martedì, ottobre 30, 2018

The Vampire A New History by Nick Groom

When I touched the first time this book, The Vampire A New History by Nick Groom I felt a sensation of elegance, warm, peace and love: and reading this book I can tell you that it is not surprising. This one is a monumental, beautiful, accurate study about vampires, their birth and myth analyzed starting from the past centuries, focusing on the Enlightenment for then arriving at the modern books and productions.
This amazing, enchanting, researched book about vampires was written for remembering the first important story, The Vampyre  by John Polidori at that time in the court of Lord Byron, but to me it gives back all the possible powerful and dignity at this demoniac creature, in our society seen and revisited in many different ways  during these past decades.
Vampires, with the time, became commercial creatures, and a lot of people, fields, took advantage of the interest created by these nocturnal creatures.
Groom's book spaces through various disciplines, forensic studies, realistically digging into graves, searching for corpses, analyzing the behavior of some  blood-sucker bats, but also trying to define, thanks to weird episodes occurred in particular in East of Europe, why people started to being obsessively interested at these kind of monsters: "dead" people not anymore alive in the common sense of the word but in grade of living thanks to blood-sucking; this blood sucking meant contamination and horror and at the same time new life for the vampire.
 In most cases, I thought reading the book, that the cases of infections and new illnesses sometimes without doubts were caused by the superficial behavior taken when bodies were re-exhumed without any kind of precaution because of this spasmodic love for the horror: this behavior brought more  illnesses undoubtedly.
There were some weird episodes, as we said.  A man died, tells the author, and was buried, but for a reason or another he reappeared to the neighbors all happy and cheerful; scared, they told everything to the priest who practiced an exorcism and later cut the head of this man for killing him. In general all people accused potentially of being vampires once buried, where again re-exhumed and after that they followed the procedure for trying to delete the force of the devil from the body; the last act was the cremation. The person needed to be completely "deleted" from the face of the Earth. Every signal, once opened a grave of a suspected vampire, looking at his corpse, analyzed with morbidity, see at the voice, mouth and veins could become real hysteria. In the past it was still unknown what happened when a man was buried. We know now everything about the process of deterioration of a corpse: it's more than known that hair and nails continue to grow  for more than 3-4 months after the departure of the person; at that time no one knew it, and it meant for that person/corpse a probable consideration of being classified as a potential vampire.
Blood of certain people killed for heavy reasons donated for being drunk at sick people. If they suffered before, imagine later.
It was trendy to extract tooth at corpses also in the past centuries; you would think for being re-sold.
Yes, but for being transplanted. They were expensive tooth and they brought at a secure death or big infections the person who choose the tooth of a dead person as a "new" one.
While there was this kind of hysteria, what religion said about vampires? What was the official position?
While the Protestants talked of pure fantasy closing any door to vampires without many compliments, the Catholic church fed and nurtured this fantasy.
Mr.Groom analyzes the vampire reading him under a more religious aspect: the blood that he is sucking is an anti-Eucharistic ritual.
The vampire must sucks blood for a living but  this action doesn't pass through compassion, humiliation, pain, sufferance; it doesn't save men as it happens to Jesus Christ: it is not a passage for a salvation if not an egoistic one. The Vampire is a creature, who, without any feeling, without any heart, without anymore technically blood, if not the one sucked from the body of other people, must kill, must destroys, must be cause of sufferance and devastation. It's not incorrect to say that a vampire is a creature that feeds himself with his own cruelty and dissolution, because heartless and not anymore a living creature, but at the same time not a dead man.
Not only: as the author will remarks, Polidori with The Vampyre, published at first as if written by Lord Byron and creating for this reason a big din because lived by Polidori of course as an outrageous gesture, a vampiric one maybe, who knows? influenced profoundly Mary Shelley and his Frankenstein, born thanks to the good intuition of Polidori for these creatures. The profound influence of Polidori's short tale, was massively more important than what we can think and imagine.

The final part of the book is about Bram Stoker and Dracula. Very well known book, personally I like it a lot because it is an epistolary book: the author remarks that Stoker donated new morbid treats at the Vampire, the modern one as we intend it, characterizing him not just like a cruel creature but also as a lascivious one, donating him that sex appeal that he wouldn't never have lost anymore; a characterization, important to remark this one, heavily influenced by The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
The two authors were in contacts, and Bram Stoker married a lady close to Oscar Wilde. It is not so unthinkable that Stoker has taken some bits from Dorian Gray, and many many other products and publications: so this book after all is not at all an original tale and the analysis of Groom donates new light in this sense; where John Polidori acted with originality, using as example after all someone close to him, Lord Byron, Stoker, for presenting sensationalism accumulated tales, material and other writings for being used later and from the most diversified parts. Three of Stoker's brothers were doctors and this one played an important role in the construction of the book. Also the location chosen by the author according to Groom not the happiest one.
The Vampire started to have distant connotation from the original one. He became a perverted, someone in grade to create offenses at children, (vampires girls kill and eat children for example) women, men; a corrupted soul not just because he needs blood for surviving. Deviance starts to be sexual one as well.
It is not distant to add that with Stoker and its creature, Dracula, was born a new genre of vampire, a "literary mutation" in grade of changing the course of the vampires's story; Dracula  is still influencing with its characterizations our society. Groom will also analyses the connection felt by certain people about vampires, serial killers and mass shootings murderers.
A society, this one, more than fixated with vampires of every sorta.
It is a vampiric society this one, under many aspects and more than the ones previously seen; to my point of view only when these creatures will rest some bit in peace and will be forgotten, and a new model of society and also creatures, maybe more angelical and tranquil will be taken in consideration, it will want to say that the world is returned in the good direction. After all, the creatures of the fantasy more famous and wanted, are just the mirror or our society.
The book ends taking in considerations of the newest and beloved productions seen recently on the big screen or TV: from Vampires Diaries to Twilight.
Highly recommended, this book is a beautiful and serious study and a new wind; maybe these words will donate after a lot of confusion a different idea of vampires to the world; more old-fashioned and real although always scaring.

A great gift for Halloween! this one.


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

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, ottobre 29, 2018

The Formula The Universal Laws of Success The Science Behind Why People Succeed or Fail

I was so happy for the invitation received through Twitter sent by mr Barabasi. Reading this latest book: The Formula The Universal Laws of Success The Science Behind Why People Succeed or Fail by Albert Laszlo Barabasi I understood the power of people and the power that they have in the existence of other ones.

The Formula is a book that explains the profound dynamics behind the success of people and the reasons why some people become or will become successful, receiving fame and honors (although fame is something else as specifies the author) while other ones, although intelligents remain in the shadow. Success mainly is a story of choices, of brave choices, sacrifices, explains Barabasi in his book.
Born in Romania, Transylvania, he decided at some point of changing State, starting to live in Bulgaria where he completed his studies.

Bulgaria offered more chances to him and possibilities. It meant that, while he developed, thanks also later his definitive trip to the USA, his intellect and all his potentialities, he remembers that his same colleagues, talented and capable, remained in the shadow forever.

Success is not just a private story: you could try to do something beautiful but if it wouldn't be approved by your colleagues, neighbors, friends, it wouldn't launch you in any kind of stellar position, or consideration.

First of all the approval of family, friends, and the court of people around is indispensable; for increasing reputation, self-esteem and for  being in grade to prove that there are talents. Later, other people will believe in a potential successful person because of what they saw before and the people supporting the potential successful person.

At the same time background is important although life is a combination of opportunities.

What kind of studies should a parent present to their children?

Barabasi tells the choices made by his son: he had two options, having being discarded by Harvard and other Ivy League Universities: the university where Barabasi is teaching in, the Northeastern, completely free for his son being a professor in that center, or Notre Dame.
Now, Notre Dame is an Ivy League University with a great history and background. At the time of that choice the Northeastern wasn't so good and could not present at the end of the study a good "reputation" in term of a future career to his son, so although he paid, Barabasi chose for his son Notre Dame.

Plenty of examples of successfully people, most of them taken from the past like the biography I loved a lot of the Red Dragon, this one is an important book that will let us permit to understand which are the secrets laws or keys in grade of opening to some people the door of success.

I thank NetGalley and the author for the digital copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, ottobre 28, 2018

Native Americans State by State by Rick Sapp

Native Americans State by State by Rick Sapp , let me tell you this, is a stunning, impressive, detailed beautiful work about all the Native Americans tribes present in the various States of the USA, seen and analyzed thanks to their story, and also the ones present in Canada, Inuit and Métis.
Wonderful illustrations, this book is colored, plenty of maps, I tell you that this one is a great gift for someone passionate of history and of American History.

Native Americans experienced a sad destiny although they are still resisting, affirming with pride their beautiful traditions; we mustn't never forget that they were the real citizens of the USA and Canada when the so-called white man arrived to America in 1492. They were decimated, mainly for a sad story of monopoly regarding their lands.
To Native Americans emigrating from a place to another one meant to them the complete lost of their origins; abandoning their lands meant to them abandoning their dead ones, their traditions, their customs. They lived symbiotically with their land, sacred.
No sure when I fell in love for Native Americans but their profound culture is still resonating in our confusing Western civilization and it speaks of nature, it speaks of a healthy confrontation with our environment; of beauty, of respect for every creature.

Highly Recommended.

I thank NetGalley for the ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, ottobre 27, 2018

The Letters of Sylvia Beach edited by Keri Walsh with a Foreword by Noel Riley Fitch

The Letters of Sylvia Beach edited by Keri Walsh with a Foreword by Noel Riley Fitch published by Columbia University Press is a joyous epistolary book and you will discover a lot of fun reading it.

If you want to discover the character, vitality of the creator of  Shakespeare and Company, the famous American bookshop located in Paris, Sylvia Beach, there's no other better way than this one: reading her own written words. Wagons of connections, you won't get lost. At the end of the book a glossary of correspondents will help you if you need some clarification. Yes, because Sylvia Beach, although pictures speak of a shy lady, was a hurricane of joy, interests, plenty of enthusiasm for life, people, news, books, events.

Released years ago, this book is a fresh, beautiful, intelligent and stunning gem for all that people in love for the french adventure started by Sylvia Beach: the creation of an American bookshop to Paris a place, Shakespeare&Co. that was also aggregation, solidarity, mutual help, a literary place where people could breath profound and good culture; a place that meant creativity in motion if we think at the elaboration and contribution given by Sylvia Beach and her collaborators to the final edition of the Ulysses by James Joyce and its publication.
A place, Shakespeare and Company where you would have found suggestions, if you were a potential writer, for trying to understand which publishing houses would have been interested to release your book; a place born for exchanging opinions; a place of books and great readings.


At that time Paris, we are on 1919, was the most important intellectual center for Americans in Europe. If Italy was chosen by Americans for the beauty of lands, warm weather, it was Paris where a lot of still unknown young American writers and painters decided of living in.

The presence of friends and colleagues in Paris meant to Americans an irresistible attraction.

When Sylvia decided to create, thanks also to the support of her companion Adrianne, her mother, her sisters, this bookshop, she was surrounded by Ezra Pound and wife; Ernest Hemingway, still a young author and wife, James Joyce and family, McAlmon, publisher and writer, Francis Scott Fitzgerald and lady, Gertrude Stein and companion.
In this fertile humus, not the baddest one of the world, you agree with me, Shakespeare and Company was born at the number 12 of rue de l'Odeon. It was August 1919.

Sylvia Beach's correspondence is a real joy; we will read her enthusiasm and joy for life, people, events, books, places, experiences.
Pure joy, enthusiastic, she constantly saw the glass half full and was in grade of telling the years and decades she lived in with lightness and vibrant details, without to lose for a second, that joy of donating herself to a distant friend in search of news from her. She lived in this world with enchanted eyes.

She was an avid and solid letter-writer and she took it pretty seriously. When she could not write at the end of the 1930s because of a persistent headache, migraine, she apologized with everyone; when she typed letters apologized with the receiver as well, because not hand-written.

She kept a strong correspondence with all her family members from Princeton, mother, father, siblings, and with so many other friends in the world. Her soul was genuinely enthusiastic.

We will assist thanks to her letters at the main big events of History:  the re-election of Woodrow Wilson as President, a family-friend; the first world war; the arrival of Spanish Flu on 1918 reported by her mother, but also, we will read from her letters, the impressions Sylvia had about working in a farm.

Sylvia lived a privileged life; important friends and connections, she traveled a lot; France but Italy as well: Rapallo, Pistoia, Florence, although her biggest love remained France and Paris. Forever.

If she could not coronate her big love of a romantic french bookshop in the Greenwich Village of New York City, an impressive idea, she made it in Paris. Decades later, read what she wrote about her trip to NYC.

Sylvia preferred to lending books, creating a card for each consumer. The youngest one was a little boy. He read a book per day; the oldest one was a man in a wheelchair.
For everyone Sylvia, thanks to her passion for books, offered an escapism with great readings.

This correspondence starts on Nov 1901 endings when the author dies in 1962: so it doesn't touch just  the history of Shakespeare and Company but also the personal existence of Sylvia Beach; the before and after. We meet along our way the enthusiasm of Sylvia Beach for the publication of the Ulysses by James Joyce, then the arrival of moment of big crisis for the bookshop. In this sense, Sylvia wrote on a letter dated: Jan 12 1934 to Stanislaus Joyce: "There are no Englishmen nor Americans in Paris any more. They have all gone home on account of the exchange and the depression. I wonder how things are in Italy. They are making a great effort  to get visitors there, cheap railway fare and hotels, polite reception etc..."

Sylvia Beach thanks to her old connections received in various phases of her existence financial help for going on with her bookshop, or later when she fell sick and needed to be cured in the USA.

Stamps and pictures of Walt Whitman close to the one of Oscar Wilde (the daughter of Wilde was an affectionate of Shakespeare and Company) and James Joyce chosen for keeping warm and elegant the bookshop, the meeting with Joyce was "fatal" for Sylvia Beach.
She fell, intellectually fell in love for him, and she tried with all herself of helping Joyce in the process of publication of the Ulysses: Shaskepeare and Company became a publishing house.

This one of the Ulysses remains a controversial story because Sylvia Beach tried all her best for helping Joyce, losing at the end all the rights regarding the publication of Ulysses because the contract signed  by the parts, Joyce and Beach, was not formal.

Joyce apart, we will see also some correspondence with Ernest Hemingway helpful in her life in various moments; letters were also sent and received when Adrianne died and Sylvia remained alone and frustrated for the sad departure of her companion of a life.

Impressive the letters about the years of the Second World War conflict and the austerity experienced in Paris by Sylvia Beach. Just people with a lot of money could buy food at the black market, wrote Sylvia.

'Til the end of her life, the character of Sylvia Beach was influential; she met new authors after the second world war conflict, she kept contact with her old friends, now famous and established writers; some of them died in the while, as in the case of Gertrude Stein; her voice, although the new bookshop is not located anymore where the old one was, is still whispering if we think that the new Shakespeare and Company was wanted, opened and owned by George Whitman who named her daughter Sylvia Beach Whitman after Sylvia Beach.
Sylvia Beach Whitman is the new owner of Shakespeare and Company.
The story continues...

Highly recommended, if you love epistolary genre, it's impressive, and if you love Shakespeare and Company :-) Paris and that precise historical moment.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

Interaction of Color 50th Anniversary Edition by Josef Albers

Josef Albers Interaction of Color 50th Anniversary Edition is an indispensable book and tool if you are a painter or, anyway a creative. The visionary touch of the painter and scholar of Bauhaus and later, from 1933 teacher with his wife Anni Albers at the Black Mountain College in North Carolina, makes the difference. Part of the current of modernism, Albers brought to America that European touches still in grade to influence people and artists.
The beauty of art is the integrity and honesty of artists and their real desire of expressing who they are and what they want to transmit.
Albers does it with this book, suggesting how people can "manipulate" colors experiencing joy; this changes of perspective in art doesn't just involve painting but also other completely different creative projects: this book is a real invitation of seeing and thinking colors differently, mixing them together, trying contrasts, schematizing them, putting similar colors (blues or reds) close together as in a family but all the time remembering something: our reality are colors.
This color system, this geometry of colors gives a clear perception of what it meant, to me, for that historical moment color and art: an idea of order in the disorder that the world was living in; the necessity, through colors, of classifying, geometrically the reality, rationalizing the world where people were living in, schematizing the reality through colors that could not escape away from a rational project; at the same time it was vivid the creation through rational or more courageous color schemes of art, a radiant art, new, different, visionary, adapted to various artistic fields.
Not only: it's an invite to trying new experiments of colors, ideas, also when there are strong contrasts, also when it seems that two or more colors pretty opposite couldn't stay too close together.
There is not just white, red and blue in this world but black as well and also this one is important in the universal scheme of shades that reality presents.

This book when published, met a lot of oppositions and several enthusiastic voices. I remember for the enthusiastic ones a part of Mark Strand's words appeared in Saturday Review: "When color challenges the safe, enclosing geometrical properties of the pictorial surface, as it is meant to, it does so with a slowness and delicacy that are disarming and a beauty that is exhilarating."

Highly recommended to all artists of this world!

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

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, ottobre 25, 2018

Benno Geiger Stefan Sweig "Non mi puoi cancellare dalla memoria" Lettere 1904-1939 edited by Diana Battisti foreword by Marco Meli

This book by Marsilio: Benno Geiger Stefan Sweig "Non mi puoi cancellare dalla memoria" Lettere 1904-1939 in english "You can't deleted me from your memory " Letters 1904-1939 edited by Diana Battisti foreword by Marco Meli introduces to the italian public the correspondence between these two Austrians's men of cultures, Stefan Sweig and Benno Geiger.
The first one will always live a melancholic life, although he traveled during his life so badly and didn't live a poor life; but Sweig's melancholy for the past and for the current situation that became day by day in Europe always more heavy will kill himself. Benno Geiger was a positive spirit, the one in grade to seeing the beauty of the world also thanks to wonderful italian writers from the remote past in grade of let him discover a different reality also in the horror of that decades. We are what we read and I think that Benno can testifies it pretty clearly.

Benno will see the European reconstruction while the first one will decide of killing himself in 1942. Sweig wrote to his wife that now that he had taken that decision he felt a lot of joy.

I admit that I was waiting for long and elaborated letters between these two intellectuals, while often these letters are long like telegrams. Intensity remains also when letters are briefs; their feelings for literature and poetry; their research for being published in years so difficult and cruel for Jewish people; they are thankful when books were sent as a gift to the correspondent asking for opinions; or sometimes they share poems for special occasions like birthdays; friendship, suggestions with good recommendations about places and restaurants where sleeping and eating when traveling. Help absorbed more or less all the meaning of this word in their case. The correspondence ended on 1939.

I highly suggest you this book in particular if you like the epistolary genre.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, ottobre 24, 2018

Women of Privilege: 100 years of Love and Loss in a Family of the Hudson River Valley by Susan Gillotti

Sometimes houses and past speak for us. It happened also to the author of Women of Privilege: 100 years of Love and Loss in a Family of the Hudson River Valley published by Academia Chicago Publishers.
Susan Gillotti in fact, thanks to diaries, letters and journals discovered in the old house of Grasmere in the Hudson River Valley the buen retiro for this rich New York's family, and its women, was in grade to reconstruct a hundred years of life.
Although this one is a story of women, the character I loved the most the one of a man: Ernest Crosby, married with Fanny Schieffelin (the lady in the cover); he was a complete real fighter; being a lawyer, he fought for the rights of poor people and workers, defending, where possible, the less fortunate ones.
He helped Italians under paid living in New York City, participating at their meetings; we mustn't never forget the humiliations that immigrants suffered when they emigrated completely unprepared, without sufficient culture, poor at the experience of the New World;  Ernest fought also against juvenile job; the family of Fanny was embarrassed by the love for poor people experienced by this young man; they had plenty of expectations on him. They tried all their best for changing the mind of Ernest. The story was "embarrassing" for all the Schieffelin, considering also their social status and the perspectives opened to a guy like Ernest.
Defending the poor didn't exist.
Ernest so, was "sent" in Egypt, hoping that in that exotic place he would have distracted his mind from the causes of poverty. Wrong: he found out other oppresses and ways for helping them as well.
Not only: Ernest, devoted to the cause of poverty, was shocked by the conditions experienced by people told in the books by Tolstoy; he didn't hesitate and wrote to Tolstoy. This one became a long-term correspondence with the visit of Ernest later in Russia. Later, once returned to the USA, Ernest invited to Grasmere all the best intellectuals of that period, keeping scandalized Fanny's family.

I love the warm and familiar atmosphere used by Susan Gillotti for telling old anecdotes of her family and women. If you love family's stories as I do this book is for you!

Highly recommended.

I thank Eurospan for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, ottobre 22, 2018

C'è sempre un lieto fine translated by Roberta Scarabelli, written by Charlotte Lucas

I admit it: I was attracted so badly by this beautiful book written by Charlotte Lucas C'è sempre un lieto fine There is always an happy end because of the title and attracting cover.
We all need happy endings; encouragements, positive vibes, isn't it true? And things, in life can't just go continuously wrong because it would be unfair. I thought that this book would have made the difference: and, it did it!

But more: while I was reading it I can tell you I appreciated elements that I love so badly in books; humor, irony; the story is constructed  for presenting funny and hilarious moments in grade of refreshing our souls.

Plenty of dialogues, this book is a quick reading; you will appreciate the sardonic irony of Oscar de Witt, the paradoxical situations experienced by Ella, Emilia Faust, a fresh and enchanting character.

The story: Ella is in love with Philip, but Philip with the time doesn't appreciate anymore some treats of her character. He doesn't love the fact that she is a dreaming girl, and he doesn't tolerate a lot that blog where Ella re-writes her "better endings" about movies and books, when these movies and books don't have the best happy end of this world.

Ella was grown up thinking and acting romantically regarding life and when she receives the news of a potential break up from Philip, her boyfriend of a life, desperate, she decides to go out for thinking a bit.The bicycle of Philip will be perfect, when...Ops, she doesn't see a man and invests him.
Ella is desperate: she would want to try to understand who this man is but there is not anymore any man close to the area of the incident.

Some men tell her that the man returned home without...shoes. We are in Amsterdam, a cold city. It's night.
Bloody hell, what a situation. Ella discovers the jacket and the wallet of this mysterious man. His identity: Oscar de Witt.

Ella visits thanks to the keys discovered in the personal effects the house where Oscar lives; it's a shocking situation:a complete devastation. It needs to be massively cleaned up. For the second time, after some hours from this first incident, another  strong meeting with de Witt; Ella decides that maybe it's better to call an ambulance, this time.

De Witt is a peculiar man. Rich, stubborn, without memory, and not just because of the incidents experienced with Ella, but because affected by a post traumatic stress disorder; slowly, Ella will understand what there is behind the human story of de Witt; a wife and a son.

Ella starts to work for him as a maid discovering more about the past of this man, while Philip will try to recuperate his relationship with Ella...

If you search for an optimistic reading, this book is for you!

Highly recommended.

I thank Garzanti for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori




sabato, ottobre 20, 2018

Do Bugs Wear Shoes? Book Launch: for the next 48 hours FREE on Amazon!

It's celebration time at Two Umbrellas Media.
You will surely remember my review about Do Bugs Wear Shoes? a funny children's book about the most common or unusual questions about bugs; an interesting reading for little readers.

Good: the finished e-book is now available for FREE on Amazon but hurry!!! because just for 48 hours only!

Authors and staff asks for reviews, opinions about this book to be left on Amazon after that you will download it.

This book has had tremendous positive feedback from the scientific community and early reviewers as me :-)



Anna Maria Polidori



venerdì, ottobre 19, 2018

180 Devotions for When Life Is Hard Encouragement for a Woman's Heart by Renae Brumbaugh Green

180 Devotions for When Life Is Hard Encouragement for a Woman's Heart by Renae Brumbaugh Green is a religious inspiring book published by Barbour, in grade to speak to the heart of us, women, in moment of difficulties and when, sometimes, not all the times, we doubt of the action of God in our existence.Why? Because most of the time we imagine God as a warrior in grade to protect us, maybe because we are "good Christians" by all the possible external attacks.
But life is long and problems appear, and sometimes they have devastating consequences for our existences and families; but so; where is God during these times of sorrow? Where is God while we are in trouble? For all these reasons, this book was born: for bringing light where there is obscurantism; for new hope when a woman lives a hopeless situation; for bringing new energy when there are big problems that she imagine she won't never in grade to sort out. Most of these ones are also reflections about our daily life; how we spend our time, stress, work, sick, hope, relationship, interactions at work, sadness, depression, solitude. Beautiful and sincere, this book  is the perfect gift for a discouraged woman.

Highly recommended.

I thank NetGalley for this eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori

Dreaming of Christmas: The perfect feel-good festive romance for this Christmas! by T.A. Williams

Dreaming of Christmas: The perfect feel-good festive romance for this Christmas!  by T.A. Williams is a wonderful love-story with beautiful locations and a dreaming happy end.  Grant, Zoe's boyfriend decides of leaving her alone after many years spent together; the girl is devastated because she knew him from a life and all she would have thought but surely not to being abandoned for another girl close to Christmas. Shocked for this unexpected and unpleasant Christmas's gift, Zoe tries all his best for not
thinking the following months. She works as a reporter for a celebrity magazine. In the past she worked for a biggest and
prestigious reality but she was fired when the newsmagazine restructured the place. In general she writes about celebrities. When she was young she spent years with a group of friends and now one of them, William but everyone call him Bill, invites all the group to joining him in an exclusive Austrian hotel and resort. Billy made wagons of money thanks to new technologies and became a real celebrity.
The editor of the magazine asks to Zoe to try to interview him. Billy opens his heart to Zoe, telling her a lot of personal facts during the vacation...

Happy end, this one is beauty book speaking of new beginnings after some sadness.
The cover is magical.
This one if the first book I read about mr Williams and I found it beautiful.

I thank NetGalley for this eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori

The Nose that Nobody Picked by David Parkin

The Nose that Nobody Picked by David Parkin  is the perfect story for you if you love nonsense as I do. I am a nonsense book-addicted and when I find a nonsense book I try my best for buying it.
I felt immediately attracted by this book because of the plot, the topic, and I can tell you that I was right. The book is beautiful.
We all know that noses, if they are not part of a bodies, couldn't live, but once, Christopher a kid found one of them; and the little big nose was alive. Christopher, a curious kid couldn't believe at his luck:  a real living nose: what a precious creature that one. He immediately brought the nose at home, hiding and feeding his new friend with great love and passion. But...what a nose eats? Christopher discovers
veggies habits, water-lover; the little big nose will start to tell him his poor existence where no one
wanted him although he was adopted at some point...Plenty of curiosity, when Christopher discovers in a newsmagazine  the existence of a doctor in grade to modify the body of people, in grade to change
them, in grade to fix problems, he thinks that maybe he can also be helpful with this friends, but...What
a big error was that one. Doctor Skinner in fact was a man plenty of problems,in particular with his dad and a crazy man. The little big nose will risk a lot being after all one of his creations, but the happy
ending thanks to the help of Chris and more friends will save him, with some surprises as well.

Written brilliantly, I suggest this to everyone, to children and teenagers in particular; you will find it hilarious, tender, nice: there are also moral messages: to be helpful, to stay close in times of difficulties sorting out problems together; there is also another important message, the one of friendship in grade of not abandoning in times of difficulty or peril. This book is a story of solidarity, help, new life.
Starting with a problem-solving story.


I thank NetGalley for this eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori

Gracie meets a Ghost by Keiko Sen translated by Mariko Gharbi

Gracie meets a Ghost is a fantastic children's book written by Keiko Sena and translated by Mariko
Gharbi. The story the one of a tender bunny called Gracie. She lost her glasses when she went on the mountain with some friends, and now what to do? Oh, well although she can't see clearly, she knows the road. She meets along her way a lot of animals,thinking that their eyes could be the glasses she was searching for; disturbing also a pretty upset owl, but no, nothing to do. A ghost in the while, was pretty bored. He
couldn't scared anyone and after all no one maybe can be scared anymore; so he can't believe at the luck
when he meets Gracie. "Oh, this one is a tender bunny. She will die when she will see me." But Gracie can't see him because without glasses so she asks him if, please, he can helps her to find the glasses, and to the ghost this one is a great invitation; oh it will be wonderful when he can sees me; she will die for the fear and terror, thinks the ingenuous ghost. And so he starts to search with great passion for sure. He searches and searches here and there, up and down and voilà! at some point Gracie's glasses appeared to the horizon. All thrilled the ghost will bring back the glasses to the bunny hoping in a terrifying surprise but Gracie won't never be in grade to thank  the poor ghost for this favor, because a clear sunny day is born where life can re-start again, sunny and joyous as always is.

I love the illustrations of this book, and also how they have portrayed the characters.
Japanese books are very tender.

I thank Museyon Inc. for the eBook.



Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, ottobre 18, 2018

The Annotated Prison Writing of Oscar Wilde Edited by Nicholas Frankel

The Annotated Prison Writing of Oscar Wilde Edited by Nicholas Frankel is a moving book published by Harvard University Press about the saddest chapter experienced by this beloved and wonderful author; the years spent in prison after a long trial for homosexuality, a serious crime, in the past, in the UK. I am always conquered, pleasantly conquered by the beauty of the writing of Oscar Wilde; I read two times De Profundis in italian; an emotion to read it in original. He is fantastic. There are not other words for describing this writer: maybe, yes another one: sublime. What I appreciate the most of Wilde s his soul. He is profound, honest, he analyzes his story of perdition for Douglas under all aspects in this long letter; at the same time he is conscious that the feelings he felt for this boy meant to him prison, bad reputation.

In a passage of the De Profundis he explains, after some considerations about the departure of his mother: "She and my father had bequeathed me a name they had made noble and honoured not merely in Literature, Art, Archeology, and Science, but in the public history of my own country (Oscar Wilde was irish), in its evolution as a nation. I had disgraced that name eternally. I had made it a low byword among low people..."

Oscar Wilde during the years spent in prison experienced a terrible illness at one of his ears; not cured properly he lost most of the hearing; his mental and physical health in general deteriorated,  but he remained extremely vivid, frank, honest and vibrant telling what he felt for his beloved Douglas.

De Profundis remains a literary masterpiece. I read it during my teenage age the first time. "Melodic" in his writing there's no doubt that Wilde was a real Lord of Words. Gentle, passionate, sincere, he is a blanket of tender and passionate words for every reader; when you read his books you know that every phrase is sincere, that every passage is written with sentiment and intention without hypocrisy.
There is clearly a honest intellect and brain; when he wrote he didn't never search of hiding himself, or his sentiments and feelings.
His genuine touch, his integrity, his honesty in writing are part of who Oscar Wilde was; these characteristics exalt, thanks also to masterpieces of literature of incommensurate value, the person he was, giving back to us a beautiful soul.

During the years spent in prison he also contacted a newsmagazine the Daily Chronicle with two touching letters about the sad, horrible, poor conditions of prisons. Children in particular were at the attention of Wilde because of the poor treatments reserved them, the impossibility of eating properly; to Wilde children hadn't to stay in prison; but, if necessary,  they should have spent a complete different rehabilitative passage; they hadn't to stay closed per 23 hours in jail; not without food, but doing exercise, continuing to learn or maybe starting to become acculturated in  jail, eating properly.
He won't also forget the case of a prisoner, who, slowly slowly was losing his mind. The Chronicle will start thanks to Wilde's suggestions a long battle for best conditions in prisons. The second letter in fact will focus about this battle started by the newsmagazine. To Wilde it was important to insist for a better reform.

The relationship with Douglas and other men portrayed in De Profundis, leave us a long wonderful letter, and the most powerful legacy of this writer. An honest legacy, of a man who loved and was betrayed; of a man who, thanks to his position, was used and lost everything. Money, success, fame, his family. His reputation. Everything. 

Elegant in his writing, Wilde at some point at the Clemency Petition to the House Secretary: "It is but natural that living in this silence, this solitude, this isolation from all human and humans influences, this tomb for those who are not yet dead, the petitioner should, day and night in every waking hour, be tortured by the fear of absolute and entire insanity."

From De Profundis: "In the perturbed and fitful nights of anguish, in the long monotonous days of pain, it is myself I blame. I blame myself for allowing an unintellectual friendship, a friendship whose primary aim was not the creation and contemplation of beautiful things, to entirely dominate my life."

Oscar Wilde thinks at some point that Douglas was not worthy of his love.
But he adds: "...Love does not traffic in a marketplace, nor use a huckster's scales. It's joy, like the joy of intellect, is to feel itself alive. The aim of Love is to love: no more, and no less."

Oscar Wilde characterized this unlucky friendship with Douglas as "fatal" because changed the course of his destiny; a radiant one. He closes this letter with this terrible phrases: "You came to me to learn the Pleasure of Life and the Pleasure of Art. Perhaps I am chosen to teach you something much more wonderful, the meaning of Sorrow, and its beauty."

Enchanting work the one created by mr. Frankel. On the pages in your left you find the explanation of the various texts taken in considerations and on the right ones the text with Wilde's written words; included  also the Ballad of Reading Gaol.

Some verses...

The watcher watched him as he slept,
And could not understand
How one could sleep so sweet a sleep
With a hangman close at hand.

But there is no sleep when men must weep
Who never yet have wept:
So we-the fool, the fraud, the knave-
That endless vigil kept,
And though each brain on hands of pain
Another terror's crept.
....

We were as men who thought a fen
Of filthy darkness grope:
We did not dare to breath a prayer,
or give our anguish scope:
Something was dead in each of us,
And what was dead was Hope.


Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, ottobre 15, 2018

Bah! Humbug! by Michael Rosen illustrated by Tony Ross

Bah! Humbug! A Magical Retelling of  Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol by Michael Rosen illustrated by Tony Ross is a beautiful wonderful and multi-tasking children's book: not only devoted, first of all at the beloved masterpiece written by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol; this book includes at the end of the story other special sections with recipes, games for all family.

The originality of the story is that while A Christmas Carol will be a theater's script de facto, and so told in direct language, with the various characters we meet along our way everytime we reread this moving classic, at the same time we will read also the story of the family of Harry, the teenager who plays the role of Scrooge at school. Ray, Harry's dad will discover that he would want to be a better man; Harry's mom discovered A Christmas Carol: never paid too much attention to this classic. Not only: the protagonists in particular the adult ones will discover in profundity what it means to be a family.

The story starts in this way: Harry will portray Scrooge, and he doesn't know where he has put his mask; you know when you are in a hurry and you need to remember, pick up everything and your parents tell you that you must do pretty quickly. That kind of sensation.
Harry would want to be accepted by his dad, pretty skeptical and critical regarding him and this play; distracted by his life it seems that for that man nothing is anymore important.

Ms.Cavani the teacher who helps these students in these drama lessons tries her best for giving at this story the best directions giving the best suggestions to all the various protagonists, although after all it will be life, intuition, to give an inspiration at the various protagonists, thanks to the Christmas's Spirit, let me add this.

This book is an original idea if you want to perform A Christmas Carol in your church, during the Christmas's Time with all your family or also on stage in your little town: buying various books you will assign the various characters, and there you go.

I did it when I was little: I confessed it: we typewrote decades ago, it was 1982, thank Debora! all A Christmas Carol; the novel appeared in the italian Mickey Mouse  magazine and it was very well done. We were little and plenty of ideas. I thought that this one could have been the best play to put on stage for Christmas for a magical theatrical representation. I still can't think at another more powerful tale for speaking at the heart of people so profoundly as Dickens does.




Merry Christmas, Everyone!

I thank NetGalley for this eBook.


Anna Maria Polidori






domenica, ottobre 14, 2018

The Five Wishes of Mr. Murray McBride by Jason Siple

We all know something: it's important to find a reason, or many more for living or for continuing to living. When we are young there are plenty of reasons for living; a family, work, desires of experiencing, exploration of the world: it's simple, but...If a person if 100 years old? More difficult?  We will discover thanks to this book that there is always a reason for going on. And the best engine is helping others in great difficulties. This one and much more is: The Five Wishes of Mr.Murray McBride by Jason Siple.
It is true that at first also mr. Murray McBride with 100 years on his shoulders, all his relatives gone, finds that his existence is a bit...gone. What to do?
A lot of elderly people wait, terrorized, the arrival of death, but mr.Murray also thanks to the suggestion of some people close to him, decides to act. Why waiting for death when a lot can still to be done? 
And he discovers Jason. Jason, 10 years is afflicted by a terrible illness. Substantially he doesn't have a lot of available time but before to pass away he would want to realize five wishes. Mr.Murray finds for case this piece of paper where the 10 year old boy wrote down these wishes in and he thinks that he would want so badly to try to realize them with and for this little boy. Murray found more than a reason for continuing to live!
It's a real countdown but also the discovery of two pretty different souls and a great and solid friendship. Jason with his weird language, strange e-mails and expressions when he speaks or write: McBride with the desire of being realistically helpful, learning also how to send and receive e-mail; just an example. How different these trajectories of existence are: McBride arrived at 100 years, this boy should die soon, without to having experienced anything in this life.

I found extremely touching the end of the story; I didn't imagine it. Sad and positive at the same time, like life is, after all.

Everything starts at first, with a magician with the desire of telling why to be grateful to his life and people he had to thank for being there.

He tells it to his biographer; a simple story, real and solid: human.
A friendship of a 10 years old boy soon to be gone because his heart didn't work anymore with a man of 100 years...


You'll love it! The cover is beautiful! An elderly man holding the hand of a kid. Past and present walking together for building good values, for transmitting knowledge, leaving the world with someone in grade to perpetuate the values and life-lessons learned and the possible pills of wisdom necessary for this trip on Earth.

Highly recommended.

I thank NetGalley for this eBook. And Library Thing as well!


Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, ottobre 12, 2018

Leap Before you Look Black Mountain College 1933-1957 by Helen Molesworth

Leap Before you Look Black Mountain College 1933-1957 by Helen Molesworth is an immense,  and important catalogue realized by the Institute of Contemporary Art of Boston with Yale University Press: four years in total for assembling the art exhibit wanted by ICA/Boston about Black Mountain College, this choice was made because of the big impact that the artists grown up artistically at Black Mountain are still playing in the art of creatives arrived after them; a visionary place Black Mountain, located in North Carolina: a college wanted by John Rice and founded in 1933 with other intellectuals, in an historical particular moment and alive till 1957. Although the short experience of this college, this institution made the difference under many aspects.

Josef and Anni Albers from Germany  were searching for a good place where to staying considering the critical historical moment and the absurd policy against Jewish started by Hitler, so when Albers told to Rice the situation he was living in, Rice invited him and Anni to the USA. The two didn't speak a word of english but they learned pretty quickly meeting another world. Josef Albers became the first art teacher of the school.
They were, considering also their big artistic reputation, a centrality of this college, which had special and absolutely wonderful guidelines.

Students didn't have in fact, any kind of obligation with the school: they could follow lessons but they could also decide of being differently creatives; exams were planned by students and when they were ready, without any kind of obligation; it was the most flexible place of this world.

Devoted to liberal arts, this college was perfect for a person with a creative spirits  and some internal turmoils.

Guided by good teachers, Black Mountain was an excellence also in all the rest of liberal arts, like poetry, dance, music, sculpture, and more; everything that you could classify as creative, you can be sure that was experienced in Black Mountain and lived with great intensity.

Not only: there wasn't any kind of formal separation between students and teachers; they all lived relaxed in that beautiful corner of the world. You will discover about summer sessions, the trips made by the Albers in Mexico where in particular Anni developed the best in terms of creativity. Essays are written by ex students and creative of Black Mountain, treating the most diversified thematic. Active students that ones. If you see the first pictures of this catalogue, you capture the essence of the college when you see young people working in a farm; this one was Black Mountain: a place where study was unified with work. Not just farm, but everything creative like constructions, cooking.
Many important people became big names: one for everyone John Cage.

It's a beautiful and creative catalogue, this one. Immense, wonderful if you love art, you can't lose the chance of buying it.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, ottobre 11, 2018

Gardens of the Arts and Crafts Movement by Judith B. Tankard

13 chapters in total, Gardens of the Arts and Crafts Movement  by Judith B. Tankard is a stunning book if you appreciate garden design. I personally fall in love for gardens and wherever I find books speaking of the topic I try to capture them at the instant.
A selection of houses and garden from Britain but also North American have been taken in consideration.
It's a wonderful book this one; illustrations are amazing and this one is a new and revised edition of a previous one published by Timber Press.
I reviewed various books by Timber Press and the quality of each book is absolutely excellent.
Great  also as a gift to a romantic friend. 

Highly recommended.

I thank NetGalley and Timber Press for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori



Finché Splendi Amore Till you Shine, My Love by Anna Buoninsegni

Terribly intense and beauty Finché Splendi Amore Till you Shine, Love by Anna Buoninsegni journalist and poet from Gubbio, Italy. I met her days ago during a meeting organized for reporters at Città di Castello. I tell the truth: I didn't know her personal story. She discovered the biggest love of her life not anymore in her 20s.
She married him and after six years, unfortunately, he died.
This little book of intense poems are dedicated at this moment of transition: what meant to her the departure of her beloved husband. Dispersion,  confusion, sadness, desperation.
I have had the perception, reading between the lines, that the life of Anna with her husband was symbiotic and their love not just complete, but happy.
The departure of her beloved husband to her meant like the death of her own soul; her soul wondered in the abyss of her sufferance for trying to search for him; a distance the one between dead and living ones that should be broken; there will be a fissure writes the author densperate...Because as continues Anna, we can feel caresses, we can hear voices around us, but we can't touch these distant calls; she feels the face of her husband as a phantom but she can't feel the perfume of his skin.
I found this poem strong because Anna asks to this God of Separation the possibility of returning where she can still feeds their hugs.

In another poem she wishes to be the silent stone of her love and a stone bridge in grade to survive at years of sun, rain, wind, just for his steps.
In another she says: "I am here my love, I have your breath, it tells our destiny, how we lived; and every second is everlasting."
This husband was the perfume that her house was missing, a terrible bandit and a good kid.
The last poem is written with the words that would have used her husband: "You have been director of future scenes, but the script says that we won't be anymore both the main characters; you will tell the dream."
I love this part of the poem: "I have just given to you an old hive where phantoms are buzzing."

The final passage

So far,
close to the fixed stars,
the silent light
will be sufficient for tracing
the beauty of living again
till you shine, love.

Superb. Sad; true.

Let's try to give a meaning at this final part of the poem: the husband is talking to her; he is dead and he can't anymore be a co-protagonist in their life; she must continue to tell, all alone their common tales, and also her personal human tale; it's silent the universe close to him; stars are fixed; there is a silent light in grade to continue to support Anna again; till you shine, love means that we are all little or big stars in this world till we shine.

Highly recommended.

I thank the author for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, ottobre 10, 2018

Miracle on 34th Street in picture-book format has been released!

With great joy and excitement the publishing house Sourcebooks is living the launch of Miracle on 34th Street .
The beloved classic written by Valentine Davies has seen the light for the first time as a picture-book format surely very appreciated by children of all...ages :-)


The story is this one: there is  a Mother, with a Daughter, and they are worried because maybe for the parade Santa Claus won't be available. What should do they do now? When an old good man tells them that he would be very happy to play the role of Santa, saving the show for the joy of everyone.
Once all over, Mother invites for lunch the old man at home and there mr.Kringle confesses her to be the real Santa. Mother is skeptical while Daughter is fascinated by the idea of having Santa Claus close to her, and plus, with the possibility of asking him her biggest desire: a beauty family with a beauty house.
While Santa promises that he will do that, people start to be upset about that voices of a potential Santa close to them and the poor old man will experience a trial. Once sorted out everything successful, who knows if Santa will be in grade to help also that little kid?

 It's a story speaking to our hearts this one, and at the possibility of believing also when rationality would want to tell us: no you can't.
It's the dimension of dream and magic that it is important to cultivate everyday in our life, so that enchantment and endless possibilities will become our reason for a living.
Living a life enchanted by the world, people we meet in a daily base, our city, our friends, our connections, is a first step.
If we stay connected with the dimension of the believing, dreaming, seeing the world with beauty eyes, our life will be more satisfying.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Anna Maria Polidori






Sisu La Via Finlandese al coraggio, al benessere e alla felicità or Finding Sisu by Katja Pantzar

Sisu La Via Finlandese al coraggio, al benessere e alla felicità or Finding Sisu by Katja Pantzar is a book published by Marsilio about the life-style of North European countries, and in particular, Finland.
American, Katja was a very successful reporter, in grade everyday of approaching some stars for an interview and working at big levels; then the chance and opportunity of a work in Finland, just for a year. She fell in love for the place of origin of her parents and she decided of remaining.
Why?
Because Finland is a privileged place under many aspects, and because sunny Katja explains, everything is more simple and what it is important in USA or Canada, like also an expensive life, too many pills for curing everything, in Finland is not.

Katja suffered of a chronicle sadness, depression from the age of 25; when she afforded to Finland the local doctor refused to continue to prescribe her that pill because it gave her too dependence. She suggested to the reporter of going outside, of walking, bicycling; plus, she added that, with a best life-style, staying outside for a long time everyday, eating well, she would have sorted out her depressive problem. It was absolutely true.

In Finland, no sure if you know it, parents love to keep babies born from few weeks outside the house also when in winter and when temperature is at -15 degrees because body must be strong; they will become more healthy; so you mustn't be surprised if adult and young people search for cold water during the winter-time.
They tend to swimming in cold water, and it helps in particular brain and all body system. The author is an enthusiastic of this activity.
It helps to staying more active. Senses are more vigils.
Then sauna is another important chapter, because if, in the first case you search for cold, in the second, a warm place where you can share the experience of a sauna with other women, or also with men and women; sauna purifies from toxins and help relaxation.

What Tanja discovered of Finland was that they have another system of living also in the approach with common life; people go for used things and they fix broken ones. Nothing, where possible, is thrown away with superficiality. It's a sisu for the soul, after all because every object we keep in our house means memories.

Finnish don't tend to buying new clothes, or new furniture. They save money and it helps.
Also when a furniture is new it must be strong and resistant to the time.

Being a protestant country, people are also rigid regarding money.
In families if there is money no one will remark that aspect. 
In Finland if a person "appears" with  beautiful houses and big cars is not seen positively at all. Do they love austerity? No. Just...
They don't love appearance, so important in many other countries.

Children: maybe you know that having children in Finland is a fantastic experience because the State is close to you in every second. Before the arrival of the baby the couple receive also an enormous gift-package containing all the essentials clothes and tools necessary for the first months of life of the baby. And there are wagons of things, including a little book. The author adds that she is not so surprised that Finnish's education is so important and most of them are voracious readers. A good journey starts from the beginning. The box containing all these gifts could be used theoretically for putting the baby during the first months of life although most people tend to use it for toys. Pre-school years are a dream in Finland. School is completely free like like also canteen, because finnish folk insist that if a kid doesn't eat can't learn and that every kid must eat. University is free, including for all tpeople living in the EU territory; maybe it will be that Finland is the land where lives Santa Claus, but these gifts for families are stunning and plenty of dignity. Mamma mia! let me add.
Helping a family means for the members having less thoughts, staying more happy and productive at work.
During kindergarten there is not an aggressive approach at school, but children enjoy to spending time learning, singing, and socializing.

Food is crucial for Finnish. They love nature and they love to spend a lot of time cultivating veggies and berries of every sorta also when they live in a city, thanks to little gardens that they cultivate just outside the city, and also when they live in the capital Helsinki is strong their connection with woods, forests. Helsinki is a green area and everyone appreciate and use the city for movement, exercise, bicycling, walking, swimming.

They love to eat nutrient but healthy bread, fish is helpful as well, and they tend to reach their work-place using bicycles, as also does the author of this book, also during the hard and cold winter-time or walking.

Healthy people, Finnish developed the concept of Sisu from centuries.
It means resilience during the adversities, strength, determination.
And that simplicity and appreciation for old things and simplicity that makes the difference.

I was thinking, while I was reading this book that there is some Finnish blood in my body as well.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, ottobre 09, 2018

American Literary in the World an anthology from Anne Bradstreet to Octavia Butler by Wai Chee Dimock with Jordan Brower, Edgar Garcia, Kyle Hutzler, and Nicholas Rinehart, EDS

It is a wonderful book American Literary in the World an anthology from Anne Bradstreet to Octavia Butler by Wai Chee Dimock with Jordan Brower, Edgar Garcia, Kyle Hutzler, and Nicholas Rinehart, EDS.

I was immediately attracted by this anthology published by Columbia Press, because I confess: I don't know, being italian, all American writers and literature of course and I was intrigued at first because of it. Plus the original structure interested me a lot. It sounded like a different anthology from the most common ones.
I was right.

The originality of this anthology is this one: the author and the staff decided to create miscellaneous of pieces, poems, extracts of books, from beloved writers and poets speaking at the heart of people through important thematic as war, food (where you see there are also some recipes) work play and travel; religions, and human and non human interface, including also writers lived in 1600s as Bradstreet did.

Doing it, and mixing all together the various authors not just temporally, the author permitted them of  speaking through their words with more energy, intriguing the reader from the beginning to the end.

Of course  writers, poets have specific histories; they said what they said because inspired and influenced by the moment in which they lived in of course; trips in Europe; people who made the difference in their existence as in the case of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ( I didn't know of his speech to Harvard and the fact that the university banned him for 30 years because of his religious ideas too originals.)
Each thematic is anticipated with an introduction, then to follow a short but very good biography of the poet or writer taken in consideration and an extract of his work. In  Allen Ginsberg's biography mentioned also his close friendship with Johnny Depp.

I  appreciated the passage chosen in the section Work, Play, Travel of The East of Eden by John Steinbeck, absolutely the book I love the most of his production. I read it two times.
But...You will find Gertrude Stein, Melville more or less is, in most of sections; and then Walt Whitman, Toni Morrison, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jack Kerouac, just for naming few of them.

This anthology to my point of view is good for many reasons: for re-discovering an author, for discovering authors you didn't know, for create a list of winter-books that you want to read, thematically; for being inspired for your new reading of classics; for re-discovering classics; it is pretty inspirational for the most vital purposes.
For whatever reason you will buy this book, goes for it with the certainty of having close to you an incredible good tool for the most diversified reasons.

And mostly: plenty of life, vibrant, these writers thanks to beautiful passages chosen by the authors will enchant you with their timeless words.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

Happiness and Goodness Philosophical Reflections on Living Well by Steven M. Cahn and Christine Vitrano Forward by Robert B.Talisse

Happiness and Goodness Philosophical Reflections on Living Well by Steven M. Cahn and Christine Vitrano Forward  by Robert B.Talisse is a wonderful, intuitive, interesting and sunny book by Columbia Press.
Happiness as also expressed in the foreword by mr.Talisse is becoming with the time a real business. Rich people are searching for happiness asking to gurus; we are surrounded by a lot of books regarding happiness and how we should reach that mental state.

In this book through the words of ancient and modern philosophers it will be possible for the authors to try to understand where we are now in terms of values, in terms also of our personal perception of goodness and happiness, defining what it means for our society happiness and goodness and how, these two values, and these two sentiments are lived and felt pretty differently from person to person.
First of all there was Aristotle, who said that a man is happy when he is also ethically correct and a good person.

But...

Did you notice that sometimes moral people are miserable and immoral ones are happy and cheerful?
Right.
Why is that?

Of course it depends by the personal moral values. A person could also be an immoral human being but the most cheerful one of this world because to him and his values and his mental scheme that one is the normality exactly like for a moral person is great to be good.

But...what and how can we define what it is good or bad? And why certain behaviors are classified by current philosophers bad while other ones good?

And why, as the authors will do in the book we make a comparison with the existences of two individuals, we would say that an existence is better than the other one? Because of more studies, money, a marriage?

We use, for classifying people, certain moral and ideal standards created by the society, but sometimes what make people happy is different from person to person; it is also possible the impossibility in this life of developing all the talents donated us by the case, or God.

I think that each of us bring with him/her a certain luggage of values created by the family where we were born in, social life, friends, culture, school, experiences we are experiencing in our life ad the sum of it creates the person.

Synthesizing what wanted to saying  Epicurus: making wise judgements about good and bad is prudence.

The book analyzes God as well: does He exist? And with Him exists also Hell, Heaven and the Purgatory? If we are not catholic, but of another religion then will we be admitted in Heaven?
Why a soul of a devil person should spend all the time in Hell and the one of a good person in Heaven?

Beautiful, very good book for thinking about our current morality, and what it means being happy and being good for our society, and for past thinkers.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, ottobre 07, 2018

Anne of Green Gables by L.M.Montgomery

A new edition, part of the entire collection of books involving Anne of Green Gables by L.M.Montgomery  has been published by Sweet Cherry Publishing this September.
The book donated by NetGalley and Sweet Cherry Publishing specialized publishing house about children's books to reviewers is Anne of Green Gables.

If you are searching for a beautiful story in grade to stay for an entire life in the soul of your daughter, niece, and that can makes the difference, goes for this book.

The story of Anne has an authenticity and a realism that it is tremendously touching.

Both Anne Shirley's parents lost their life because of a terrible flu and so, at first, this baby lived in the family of the maid of Mr and mr.Shirley, Mrs Thomas.

Her husband Bert drunk too much; their family was numerous and Anne helped the wife of Bert with her children.

Bert died abruptly and the girl ended up with mr.Hammond and his numerous family: eight children!
Hammond died abruptly as well and Anne for a certain time ended up in an orphanage. Later, enthusiast, she was requested by two unmarried siblings mr and ms. Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert in the beautiful island of Prince Edward. Oh: to her it meant the discovery of Heaven.
So, although at first the siblings desired a boy for helping in the fields, later they understood that this little girl was a sign of their destiny.

To Anne that one was a different reality from the previous one she lived in; that one was her home.
We will see her enthusiasm for the house, for Matthew and Marilla, for flowers, for nature, for her friend Diana, with hilarious facts, and sadness back again at some point.

Why buying classics to your children?

Because they don't have age and because they are written with the heart.
Anne of Green Gables knows an intensity and a passion that will capture the attention of your daughter.

Not only: it's a book that speaks of respect: regarding old people, children, families, life, people passed away.

Anne made a lot of personal sacrifices before to find a family in grade of loving her. Her life was hard, unlucky, she talked with imaginary friends for going on well in life and not becoming crazy; but, but...In all these situations she remained an educated, beautiful soul.

I thank NetGalley and Sweet Cherry Publishing for this eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori

Fully Alive Learning to Flourish - Mind body, and spirit by Susie Larson

Fully Alive Learning to Flourish - Mind body, and spirit by Susie Larson is an interesting book published by Baker about the interconnection existing between physical illness and stress or psychological problems. Starting from her experience as a sick person, Susie will help all of us, gradually of taking more care of ourselves avoiding too stress, too many situations or people that maybe it is better to leave alone, but, first of all, to understand that most of the times a physical illness is connected with our mental state; the first signal is always psychological before to become physical. Sometimes we don't want to admit that there are problems and we procrastinate, or just we don't want to see these problems; we have fear of changing habits, our routine; other times we don't pay attention or we don't find time for curing ourselves and our soul: it's important to do that and we can do that, it's possible thanks to the help of neuroplasticity. We must avoid to repeat negative thoughts because they won't never bring us anywhere; we must stay optimistic, yes, also when optimism seems to be the latest impossible chance in this world. Thoughts must become positive; thanks to a positive approach and a good mental cleaning, the circuit, spiral of negativity will be interrupted and life will return to be normal.
Susie warmly encourage you of changing following at the same time Jesus Christ and the Scriptures. This one is a Christian book; very well written, captivating, plenty of good advice for a best life, physical and emotive.

I thank NetGalley and Bethany House for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, ottobre 06, 2018

Autunno a Venezia, Hemingway e l'ultima Musa Autumn in Venice Hemingway and his Last Muse by Andrea Di Robilant

The saddest story of this book is that the central protagonists of this story at the end will choose to kill themselves. They lost their war against life; a game that no one will win, but that, in this sense, when suicide is chosen, considered the only possible escapism to the brutality and ugliness of the world, presents a biggest sense of solitude and sadness.

It's the first time, after a lot of books written by Americans and so with an American perspective regarding Ernest Hemingway, that I read with joy a book by an italian author; I recognize our personal touch, our thoughts, our way of thinking and communicating with Americans, and I liked it a lot.

Autunno a Venezia, Hemingway e l'ultima Musa Autumn in Venice Hemingway and his Last Muse by Andrea Di Robilant traces an interesting chapter of the tormented life of Ernest Hemingway: his devastating love for Adriana Ivancich.

Ernest Hemingway at that time was married with his fourth wife Mary Welsh and decided to visit Italy another time.
At first the couple had decided of spending some time in sunny Provence where their friends, once left Paris, enjoyed their vacations; but then, Ernest Hemingway conquered again by Italy once he visited again the old places where he lived in and where he fought during the first world war conflict, decided to remain.

Not only: the arrival of Hemingway was lived by the important Italians of that time with great joy and enthusiasm and in this, I recognized the italian amiability and enchantment that we all live when we have in front of us a very important person.

For Hemingway, this visit meant also the discovery of his italian publishers of his books, Einaudi and Mondadori.

Hemingway wasn't an author pretty appreciated by fascists, because without too many compliments he didn't speak at all well of Mussolini in his articles; but Mondadori and Einaudi published some of his books and no one, no one of these publishing houses wanted to leave Hemingway alone.

Hemingway was a viveur with a bad character.
He drunk too much, he was surrounded by a lot of women, he was an avid hunter, he loved guns, traveling, living in Cuba, where it was perennially warm, he loved Paris, but sure, his talent was recognized.
After all, we can say that Hemingway lived his life in the way he wanted to live it. This one is a privilege, after all.

Although affectionate to Einaudi, considering that the publishing house after the last second world war conflict was more close at the Communist Party, Hemingway preferred to speak much more with Mondadori close to American positions, although he received royalties from both these publishing houses and Einaudi courted him so badly.

He was writing a book at the time of his arrival in Italy but he didn't know yet what kind of direction would have taken his inspiration; italian publishers were all waiting for this new success and Einaudi and Mondadori ready to fights for obtaining the italian rights.

The encounter with Adriana, this young and enchanting Venetian girl helped him a lot in this sense; it was a scandal, although not at all for the protagonists. Ernest and Adriana were both relaxed, happy and cheerful for their relationship, to my point of view. Adriana was supported by Hemingway; Hemingway discovered with Adriana new inspiration and this meant new success, great books and honors.

Venice is big but people love gossip; plus the city has a certain morality and Hemingway was an aficionados of places like the Harry's Bar by Cipriani where he spent most of the time. He was spotted a lot of times in company of this young girl; he didn't mind; he didn't notice that people were talking; and people at first, true, talked, but didn't understand the profundity of the feelings experienced by the middle-age man in crisis, searching for a youngest girl, without any pale idea of leaving his wife.

Mary, his wife, was one of the ones who, at first didn't understand.
Jealous of other prominent women Hemingway loved to spend time with, at first didn't take in consideration Adriana, as later she was constricted to do.

Hemingway in fact didn't hide at all his love for Adriana; Adriana was in his mind all the time; the story became public. He also insisted, when the publication of one of his books imminent, of adding as a cover a painting created by Adriana, with great disappointment of mr.Scribner the founder of the American publishing house devoted to Hemingway; it wasn't the case.

Hemingway did all his best for inviting to Cuba Adriana and the mother; the mother talking with mrs. Mary asked if they were married. Who knows if she was hoping for her daughter the union with Hemingway or just happy Mary and Ernest  were not united through a religious wedding? We won't never discover it.

Anyway, tired of the behavior of her husband, Mary will start an affair with one of their collaborators.

Hemingway was generous with Adriana, sending her a lot of money, trying to develop for her a potential career in the American publishing industry.

Their correspondence is plenty of love, passion and desire.

But...

Once, the girl, Hemingway had just won the Pulitzer and Nobel with The Old Man and the Sea and was thrilled for his success, communicated him through a letter that she was engaged, and her boyfriend asked her of interrupting their correspondence.

Ernest Hemingway understood that this one was the end of his privileged dialogue and intense passion with and for this girl.

Adriana, once, sold the letters of her correspondence with Hemingway through Christie's but strangely without earning a lot of money, and later published a biography where a central role was played by the beloved  author.

This book is vivacious, plenty of facts, anecdotes, writers, editors, publishers of that time, and the life of the big writer Ernest Hemingway is described in all its grandeur, confusion, trips, encountering.
Hemingway loved company and when he felt that he was in good company he was a great friend, but he also loved spending time with common people; after all he was a reporter and he was an observer of the reality.
He was someone with a burning fire for life; a burning fire, that,  for a reason or another once gone will "constrict" him of killing himself, because not anymore in grade to write as he did in the past.

Strong book, but also the portrait of creativity in motion when love, or joy or happiness are in the life of a creative.

Highly recommended.

All the correspondence written by Ernest Hemingway is located at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library of Boston.

I thank Corbaccio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, ottobre 05, 2018

Breakfast The Most Important Book about the Best Meal of the Day by the Editors of Extra Crispy with a foreword by Hugh Acheson

Breakfast is the most amazing moment of the day, when substantially you can also eat a calf and your metabolism permit you to burn most of  calories.
If in the past it was a special moment of the day, where, if not everyone in the family, a lot of members spent all together breakfast-time, at the moment it's a quick passage of the day where there is not anymore any kind of personal touch, in most cases. People don't speak anymore, and sometimes breakfast means just a coffee drunk quickly, without any particular attention or cares.
But...
Breakfast is strictly connected with love, caring, friendship because it begins with the day; and a new day means love and a new, fresh, happy, optimistic start; that's why a good breakfast is also important for all the family-members. Are you single and you live alone? Good: it should be important for you as well. A moment for cuddle your soul passing through your body.

I remember my dad's breakfast. An omelette with bacon; or bacon with cheese, some honey or jam, he was a jam-addicted and a good glass of red wine or two. A robust breakfast.

That's why I fall fascinated by Breakfast The Most Important Book about the Best Meal of the Day by the Editors of Extra Crispy with a foreword by Hugh Acheson by Oxmoor House.

This cook book will be released on Oct.23 and with it, forget your coffee.
The authors want to let you fall in love again for breakfast, so that you will bake, you will prepare delicious dishes for your loved ones, because it's this one, the most precious moment of the day and the one, where, paradoxically we can be more indulgent with ourselves.
Not only: food is one of the strongest vehicle for arriving to the heart of people.

This book is plenty of essays, as the one of the history of breakfast, starting from Romans; Romans didn't joke, they ate a lot, for arriving at our times, when we discover as King of our tables: eggs.

You will learn how how to cook eggs perfectly, but if you prefer french toast, or, for not upsetting too much our french friends, their pain perdu, a series of explanations will permit you to obtain the best of the best.

Breakfast will also explain you how to prepare the best bread, using  banana or other fruits.
Do you find difficult to prepare crispy potatoes every time? Don't worry: your problems are sorted out by the authors of this cook book and their guidelines.
Jam: you know it's one of the fundamentals of breakfast. Yes, there are some fundamentals in breakfast as well.
Maybe you don't tend to eat it, but some in your family do. It's better, when possible, if you live in a countryside, if you can go in a countryside or if you have friends with the desire of sharing fruits with you, to make some jam.

I also found interesting the chapter dedicated to granola: wonderful snacks that you make saving money;  another delicious homemade recipe is also the one of Breakfast Cookies with sunflower seed butter!

A chapter of this yummy cook book is dedicated to coffee and other interesting beverages, so while you will discover everything about coffee, best brands, differences, why not start the reading sipping a delicious London Fog?

If you enjoy smoothies, a fresh and healthy start in the morning with fruits and veggies you love the most, you will be satisfied, like also if you enjoy diversified other drinks.

Every place in the USA have a different kind of breakfast in particular when meats is involved.
Pennsylvania love a recipe with the pig's heart and liver, strong people they go right to the point! :-) but the authors propose also an Arabian pastry, the M'hancha.

You love brioche? Follow the step of Breakfast and you'll obtain the best ones; also if you search for a muffin's recipe.
Interesting the main differences between baking soda and baking powder, why they're different and their roles in various dishes.

If you are scared by the gingerbread house, you know Christmas is close, follow the recipe suggested here and you will obtain a wonderful realization.

If you adore cinnamon as I do, there are many tantalizing recipes.

For someone more close to a lunch or a brunch than breakfast, we eat carbonara for lunch, I propose you, back to eggs, Texas red chili and eggs or a carbonara with delicious noodles and an exotic persian Kuku Sabzi.
Are you in love for sweet potatoes as I am? You can't miss the chance of baking this baked oatmeal.
Oh: did I mention great recipes for pancakes?

Beautiful cover, electrifying, in this moment of the year where days are shortest, this cook book a splash in the sunniest color existing in this world and in the optimism: beautiful pictures, illustrations, chapters.
Six in total, essays explain, clarify, they speak of old and new times, old and new breakfasts, different customs, dishes, and there are pages where these bakers will teach you how to become the perfect baker.
Can you ask for more?


Highly recommended.

I thank Meredith and Oxmoor House for the physical copy of this book.


Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, ottobre 04, 2018

Houghton Library at 75 A Celebration of Its Collections is a celebration of this important anniversary. Foreword by Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University, preface by Thomas Hyry introduction by Heather Cole and John Overholt

It was a desire, the creation of Houghton Library, a wonderful library located in Harvard, Cambridge, where there are only rare, antique and precious books. And not only.
Coolidge, director of the Harvard University Library wrote in 1924: "What I dream of is a beautiful building...in which we store all our works of great rarity and value..."
This book: Houghton Library at 75 A Celebration of Its Collections is a celebration of this important anniversary. Foreword by Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University, preface by Thomas Hyry introduction by Heather Cole and John Overholt, at the moment, the entire library is digitized and where there are no problems, it is possible to see the catalog, although of course nothing would be better than a real visit in a stunning place like this one.
What kind of material can be found in this library?
From pictures to maps, posters, passing through old books; I want to mention the Theodore Roosevelt Collection; just an example because all arts are involved from theater to poetry.
Why this library is important? Why a library is important? In particular when books, manuscripts, pictures are rare, you have a certainty: that there is a shrine in grade to keep all this material save and available as the Houghton Library does.
These places represent pure knowledge and they are a patrimony of humanity.
Some example of what you can find? A fragment of the Odyssey by Homer on papyrus by CA-1-200 CE, then the Gutenberg Bible, more or less printed in 1455.
A diagram by Copernicus 1543, a letter of Elizabeth I maybe dated 1552; in the book a poem by John Keats, the collection of Edward Lear, painter, material of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Melville, an annotated copy of MacBeth by Edward Gordon Craig, Rainier Maria Rilke, a Lincoln Campaign poster dated 1864.
This book is a gift to all that readers appreciating the best culture  existing in the world and the one who made the difference through the centuries, because influenced masses as religion did, as Homer did (still does) but also as poems, books, artists, did.
Cambridge is a city devoted to culture and progress and the final picture you will find in this book the one of a laptop computer taken by Jamaica Kincaid. For not forget anything and any kind of instrument that made and makes the difference in the existence of a human being. In the past and in the present.

Impressive, dreaming library, I suggest to everyone very warmly this book, and if you live close to Cambridge, a visit.

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

Anna Maria Polidori