forever.
These novels are in fact in grade to transport the reader in a dimension of good values, where life had a strong significance, and where love, friendship were sentiments felt, not just proclaimed; where love was so felt that sometimes the protagonists would have won all adversities for staying together and where difficulties were, at the end, sorted out.

Victorian Novels became a genre.
Novels inspired by love, friendship, work, social class,  where money would have played an important role as we can see in A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, Vanity Fair, and so on close to another word: ambition. All these novels have a characteristic: a happy end, most of the times for the principal protagonists.

Readers of all ages fell fascinated by these adoring books and characters. Wonderful plots, dreaming locations, sometimes hard conditions of life, where the reader could imagine a best life for the protagonists because these novels have the characteristic of being very powerful: the dimension of  dream is strong and in grade to transport the reader in a parallel world so beloved and plenty of attraction.

A lot of polemic in this sense involved writers and Hardy interrupted his writing because of this reason: people wanted to read a certain kind of novels.
A certain kind of books.
Victorian Novels made the difference and had adoring fans everywhere; addicted to them.
Everyone read these books. Everyone loved them.

Thanks to the arrival, creation of public libraries, the possibility of reading books for free increased tremendously enthusiastic readers of all age of Victorian Novels.
Happy ends paid a lot in terms of good mood for readers. These novels brought and bring optimism,  the possibility of imagining a good life. After all, a book is important for this reason as well. 

This beautiful handbook, divided in ten parts where every aspect of the production of Victorian Novel is analyzed, is for students, general readers, for whoever is in love for Victorian Novel.
It is great if you plan a thesis on this topic, but also if you are a teacher or just, if you want to discover more. I know for sure that you must intercept and capture this book. It's a treasure of knowledge that you will adore and you'll love forever.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, luglio 17, 2018

Poetry and Animals Blurring the Boundaries With the Human by Onno Oerlemans

Poetry and Animals Blurring the Boundaries With the Human by Onno Oerlemans published by Columbia University Press is an interesting book about poetry and why people, writers, poets are interested and write about animals.
Oerlemans says that he wrote this book as a: "Field guide of poetry about animals which is both an overview and a sampling, one that begins to account for the variety of work poetry can do for and about animals and our interests in them."
The curiosity of writing about animals, from domestics to wild ones  is originally derived by fables with their own symbolic meanings.
The lamb can be our Lord, or an innocent animal sacrificed and so on.
"Defining the animal as a way of defining the human is as old and common as beer" writes the author but also as adds Margaret Atwood can be "A way of reflecting some large truth about humanity."
Killing animals remarks our supremacy, but also of course, for extension, a habit to see the death, living connected with that dimension and the reality of this existence.
Some poets will write about invisible animals or about the departure of an animal, positive or negative, a moment of sufferance or joy.
Why animals are so relevant for poetry?
Animals are all different and each of them in grade to speak to our soul individually. More, each of them have a specific reputation.
Isn't it true?
A lamb will be pacific, a wolf will be tremendous, a bird, if little, nice, lovable, cute, a butterfly dreaming, poetic and colored, a hummingbird enchanting, a  snake dangerous, a scorpion, bloody hell what a nasty meeting.
Each of them (with people is more difficult because we must define every person we meet) speak a certain "language" to writers and poets.
William Blake's "The Lamb" and "The Tyger" are the best examples that can be picked up regarding the "spiritual classification of animals."
Animal encounters, single animals, the death of animals, are topics treated, although this latest one not yet much, when it is a domestic pet because it is still considered too embarrassing. Who knows why.

A beautiful reading, where the importance of animals for poets of the past passing through the most recent ones is remarked in all its magnificence.

Great poems from the most beloved poets, from Walt Whitman to Chaucer, from Coleridge to Emily Dickinson, including the most modern ones.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, luglio 16, 2018

Big internet problems

Good morning everyone!
We are experiencing as all the other past summers, big internet problems so, if I post a review and I don't transmit the link to the publishing house, you know the reason. We have a limited time of connection and with dial-up it's all pretty messy.

I thank all of you for your patience.

Anna Maria Polidori

Reframing 1968 American Politics, Protest and Identity Edited by Martin Halliwell and Nick Witham

Captivating, interesting book this one by Edinburgh University Press: Reframing 1968 American Politics, Protest and Identity Edited by Martin Halliwell and Nick Witham.

Intense, charismatic, in this eleven essays divided in three parts: Politics of Protests, Spaces of Protests and Identities of Protests, explained what that symbolic year, the 1968, meant to the USA. And the world.

At first analyzed the New Left, the radicalization, the fight against Vietnam war, but also other rights, for example for black people, women and other minorities.

That year was chaotic, convulsive, with two tremendous assassinations: the one of reverend Martin Luther King for the rights of black people and the one, two months later, of Bob Kennedy. The consequent escalation of the Vietnam War brought other tensions.

People, in particular youngest ones didn't like anymore the old left. The new one, had as mottoes: "We are the vanguard of fantasy", "All power to the imagination!"

The US were seen as an imperialistic society, racist and not in grade to present rights to everyone. A place without peace, and a country that in a way or in another had to change.

The US didn't just experience pacifistic movements like the one started by King. There were also Malcom X, and the Black Panther Party. The New Left appeared in the USA at the beginning of the 1960s and became more radical after the sad assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The New Left composed mainly by white people recognized white supremacy as an extreme defect for the society. 
Everyone were ready to embrace, if opened-minded, Marxism, Leninism in a so-called peaceful form. And, everyone supported the Vietnamese rejecting a war like the one started by the USA. A war that would have put psychologically down the US forever.

Although current situation is mutated, this society is in turmoil as well and new and strongest movements were born just few months ago in a historical moment at first seen as "passive" of emotions and fights.
From the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment in the workplace, passing through the #Never Again movement created by some students after a mass shooting in their school  in Florida on Valentine's Day for fighting against the right of  buying entire arsenals of guns, in particular war ones in when people have mental illnesses, trying to let know this problem at the public opinion  for a best regulation on matter, or the Women's March protest started when the new President Donald Trump was elected.

There are some differences, because during the 1960s priorities were other ones.

Which ones?
Women rights, gay rights, black people rights, right to live in peace in a country without an endless war in a distant and unknown country like Vietnam was.

Situation changed after 1968? Students and people bettered the existent situation?
Well, not immediately. Nixon expanded the war where possible in Indochina, Cambodia, Laos with great negative repercussion for the US troops.

The most important anti-war protest the one organized in October 1967. 100.000 people protested at the Lincoln Memorial.

1968 with the time influenced literature.  Robert Stone published Prime Green in 2007 telling his experience as an active participant in Californian protests. He wrote in his book: "In some ways the world profited and will continue to profit by what we succeeded in doing. Measuring ourselves against the masters of the present, we regret nothing except our failure to prevail."

Other memoirs were written by Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and Angela Davis.

World was protesting as well. A young boy, Jan Palach killed himself in Prague in 1969, because he fought against the occupation of the Soviet Regime.

Which were places of protests?
Cities, in particular squares, but also universities, schools where ideas could be shared and spread with more intensity outside.

The President of Columbia University on April 12 1968 wrote: "Our young people, in disturbing numbers, appear to reject all forms of authority... and they have taken refuge in a turbulent and inchoate nihilism whose sole objectives are destructive."

Not all students at the university were in grade to let know to the rest of the world their ideas receiving support. It depended where schools, universities were located.
Urban students were the luckiest ones. In rural areas students could not search for help, in general, in the outside community.

Cinema was inspired by 1968 with great and iconic movies.

Fascinating analysis, the book is for everyone, and very interesting. Reading this book you'll understand better this part of still young American History.
After all the iconic 1968's message was this: fighting everyday and forever for some right.

Yesterday like today.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, luglio 15, 2018

Manet A Symbolic Revolution by Pierre Bourdieu translated by Peter Collier and Margaret Rigaud-Drayton

Manet  A Symbolic Revolution by Pierre Bourdieu translated by Peter Collier and Margaret Rigaud-Drayton is an impressive book by Polity Books.
Mr. Bourdieu kept some lectures at the College de France starting from Jan 6 1999 'till march 1999 regarding the so-called Manet Effect. The painter brought a revolution thanks to the advent of Impressionism and a new vision in the artistic french panorama but also polemics. A new cicle of lectures were organized, regarding the foundation of a Dispositionalist Aesthetic on 2000 starting on Jan 12 2000 and ending on March of the same year.
This book includes also the latest work by Pierre and Marie-Claire Bourdieu about Manet not completed.

Born in 1930 and dead in 2002 Bourdieu was one of the most important sociologists and anthropologists of the XX century.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

Animals and Why they Matter by Mary Midgley

In this beautiful essay Animals and Why they Matter by Mary Midgley a book mainly for scholars the philosophical approach at the importance of animals, wild and domestic in our lives.
Why animals must matter to us?
For many reasons. Starting from the "human approach" at the thematic, so analyzing at first our needs, who we are, what we want from life in a fascinating intellectual trip including Spinoza, Kant for naming some thinkers of the past, religions included, we will see the mutation of the philosophical approach at the thematic of animals and who they are in the modernity.
Talking of domestic animals the author writes: "All creatures which have been successfully domesticated are ones which were originally social. They have transferred to human beings the trust and docility which, in a wild state, they would have developed towards their parents,  and in adult life towards the leaders of their pack of herd."

Published at first in 1983 by The University of Georgia Press this book  remains a modern classics of the thought. Written with great class and erudition, I highly recommend it to my readers.

I thank Eurospan Group for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori


Today I went to the second-hand book store located to Umbertide. The idea was to buying a frame for a picture, but I could not find the proper size for my picture. Being surrounded by books I tried to stay away from them but being a magnet I was attracted by this beautiful and original item I want to signal you:  a splendid,  trendy, address book.

If you are a book lover you'll love it.

Published by CICO books, a division by Simon&Schuster "Address Book" is romantically illustrated letter after letter with imagines of romantic libraries, a literary world of peace made by harmony, old items, precious memories and good old books.

This connection with pictures of old books and time made me think at the importance of friends, good friends, created in a life.

I highly suggest you this beautiful Address Book wishing you a happy  trip in this life plenty of good friends for a life and that solidity that only books, good memories, old objects, houses with a story and a past, are in grade to generate in the existence.

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, luglio 14, 2018

The Great Book of California The Crazy History of California with Amazing Random Facts & Trivia by Bill O'Neill

The Great Book of California The Crazy History of California with Amazing Random Facts & Trivia by Bill O'Neill is a great reading if you are a passionate of traveling and you want to discover much more about one of the sunniest states of the US, California .

Plenty of curiosities, starting from the name of California, adding the most populated Californian's cities, remembering the plague arrived from Hong Kong at the beginning of the XX century like also the terrible quake in the city of San Francisco, without forgetting Hollywood, actors in policy, the ones who marked an era, for everyone Shirley Temple, the complete failure of the inauguration of Disneyland, and why Disneyland was wanted so badly by Walt Disney, Wine Industry and what it meant during the prohibitionist era drinking, passing through phantoms, unresolved mysterious cases of murders or disappearances, music, famous writers or sports-men born in California, all of it and much much more in this fantastic, creative, happy reading.
And, for testing your knowledge, at the end of every chapter, five in total, a little quiz.

Enjoy it!

Highly recommended. I thank Library Thing and the author for this eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori

Paris Refashioned 1957-1968 by Colleen Hill

Paris Refashioned 1957-1968 by Colleen Hill published by Yale University Press in collaboration with the FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) of New York is a beautiful, illustrated book about fashion. If you are in love fashion and history of fashion this book  is for you.

The period of time taken in consideration the most revolutionary one: the decade that goes from 1957 to 1968. This book is the story of  various french mainly Maisons and their iconic stylists like Yves Saint Laurent, Rabanne, Pierre Cardin and their "change" of altitude, with their creations, expectations, role played in this revolution of customs and fashion.

Great fracture with the past, stylists and big french Maisons, understood that the future would have been the pret-a-porter and the ready-to-wear.
It was a big and extraordinary revolution this one passed, and launched  in big magazines as ELLE, Vogue, temples of fashion. A cultural change.

But it was not just a change of perception.
Maisons presented to the world with their new dresses an innovative, independent girl and woman, sophisticated but at the same time modern, futurist, "efficient", elegant functionally to the environment she would have interacted in.This one has been a wonderful, fertile, imaginative decade where everything sounded possible and where, first of all the global imagine of a castigated woman changed abruptly thanks to the creation of a girl and woman independent, free, elegant but modern, set free from the constrictions of the past.

After all the wild wind of 1968 was knocking at the door. A special chapter is dedicated at the 1968.

"Transgression", affirmation of a femininity passes through the mini-skirt, another revolutionary invention, accessory. Just an example of the revolution created by these wonderful creatives.

Other materials started to be taken in consideration for embellishing dresses, bags etc like metal and plastic. Pierre Cardin became the symbol of futurism and avant-garde.

Taken in consideration the role played during this decade by french actresses like Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot and other ones.

Women became protagonists of themselves, their personal history and their desires.

A beautiful book for everyone in love for fashion and history.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, luglio 10, 2018

Napoleon The Imperial Household edited by Sylvain Cordier

Napoleon The Imperial Household edited by Sylvain Cordier  is a beautiful and important catalog published by Montreal Museum of Fine Arts distributed by Yale University Press.
This remarkable, beautifully illustrated tome celebrates the grandeur of Napoleon and appears in conjunction with the exhibition Napoleon: Art and Court Life in the Imperial Palace organized and toured by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with the participation of the Chateau de Fountainbleu and the Mobilier national, Paris.
It's possible to see this art exhibit at the moment  at the Virginia Museum of Fine arts from 9 June to Sept 3 and then in Kansas City at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art from Oct 19 to March 3 2019 and the last tour in France at the Musée National du chateau de Fountainbleau, Fountainbleau from April 5 to July 2019.

Wonderful art exhibit, it meant a lot of work, years, dedication and connections between various institutions in France, USA and Canada.

Napoleon loved America and when he fell in disgrace he thought that emigrating in America, where he, in the while, established some contacts during the years, the best answer, but then the exile at St.Helena changed again the cards on the table of this man.

Every aspect of his existence is scrutinized in this catalog, from his entourage, to his favorite and beloved estates, hunt, one of his favorite sports, his connections with the USA, with a special section dedicated at his death as well.

Napoleon was a strong character for France, Europe and also the New World. America saw him as a self-made-workaholic-impressive-man.

Highly recommended if you love history.
Don't miss this art exhibit if you can, because trust me, it deserves your attention.

I thank Yale University Press for the physical copy of this catalog.

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, luglio 08, 2018

Journalism After Snowden The Future of Free Press in the Surveillance State edited by Emily Bell and Taylor Owen with Smitha Khorana and Jennifer R.Henrichsen Foreword by Lee C.Bollinger

We live in a technological, invisible cage where expressions like freedom of communication is just apparent and where our texts, messages, phone calls are, somewhere in the world, analyzed, read, archived, listened, by anonymous persons.

We are spied every second of our existence and every moment.
When we go somewhere it's possible to track our movements thanks to our smart phone or various devices like the ones installed in the most modern cars; what we think, how we feel, our thoughts, our friends, our connections, our daily life, our voice, out face is an open book.

Considering the revelations of Snowden, how much intrusive should be a government in the private life of its citizens?

It's not just a story of security, but also of ethicity.

Are we free in this techological world?

We can answer: no, we are not free; if, for a common person this "revelation" (considering also the latest scandal of Cambridge Analytica) can't alter the process of sending, receiving e-mails, living the digital life with relaxation, because, after all doesn't work for the FBI or the CIA and doesn't have big secrets, you can just imagine what happens differently when a reporter follows a difficult case where prudence, secrecy, privacy in a word, should be a priority. When in a few words, he is an investigative reporter.

It's this one, the sum of the splendid book, published by Columbia University Press Journalism After Snowden The Future of Free Press in the Surveillance State edited by Emily Bell and Taylor Owen with Smitha Khorana and Jennifer R.Henrichsen Foreword by Lee C.Bollinger.

The book divided in four sections: The story and the Source, Journalists and Sources, Governing Surveillance, Communications Networks and New Media analyzes the situation of reporters and free press.

At first there was Snowden with his revelations.
He tried to contact The Times but upset for not receiving a honest answer in brief times, Snowden decided to contact The Guardian and then the news appeared in the Washington Post as well.

Starting with and from the post-Snowden case this book analyzes the answers given by journalism after this storm.

Defining, classifying a reporter, a journalist, is difficult, because a reporter is not part of the system.
He is an independent man or woman who in a daily, weekly, monthly base reports facts. He is the anticipator of the historian, he tells the facts when they are in motion, when they happen.

There are not too many reporters who want to keep safe their digital devices from spywares, malwares, or newsroom  interested to invest money in security as remarked in various chapters of this book.

Accepting to use a PC, a smartphone for investigating, if the reporter is an investigative reporter means that it will be necessary to install wagons of softwares just for keeping safe all the informations sent and received, with the risk that, if someone sent via file etc a malware, and then the reporter decides of installing protections all the work for keeping safe the device is gone.
PCS and smart phones are nice but they can be a trap; and so?

Better the old notebook, a pen, a common camera, maybe letters sent without adding the reporter's name and last name so that no one can guess who sent it; better to use public phones, better to meet people in incognito using aliases. Better not bring with you any smart phone; better to set you free from this cage. Better to work...Freely.
Better everything than not technology.

If a reporter works for a big newsmagazine or magazine and follows a sensitive case, of course the procedure described before will be necessary and indispensable.
Not only: if the reporter decides of using devices necessary to keep "blind" also the various cameras and webcams, because yes, they can be spied as well. A pretty stressing life.

The book analyzes journalism and social medias but also scandals like the Pentagon Papers or the Boston Globe's publication of the sexual abuses in the Catholic Church started in 2002. The story in this second case had an international resonance with heavy repercussion for all the Catholicism thanks to the net.
It became a viral news and it meant the discovery of a lot of pedophile catholic priests in many countries in the world with great embarrassment for the catholic establishment.
All of it discovered thanks to the work of the team Spotlight of Boston.

You'll read an interview realized with Snowden, positive chapters about  this man described like a normal person who, for a story of justice, decided to do what he did.

Interesting, better than a spy-story, beautiful book for everyone, reporters if they want to discover the latest news about free press and common citizens.

Highly suggested.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, luglio 07, 2018

The Passenger Islanda

The Passenger Islanda, Iceland a new editorial initiative by Iperborea is a book-magazine dedicated to all explorers of the world and it starts its first literary touristic-trip-guide with the most ancestral place of this world: Iceland.
Isolated by the rest of the world, Iceland is known for its great culture, affectionate language, because it is possible to admire a primordial nature, where, who visited Iceland can tell you everyone are relaxed, animals included! and where a landscape can changes abruptly because this one is a young country populated by many volcanoes.

With a lot of irony, and fun, we will discover thanks to various and diversified chapters of this book a land loved so badly. We will discover the respect of peasants for the duck somateria mollissima and the wonderful feathers that they love to remove (just at bit) at these ducks. These feathers are so warm and they will become expensive clothes and blankets for very rich people.

If they would be less expensive...

No sure if you knew that but time ago Gnarr a famous comedian, was also the mayor of the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik.
His party, The Best Party, wanted to be an answer at the establishment and common political parties, unable to bring answers.
Icelanders lived a terrible period of crisis, because of its banks and because of the eruption of the volcano, that brought us less smog in the air for some days and the old blue sky I knew when I was little ;-) with, of course enormous problems for business, planned trips.

They joked for all the electoral campaign and they won with great success.
Astonished and scared at first, these group of not-at-all-politicians were in grade to re-put things in order and also if Gnarr is not anymore in policy, (some of these so-called punk are still in policy) he remembers that years with joy and excitement.

We will discover that the language is sacred for this land, and Icelanders are trying the same experiment of France: to preserve their tongue like warriors although heavily and massively attached by a language, english, commonly used.

Tourism the first hilarious chapter, that will let you laugh a lot.

Icelanders for trying to resuscitate the country and their bad economy from the crisis of the past years tried with a card, tourism, with great success and hilarious conclusions!

Last, but not least did you know that Icelanders developed a special app for trying to discover if they go to bed sometimes with distant cousins or relatives? Most of Icelanders have the same blood in common.

Most of them have written a book; they're avid readers, in general they change work a lot of time in their life, let's add also that they're great creators of songs, musical bands, singers, and fishermen of course..

Interesting, funny, there is much more to discover, and I know that you will simply love to read this book!

Other editions of The Passenger, six every year will be released soon and they will involve at first Holland,  then Japan, Norway, Argentina and Portugal. Stay tuned!

Highly recommended.

I thank Iperborea for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, luglio 06, 2018

Scents&Sensibility Perfume in Victorian Literary Culture by Catherine Maxwell

A book that will be treasured, this one, by all that people great estimators of Victorian literature, poetry, and...scents and perfumes.

Just some weeks ago Oxford University Press published Scents&Sensibility Perfume in Victorian Literary Culture by Catherine Maxwell.

Starting from the anecdote that scents became famous and preponderant during Victorian Age and that in particular middle and upper class enjoyed the most of scents at first, discovering personal hygiene and baths as well, this book will reveal the preponderant role invested by scents in Victorian Age "read" in literature, poems. Letters exchanged by various poets and writers with their dear ones embellished using scents's perceptions, sensations and metaphorical descriptions for presenting the intensity of a moment lived and experienced thanks to a peculiar perfume.

From the human smell, the first one, passing through the underwear of models donated and wanted  for trying to capture the young sexual smell for being reproduced later (I admit that this one was a genial idea for collecting other people's used underwear, tastes are tastes...), we will understand the delicate touch and fragrances that at first conquered most poets and writers.

Violet was the most appreciated scent by women.
Men, there will be a radical change with dandies, didn't love to add perfume, but they didn't disdeign to bring sometimes a handkerchief with some drops of scent with them. What they loved the most, like Swinburne did, was the scent of nature, sea, flowers.

Browning compares in a poem friends to smell, scents, perfumes. Who knows what scent we will leave behind us? It is a vibrant part this final part of Sordello.

I found very interesting the story of the eau de cologne. The creator an italian one, but also the evolution of scents with the decades and the entrance in scene of dandies and my beloved Oscar Wilde.
Perfume with and for Dorian Gray meant a change: it was a signal of  strength, sensuality and sexuality. A game of senses, luxury, importance, richness, excess.
Scented bath soap started to become the normality at the end of 1800.

Highly suggested to all perfumes, eau de cologne, scents addicted and to all that gentle souls in love for delicacy and for the most beautiful part of the world; the one of scents and...sensibility, of course.

Wonderful gift!

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

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, luglio 05, 2018

Women Artists in Paris 1850-1900 by Lauren Madeline

Women Artists in Paris 1850-1900 is a catalogue by Lauren Madeline with Bridget Alsdorf, Richard Kendall, Jane R.Becker, Vibeke Waallan Hansen, Joelle Bollock.

This important book is published in collaboration with Yale University Press on the traveling art exhibit Women Artists.

More or less 90 painting by 37 artists.

The peculiarity? These artists were women from different part of the world and Europe but all in love for painting.

When we studied history of art, I don't think I remember any name close to Monet, Manet, Cezanne, Van Gogh of the opposite genre. They were all men.

Was there a reason?

Of course. Discrimination. Can you believe it?

Women were seen as people without any kind of right of expressing  themselves in particular in the so-called "Fine Arts" sector.
Not only: they had the right to procreate, to serve their spouses, but their role was defined as housewives. All the rest, a predominant social role, of real thinkers and creatives unacceptable.

Impressionism was impressive because it broke a lot of old conventions and rules although it meant a lot of sacrifices, and when you'll read the biographies of these artists, you will discover that their biographies are pretty similar.

Not accepted as artists, seen as inferiors if compared to men, it was, this one, a long fight.

Schools like the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts) didn't take in consideration at all the admission of girls in their institute, 'till at the end of 1800.

A section of the book is dedicated to the women painters of North European Countries, where we suppose that there was a biggest freedom but where we will see that ladies fought a lot for seeing recognized their role in the society, as thinkers, creative ladies.

But all of them, wherever they lived had a dream: Paris. At that time Paris was lived like a dream, like the place where every dream could become true, where the Impressioniss was born and creativity couòd bloom. Everyone wanted to afford to Paris for studying art and painting. 

I was impressed by the stunning paintings of these artists.

It's possible to see  in these canvas women in their daily-life, while they are eating, while they are drinking tea with some friends, while they put some flowers in a vase, or while they are reading a letter or a book.
Not forgotten the dimension of being mothers with impressive painters but also the work in the fields, with elaborated paintings in grade to capture not just the moment but the light and sincerity of that lives, faces and hard work. These artists with courage covered the sufferance not painted by their colleagues of opposite sex, giving to the reality a strongest representation and leaving a manifesto and a mark made by sensibility, harmony, but also desperation, (a treat like also the melancholic one not so known in male artists of the Impressionism) reality, daily-life, social life, poverty, richness, asperity.

Some artists: Mina Carlson-Bredberg, Edma Pontillon, Anna Ancher, Mary Cassatt, Marie Bracquemond.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna MariaPolidori

mercoledì, luglio 04, 2018

On Color by David Scott Kastan with Stephen Farthing

Beautiful, sunny book this one, On Color by David Scott Kastan with Stephen Farthing published by Yale University Press.
It's a quick, funny, interesting reading, plenty of curiosities and in grade to space in various disciplines for describing colors, and their meaning in our society and at first for also define color and the meaning of it.
We will discover that sometimes colors are just human perceptions, and that orange became orange just when oranges, yes the fruits started to be imported in Europe. In the past it didn't have a proper name the so-called yellow-red.

Green is the color of environmentalists, green parties and movements all devoted to the protection of nature, environment, animals, but we will also understand that maybe old Greek people couldn't see like us some colors and that is why Homer when described certain scenes in his epic works wasn't in grade to give a realistic portrait of them.

Not only: if we can distinguish just few colors, did you know that pigeons' vision is much better than our ones and that Indigo, as a color became the one we know thanks to Newton? In the past indigo was used for the blue, but then it became at all effects an independent color with its own dignity.

Blue is considered the spiritual color for excellence, but there are other surprises...It can be the color of depressed people.

The example the one of Picasso who painted The Tragedy, where an entire family, maybe after a disgrace, is desolated, alone, surrounded by solitude and discomfort. All the painting in frustrating tonalities of blues.

The solitude, terror, and inability of reaction of the adults is broken only by the hand of the son of this couple, who touching the leg of his dad in search of comfort, of a human comfort, opening his other arm, seems to ask him an explanation for this interior devastating hole.

"What happened?" It seems to ask him.

But, no one of the adults, closed in their crossed hands, thoughts, and shock, gives him any explanation because the sufferance is too much and can't be described. The calm sea and the sky are like a final sad hug, a melancholic homogeneous  blanket created by nature for this little family.

With color yellow the authors will start a digression about the so-called  "yellow people" baptized in this way by Europeans travelers: Chinese, Japanese ones. The digressioncontinues with an interesting and important topic about races, what it means color, and why when we speak of colored" people" in general these words are read under a negative aspect, and how to act against these prejudices.

Violet is the color of Impressionism, of Monet and Manet. Manet wrote once that everyone would have painted in violet in the future. Less strong than purple, pretty, delicate, relaxing this one was "the shock of the new," apported by the Impressionists: the massively introduction  of a color that in the past was not taken at all in great consideration; but after all, what Impressionists did was to paint outdoor, so to try to capture the magic of a minute or two, when the light was perfect as also the color that they wanted to impress in their canvas.  A story of few minutes and the scenario would have been gone forever.

Interesting also black, white and gray.
Gray...Enjoy a chapter, the color of pictures, the color of past.

White captured the attention of the writers with a literary classics like Moby Dick by Melville is. Ahab, the white whale and their strenuous fight for winning.
Who knows? Maybe it was because of this peculiarity, the white color the main reason why Ahab insisted at long for capture this whale. Maybe if this whale was common he wouldn't never have sacrificed time and life for searching for her. The While Whale.
But white is also the purity of a poor lamb captured and killed at Easter's time and a lot more.

Black is adorably represented by an elegant Audrey Hepburn wearing her little black dress, launched, thanks to the movie: Breakfast at Tiffany's. Black became a symbol of fashion starting from the beginning of 1900s and not seen anymore just as the color of funerals or the color of a period of mourning or, again, the color preferred by melancholic people.
Elegant, if you wear a little black dress you don't need anything else.

We will also understand that we see colors also when we close our eyes, or that our perception of them can changes with the time or that maybe we are born without the proper vision of all the spectrum of colors that commonly we should see and that anyway seeing a color is mainly a perception.

Enjoy this colored, beautiful, sunny book. Once you will have read it, you'll see colors around you under a different... perspective.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

Il Quaderno dei Nomi Perduti by Sofia Lundberg translated by Licia Vighi

Il Quaderno dei Nomi Perduti, The Address Book of Lost Names by Sofia Lundberg first book of this author translated by Licia Vighi is an enchanting novel and I am sure you will love it, if for you, memories, objects, life, past, are important. Published by Dea Planeta an italian publishing house, the book is so moving that I suggest you of keeping close to you a box of Kleenex when you'll read it.

The story the one of Doris, an elderly lady of 96 years living in Stockholm. Doris's flashbacks are the base of this book. Doris old and "trapped"  in the body of the elderly woman she became, close to the end of her human existence.

Her present is made by sufferance, a lot of pains because her bones are becoming everyday more weak. The lady doesn't neglect the use of the net and everyday she talks via Skype with Jenny the daughter of her sister, treated and followed as if she would have been her daughter.

Not only: Doris doesn't want to bring in her grave any secrets and so she writes some memories for Jenny for being read when she is dead. These memories explains her past life, her errors, restoring all her past and important people and facts in her life.

Doris was born in a common family. Once, her dad presented her a red address book.
"It will be important. You can keep here the most important people of your life."
The people of her existence, with their addresses, phone numbers, memories and their importance in her life.
Doris did it, marking, each time a person in her life passed away, the name with a line and the word: dead.

Looking at that red address book, what a desolation, thought Doris.
All her friends, relatives are dead. She is alone in the world, and just with a person still interested to her: Jenny in San Francisco, with a husband, three children and a busy life.

One day Doris falls and ends up to the hospital.

But who was Doris?

When her dad died, she remained with her mother but not at long. Being the oldest one, her mother found for her a place as waitress at the house of a certain Madame, a lady of great class. There, Doris will meet some of her best life's friends: Gosta, a painter and creative so different from the rest of Madame's friends, just interested to assault her. Doris established a great friendship with this man interested to conquer men.

Madame decided to change location and the two left for Paris. The chaotic life spent by Madame brought at the end at the "cession" of Doris at someone involved in the world of fashion. It was the beginning of her modelling for the best brands of Paris. The years spent with Nora.

The sad departure of her mother meant to Doris growing up her sister Agnes. At first Doris would have wanted to give her all the best, what she hadn't had. A proper education, good schools, wagons of books, after all her world was frivolous enough, but the arrival of the latest world war conflict constricted the two women with a financial income less happy than the one of the past at another change.

Doris in the past fell in love for a young man and in the while received a letter from him with some money for starting a life with her in the USA. Thrilled, she went to the USA with the sister. Great expectations, she will find a completely different reality...

Avoiding to tell you all, let's say that at some point Doris will return to Europe in a painful, disgusting way, and later she will rediscover again her painter friend with which she would have lived at long in Stockholm.

It's a novel of a terminal life, of dreams to realize, of life mixed with death, of memories, life that perpetuates itself, of an important love never forgotten, of children, mainly unwanted ones, addiction, love, friendship, help, with new stories to tell, new pages still white to be written. The ones of Jenny&Family.

If you have close to you old parents the phrase they will tell you often is: "I will die soon. I don't have a lot of time anymore." And in this book you will find this phrase pronounced a lot by Doris discovering also all the powerful meaning of life.

Doris with her irony thinks that dying after all will be a great adventure.

What can Doris would wish for your life?

"Enough sun for brightening your days, enough rain for appreciating the sun, enough joy for fortifying your soul, enough pain for appreciating the small moments of happiness in life. Enough friends for being in grade to say good-bye."

This book remarks the power of love, of that love in grade to resist at the time, decades, and life itself. That love that let say: "You are beautiful" also when you know that you are dying but the eyes of your old partner can still look at you with the old, tender love experienced when you were a teen-ager, at that love that will let you think: "If..." because you know that the other one was the person with which you would have wanted to spend your life and you have not because of destiny.

Highly recommended.

I thank so much Dea Planeta for this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, luglio 02, 2018

Who's Who When Every One is Someone Else by C.D. Rose

If you love books, world of books, if every book is important for you, if you are a desperate books addicted, if you fight everyday with yourselves against the terrible temptation and compulsion of buying new or used books, this book, Who's Who When Every One is Someone Else by C.D. Rose will be a wonderful, fantastic reading.
It tells everything you want to know about the world of books seeing  as spiritual and material guide, as a way of life, and seen as best companions that, once entered in our life will always be in grade to capture and rapture our attention.
I was impressed by the beautiful, researched writing-style of Rose, in grade to enchant the reader with a stunning prose, in an elaborated succulent novel where digressions, mysteries, passions, stunning lectures, researched descriptions, weird characters, re-discovery of old books covered by the heavy mantel of dust of time and forgetfulness will play the most important part.

The story starts when a teacher is invited to a certain university in a certain undefined European city for ten lectures regarding forgetting books or "Great Lost Books."

A book, for a reason or another, loses its appeal without becoming at all a best-seller sometimes.

Why a book is forgotten, lost?

Maybe it was born with an originality still not understood; maybe it wasn't the best moment for emerging because the thematic surpassed or too modern, maybe the story too complicated and the reader couldn't follow it clearly; in a case an author described a kiss using fifteen pages. A real intellectual virtuosity and tour de force.

The teacher accepts enthusiastically. They pay great money, he will discover a new city: why not?

The arrival sounds weird, because the teacher was waiting for the Professor, the man who invited him, but this man didn't appear replaced by a taxi driver not too calm while he drives along the city. There will be other surprises along the way as well.
While the Professor remains a mystery, the Profesora and other weird characters, will surround during the weeks in the city this teacher.

This story is about reality, appearance, perceptions, surreality, research of graves of maybe never born intellectuals, interior dialogues, marvelous explanations of lost books that at the end will result very alive in a trip, lived intensely, intellectually and physically.

I can tell you this: you'll love this book and you will become an addicted of C.D.Rose's books.

Highly recommended.

I thank Melville for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori