lunedì, settembre 30, 2019

The Christian Reveries Collection by Abdiel LeRoy

Days ago I was contacted by Abdiel LeRoy for reviewing The Christian
Reveries Collection. I remembered very well Abdiel because the past year I reviewed The Christmas Tree
finding it enchanting and technically perfect. It is the story of a tree, a boy and the desire of, once Christmas over, not killing it. I just hope, I repeat that they will put in production a movie with that story. It's modern, realistical. Plus, it's a Christmas's story and I absolutely adore Christmas's stories.

This year LeRoy
contacted me for writing a review about his Christian Reveries Collection, a collection including The Christmas Tree and also Obama's Dream. I was skeptical after what I read in that second book (and surprised) because the verses I found were an open critic at the past President. I thought: I will wait. I wanted to contact LeRoy, but  LeRoy was quickest.

LeRoy today sent me also Verses Versus Empire some Samples from the Three-Volume Series and now I perfectly understand.

As he explaines in the preface : "I was goaded into writing political poetry by the ascendancy of George W.Bush in 2001, when I thought things couldn't possibly get any worse. But of course they did!"

Problem after all was 9/11. I think that the USA has never healed; I think that answers haven't been sufficiently given; I think that Presidents from left, right, haven't been "read" by the population, the base, too close; and here there are all these problems and a chaotic, absurd situation.

Maybe the order created with the globalization was a great error, maybe the climate change is causing irrationality; my granny loved to saying that when the environment is not in peace men are not in peace as well; or maybe this open society let us see much better than in the past people and also who is in office.

I found the Verses Versus Empire absolutely hilarious and the perfect portrait of Donald Trump. 

The trip of Obama will involve angels and old thinkers of the past like Plato.

I would want to suggest to LeRoy of not mixing policy with Christmas; to me a bad idea for sure if I can add this :-)) because people when buy a Christmas's want to buying a dream. 
They want to stay relaxed; they search for escapism, they search also for their personal dreams. Who knows: maybe that tale will help them to be better people, to open their heart to the others. Maybe a dream will directly touch them.

A politician close to a dream is a nightmare also if he has been a splendid person because you return abruptly at the reality and sometimes, we, readers would want to see a different world, and we would want to forget all the badness that there is in the world, and the asperity and ugliness that we breath in a daily base.

Better to create collections of similar books.

Recommended.

I thank Le Roy fot the copy of these books.

Anna Maria Polidori 








domenica, settembre 29, 2019

Hypnos by Gino Saladini and Vincenzo Mastronardi

It's realistically interesting this book published by Marsilio Hypnos
by Gino Saladini and Vincenzo Mastronardi. For many reasons.
I start to tell you that I find fascinating hypnosis. I read Milton Erikson, I read Freud and Jung in my teen-age age, although after that I read this book I concluded that I wouldn't never want to end up in the wrong hands and minds, because hypnosis is too delicate and I hadn't never taken in consideration an abuse of this important pshychiatric tool for horrible gestures.
Second because this story is an intersection of stories in the History.
We are in Wien, Austria. It's January 1889.
Sigmund Freud is an affirmed yet misunderstood, psychologist and hypnotist, and Rudolph the son of Emperor Franz Joseph and Sissi is just found dead in the locality of Mayerling with his lover Maria Vetzera.
The main theory, I read a lot about Sissi, her family, Ludwig II, and the story of the end of Rudolph opens a shocking scenario, I start to tell you this. 

I just hope that this theory is invented, because I still prefer to think that Rudolph killed himself than not to seeing ruined in my mind the imagine of Franz Joseph or Sissi.

The portrait of the society is accurate. 

Rudolph like many other young men of the time, rich, powerful and beauty, loved also to enjoying his time with a lot of prostitutes and some of them, because of an orgy, were been invited also at Mayerling. Once that Rudolph and Maria Vetzera were found dead it was necessary to close once and for all the mouths of that girls. 
That ones had to be killed. As quickest as possible, because they couldn't report what realistically happened to Rudolph and Maria. 

The dirty job was commissioned at a man called in code Hypnos. A secret agent inspired by the theories of Nietzsche, Hypnos had the capacity of hypnotizing people for later killing them without letting them feel any pain. A dangerous consolation. In particular he inserted inside the body of the victims a tool that, once opened caused a heavy, devastating bleeding.

In this scenario we find two twin, Friedrich and Sabine Schwartz. Schwartz is an important member of the police. 
Their union is so close that people in Wien start to whisper.
They are both beautiful and attracting and in general they tend to go out together.
They lived a shocking experience when they were little and at the moment the sister is like paralyzed. One of his arm is rigid. She avoids every contact with men, because sexually blocked by what lived once little.
An hysteric case, treated by Sigmund Freud. Freud in fact discovered also thanks to numerous autoptic exams that there weren't any kind of damages in the brains of women for that sort of "physical pain." Sufferance was producted by the subject, because not able to metabolize the sufferance that she was living with.

Freud understands that there has been a violence in the existence of Sabine, but what Sabine will become will be the fruit of a pure devil.

I find realistically true the description of the feelings felt by victims of a violence in childhood age. 

Great intensity, this one is also an erotic book, where everyone wants to make love for pleasure, for desperation, because frustrated, because bored, but surely no one is tired of it.
Sometimes I found this treat too much obsessive, but after all, if most of human problems are caused by sex and what it meant in little age for kids, this choices is not surprising. 

The book will also treat, marginally, the story of Jack the Ripper. Another cold case,  a faceless murder.

Highly recommended.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 






sabato, settembre 28, 2019

Parenting from the Eyes of the Lollipops by Jacqueline Pirtle

Parenting from the Eyes of the

Lollipops by Jacqueline Pirtle is a self-help book dedicated to all that parents, or couples attending children or that desire to have some children.
It's a book of great intensity where the main voice is the one of the child every new chapter you will read.
Who is a parent? Someone who decided one day of extending his own life creating a new human being. And why lollipops?
Because for being great parents affirm Jacqueline, it's important to visualize great, good and positive imagines and nothing is more strong and more beauty than lollipops. Lollipops remind good thoughts, sunny moments, joy, happiness, and perfect instants of our childhood. Same must be now that children are around.
It is of course not simple to be a parent, but it is a work that is learned every day, presenting to children positive vibes.
Every person who wants to experience maternity or parenthood will learn soon that this fact will change drastically his/her existence, but the beauty is this one. As writes with the narrating voice of The Child, Jacqueline, this one could be the portrait of the arrival of a kid: 
“Yes, there was a time before me. Oh what a glorious time that was, you might think—but no matter how much fun you had in your life before me, it’s more fun now, because either I am already here or am about to arrive. And because of me, everything is so much richer in vividness. I am excited to enjoy through you what you already have experienced, and can’t wait to fill the gaps of what you have not experienced yet.”

The author indicates three pillars of parenting: The Harmonious Dance, It Is Never The Child and The Love Cycle of Parenthood. 
First of all it's indispensible a positive approach. Children are not property of parents. Yes, of course they are educated by them, grown by them, but they have peculiar characters, dreams and expectations and parents should absolutely trying to help their children's inspirations.
It's difficult to admit that children are something else from us, but it is true. A kid develps sometimes complete different ambitions from the ones of their parents, but parents must be encouraging.
A pessimistic approach also in the daily life will put children down, so parents should always stay positive with their children. It doesn't say that they shouldn't remark what it is unfair, of course, but it would be better to see the best of them and not just their negative sides.
I thought that I was weird because sometimes I talk alone. Well, it's a comforting idea the suggestion of Jacqueline:
" Talk to your food! Talk to the air! Talk to the sun, moon, and sky! Talk to the rain! Talk to your shoes! Make chatting with everything out loud a common practice with your children. Not only is this loads of fun, you also are playing with the universal law that everything is energy, the same energy, and sharing its energies at all times—and that all energy carries information and knowledge for whoever  is inclined to listen. Your environment has so much to give to you—open wide and allow this expansion of experiences to fill you and your children in every new split second of your life."


Being parents mean living a long existence with children; a couple will see the evolution of all of them, their little or biggest problematicis, dreams, expetactions, studies, works during the various phases of their existence: Jacqueline offers tips, suggestions and a great guidance.
Parenting through the eyes of Lollipops means seen this process through the eyes of children:
"When I am grumpy, BE that lollipop for me! When I am tired, BE that lollipop for me! When I am mean, BE that lollipop for me! When I am unfair, BE that lollipop for me! When I am hangry, BE that lollipop for me! When I am a wild rebel child, BE that lollipop for me! All other joyous times, I AM the lollipop for you!"

Childrens are lessons learned everyday from parents, this is normal and the rest of their existence will be spent realizing more, physically and emotionally thanks to the presence of their "human extensions."

This book offers advice for every sphere of the daily existence of a family. 

Highly recommended.

I thank Jacqueline for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, settembre 24, 2019

CHRONICLES OF OLD SAN FRANCISCO EXPLORING THE HISTORIC CITY BY THE BAY by Gael Chandler

CHRONICLES OF OLD SAN FRANCISCO EXPLORING THE HISTORIC CITY BY
THE BAY by Gael Chandler is an iconic touristic by Museyon book.

Who knows if the freedom breathed by San Francisco must be researched in its remote past and precisely on 1775 when, Europeans in the persons of Spanish arrived in the land discovering the Yelamu, in harmony with the environment where they were peacefully living in from 4000 years? They were peaceful and disputes were sorted out exchanging gifts between the chiefs of the other tribes. The arrival of spanish changed everything for this tribe. Another chapter will analyze the character of William Leidesdorff and San Francisco but also the Gold Rush. 
Interesting the story of Charlotte Mignon Crabtree and her mentor Lola Montez. This dancer died in Boston in 1924 at 77. She left $4 million, most of it "in charitable trusts to WWI disabled vets and their dependents, animals, needy actors, convicts, hospitals, and graduates of Massachusetts Agricultural College."

Mary Ellen Pleasant was another revolutionary but also controvertial woman as you will read.

A chapter will treat the birth of the Railroad, but also the story of the creators of the 37 very famous cable cars so iconic and portrayed in wagons of movies  for their freedom; a stunning reality of a beautiful and sunny city.
At the same time in 1870s you will discover who, why and in what way was built the San Francisco's park. The author writes: "Visitors and residents alike have benefitted from McLaren’s vision and life’s work he planted more than 2 million trees during his lifetime—but he would brook no praise. Rather he’d say, "Work and life in a good garden were the nicest things I could think of as a boy and I’ve not changed my mind."

Mary Tape offers a reflection about the conditions of a lot of chinese children at the end of 1800s.
Various chapters will treat the big eartquake of 1906 and the aftermath. 

In this guide you will also discover who was the first California's poet laureate: Ina Coolbrith.
"She was elected president of the Pacific Coast Women’s Press Association in 1911 and president of the Congress of Authors and Journalists in 1915. In 1919,the state legislature officially decreed Coolbrith the "Loved, Laurel-Crowned Poet of California" writes Chandler.
It has been a terrible place: the Alcatraz Jail. An original account of the Alcatraz kids.
San Francisco has meant also important and suffering strikes but it also means a wonderful bridge called Golden Gate: a look at Joseph Straussand and the project.
The guide couldn't forget the American Shakespeare And Company, City Lights and his founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti. 

and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder
–Lawrence Ferlinghetti from “I am Waiting” from his poetry book A Coney
Island of the Mind

Final chapters will involve the 1960s and the sunny Harvey Milk. Homosexual and rebel, he lost a job because he didn't want to cut his hair. He decided later to enter in politic for trying to change some things.

"As supervisor, Milk sponsored a civil rights bill that made discrimination
based on sexual orientation illegal. It passed ten to one" writes the author.

San Francisco in the early 1980s was the city where the struck of HIV/AIDS caused more death. Numbers are absolutely hallucinating and terribly scaring: 22,602 cases were reported from 1980 to 1995; 91% gay. 20,530 deaths out of an estimated population of 58,000 gay men
It was necessary education and San Francisco didn't sleep in this sense.
You can find in San Francisco and in the net thanks to the NAMES Project, the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Many interesting walks the latest section of this wonderful touristic guide, searching for the past, for finding the present.

I thank Museyon for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 



Vecchie Noiose by Gaia de Beaumont

It's a funny book Vecchie Noiose
by Gaia de Beaumont. This book published by Marsilio portrays a village populated only by very old people. These people live the last period of their existence in the most extravagant ways: there is who is still searching for sex, finding satisfaction thanks to the young boy of the crematory, all happy and joyous when he can transforms his place of work in an occasion for some wild sex with elderly ladies, or with a strange man apparently a sort of playboy; there is the old lady absolutely in war with his son, a pretty sad person who is fighting with her mother from a life, anxious of trying to better his existence and being less stressed; there is who enjoy to watch on TV every sorta of shows, reality; who lose tooth somewhere; deaf, or with problems of mobility, unsatisfied, memories runs here and there. 
The arrival of Maria Gioconda a young person in the 60s so in comparison with most of them still a girl will be for some of these ladies reasons of curiosity.
Maria Gioconda didn't live a great existence. Yes, she was lucky with work; most of her existence spent at the post office located in the North of Italy, she assisted both her parents and now that they are both gone the decision of spending the rest of her time in a sunniest place with the sun everyday of the year.
The arrival and the discovery of this high percentage of old people will be seen surprisingly, although Maria Gioconda will tyr her best for being accepted and welcomed.
The end of this book is pretty shocking because decisions will be taken, and some existences of these characters in a way or another will change forever.

Highly recommended.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 


A Double Life by Karolina Pavlova

A Double Life by Karolina Pavlova
translated from Russian by Barbara Heldt and published by Columbia University Press is enchanting.
Pavlova was a famous although pretty unlucky and misunderstood writer and poet. She lived in 1800s and A Double Life was written in 1844-1845. 
Feminist, she married Nicholai Pavolov but their wedding wasn't just unhappy; once she was forced to leaving her country, her son and family. 
Although permeated by this disgraceful condition, poor and without friends Pavlova found great intensity in poetry and literature, appearing to the other ones pretty cold, because happy with this new existence. 
Pavlova couldn't accept the simplicistic role of women and their sad destiny as structured in the Russian society: becoming wife soon or late of someone, trapped in unhappy marriages, most of the times, and symbolically in cage. 
Karolina thought that there was another way of life. A woman like a man is a creature with thoughts, passions, desires, and the same fact that being born women meant to be repressed by men was, to her, unacceptable. 

A double Life is symbolically a title that explains also the book and what you will find inside. 

The same structure of the book is a double work of fiction for representing to my point of view the apparently beautiful condition of women and what there was behind: but also the duplicity of people and their role played in this story as you will read. For this reason the first part of every chapter, ten in total, and pretty briefs is written in prose. In this case the protagonist, Cecily 18 years during the day appears as a remissive, happy, sunny girl after all, dominated by events, friends, her mother and circumnstances of life. In the night, where creativity becomes more wild, so, in the second part of every chapter she appears as a thinker, as someone who wouldn't want to be constricted at taking decisions that she wouldn't want to take, thinking at the meaning of life.
She knows perfectly well, considering that she is rich, pretty, that soon or late she will become the wife of someone but she is unhappy. 
You won't never read the unhappiness of Cecily in the prose, if not in the words of friends and neighbors invited at the wedding. In the prose there is just the social condition where Cecily lived in, teas, events, her birthdays, time spent with her friends. 
You will discover in the poems, the highest concentration of sadness, restlessness, anxiety, unhappiness but at the same time beautiful soul of this girl. 

What scared Cecily the most, and so the author, was losing her personal freedom not just like a woman but as an individual, trapped in a society where it didn't exist any kind of escapism, where it didn't exist any possibility for building, choosing by herself the best for her existence.

Maybe Cecily for the rest of her existence will be forced to live a double life or as it happened to the author, she would have probably re-started her existence somewhere else.

The prose is a clear and a serious portrait of the Russian upper clas society of 1800s . 

I promised to myself of reading more of this author, for the enchanting words she uses, and for the profoundity of feelings expressed, with clarity, touching, with extreme elegance the most profound chords of the existence.



One of the passages in poem


It is in me your soul believes,
Me that you love, not him.
But in the midst of changing vanity
In your routine of every day,
I will remain an unclear sadness,
A dream of the heart unrealized.
And sensing light in the depths of gloom,
Trusting in an unheartly secret,
You will travel from ghost to ghost,
from one sorrow to another.

.....

Highly recommended.

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


Anna Maria Polidori 



sabato, settembre 21, 2019

Chronicles of Old Rome Exploring Italy's Eternal City by Tamara Thiessen

Chronicles of Old Rome Exploring Italy's Eternal City by Tamara
Thiessen is a great and stunning homage to a city that is immensely wonderful. I miss Rome so badly. When I was little it was the city where I spent my summer-times and where with my aunt Nena we loved to visit the most. Rome is romantic, but at the same time is like a matron, a big mom for everyone who wants to join her. She is liek the warmest hug of a mom, she is tender and she invites you at eating, enjoying life and what it offers.
This new guide by Museyon Books starts the long trip of Rome from its foundation and the so-called Lupa di Roma, Romulus, the seven hills, the creation of the city on april 21 753 BC.
The story of Caesar, veni vidi vici: “I came, I saw, I conquered"; seems he conquered 300 nations and 800 cities, and defeated 3 million men; then you will meet Cicero and later Caligula with the Vatican Obelisk.
I am more than sure that you will fall captivated by the story of Nero and the big fire of Rome and shocked by the history and beauty of Caracalla at that time the thermae of the city.
Personally, I watched there Il Barbiere di Siviglia directed by Carlo Verdone many summers ago. You breath a sensation of freedom, of peace when you are there. At the moment Caracalla is known for his shows during the summer-time where ballets and opera are mixed together for the joy of local people and tourists of all the world.
You will discover the story of the Colusseum with a special story; the book will define the portrait of Lucrezia Borgia, the last name says all, but you'll also discover the genial magnificence of the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo.
It's impossible to forget the enchanting Villa Farnesina and what the post-Renaissance period brought to us: Caravaggio with his torments and paintings sometimes brutals.
For a long long time Rome was one of the favorite cities visited by foreigners during the Grand Tour. I remember Goethe, the romantic writer, a real estimator of Italy. My beloved poet John Keats spent in Rome the final days of his young, tormented and brief existence.
Rome has also been the theater, the set, of a famous opera by Giacomo Puccini, Tosca. The Tiber-side Castel Sant’Angelo, Church of Sant’Andrea della Valle, and Palazzo Farnese the locations.
Mussolini meant 20 and more years of regime. There are still traces and buildings that you can visit where he shared his ideology with folk, but also monuments erected while still in power.
If you want to live your days in Rome romantically why not visiting all the places of the set with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in the movie Vacanze Romane or The Fountain of Trevi remembering Three Coins in a Fountain or La Dolce Vita?
The book ends with a lot of interesting walks for all tastes!

Highly recommended.

I thank Myseyon Books for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori


The Circus Comes to the Village by Yutaka Kobayashi

The Circus Comes to the Village by
Yutaka Kobayashi is a new children's book published by Museyon Books. It is a sad and true story,about war, future, new beginning and the end of a place.


We are in Afghanistan, in a little, tiny agricultural village where existence knows the circularity of seasons, and where agriculture and hard work are the reality met everyday by people.The beginning of the end started with the arrival of a circus in a close village. There is an endless war in Afghanistan.
Yamo and Mirado are great friends and once completed the hard work in the field their relatives approve the decision of the two children of going to see the Circus as a moment of relaxation.
Children are electrified by the perspective. Mirado loves to sing a flute left behind bu his dad, who once went to the war and since then no one have news of his destiny. He feels a great melancholy and he hopes that singing soon or late he can re-appears in his existence.
Circus for children is wonderful because thereis just projection of joy, happiness, of joyous and sunny, funny moments. It is what happens to Mirado and Yamo as well. They try various different games, they assist at wonderful shows, 'till at the moment that a beautiful lady makes her appearance on stage. Mirado starts to sing with his flute and everyone is surprised by his talent. People in the circus asks him if he wants to join them. Considering everything, Mirado is alone, her grand-mother accepts this decision and set free Mirado, blessing his decision.
Good-byes are sad but there is till hope of finding somewhere while singing his flute Mirado's dad. After that Mirado left, he was a good omen for the area, everything changed; the arrival of war, and other problems created a situation impossible to resist and people abandoned that place going all somewhere else.

Another book pretty delicate where adults and children will dialogue at long, I guess.
What will happen to Mirado? Will he be happy with his new large family? Will he find his dad while singing his flute? Will he never meet again Yamo and all his friends and relatives left behind? Your kid would want to abandon you for joining a circus? And you as a parent or relative would permit him to do that?
Then there is the meaning of war and. What does mean to living in a place completely devastated by hate, blood and human losses everyday?
Why peace is so precious?
What kind of meaning of life is it important to find in these situations and conditions?
Losing the house where a person maybe lived for a long time because of war and lack of food can be traumatic. What do you think of this passage?
They're big questions and thematic these ones, left, completely left in your hands and eyes dear reader, little or big that you are.

Beautiful and melancholic, this book is dedicated to all the children of Afghanistan with the hope of a new peace and a new future one day.

Highly recommended.

I thank Museyon Books for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Journalism Under Fire Protecting the Future of Investigative Journalism by Stephen Gillers

Journalism Under Fire Protecting the Future of Investigative Journalism
by Stephen Gillers offers a clear and worrying account of what it is going on in American Journalism and investigative journalism, where just a niche of newsmagazines, see at the voice Boston Globe with its team Spotlight and the investigation about the abuse of wagons of paedophile priests, 300, in Boston opened a problem in the Catholic Church or the Washington Post and their  Watergate. 

First of all let's start to define what is the press. In the first Amendment of the Constitution the Founding Fathers wrote: "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech or of the press."

The Founding Fathers admitted something peculiar: that the freedom of speech is a prerogative of a healthy state. A country where you can't speak with freedom and joy, where you can't express yourself and where you can't say what you think of situations for fear of repercussions on your person is not a great place where to live in. Absolutely.

Let's see what says the Press Clause: that no one should never reduce the power of the freedom of the press.

Journalism in the USA has always been a great and healthy reality. Recently some worrying wild winds changed a bit this situation: from few decades reporters, journalists became  more "intersected" with big powers and less free than not in the past. Another worrying problem for a journalist that should remain independant. 

But who is a journalist in the USA? A watchdog and someone who should be part of that checks and balances so important for the healthy system of the nation. A guardian of the system and of all the powers existing in the country; at any level. 

Reporting news, without fear or without political or economical powers behind in grade of changing the rules of the game is indispendible for keeping healthy a country and for giving an honest account of what it is going on.

Said that, of course it's not said that the journalist musn't express his/her own opinion. It is indispensible to express worries, or looking at the reality with the eyes of the experience accumulated and existence lived.

After all a reporter is a man or a woman marked by his/her own life and not an historian.
Big or little newsmagazines or magazine must tend to have political inclinations more or less marked, but in a healthy political system this one shouldn't be a problem at all but a resource for uncerstanding much better the reality.

In the USA are classified journalists, so that they can asks for the Press Clause in case of a litigation or defamation, all that people who can prove that with their work, they could be bloggers, they could be video-makers, etc are creating news. 

The new reality, quickest respect to the past is more fragmented and confused and sometimes old habits broken by the net. Which ones? Reading very long pieces of a magazine was appreciated and it presented calm to the reader and a moment of relaxation. The net created with the time a compulsory situation where news are given every second, sometimes in brief shape and so it is becoming always more unnecessary reading long pieces, losing a lot in term also of the so-called deep-thinking.

The book treats largely the use of sources and protection of sources, explaining with cases from the past what the judiciary system said regarding various cases taken in consideration.
Journalists in fact, if they can't be classified part of the system are not out of the system and they answer, when there is a controvertial case to the judiciary system.


A wonderful book, colloquial, for everyone.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

venerdì, settembre 20, 2019

Notre-Dame by Ken Follett

I remember well where I was on April 15 2019 when the Cathedral of NotreDame was burning. I went to the mass celebrated in our little church at 7 o'clock. I stopped by once the mass was over for sending some vocal messages to my aunt.
Returned home, while my mother was asking me informations about the mass I noticed the breaking news. Notre-Dame was burning. It was simply shocking.
Months later rhey asked for donations and I made my little donations.Just few bucks. "With my money they can buy just a sack of cement, I am afraid, but it's a something" I told to a neighbor, who, in the past, emigrated to Paris, and worked in Notre-Dame as well. That gesture meant my desire of seeing again the center of the Christianity back to life.

When today I went to the COOP supermarket of my city, Gubbio, I visited the area dedicated to books. 

One of them captured my attention: Notre-Dame
by Ken Follett.

Follett donates all the money of this new book, royalties and copyright included, to the Fondation du Patrimoine for the rebuilding of the cathedral. It's also for this reason that I decided of buying this book. Being a reviewer I could have asked for a free copy to the publushing house, but I think that each of us, considering that the book costs 7,65 euros can spend that soum of money for contributing at the re-birth of Notre-Dame.

I started to read the book, completely lost, at the supermarket, ending it at home.

It's a quick and lovely reading. Follett is clear, precise, emphatic. 
I know what it means to start to read one of his books and then not putting it down 'till the end. 

He loves to share with his readers what he felt at first when he heard, thanks to a common old friend, the news that no one wanted to hear: that Notre-Dame was burning, describing what it meant that moment to him, a non-believer plenty of fascination for these incredible buildings. Private feelings, but public as well, because being the writer of the saga of The Pillars, (beautiful, fascinating books, it seems to staying there with the protagonists) he started to receiving that same evening calls from various reporters.

Follett says something absolutely true and absolutely lost in our society: once, when a cathedral was built, everyone, from the masters to the latest worker believed in the project and  wanted to build something not just immense but everlasting. And every little or big particular was important. There wasn't poverty of details, because Cathedrals needed to be spectacularly rich, precious to the eyes of everyone; in its immensity, you understand the beauty of a big church, of a cathedral by the entire whole. A cathedral is a place where love existed for sure in the process of making. 

A cathedral is loved, appreciated; work meant dedication, considering also that the project involves a sacred place; for the future pilgrims a complete adoration and satisfaction because they will still can "feel" that love, the love of creation and for creation of a masterpiece; that "not being satisfied" of the little, but of the best; there was the desire of giving a face through a Cathedral at the human semblance of God; and they did it passing through the work of masters, the hands of workers of every genre.

Every century, every age, tell stories of God. This moment is not the happiest one for our religion to my point of view considering the ugliness of new churches, too modern and impersonals.

This book will tell you not just the story of that day, but also a vivid, quick but felt portrait of Notre-Dame from its foundation, to the decision in 1163 of a fresh start. A fresh start that would have meant 100 years of works, changes in various phases, thanks to new inspirations born in the mind of the various masters.

Victor Hugo maybe the most stunning writer of the past for his vibrant intensity of feelings but also for his profound compassion for everyone, in particular the latest ones, protested vibrantly for the poor condition of Notre-Dame after that, once  the monarchy over, the regime of Robespierre could not take in serious consideration Notre-Dame. Englightment produced also horrific results.
Considering that Victor Hugo was taken in serious consideration because a beloved author and a wise man, authority decided of doing something.

This book is also wonderful because if you want to read much more.

Ken Follett put you in condition to do that, suggesting books, of course his Pillars, but also all the rest of production that inspired Cathedrals, not just Notre-Dame.

An intelligent project and as the author said he wishes to be part of the rebuilding of Notre-Dame.

I hope that all his readers and newest, curious ones, will buy this book for discovering more about Notre-Dame, what it means for French people and the rest of Europeans and the importance of donating. This money goes directly to the Fondation. You know that and for rebuilding the Cathedral. 

Highly recommended.

Anna Maria Polidori 




giovedì, settembre 19, 2019

Full Hearts and Empty Bellies A 1920s Childhood from the Forest of Dean to the Streets of London by Winifred Foley

I was putting in order my numerous books days ago when I spotted this one: Full Hearts and Empty Bellies
A 1920s Childhood from the Forest of Dean to the Streets of London by Winifred Foley. I ordered this book years ago and then I put it aside. As I do often I post-poned for a reason or another the reading.

Reading this book days ago meant to remember again what my dad told to me, about the 1920s. Years of great poverty, where their bellies weren't plenty at all but where there were great sentiments and people were much more connected with everyone else. There wasn't anything, money didn't exist and just few families had that; people simply loved to staying together, enjoying the company of neighbors. If they needed something, they exchanged for example eggs with flour. 

The story of ms Foley is similar. She grew up in a numerous family, where birthdays didn't have any kind of importance, (I know people in their 80s that don't know exactly the day they were born for example; it was common) and where birthday dates were just three: iconics passages of the existence; once arrived at 14 years for a girl meant  leaving the house for becoming an housemaid somewhere in London for example.

There wasn't sufficient food for all that children but no one would have shared this information to their neighbors (although I guess that they knew that) and when their mother was in grade of feeding them abundantly and with something delicious, this fact was seen as a miracle and a great feast.

The village was divided in sections; the richest and the poorest part.

School, during that hard years was helpful because everyday they passed to all children something to eat and it meant, in particular to the children of the poorest part of the town a big and appreciated novelty because that food was delicious and robust.

Also the chapel where they loved to share their times tried to help little children, feeding them.
Memories of Winifred speaks also of her times to school; her friends, people she appreciated the most and the ones she disliked for a reason or another; her passion for religion at some point; there are beautiful chapters, real portraits in words of her mother, her dad, her beloved great-aunt Lizzie, with a personal history that is simply incredible and fantastic. The story touched me the most was the part when Lizzie died.
Winifred Foley shared with us the story of Nancy, their little pig, killed later for being eaten. Considering that was part of their family, sometimes she had the impression of eating the meat of a real family-member.

The second part is dedicated to London, the arrival in the city, various difficulties experienced. It's a real life, a real story and a portrait of a generation of people that trust me, I adore so badly, because opened, generous, wonderfully kind and plenty of good and important values.


Anna Maria Polidori 







Chronicles of Old London Exploring England's Historical Capital by Kevin Jackson

Chronicles of Old London Exploring England's Historical Capital by Kevin
Jackson is a new touristic guide released by Museyon Books.
The history of London is lost in the fog of the time because she has an ancient history populated by the domination of Romans. The nation had also a great catholic history 'till at the arrival of Henry VIII, who, for a reason or another, officially he wanted to divorce from one of his numerous wives and the Pope said no, decided of breaking the relationship with Rome with the creation of the Anglican Church. Luther had previously done the same in Germany followed by Calvin in Switzerland.  Temptatives of a return to the past and the catholicism? Of course, with Mary I, Queen of England, second wife of Felipe II,the so-called nicknamed Bloody Mary. She killed all the possible protestants, punishing with her paranoid behavior a lot of innocent people.
Elizabeth I was a special character. Beautiful when young, when not anymore so fresh, she asked in a daily base to everyone if she was as attractive as she was before. They could be servants or important people. 
The big love story with Essex was in part tragi-comic. For various reasons the two stayed separated at long and once returned, Essex asked for his price. He entered in the bedroom of the Queen, finding her as she was before make-up and various embellishment and his surprise was pretty, ahem, shocking. He was imprisoned and considering that the Queen remained nasty with him after all he publicly declared that:  “Her conditions are as crooked as her carcass!”
After all he was executed and that beautiful head, once the Queen was in love forwas severed from the rest of the body after three strokes. 
It's in this period that a lot of fertile authors became successful and some of them like Shakespeare and Marlowe immortals: 
Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson and William Shakespearem Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, John Donne, Thomas Nashe, Thomas Chapman and many more.

 The Great Fire of London from the 2-5 September 1666 helped under many ways the plague and its disappearance. It seems that from the kitchen of the Queen something went wrong and a little burn started to take place, invading later all London. It was the most profound chaos, reported diligently also by Samuel Pepys in his famous Diary and the destruction of London. 

I found touching the love story between Keats and Fanny Brawne. One of my favorite british poets, John Keats lived a short life, died at just 25 years, loved a girl that couldn't never become his wife because he was too poor, but his production is immortal and fresh as if written today or just yesterday.

Charles Dickens is another tribulated genius of british literature. His lifepretty complicated, he gave us back masterpieces like The PickWick Papers, A Christmas Carol and much more.
Queen Victoria inaugurated also the period called by everyone the Victorian-one; lights and shadows would have characterized this reign.

Everything started on Nov 9 1888, when in one of the poorest corners of London a prostitues Mary Jane Kelly is found killed and ripped. If you look on the net at the imagine of the faces of all these girls once dead you will notice their personal desperation, fear and horror. Also once dead they could not find peace. A peace removed by a still unknown serial-killer. Between April 3, 1888, and February 13, 1891, there were at least eleven cases of prostitutes being killed. London was in a complete chaos. People wanted justice, but this justice never arrived and the murder of these crimes hasn't never had a name. Why this?

A lot of important people ended in the list of the potential murders including, can you belive it? Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll and Jekyll and Hide actor Richard Mansfield. As known and as also reported here, it sounded that a member of the entourage of the Queen loved to spend his free time in that places and in company of prostitutes; other names evidenced a lot of lack of imagination but strangely, after a while the Ripper didn't kill anymore anyone. Who knows why?

Oscar Wilde: I adore this writer, I will always adore him and no one is in grade of writing as profoundly as he did. 
Oh: he wasn't perfect at all. He was married but he was also homosexual and in UK this one was a terrible crime once and for this reason there was a trial on 1895. Recognized guilty Oscar Wilde died poor, deaf, friendless mostly, and devastated. In prison he wrote the De Profundis, the longest love-letter never written before.
He was a special and authentic soul in a land of falsity.

With the new century we discover Winston Churchill and later The Beatles, the band maybe more famous in the world.

Without forgetting the great big sadness left by Lady Diana, gone too soon, a new wonderful wedding cemented the union between Prince William and Kate Middleton. 

The book as always suggests various walks: Kensington, Chelsea, Westmister, Strand and Covent Garden,  Soho, Bloomsbury, and more.

London is like a magnet. A magnet for everyone because London contains, also your own history to live in that city. 
Characters, writers, musicians, it's impossible to remain insensitive at a city like this one!

I thank Museyon Books for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori