domenica, gennaio 13, 2019

The only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict

Marie Benedict is enchanting. There are no other ways orowordsofor describing all her books and her writing-style, delicate, penetrating and psychologically engaging.  You are cuddled by her words and the fascinating atmosphere she creates every time. 
Her previous books, Carnegie's Maid and The Other Einstein revealed us the characters of two stunning women like she does also in this latest novel, The Only Woman in the Room. In this one, there is a stunning reconstruction of the suffering years that preceeded the beginning of the horror that was the Last Second World War Conflict and not only. The book is divided in two parts as the life of the protagonist has been.

I didn't know anything of Hedy Lamarr before reading this book, a character who can't be forgotten with simplicity.

It happened not just to Lamarr, Austrian, to ending in the hands of someone in the other part of the barricade before that the Second World War would started: victims and torturers.

Jewish, and proud to be a Jewish, Hedwig Kiesler of Dobling Austria,  at 18 years made a movie, censored,  and she was the protagonist of Sissi at the theater of Wien. She starts to be courted by an influential, rich man of a certain age, Fritz, Friedrich Mandl. Mandl created and sold munitions to people of extreme right: he had direct contacts with Mussolini and the rest of the fascists and nazists borning establishment in the various European States, Franco in Spain, Mussolini in Italy, Hitler in Germany.
Substantially he was in contact with dictators.

Fritz appears terribly romantic with this girl presenting her wagons of roses every day after the show of Sissy and going directly to speak with the parents of the girl asking for the hand of their daughter.
Worries were many and this choice was made by the parents of Hedwig "opportunistically", thinking that maybe their daughter and family and village would have escaped the horror that the dad of Hedwig was imagining in a few years.
The sensation that something horrible would have happened to them in case of a no was too big.

At the same time, the girl falls fascinated in the while by this man; she eats with him in plates that are made by real gold and in stunning places, so she is both surprised and pleased by these wonderful attentions.

She says at some point: "The success in Sissy, my burgeoning relationship with Fritz, they felt too perfect to be real. Unearned, Mama would say."

The marriage will be celebrated in a catholic church and the girl constricted also to become christian.

After the wedding as sometimes happens, the groom is not anymore the peaceful and nice man known before and Fritz is part of this gang. Oh, the honeymoon appeared to be so romantic; Italy, France, the most stunning localities that a newly wed couple can dream of, but what this girl will tell us, the book is written in first person, is that Fritz at some point will start to be "different." Yes, she covered the girl of attentions, but what he wanted was someone beauty to be displayed during their numerous lunches and events.
His mantra was that "The power of money always prevail."

We will see that Fritz gave hospitality to Mussolini, that he personally knew and many other esponents of right while, the girl started always more that these events continued to going on and hatred against Jewish more strong and dangerous, to be worried.

Situation deteriorates in particular during the vision of the movie where the girl is protagonist.

Fritz thinks that she shouldn't go out anymore closing her in his estates. Like a bird in a cage.

The girl decides to going away, but how to do that? She tries several times and then she does it.

She affords to London and then to Los Angeles, where she starts a new life with a new last name, Lamarr.

Considering what she knew and heard during conversations, meetings, lunches, dinners of her husband with the dictators of the moment, Hedy will be helpful during the second world war.

A consideration of the protagonist of this book: "My personal history and every path I could have chosen in my past had shaped my present", says.

That's why she had to acting, believing in someone for doing it.

A wonderful book this one, intense as the previous ones written by Marie Benedict. She is one of my favorite writers and so I want to read immediately her works, they are stunning and there is a great sensibility and description are paradisiacally beauty, there is a richness of interiority that this author is in grade to transmit to her readers while she becomes her characters giving them a strong voice. 


I want, just before to close this review to open a parenthesys regarding Sissi.
I read various biographies of Sissi, and in this sense I didn't know at all that she  lived secluded because of her husband.
Francis Joseph found, helped by Sissi a lover in an actress of theater, now I forgot the name of this girl, while Sissi continued to live her own life, yes, devastated by the loss of his son Rudolph and the death, never clarified of his beloved cousin Ludwig; I din't know at all that the emperor kept her secluded; considering her character it wouldn't never been possible. At the end the ladies chosen for staying close to Sissi were not anymore "picked up" for the importance that they had at court, but because healthy and with a strong constitution. Sissi loved to walk per kilometers also during the night and it requested ability, a good and energetic body. I didn't know of this role played by Francis Joseph. 

I thank NetGalley and Sourcebooks for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori



sabato, gennaio 12, 2019

A Moveable Feast The Restored Edition by Ernest Hemingway

I didn't read boks written by people who killed themselves.
It was a strong guidelines that I followed per decades. It was as if, in their books, somewhere I would have found some traces of what they would have done later and I had heard when too little too much  and when you can't metabolize what happened or the meaning of horrible situations like the one of listening what adults said of people who killed themselves I simply closed doors. Emotively. 

Speaking with people of culture they said me that it was an irrational  behavior this one. "Who cares how a writer died?" they said me but to me this one was a fundamental point. All the story made me fear.

It made me fear to read words expressed by someone who, later would have decided to leave the world in this way.

Per decades I avoided, strongly avoided also Ernest Hemingway.
Not only: I bought most of his books but scared, as I did also with a beautiful book by Van Gogh, (painters were included in the list of course) I presented them to libraries or just renstituted.

Then, maybe, I simply mentally grew up and these obsessions over.

In the case of Ernest Hemingway, Woody Allen made the miracle with Midnight in Paris, breaking all my resistances and restituting the image of a man with which everyone would have fallen in love with, because with strong opinions, great observer, in love for life and people, common ones, cafès, food and wine, sociality; someone not snob but a decent man with everyone, helpful; at the end a good, surely troubled man. No one write if there are not demons in his/her souls.

Thanks to the book I read and reviewed involving Shakespeare and Company, I thought that it was time for him.
I read James Joyce at 15 years, oh The Doubliners, it was an adventure! I will tell you in another occasion; I read Francis Scott Fitzgerald a lot of time ago.

I picked up A Moveable Feast
the posthoumus book published by Scribner after three years from the departure of the writer; this edition has been restored if compared at the previous one and it is amazing. I read it today in few hours. Hemingway knows how to capture the attention of the reader. It's like a long conversation with the reader although this one is alsoaan intimistic tale and a vivid portrait of what experienced by Ernest Hemingway and his wife when in Paris and when there was still uncertainty about his future.
Oh, it is an enxchanting book, of an enchanting Paris and enchanting and supportive people. 

Hemingway remembers that "Many are stronger at the broken places. ...This is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and  very happy."

Hemingway remembers the years of Paris with great joy defining also his financial problems. No: he and his wife refused to think, psychologically that they were poor. They anyway, tried all their best for saving and not spend a lot of money. At first Hemingway worked for a Toronto magazine and other important european magazines and it meant to afford in various european places with a good dress, a good hair cut, good shoes. Social life means also spending more money, it is known.

Hemingway remembers in this book how difficult it was to be starved in Paris. Wherever you went you saw a good patisserie, or a bakery store and not being in grade of buying that heavinly good  food was a real devastation.

Ernest Hemingway wasn't a guy who loved to write isolated by the rest of the world, alienated by everything and everyone.

All the opposite, our man was an addicted social guy! He searched for people, for moods, for conversations, for beauty, expressions. 

He searched for the reality, for real people, for describing people, for reporting a face, a dialogue, a special moment. Hemingway remembered all people touched his existencee He knew too well that life is in motion, in fact once,  when he went to Lyon for following a strained Scott Fitzgerald he remarked the lost of time, spent in a sort of nonsense considering what happened. He would have preferred to stayin in a café chatting with someone or just writing down a new story while drinking a beer and tasting some delicious food.

If you are a writer I would suggest this book also to you because if you search for  tips or suggestions, it is precious.

Substantially what I honestly think is that Hemingway hasn't never lost his touch as a reporter.
Detailed but essential, his writing-style is engaging and funny, and most important, honest with himself and with other ones.

He felt anthypaty for someone and he wrote it without too many compliments.
You won't find a truth modified just because there are a lot of writers and known people involved. Clear and honest, his truth and perception of reality result vivid, healthy, clear. I found him cryptic in the final chapters and he sounded as "broken."

When installed to Paris, money were not sufficient for buying new books. How to do that?
One day Hemingway discovered Shakespeare and Company and mainly Sylvia Beach a lady in grade to be helpful with everyone. Ernest couldn't buy new books because too poor and Sylvia with trust and pleasure lent him wagons of books. Bookstalls were another favorite place where Ernest loved to buying used books, as you will read. And it is interesting what he will tell about these bookstalls although it is with Sylvia Beach that Hemingway established an exclusive friendship and, as always, Sylvia like a guardian angel will be supportive, helping him in many different encouraging ways. 

Another special friend by Hemingway per years was Gertrude Stein, remembered by the beloved author as someone who wouldn't never read a book written by an author  who did not speak well of her writings. In a way or in another, this friendship ended. Stein puts in discussion all the authors young Ernest reads; for respect, she was much more old then him he was frank but kept for himself his most private considerations about the opinions of his friend.

Per years, Ernest Hemingway was a great friend of Francis Scott Fitzgerald. Scott Fitzgerald became a heavy drunker pretty soon and when he fell sick because of alcohol, he reports Hemingway he had like the face of a dead person.
Later, situation became heaviest. Scott Fitzgerald became unsober starting from the early morning while Zelda became mentally sick, but surely this one has been one of the most important friends of Ernest Hemingway at long.

Beautiful book, written with heart and with a powerful prose the title A Moveable Feast was an expression used by Hemingway for describing these immensely joyous years of his youth to Paris.

I want to close with this quote by Hemingway: "There is never ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were nor how it was changed nor with what difficulties nor what ease it could be reached. It was always worth it and we received a return for whatever we brought to it."


Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, gennaio 10, 2019

Eating Ethically by Jonathan K.Crane

A lot of people are obese because they indulge too much in eating, and food industries are all happy to serve all hours, night and day food for enthusiastic consumers. We eat too much or not at all, cutting out from our diet a lot of foods; if you have Jewish friends, you know that generally pork meat and also other foods are avoided from their diet. The genesis of this interesting, important and educative book Eating Ethically by Jonathan K.Crane published by Columbia University Press was born thanks to an article released in the NYT called Talmud and other diet Food. I found this reading brilliant.

Written with an original perspective this one more than to be a trip through food is a trip through...Eaters and what it means philosophically and religiously eating adding of course, who eaters are.

Not only: what it means eating ethically; eating is seen here as respect for ourselves as you will read.
Too often we are not good eaters remarks mr Crane.
He calls this mental  approach maladaptive eating.

It's a problem. Also in the past gluttony was a problem treated by Aristotle before and St. Benedict of Nursia later. Benedict established rules and guidelines still followed. Two cooked dishes with fresh fruits and vegetables and some bread.
No one of these thinkers, Kant included mentioned, worried, the size of the body of a person; the size, fat or slim, was not important but the danger of a constant abuse of food was considered immoral.

That doesn't mean that if a person is invited somewhere shouldn't eat at all; the importance is the psychological daily approach with food and eating.

The author takes in consideration and I found interesting this section as well what happens in case of condition of deprivation of food in a body, like also what happens in case of a food-addicted body; both these conditions won't bring anything good for the body system.

Our body per decades was seen as a perfect machine compared to a car in needs of fuel for working properly, without any excess. If partially true, as remarks the author we can't classify our body just as a machine because also if we interrupt to introduce food in our body, our body can goes on. For a while.
So food as said by the author is not just our fuel.
"Food becomes our body that consumes and metabolizes it." An expression says: "We are what we eat" and it says all. There is a symbiotic relationship between us and our body and the food we ingest, who we are and what the food we eat let us become with the time. Let me add this.
Spinoza affirms that eating is both "Aesthetics as well as ethics."

There are various fields about eating, pretty interesting as food ethics is. In this case we will see how food is treated before to reach our...mouths. Another one involves diets.

Crane will also tell us what he loved to eat and what he appreciated and he still appreciates and what attracted him when he was a boy. Because going on our tastes changes for a reason or another.

Just in modern age there was consciousness also about the importance of keeping in good condition not just the stomach but also our intestine, the second brain of the organism and the one more stressed when sad facts occur in our existence and we can't find a way for keeping out our mental sadness.

It's important to eat well and it is not difficult after all: everything but with parsimony.
Helped by religion, the author will offer us various explanations about the eating's history seen also under a religious aspect.
One of the finals chapters will involve fats, salt, sweets and another one our relationship about eating and sharing our food with others. Sharing gives us meaning, when a person is starved, but also I would add,in normal conditions memories and good moments to remember and as added by the author, eating together is transformative. Crane adds: "To share a meal means to eat well, and conversely, to eat well  means to share meals."
Beautiful book because Crane has been in grade to give us a personal vision enriching it with philosophic, religious views, giving back to the reader an intelligent dialogue about what it means eating and who eaters are, offering to the readers a diversified meaning of who we are and how we can better ourselves  regarding eating, a common, normal, indispensable, vital daily activity for all men passing through the respect for ourselves, our body and the other ones, remembering to be socials and giving importance to quality and...quantities.


Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, gennaio 08, 2019

Vegan London A guide to the Capital's Best Cafè's restaurant and Food Stores by Serena Lee Photographs by Jack Orton

Are you planning a trip to London and you are vegan?
In this case Vegan London A guide to the Capital's Best Cafè's restaurant and Food Stores by Serena Lee Photographs by Jack Orton i
s the book for you! Published by Quarto this book will reveal to you the most fascinating restaurants and places where you can rest eating all the possible vegan food you like while you visit this fascinating european capital.

And trust me when I tell you this: this guide is for all tastes. In fact most of these restaurants offers a diversified and not just british cousine.

The request, always more urgent for new vegan dishes became appealing recently also for the british capital with an incredible offer! A lot of people, always more numerous are embracing where not a vegan diet, a vegetarian diet, because they understand the importance of eating ethically, respecting nature, ourselves, our health and animals.
Through this book you will discover Mexican vegan dishes, six different types of yummy gelato; yes, completely vegan! If you search for a burger, you will obtain for sure, if you go for italian dishes revisited for your tastes, you won't be disappointed.
Do you want a vegan pizza? Don't worry, you can eat it deliciously and without any kind of stress.

It's not important what kind of vegan food you are searching for, London is international so it embraces all the world in terms of food as well. 

Every restaurant or café is portrayed with pictures of the local and their main vegan dishes. Some of these realities are completely thought for a vegan public; other ones are vegan-friendly.

Happy delicious meals and holidays, vegan friends and readers!

Highly recommended.

I thank NetGalley and Quarto for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

On Being 40 (ish) Edited by Lindsey Mead

When they proposed me to read On Being 40 (ish) Edited by Lindsey Mead by Simon and Schuster I didn't hesitate for a second. This book will see the light next month and you can't lose the opportunity of buying it.

You can't avoid to read another masterpiece by this publishing house regarding a different section of our existential life as women. It would be a real sin. I read this book in a few hours yesterday night and it is simply amazing.

I particularly love this book because written with sincerity, open heart. These ones are candid and real confessions mainly written by established reporters or writers. They will give us the idea of an age where it's possible to start to define what it was done, what must yet to be done, what we love and what we hate, where we want to go, what we want to throw away, who we want to keep, who we are.
40ish is an age of balance although all decades, let me add, are.

In general at this age, children are in their teenage age; a lady experienced a divorce and the beauty of it ,was the fact that she re-discovered herself and her priorities.
The ability of saying no, a different respect for herself.

Another one was too busy for answer an e-mail because in life priorities change.

A lady close to the anniversary of her wedding, long and happy, fell sick and followed months and months of rehabilitation before to return to the normality. Facebook, she told, helped her because spreading the news, she received a lot of psychological support.

Someone else told that some of her main and most important problems started before the 40s with important illness she was affected by and that have been defeated; another one (I agree) thinks that the arrival of the 40s is just a number like another one.

Some of these ladies lived a tumultuous existence, going in the West Coast and back to the East one; other ones remember their existence and they think that being 40s means an opportunity, a point of arrival and new starts and maybe the age where mortality is more close to us. Some of our friends disappeared, maybe also a parent, or they start to fall sick; there is a more palpable  and visible sensation of our own mortality; we won't live forever as we thought in the past. The 20s in this sense are powerful. We thought we had the life and world in our hands, but it was just an impression isn't it true? Volatile.


This book contains also poems, quotes cartoons that you will see are hilarious or differently, will let you think.


Some contributors? Veronica Chambers, Meghan Daum, Kate Bolick, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Sloane Crosley, KJ Dell’Antonia, Julie Klam, Jessica Lahey, Catherine Newman, Sujean Rim, Jena Schwartz, Sophfronia Scott, Allison Winn Scotch, Lee Woodruff, Jill Kargman for a total of 15 authors who opened their heart telling to readers what it means to them to being in the 40ish.


This one is a book you will treasure. It is a perfect gift, if you want to share your 40ish experience with some friends contemporaries of you, for laughing, smiling, remembering the so-called "old times" what it was done, what it must yet to be done and what it will be.

I thank NetGalley and Simon&Schuster for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, gennaio 06, 2019

Paris in Mind Edited and with an Introduction by Jennifer Lee

Oscar Wilde once said that if good Americans die, they go the Heaven; if they've been very good, they go to Paris and M.F.K.Fisher added that Paris "Should always be seen, the first time with the eyes of childhood or of love."
Paris in Mind Edited and with an Introduction by Jennifer Lee is an indispensable book, published on 2003 by Vintage if you plan a visit to Paris, because it gives you the essence of this city, beloved substantially by everyone. Divided in four sections, Love, Food, The Art of Living, Tourism, these writings, book extracts, letters, articles, involve important established American writers and politicians who decided at some point to live a part of their existence in Paris. Here their opinions about the french capital.


There are contributions of E.B. White and Wharton about the end of the first and second World War.

Why everyone is in love for Paris?
For the atmosphere first of all.


You will read an extract from the book A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway and in his memories of the years spent to Paris in the 1920s when he decided of giving up his career as reporter receiving a lot of rejections in the world of literature; he was pretty starved but close to him there was a reassuring angel guardian in Sylvia Beach, owner of Shakespeare and Company worried because he had to eat sufficiently good, and comforting him regarding his future as a writer.
We will read an extract of Sylvia Beach from his book/biography Shakespeare and Company.
Patrick Kuh worked on the Boulevards des Italiens and for a lot of time as well! Naomi Barry immersed herself in a land of chocolate. As adds the writer "Chocolate in France is seductive, recherché, noble and expensive." You will learn the favorite chocolate tastes of parisiennes, dark, unsweetened and intense. At La Maison du Chocolat the owner clarified: "Good chocolate won't make you sick. It won't ever make you fat. Bitter chocolate is full of potassium and magnesium."
You will learn how to prepare the best chocolate drink, while later you will discover thanks to Grant Rosenberg the magical atmosphere of a Parisian Café. Irwin Shaw, differently, will complain about weather in a funny piece where he describes Paris during its cloudy winter season.  Saul Bellow wrote: "Paris was one of the permanent setting, a theater, if you like, where the greatest problems of existence might be represented." Langston Hughes told that his visa had taken "Nearly all my money" but although in difficult conditions he found a way.
Paris in these written words most of the time is a place where a person finds the best of himself/herself thanks to the discovery of an enchanting city plenty of surprises, calm, harmony for everyone.


Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, gennaio 05, 2019

L'invenzione delle Nuvole Lettere sull'Arte e la Poesia by Florian Illies

Italy has always been loved by artists of every genre. An American painter said me she loves the light of Italy because she affirmed once: "This one is the same light captured by Raffaello, Leonardo in their creations."

L'invenzione delle Nuvole Lettere sull'Arte e la Poesia by Florian Illies, will let you discover the German admiration for Italy during the 1800s without neglect of course the creativity experienced by these artists in their homeland.

Italy: a land with a different light, a land where poetry met along its way hospitality, and warm.

With the complicity of good weather, our Italy became colonized by a large part of German creatives.

Casa Baldi, Olevano, a little wonderful locality became a reality wanted and desired by everyone. The first Germans who decided to live there, dying in the location, became... tourism as well. Every German painter or writer wanted to visit in fact their graves because of the admiration felt for them.
They had changed their life, they had captured another world, and they had lived in a complete different atmosphere for the rest of their existences.

Painters have always experienced problems with colors. Vermeer's cobalt was incredibly precious in 1600s. It's just an example; at the beginning of 1800 the birth of a new generation of colors, speaking about oil paintings, in grade to dry quickly created new expectations in painters; painters didn't search anymore for landscapes.

Or better, they also searched for a new element of beauty and poetry: clouds,  the most sensuous natural phenomenon of this world.
Everyone can imagine what a cloud would represent.

A horse? A dragon? A star? A flower? It's up to us and our fertile imagination.
Surely clouds attract because they are symbolically close to the sky, preserving it, like good guardians; at the same time they are looking upon us  reminding us that it's important to dream and to look at the world with different eyes, the eyes of imagination.

German painters and not only, on 1800s afforded to Italy searching for light, the perfect one, and of course, for clouds. The biggest exponents of 1800s were once all in Italy. The French one, the english, William Turner, and the German. No, they didn't know each other, but they searched for the same dream, for the same light.

Of course there weren't just clouds on the canvases of painters, but also representations of the daily italian life and personal homages to our italian women and their hard work to the fields, represented with the sweetness that only the Italian atmosphere presents: the one of work mixed to love and dedication and a hard life spent with a smile on the face.

Another thematic taken in great consideration thanks to Goethe and a quick sketch realized once he was to Naples was the eruption of the Vesuvius; it was pretty active during 1800, starting during the end of 1700 and giving occasion to German painters and writers of seeing in person what it meant a real eruption.

This sometimes devastating natural phenomenon has been put in relationship with the human condition and the connection between man and nature, not avoiding also the idea that an eruption could be compared to the one of  fireworks.

This book takes also in consideration paintings realized by Germans about the apocalyptic facts that would have brought Germany to war on 1913-1914 and later to the Nazism. They're difficult years these ones and painters, writers, start to understand that something horrible will soon or late happen. They understand before anyone else that the old world is gone and a new terrible one is waiting for them.

Futurism for futurists was over admits the author, and what can't be perceived looking at the paintings of this first decade of 1900, affirms mr.Illies, is a real ideology; just apocalyptic paintings and just individual ways of seeing the reality for what it is. There weren't anymore associations in grade to keep united artists, and to give some guidelines to them.

A mention to Andy Warhol, this time American, in grade to see what it would have happened later, with the mass reproduction of gadgets and art as well.

Florian Illies will also guide the reader at the discovery of literary, men who made the differences also in his own life because of their impetuous character also if dead and also if matter of study; you will discover their little or big miseries, for a fresco, at the end, in grade to let us discover not just the sadness characterizing the beginning of 1900 but a a crucial and important moment for Italy in terms of fertility, visibility and creativity: the one experienced on 1800s.

Highly recommended.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

giovedì, gennaio 03, 2019

Faerie Stones An Exploration of the Folklore and Fairies Associated with Stones and Crystals by Ceri Norman

Do you believe in fairies? I do. I grew up in a countryside, where, when little, people still believed in witches and old legends.
It's simple to believe in these enchanting creatures after all. What I didn't know it's their strong connections with stones and crystals.
I have always been attracted by stones and crystals and a dear friend of mine sell them in a close city.

Stones are not just connected with fairies, as we will see in this book Faerie Stones An Exploration of the Folklore and Fairies Associated with Stones and Crystals by Ceri Norman but fairies are an integral part of stones.
They love stones and they love to penetrate them with their characters and characteristics. Each fairy in fact peculiarly has a role in this world. Fairies love to live in special places like old houses, and in a certain way they are special guardian of locations considered sacred in UK.
Fairies live also in our homes although they prefer to stay out, so in barns, fields, where they find all the romanticism and freedom that they search and desire.

Fairies donate their stones to people they wish to stay connected with. But in what way can we establish a connection with fairies?
We can place stones in our handbag, in our home, in the car, at work.

As this book will explain, there are many kind of fairies with which we can enter in contact with.

First of all when we choose a stone it will be important, remarks the author, to pick up a stone that didn't experience any kind of sufferance and that didn't live any past traumas, because in opposite case, more than an healing stone we would buy a product that must heals as well. We would be helpful of course also in this process but in general when we buy a stone it's because we live an internal illness and we search for an additional support, so we would be unsupported by the stone because living a traumatic experience by itself.

How to choose your stone?

Don't go with rationality but with sentiment.

Not the stone you think that will work for you because you read something, but the one attracting you.
Love at first stone?

Yes, that kind of feeling, so that the stone will work on your problems with more strength, than not other ones maybe just picked up because apparently "functional." A stone must be chosen exactly as anything else.

The author remembers us also that stones means life and so the stone's past means a lot. Where a stone is from, the past that stone experienced means a lot in terms later of purification. I didn't know this part and I found it incredibly interesting. I hadn't never thought at stones in that sense. Humanizing them. It's amazing how nature and all creatures are all connected together.

You will discover many ways for keeping your stone pure.

Another section will illustrate starting from Amber for arriving to Snow Quartz the most important and beloved stones. It is not said that a quartz works well on your person. For example I met in the past problems with amethyst and rose quartz. I know, it's a shame. Each of us have a special character and must find the proper stone for his/her character and the one in grade to make the difference in a certain phase of the existence, where there is more need also of an extra help from magical creatures and the power of stones blessed by them.

The third part of the book will analyze Quartz and the fourth part Chakras so that you will learn better which chakras, part of your body need to be stimulated the most thanks to the correct use of stones.

Enjoy this book plenty of wonderful informations for living in contact with superior creatures and stones and in harmony with the universe.

I thank John Hunt Publishing for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

Haunted On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies and other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural worlds by Leo Braudy

Haunted On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies and other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural worlds by Leo Braudy is an amazing book published by Yale Press.

I guess that after that you will have read this book you will find other material if you want to continue to discover these haunted creatures because this author is extraordinary in the descriptions and inter-connections created  in every chapter spacing from middle age, modernity, movies, authors in an aesthetic tourbillon of situations, facts, anecdotes and... haunted creatures.

But what causes fear? It's a strong questions and each historical period and human condition contains the proper answer, like also the devoted haunted creatures venerated during the various centuries.
At the moment vampires. It will says realistically something of the state of things of the society don't you think so?

What we don't know, what we can't see, can be and it is often reason for feeling fear and terror although these two feelings have different shades as you will see.

What is there under the bed? What if the kid switches out light? A monster or a creature of the other world creating devastating harm on him? Or just, nothing else than the darkness, a condition where the impossibility of seeing clearly create imaginary creations? Connection between sex and the most profound sphere of the unconscious is also taken in consideration thanks to Freud and Jung.

Fears are often associated to disasters. A quake, every quake, (I remember the one of Norcia, Italy, two years ago) brings with it the idea of a divine punishment for what caused by disgraceful and corrupted men. It happened to Lisbon when a quake centuries ago was seen as a sign of divine punishment for the depraved acts of men.

At the same time if people were diffident regarding horror stories, thanks also at original stories and new characters like The Vampyre by Polidori and later the one by Stoker Dracula, Frankenstein by Shelley, Jekyll and Hyde by Stevenson, people started to become affectionate to the genre, and what was born just as a literary product at first became later something else, involving also the rest of mediums, movies and TV series first of all.

There are various kind of monsters. The ones created by traditions; let's remember witches and other creatures of the ancestral imaginary world devil including.

Vampires are an affectionate demoniac creatures of our times. The non-dead person spending time in a coffin during the day. Once night arrives he goes out, wandering in this world, searching for some "victims" and fresh blood to suck, his only possibility of surviving in this other state of limbo. Who is a vampire? 
A demoniac creature: substantially he is not dead, but can't be completely considered alive, because he can't eats, he can't drinks, he can't see the light of the sun, he is damned in a condition of non-life but life is still there for him and darkness is his only friend.
If Polidori started to give a shape to the vampyre thanks to what he saw staying close to Lord Byron, Bram Stoker changed the character of the vampire creating  a dissolute creature, plenty of sexuality finalized at his main and more urgent purpose: sucking blood for survive and causing harms and illnesses to other ones.

Not just vampires, but also serious illness like swine flu, Ebola and AIDS have been seen in the past as a sort of divine punishment.

Monsters are not just outside us, but also within us and a chapter is dedicated at the case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, passing through the monsters created by men in another one.

Mr. Braudy is absolutely enchanting in this book that mixes religion with movies, literature, history, psychology, old creeds, legends.

I highly suggest it to everyone!

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

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, gennaio 02, 2019

Walks in Hemingway's Paris A Guide to Paris for the Literary Traveler by Noel Riley Fitch

If you search for a literary guide there is nothing better than this book published (it's out-of-print, but you will find with simplicity used copies) by St.Martin's Press Walks in Hemingway's Paris A Guide to Paris for the Literary Traveler by Noel Riley Fitch. 


"There is a magic in the name of France. It is the magic like the smell of the sea or the sight of blue hills. It is a very old magic" wrote once Hemingway.

Paris: a city for every person; every generation tells its story, different and similar at the past one but unique and with other problems.


Paris is modern, old, she searches for the new but remains enchantingly unique and also if time passes by the city never changes completely. As Hemingway wrote: "There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other."

Later, more famous, he would have said of Paris: "She is like a mistress who does not grow old and she has other lovers now."

Ernest Hemingway spent a lot of years to Paris, and so Noel Riley Fitch, also author of Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation decided to follow his steps for discovering his city, his Paris, his favorite places. It's  a Paris this one populated by writers, good food, beautiful scenarios, creativity.

This city more than other ones, marked the best part of Hemingway's existence, where excesses, good wine, were also part of his life as a journalist and writer. He arrived to Paris as a correspondent for the Toronto Star in 1921.
Paris started to be a magnet for all that Americans tired of the prohibitionism and ready to embrace a new culture, more relaxed and opened.
In this sense, Paris was the American cultural center of Europe where most of the new prominent authors and painters decided to buying a house or spend a long time in. 

Gertrude Stein, Francis Scott Fitzgerald (more devoted to the Riviera), James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Sylvia Beach, Robert MacAlmon, William Bird, Pablo Picasso, and many others were in the french capital. Not only: they helped each others, they bettered their existences thanks to mutual help, strong connections.

Ernest Hemingway was a social man and he made good friendship immediately with everyone with great simplicity. He became good friend with Gertrude Stein and her companion. Gertrude Stein read what he wrote, suggesting him where to better his writings; they experienced big discussions when Hemingway described a scene he lived at the house of these two lesbian friends in one of his books. Stein was furios.
In another episode Gertrude and Ernest discussed about sex and when Hemingway left told that she was an "old bitch."

One of Hemingway's best friends in Paris was Francis Scott Fitzgerald. The wife of Fitzgerald suspected a sexual intercourse between her husband and Ernest Hemingway because of their great friendship. The two shared experiences, a lot of wine and excesses because of it and company. The intellectual honesty of Ernest Hemingway was cause of problems with the Fitzgeralds as well.
Hemingway started pretty early to develop a series of injuries that would have characterized all his life.

Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company open on 1919 (this year the store will celebrate 100 years spent promoting culture, reading, books, culture, good books. hospitality) were crucials for Hemingway.





 Beach was a great friend to him, lending him wagons of books of the most diversified authors, and helping him in different ways. Not only: Hemingway would have become crucial once published the Ulysses by Joyce for the American distribution of the copies. This book was banned iI the USA. 
Ernest signed also a petition for helping Sylvia Beach when pirated copies of Ulysses appeared to the horizon. Hemingway won't forget also the new Shakespeare and Company. Once, close to it Gabriel Garcia Marquez at that time a 29 years old reporter dreaming to become a writer seeing Hemingway cried: Maestro!!!  without receiving any attention from him. 



Being a social man you will find in this book a lot of restaurants, cafès, where he loved to writing down his thoughts, bookshops visited by the writer, including his various houses and the one of his friends; Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Beach-Monnier, Pablo Picasso, and many others.

Hemingway's connections about journalism.
You will find the history of some newsmagazines, popular in the past, let's mention the International Herald Tribune and the places where they were located in.


If you plan a trip to Paris, and if you love literature, and a romantic, bohemienne atmosphere this one is an indispensible tool for discovering places forgotten by the common tourism.

Truly enchanting, I hope that St.Martin's Press will print this book again.


Anna Maria Polidori