venerdì, agosto 30, 2019

Gray Mountain by John Grisham

Days ago I re-discovered in a pile of books an intriguing book by
John Grisham, Gray Mountain. I read the Italian version translated well.
I recently experienced problems. My internet connection is not working anymore from February, and I asked for some help at an association of consumers where attorneys don't ask at all for money for their legal assistance. 
If in Italy this one is a story involving rich and poor, in the USA these associations give coverage and legal assistance to the latest ones, the poorest people of the USA, the ones who could not ask for the help of a private attorney. The story of Gray Mountain is amazingly beauty and terrible.

I start to tell you that I was intrigued by the topic also because in a past existence I realized various interviews with people who worked in mines in a foreign country and they, in the while, fell sick because of their heavy work. 
This book was like a magnet to me. 
The story: 2008. Samatha works in New York. She earns  180.000 dollar per year plus bonuses, but unfortunately,  Lehman and Brothers's fall meant to her and her category, being fired without too many compliments. 
Substantially the company where she was working with, asked her, keeping alive her health insurance, a year somewhere else, working in the field of free legal assistance, 
Her dad, Marshall, I can't help myself but I like this character so badly, is happy because her daughter is now becoming a real attorney, so she will  experience what life means entering in contact with reality and real people and not just abstractions. 
Samantha doesn't know anything of real trials, real people, and need of real people, first of all. Her friends are rich, beauty, stunningly lucky, their places are rich, their bars trendy, their clothes elegant and rich. Samantha was born in a rich family, she studied in an exclusive university. She doesn't know that some people live pretty differently.  
Her world was wonderful. Apparently. 

She is accepted in West Virginia, where she starts to work assisting people in need but what Brady, the town where she affords in will mean to her is the discovery of  strip mining, the world connected with mines.
A shocking reportage and the fight of common people, risking personally a lot for trying to obtain justice against these big companies.
I found interesting the American legal system. 
I have friends and contacts in Pikeville, a little Kentuckian's town mentioned in this book. It was a pleasant surprise. Hi to everyone!
Read it, I know you will fall in love for it immediately.
Anna Maria Polidori 

giovedì, agosto 22, 2019

Art-Paris Impressionists and Post-Impressionists The Ultimate Guide to Artists, Paintings and Places in Paris and Normandy

Art-Paris Impressionists and Post-Impressionists
The Ultimate Guide to Artists, Paintings and Places in Paris and Normandy by Museyon Books is a wonderful book, written by various contributors with love.
Impressionism: "Led by a core group of artists. Friends and colleagues, they developed their theories over cheap wine in Parisian cafés and in trips to the countryside."
The book starts with the meeting in Paris at the Café Guerbois, center of the artistic life and the so-called Impressionism in 1870. It was a thursday evening and some artists, were smoking and drinking strong coffee. They were Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro and many more. They were worried because, again, their paintings rejected by the Salon, the most important art exhibit in Paris. Born in 1667, this institution appeared pretty snob and exclusive and tried all its best for stopping the success of these artists. 
Rejected from the annual exhibition in Paris these artists that evening tried to find a way for organizing an art exhibit, for let show to everyone their wonderful paintings and what they were doing; their philosophy of thinking regarding painting. A new movement was in fact born; these artists refused to staying closed in an apartment for painting per hours. They preferred to go outside, their favorite topic was nature mixed with the hard work of farmers, in the case of Van Gogh, or sophisticated meetings, as Renoir portrayed of parisienne's citizens. The first exhibition in 1874 in strong protest with the Salon, these artists wanted to remark the birth of a new art, the contemporary one. The art exhibit opened two weeks before the one of the Salon.
Not only: you will also discover what happened in the while at the Salon, and the creation of a museum dedicated to the Impressionists thanks to wise men in grade of looking forward.
Divided in sections, the first chapter will define the word Impressionism for then analyzing the biggest Impressionists with a good biography of each of them, their most most important works and salient, prominent facts of their existences. Another chapter will describe how the Impressionists broke from the Salon for then guiding the reader at the discovery of the various Museums where you can find Impressionists' works without forgetting a chapter about Paris Walking Tours, ending with North of Paris and Normandy.

Highly recommended to all that people in love for Impressionism because it's a fresh reading and a great touristic guide!!!

I thank Museyon Books for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

Ursula K. Le Guin The Last Interview and Other Conversations edited and with an introduction by David Streitfeld

Ursula K. Le Guin The Last Interview 

and Other Conversations edited and with an introduction by  David Streitfeld remarks works, books, passions of this beloved science-fiction writer.
Le Guin in her life wrote  novels, novellas, short stories, poetry, essays, but she was also a translators, a critic; she worked in the field of children's books and young adults. She was a friendly person, and a political activist. She wrote her first story at 9 years. A story about the meeting of a man with elves. 

These interviews will touch every possible aspect of a writer's life.

Creative writing, inspirations, Lewis,Tolkien, their fantastic and magical world no one can forget, writer's blocks, unexistent in Le Guin's case, her writings, and the meaning of it "Science fiction allows a fiction writer to make up cultures, to invent—not only a new world, but a new culture" including family, passions. Once a journalist asked her if she would have been interested in writing a memoir but Le Guin replied: "Memoir? No. I’m like my father: I’m not interested in talking about who I was. I’m much more interested in finding out who I am."
In a speech Le Guin remarked her role in the society, launching an important message: "  For thirty years I’ve been saying, we are making the world uninhabitable, for God’s sake. For forty years! That, as of old, was the writer’s job, maybe his primary job. To show us the futures we didn’t want, and the futures we could have if we wanted...We can change our lives."

Highly recommended to everyone.

Anna Maria Polidori 

mercoledì, agosto 21, 2019

Aggregating The News Second Hand Knowledge and the Erosion of Journalistic Authority by Mark Coddington

Aggregating The News Second Hand Knowledge and the Erosion of Journalistic Authority by Mark Coddington
is a new book published by Columbia University Press.

During these latest decades, (aggregation of news started in the remote past, when reporters of magazines and newsmagazines searched in the news some inspirations for new stories or for reporting facts published in other realities), became a viral system of "new information" or better "new disinformation" in the internet age, where social medias, youtube, and many more channels inspired always more journalists, to re-elaborate stories posted by someone else.

But...Which is the role of a reporter? A reporter is called in this way because he/she should inform people thanks to informations that he/she has in first hand, sources, interviews, documents. 

In this way he will report reality. 

In opposite case, the so-called "second hand knowledge" will put the reporter in a condition of inferiority and facts won't be anymore originals, but strongly altered.

It is absolutely true that real journalism costs a lot, but it pays see at the voice Boston Globe and Spotlight. When an information is not complete, sources not verified at all, pieces integrated thanks to the internet, readers will be disorientated. Personally, I am.

Aggregation is also used by big realities, where there are special departments and journalists working on this field. You musn't imagine that this reality is just wanted by little magazines or newsmagazines for the creation of a poor, cheap information at a good price. No: considering that it is a power it is wanted also by big realities. 

The utilization of the net invests everyone and information can't avoid anymore social medias, including the biggest realities of the sector.

The President of the USA loves to tweet directly with politicians for example and many public characters use the net for spreading what they think, where they are, their joyous or sad moments. 

For a serious journalist, this one, a moment of big changes and fears, populism, vaccines, climate changes, means a harder work for reporting the truth because accuracy is indispensible. More than in the past.

Journalists have their own certainties. "There are things they feel they know happened and things they feel they have enough evidence to show happened," writes Coddington.

A fake news, created and launched in the internet, as you will read, creates a lot of damage, embarassment and confusion because if involves important people becomes viral and will later be re-posted, re-launched many times. 

It won't be impossible to stop it and what it is false will become true and what it is true will become false.
Aggregators are never sure of the source, and if a video, a piece is realistically true.

A journalist writes in a daily base and he/she is at direct contact with reality. 
"Professionalism, means controlling knowledge and converting it into authority" writes Mark Coddington.

Although aggregators and journalists report a news in both cases, there is a big difference. 

Written with clarity and passion, this book is highly recommended to everyone in the media, but also at that generic reader interested to discover what it is going on in the world of journalists, understanding why there is all this misinformation.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

Prince The Last Interview and Other Conversations with an introduction by Hanif Andurraqib

Prince The Last Interview and Other
Conversations with an introduction by  Hanif Andurraqib is a new book published by Melville House.
Interesting book for sure!
If you were, are and will always be a fan of Prince, this book is for you, but also if you are a new fan and you discovered him after his departure. It happens sometimes that we run a lot and we miss some creatives along the way. If you know a fan of Prince still without this book, oh, it will be a very appreciated gift, trust me!

These interviews, all of them plenty of class, respect for this artist traces the entire, too short existence of the wonderful musician, giving us back an idea: although time passed by, some crucial ideas of the young Prince would have been re-affirmed also when an established musician.

Highly recommended.

Anna Maria Polidori 

giovedì, agosto 15, 2019

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun
Bythell is an interesting book for many reasons. Bythell in fact, owner of one of the most prominent and important second-hand bookshops in Scotland located in Wigtown, Dumfries, Galloway will let you discover the secret of this profession.
It's a tedious work, sometimes  and online markets ones, principally Amazon, are reasons of stress, sometimes.

Who are owners of second-hand books that will end up in the market? In general relatives of dead people. They want to give away the books of their beloved ones as soon as possible. In general these dead people are in possession of large libraries.

It is ironic maybe to write this, but at first, when I bring home a second hand book, in particular when this book has been "lived", it is old, it has been in a house per decades (not just bought and read and then passed away; I classify these books as new, they don't have any kind of energy and they are free to be read when a customer wants) it is not said that I can read it immediately because I still feel the "presence" of the previous owner and sometimes that "presence" blocks my reading.
Only the time will "wash" the book from the previous owner, and once set free and mine I will read it.

It's ironic but absolutely true what tells mr Bythell when, at some point explains the excitment of customers for a still-not-yet-open box plenty of books. It is true: a new box plenty of used books is a magnet for every customer, I can tell you that. 
Time ago a british lady suggested me to look at their new arrivals and like a baby I picked up various books of great interest, let me add this.
But why this? 
In part it happens when there are regular customers, to my point of view in the bookshop; they know titles, books, where they are located and they want to see, although there are wagons of books, new old books; some novelties; not because that ones are insufficients, but because, to my point of view, what the customer wants to find and sometimes can't find also in a big bookshop is The Book; that book in grade to make the difference, also when they buy a lot of books. In this lot-of-books, there is always a special book, more appreciated, more loved, more wanted, more desired. It's the one dreamed, researched, desired, wished, in these still unopen boxes. As children do during the Christmas's time opening, plenty of expectations, their beloved gifts for Christmas and thinking that maybe Santa read their letters and brought them what requested.
Ordering books is not anymore an activity of a bookseller thanks to the internet and the simplicity of finding books online. 
You know: old books means also traces of old owners. Not just "felt" but also real. A special dedication, a postcard, an old, fascinating bookmark, a telephone number with a name, an address.
Personally the most exciting thing I found in a book were some boat-tickets of a couple. Nice people I discovered. 
The author tells he discovered in a book 100 letters of condolences.

It is strange, but these signs create connections, open doors in unknown existences. I find fascinating second-hand books because of it, telling to you the truth. They have a past, they have a history; they can whisper this story to us, they can let us imaginate worlds and existences. 

The second-hand bookshop of Bythell sells also stamps and second-hand typewriters, like also "sixpenny horoscopes compiled by somebody who claimed to have foretold the Japanese earthquake" writes, ironically. 

It was interesting the read that an important copy of the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, per generations, numerous generations in a Scottish family, ended up in the hands of an italian, hoping that the tradition of passing this copy from generation to generation would continue. 

For making more money Bythell created the Random Book Club and during a november day, when sadness, cold days "whisper" a research of good humor, a lot of customers bought Terry Pratchett's books. This author like "John Buchan, P. G. Wodehouse, E. F. Benson and many others, is an author whose books I can never find enough of. They sell quickly and usually in large numbers. In one day last year we sold our entire Penguin Wodehouse section of over twenty books, all bought by three." I don't doubt it.

"Antonio Tabucchi and his Pereira Maintains was a book I greatly enjoyed but Blindness was astonishing. There are few other books in which I have felt so completely immersed and – ironically – visualised so clearly" tells Shaun.

There are difficult books, books that you wouldn't want to sell, but that they sell and you are in that business and you can't avoid to do that; books, that, for this reason, generate some delicate questions: where will they end up? 

Other customers are confused by several writers: One day Shaun met someone asking for To Kill a Mockingbird convinced that the author wasn't Harper Lee but J.D.Salinger.
Confusion happens.
Last week in the second-hand bookstore a discussion with british people regarding the book written in Paris by Hemingway. I didn't remember the correct one, and no one knew the answer just that it wasn't the one I mentioned. It happens.

Diary of a Bookseller is a brilliant, ironic, realistic "diary of a Scottish bookseller;" a bookseller who sells online, to physical customers, buying collections of hundreds of books of people passed away, and trying to make the difference in a market plenty of discount. 
A great and enjoyable reading.

Warmly recommended.

I thank Melville for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

sabato, agosto 10, 2019

The Golden Moments of Paris A Guide to the Paris of the 1920s by John Baxter

The Golden Moments of Paris A Guide to the Paris of the 1920s
is a book written by John Baxter and published by Museyon Books. I admit I became addicted with John Baxter. His tales are fascinating, he is captivating; he knows how to capture the attention of the reader.
Every city has a moment more fertile, and the one of Paris, as a capital chosen by a lot of foreigners for its freedom and possibility of working, was the decade of the 1920s.

We know most facts: the creation of Shakespeare and Company wanted by Sylvia Beach; the story with Monnier, the publication of Ulysses by James Joyce; as wrote Sylvia in her biography appeared on 1956:  “My loves were Adrienne Monnier and James Joyce and Shakespeare and Company;” 
Baxter adds "Ironically, all threee in one way or another, betrayed her."

Montparnasse became in the 1920s as writes the author "In a city notorious for its insularity and suspicion of foreigners a place where artist could meet writer, dancer befriend painter, model encounter poet, surrealist consort with Impressionist, Russian
seduce Greek." Important restaurants where to meet people le Dome, le Select, le Rotonde.
Russian considered french the most elegant tongue for a polite conversation and the arrival of russian people of culture in the capital after all was not so surprising. In particular esponents of the Russian Ballet. 
Diaghilev a big impresario was one of the most prominent Russians in Paris. His eccentric life, his problems with diabetes, his constant research for some definitive cures created a myth. Coco Chanel paid his funeral. He is buried on Venice's island of San Michele, like also Stravinsky. 
Paul Guerlain was a romantic and in the 1920s created The Blue Hour, L'Heur Bleue. Coco Chanel didn't lose time creating Chanel n 5.

Gertrude Stein received a lot of visits because of the numerous paintings of Picasso, Matisse and Cezanne she owned. 

Everything sounded pacific in the 1920s? Not exactly. A tall and slim man with a long beard loved to kill women. Widows. Serially. I am not joking.
Landru loved to kill widows plenty of money. Same scheme all the times, once discovered and arrested, after a trial, was killed. 
The famous stove where he would have put parts of dismembered bodies (never found)of the poor killed women for been burnt has been sold during an auction at someone in the USA. Brrr...

The story of Voronoff, whispered all the time of a horrible, scaring word, but I didn't want to write these thoughts, thinking that, well, they could be fantasies of my fertile imagination. Considering that Baxter added it, the word is AIDS.
But let's start from the beginning.
Voronoff was a Russian in Paris promising to people, most of them celebrities, a longest life, plenty of virility and less problems in general. He tried everything, including, and this one the experiment scared me to death and let me think at AIDS a transplant of a human ovary into a female monkey named Nora, inseminating it with human sperm (and not only this episode and experiment telling to you the entire truth.) Charlie Chaplin, Yeats and many more his clients.
Baxter, regarding AIDS writes: " It was even suggested that, in transplanting ape organs into man, he may have unwittingly transferred the AIDs virus, though no
evidence exists to support this contention." It is still unclear the birth of AIDS, sure these experiments didn't help, to my point of view.
Paris in the 1920s was a Paradise also for whoever wanted to experience a so-called artificial Paradise: absinthe, opium or the culture of forgetting through drugs. Yes, leaving alcohol alone, for once. Baudelaire wrote that "True reality is only in dreams."
If people needed a prescription for buying an aspirin, "drugs as cocaine, heroin, opium
and cannabis, all “natural” plant compounds, could be bought at any pharmacy as pills, gels, syrups, even teas" writes Baxter. I imagine the joy of consumers.
"But while not as powerful as its refined variants, morphine, heroin and codeine, opium was addictive."
Jean Cocteau smoked 60 pipes a day, trying to detox his body, without success. 
We will discover what happened at the Eiffel Tower, but a chapter I loved a lot was the one of the so-called Inconnue. An apparently sleeping girl mask (created after her death, it seems) attracted the attention of many. Dead, maybe this girl committed a suicide, so that's why she is so peaceful; that's why she smiles so much, she wanted it so badly, she did it and she rests in peace now. She apparently killed herself in the Seine in an historical moment when dying in this way was considered romantic. Point of views. 
Someone else thought that this mask can't be the mask of a dead person because muscles reveals life. 
Mystery continues. 
Paris inspired musicals. George Gershwin wrote An American in Paris  starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant and French music hall star George Guetary. Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1932 wrote the screen musical Love Me Tonight.
Cafés in the 1920s changed. First of all owners created "the noisette, a classic
express with a dash of milk that gave it the color of a noisette or hazelnut. Americans preferred café allonge, “stretched” with extra hot water into something like brewed coffee. Cafés also introduced tea, wine, spirits, even, grudgingly, coffee with milk" writes Baxter. 
Paris was also chosen by gays and lesbians for the freedom breathed in the city. 
Wilde called homosexuality: "The love that dare not speak its name." Men in Britain with this tendency said to friends and relative that they had "an unusual temperament." No one spoke openly of homosexuality. In Paris the story was different. There was freedom and it wasn't illegal to have a companion of the same sex. 
Homosexual couples we remember Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas,
Djuna Barnes, Janet Flanner, Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier, Romaine Brooks and the Australian Agnes Goodsir, Oscar Wilde’s niece Dolly.
An homosexual, I guess bisexual back to the "normality" Robert McAlmon. He married Annie Winifred Ellerman called Bryher, an ex lesbian. Don't be too confused. People sometimes, before to find their own dimension try a lot :-)
A story that touched me a lot was the one of Harry Sturgis Crosby and Polly "Caresse" Peabody. Both wealthy but desperate people, they killed each other in a homicide-suicide. "Death is our marriage" they said. 

A lot of other stories of the Paris of the 1920s with then, as always, the best walks you can desire.

I thank Museyon Books for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, agosto 06, 2019

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

My Name is Lucy Barton
by Elizabeth Strout is a remarkable tale regarding the existence of a disfunctional family, the resistance of Lucy, in grade of going away for building her own existence, following her dreams and becoming a writer, telling at the same time stories of memories, loss and people, found and lost again.
No one in this book is expecting anything by anyone. Lucy knows perfectly that her family is not the best one of this world and she searched somewhere else the answers she wanted. She grew up in a poor family and so to her, with a life plenty of sacrifices, money didn't mean a lot in crucial parts of her existence although as she adds money means power, and maybe freedom from life's chains, let's add this. She is not attached as some people could be, at her financial situation but she analyzes her existence and the one of her family and friends also thanks to her mother. What happened at the end? A lot of suffering, a lot of failures, but also joys, happiness, because life is this and more.
Lucy re-meets her mother once to the hospital for a serious illness. Her mother won't stay with her at long. She has a peculiar and special characteristic: her mother is in grade to see the future, to imagining what will happen and she will also imagine the future of Lucy. A lady, the mother of Lucy, specialized in telling her, stories of sad marriages. 
I had a relative I miss a lot specialized in telling stories of car/motorbike, domestic incidents and so I found absolutely familiar the character of Lucy's mother and it is also true something else: a mother, as also will be in this case, won't never answer to a simple question like: "Mom do you love me?" maybe because it is simply implied, although a real manifestation of sentiments sometimes for mothers are not possible because of their characters.
Close to the end, the mother of Lucy won't want that she would assist at her physical departure. They're strong and unforgettable events. She will prefer to die alone, for not giving her this sadness; loving her she did it.

Lucy's family at the same time hasn't been supportive with her, because she has always lived as someone different from that family, as someone who fought for reaching her goals, for being published, for searching to put into words a complicated existence as the one she was living.
It's terribly complicated to write down something when a family is dysfunctional, when there is not happiness; reporting sad facts is devastating; at the same time it's a gift; a gift donated for let know that it is possible to live a good existence although sometimes it hasn't been fair at the beginning, it hasn't been good and there were a lot of fights.
Just, people must want it. It's a positive message this one to my point of view, given by this book. No one of course is removing any single sad experience, but people can change for good the course of their existence if they want. 

This book is written with an intensity, clarity, profoundity and knowledge of human feelings and attention that it is shockingly beauty. It's like a long narration, a long talk, an interview, realistically, where the person tells her life, what happened, intersecting the story with anedocts told by Lucy's mother, the days she stayed to the hospital with her and they both looked at the Chrysler for some company from the hospital. 
New York is the city protagonist of these stories; New York Stories, Lucy calls these stories, because New York in this sense is in grade of appearing and disappearing, with its own protagonists, real, precious for then evaporating somewhere else. 

It's an historical tale also because it remarks the big problematic of AIDS and what it meant for Lucy, who lost people because of this terrible and scaring illness with mention at the Twin Towers Attack on 9/11 and at the big impact on her children who watched on TV in real time the end of the most important symbol of NYC.
Someone once said: if you lose the way, don't worry, look at the Twin Towers and you'll know where you are. Once, no one knew where they were, and where the way was, because, simply their compass was gone.

It's interesting what Lucy says about writing and her family. She refused of visiting her family for writing more, giving more space to her career, because she didn't have a great relationship with the members of her family, all cold with her. At the same time, she adds that she wouldn't never have written in a certain way the books she wrote if she would have shared her time with her family, influenced by their vibes. 

I found this book at the second-hand store Books for Dogs located in Umbertide. Great quality-books.

Anna Maria Polidori 

giovedì, agosto 01, 2019

A Tale of 12 Kitchens by Jake Tilson

I love cookbooks, maybe just beause they exist, but this one by Jake Tilson published by Weidenfeld &Nicolson is simply extraordinary. 

Jake Tilson in fact didn't create just a cookbook, but to my point a view a scrapcookbook, telling to all of us, what it meant and it means to him eating, presenting a good dish, sharing suggestions, family recipes, in a continuous and suggestive trip arund the world.
A Tale of 12 Kitchens in fact the title of this scrapcookbook. Yes because for the Tilson's family, not just for Jake, eating, having guests has always been a crucial part of their existence. Hospitality it is called, but also  desire of spending some time together, sharing a meal.
What it meant for the Tilsons? Meals passed through quality, and farm products, remembers Jake. At a certain point, they started to plant every sorta of veggies; they had a big garden. Not only, there was great appreciation for bread and baking their own bread became a mantra, because bread is also another symbol for families of food, appreciation.
Jake has had the big luck of visiting in not suspected times, in the 1960s (tourism destroyed partially the real aspect of many realities, I absolutely agree) France and Italy, when menus writes the author, were written in italian or french, where there was less aggressivity touristically, and when there was mainly local food. It insists a lot about local food the author, who lived for a certain time in Tuscany as well where he discovered, I want to add them because the same revelation touched greatly another American friend of mine, Connie: Zucchini fried flowers. You will find this recipes like also the one of panzanella and many many more here.
Scotland will present us many other surprises, like also cosmopolitan cities like Los Angeles and New York. If you love food, if you think that food is not just eating but also a family-tradition in grade to speak per generations; if you think that family dishes tell the story of a family; if you are curious about food of other corners of the world, this book is absolutely for you.

It is simply stunning and a real, a real treasure. I adore and I adore and I adore how they thought at this project, in a modality in grade of telling and sharing, adding pictures, situations, family moments, recipes, giving back us what food is: sharing and conviviality.

Absolutely suggested! to everyone. This one is a great gift! Trust me, if you have friends in love for the topic.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe

Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe
now also a BBC program is a wonderful and quick book by Penguin divided in two parts about the letters exchanged by Nina with her sister Vic started after her arrival in London for being a nanny at the household of Mary-Kay Wilmers and her two children.
Constricted for communicate in writing letters, she did it reporting to her sisters dialogues, experiences lived, people met, little incidents occured, experienced made during that years and also when she left this correspondence continued. 
Nina's style is absolutely fresh, captivating, it arrives to the heart for warming you, delighting the reader, present good and positive vibes. She is extra-funny and a hurricane of joy and happiness.

Warmly recommended.

Anna Maria Polidori 

To Hell with Picasso & Other Essays by Paul Johnson

To Hell with Picasso & Other
Essays by Paul Johnson is remarkably good if you want to read the impressions of an established columnists regarding customs, life and what happens in the Uk and the world. The years taken in consideration are just apparently distants, these pieces published in the Spectator were written from 1992 to 1996 but they are absolutely good also for our times. I read some of these pieces and I found them informative, profound.
Love of books for starting: mr Johnson tells that he has books in every part of his house, and that this one, with painting is his main passion. He is pretty frugal confess, for the rest. He doesn't mind for beautiful clothes, expensive cars, but he is a book addicted (I know the feeling) and  he adores paintings.
Pavarotti, an artist I simply adore (I am able to listen his operas per hours) and what happened at La Scala in 1992, reason for a piece and some reflections. That year the famous beloved tenor committed a little error and spectactors complained for the rest of the entire opera. A reason for some reflections regarding the behavior of the italian spectators and the ways italians treat, with great respect, education and distance (we are discreet it is true) foreigners. Italians, writes the journalist are educated people, not important their social state, this one is a common treat recognizable from North to South; their being not "abusive", not too intrudent in the life of a person (in particular when mr.Johnson paints outdoor) truly appreciated by the columnist. Just, for obscure and still unknown reasons they lose their patience while in a theater for watching an Opera. 
Johnson in another column takes in consideration the short tale. It can appears a strange form of writing, but remarkable writers started their profession with short tales. They're vital and fundamental for forming ideas, and for giving to readers a wonderful product, not too long, but in grade of being absolutely appreciated.
Mr.Johnson admitted that was a passionate of the genre because some American realities paid also a dollar per word (oh my God!!! what a luck for someone in grade of writing well) and so he was absolutely tempted in the creation of good products, because the possibility of earning great money was visible and realistic.
But the column focuses in the sad reality of the 1990s: there are not anymore interest in short tales. A great suggestion to newspapers and magazines? Re-starting to take in consideration short tales as it happened in the past, when authors like Hemingway, Kipling, and more became names also thanks to this art.
Just some pills of what you will find in this book, absolutely suggested to everyone because terribly interesting!

I have bought this book at the second-hand bookstore located in Umbertide called Books for Dogs.

Anna Maria Polidori