domenica, novembre 17, 2019

Venezia Città delle Asimmetrie by Ettore Camuffo

Venezia Città delle Asimmetrie
by Ettore Camuffo is an intense, interesting, sometimes technical book about the creation, the realization the transformation during the canturies, of Venice. Venice has been the dream of everyone from centuries. Most people decided of starting to live in Venice; Peggy Guggenheim had also a personal gondola and with this "car" of the canals she loved to going here and there for meeting people in the Serenissima. A chapter will explain you the various and most important palaces, one of the them the Venier. This one experienced a lot of influentials and positive people; apart the Venier Family later the eccentric and snob Casati would have brought to Venice artists like D'Annunzio and Man Ray. Later this important and most significant palace of Venice became the temple of Peggy Guggenheim.
The structures of these palaces were conceived in this way also for practical reasons. Interesting the chapter of wood, and what it meant for Venice, the spasmodic research of it during the centuries. Not only: you will discover how work is used in a city as Venice.
I loved so badly the chapter about the gondole. They're maybe the most beautiful characteristic of Venice; these little boats with a gondoliere who permit for once to everyone of feeling a sensation of importance and unicity; in the past gondole were not just used for tourists but for funerals and important families loved to keep them. With the time customs changed in the Laguna as well and people decided of changing habits. In the past gondole were more articulated, as you will read, and there is also a private gondoliere who, can you believe it? once was a woman, but at the moment became a man. He arrived from California, but the other gondolieri at first didn't accept him and he works privately.
There is the story of big companies of cruises that in general tend to parking for some while in Venice these enormous ships, with all the various positions; interesting the birth of Venice.


Highly recommended book if you love Venice and if you want to discover Venice in detail.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

sabato, novembre 16, 2019

The Lost Books of Jane Austen by Janine Barchas

The Lost Books of Jane Austen by Janine Barchas, published by Johns Hopkins
University Press traces the fascinating world that there was behind the literary story of this beloved author. and pulp fiction, authors connected with it and. modernity of publishing
It is true that Jane Austen became a name because published, because estimated, but most of her fame and her success is also synonime of pulp books; yes that books so cheap, so economical printed for the working class, that, in opposite case wouldn't never being in grade of buying a hardback and mostly important, reading. There is also to add as remarks the author that pulp fiction is trasversal and so that also rich and estimated authors bought these cheap books, for saving money, because attracted by their cover. There are many reasons why a person also pretty rich is motivated to buying a pulp book. In the case of Jane Austen, James Joyce for example a case of a writer perennially, till later obsessed by lack of money had a great selection of pulp fiction, including the ones of Jane Austen; same was for Henry James and Mark Twain; both of them truly hated the idea of Jane Austen and her literary genre.
These pulp books by Jane Austen and other authors started pretty soon to being spotted in railway stations and other places pretty distant from the common bookshop, and they were in particular printed for travellers. Pocket Books in the Usa and Penguin in Europe in this sense made the difference. When you buy a Penguin you know that it will be forever. What changed intellectually? It was a revolution, because books reached everyone and not just an elite of readers. They were much more democrats and they were there for their readers. A lot of more people could know, dream, living the passions and stories told by Jane Austen; something that, if pulp fiction wouldn't have existed they could not have been reached. We all know the power of literature, we all know the power of knowledge, also of these work sof fictions and the vision of Pocket Books and Penguin was soon imitated by other publishing houses and new characters, new vendors, book stalls started to born, and to represent a new idea of literature and its ability of sharing knowledge with every person, of every social condition. It meant business as well. You will find absolutely find fascinating the story of publication from various publishing houses of Jane Austen's novels.

Not only: with the time Jane Austen and many other authors became crucial for all that people interested of giving out a product in grade of educating the working class, trying to avoid deliquential acts passing through education. We all know the immense power that a good mind develops thanks to culture.
For this purpose creation of paperback editions became  indispensible, but while someone was fighting for their publication fwith the purpose of educating people less acculturate because they could not go to college or also maybe had a poorest education, at the same time discrimination regarding paperback editions remained at long; also till at the beginning of the XX century, when paperback became a phaenomen of big proportion. In part thanks in Europe to Penguin; the idea of the European Publishing House, of publishing books in grade of resisting at the passage of time was of big inspiration for other American realities. Where, they thought, people need a book for reading? In bus and train station but why not? also in a drugstore and wherever a person could find them.
In particular after the big crisis and recession of the end of 1920s paperbacks became something else: an education tool for all that readers more poor but with that anger of knowledge in grade of letting them buy books.
Not only: promotion of cheapest paperbacks became a reality when put in comparison a pocket of cigarettes at just 22 cents and a hardback, more than two dollars.
It could not exist. It was indispensible to change song. Under the war restrictions as you will read were also applied to paperback books. This time it was a big success and after the war, paperbacks edition became incredibly important. But Jane Austen with many other authors didn't spread culture just through paperbacks editions, but also through...soap and cheap paerback copies presented as giveways by a company of soap. This one an interesting and wonderful idea.
A publishing house reprinted classics books, including the ones of the beloved author  with beautiful paintings on the covers. We are in Philadelphia at the end of 18900s and the beginning of 1900s. Illustrations were in grade of giving a first idea of what the reader was buying, at a cheap price. Personally I love paintings and beauty on the cover of a book, a pretty common practice at the moment, but unusual for that times.
Jane Austen has never been an author just for women. Men also adore her books and tend to read them. The idea of classifying her books just for women appeared can you believe it in the 1960s when in the past suffragists brought in the squares Jane Austen because considered a feminist.  It was the XX century that classified Jane Austen an author just for women. In 1896 and 1897 Pride and Predjudice was published in the series of Christmas for boys and girls.
There would be much more to writing about Jane Austen and pulp fiction. The clarity of this book, but also the captivating style and its wonderful approach will guide through the land of publishing houses, successes, and a fight always and still existing: the one of keeping culture accessible to everyone for a best future.

Highly recommended also as a Christmas Gift.

I thank Johns Hopkins University for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Disrespectful Democracy The Psychology of Political Incivility by Emily Sydnor

Disrespectful Democracy The Psychology of Political Incivility by Emily Sydnor
published by Columbia University Press is a book that will let you think a lot.
This book substantially makes the point about a new trend from a certain point at this part that it is going on in policy: incivility.
I have seen also the old times, when there was respect, and when things "sounded" to go pretty well. From decades at this part, the electorate is pretty angry with their politicians and tones, in every possible way, in every platform, TV, internet, social medias included is becoming always more violent and intollerant. There are still people uninterested at the parossistic disrespect for every kind of institution, but most of them try all their best for writing attacking this or that candidates in social media; most of them for sharing their thoughts, for convincing others of what they did electing a certain person, and so on; they also love to sharing their ideas about important and warm thematic in the agenda of the President or premier of that country; some of them are activists, and they want to lett know to the rest of people the reasons why that person is not good, or vice versa the best one electorate could pick up.
But: which is the portrait of these people? 
"These people are not distubed by the presence of conflict around them, and even thrive in a high-conflict environment. Therefore, they will not shy away from disagreements in their personal social networks, nor from environments that will expose them in conflict between other people" writes the author.
Sure policy is changed during the last decades. 
The new escalation of populists leaders, or new parties with new younger leaders established a communicative approach more immediate, more frank, sometimes rude, and respect slowly has been demolished; disrespect started to become and it is the main coin of this aggressive historical moment. 
The electorate, tired, very tired, in this sense is following their leaders and what they tend to see in their behavior, imitating them in their good and bad actions; they think like them, they act like them. This one the limit and the danger of this new policy. 
In the book the analysis of social medias and asperity created by the internet.

While I was reading this book I thought with a certain worry where this incivility will bring the world if the trend won't change. 

An interesting appendix at the end of the book  can let you see how mrs Sydnor works, testing people regarding incivility, conflict orientation and different behavioral reacton through various surveys. I found also that section pretty stimulating and interesting.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 



giovedì, novembre 14, 2019

Ludwig Wittgenstein by Miles Hollingworth

Ludwig Wittgenstein by Miles
Hollingworth is an original biography of this beloved philosopher. Wittgenstein after the last war has been one of the most important listened philosophers although his existential life has been pretty particular under many ways.
This book is divided in five chapters: On the Spirit of a Man, Bograophy Versus Genius, Numbers Station When the Camera is on Us and Sex and the Last Stand.
The biographer is not interested in giving to his reader a biography like all the other ones written about a thinker, a man of letter, but following throughts, existentialist trajectories of this philosopher, he will be in grade of giving back to us a perfect painting of the man, and his ideas with, also all his contraditions. You will see and read the chapter about sex, and speculations about Wittgenstein's homosexuality. 
Wittgenstein worked mainly in the fields of logic, language, truth. 
Captivating and real. 
One of the best and original books I read during this year.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori

Christmas is Coming Celebrate the Holiday with Art, Stories, Poems, Songs, and Recipes

Powerful, powerful book Christmas is Coming Celebrate the Holiday with
Art, Stories, Poems, Songs, and Recipes wanted by Metropolitan Museum of Art published by Abrams Books. Wonderfully and entirely illustrated using paintings of the most beloved recent or oldest painters, this book will be a wonderful gift for young readers, true but also for everyone else, in particular if in love for the festivity.
Absolutely captivating, it captures the essence of Christmas in many ways. 

If the first part the book introduces the word Christmas, so the arrival of Jesus Christ, the second part Stories and Tales is maybe the most powerful section to my point of view; moving stories, moving tales in grade of opening also the hardest heart of this world. 
I can tell you that: I cried a lot reading most of these stories. I didn't know some of them: I knew
 the fairy-tale of the elves ad the shoe-maker because I read it when very little, but, for example I didn't remember the story of Papa Panov's special Christmas. Translated into english by Tolstoj: this one is a short tale about a man waiting for the arrival of Jesus. Oh: tremendously impressive!
Absolutely stunning the letter written by the staff of the New York Sun, replying at a kid called Virginia; the little girl asked if Santa Claus existed, because people sometimes don't believe at him. Keeping Christmas by Henry Van Dyke is the powerful summary of what Christmas is. 
We will also meet a moving short tale by Lucy Maud Montgomery: Uncle Richard's Christmas Dinner, where we see a man auto-isolated by the rest of his family and rhe compassionate gesture of his niece.

The Third Part it's all about the most beloeved Christmas's songs while the Fourth Part is about Poems. One I loved a lot is

Christmas is Coming 

Christmas is Coming,
the geese are getting fat,
please put a penny
in the old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny
a ha'penny will do;
If you haven't got a ha'penny
then God bless you!

This poem it's about being grateful for what we have, sharing what we have with people less lucky than us.

The final Fifth Part it's about Christmas's recipes.

What is Christmas of not the joy of sharing with others our love, friendship, compassion, generosity, hospitality? And let's remember that Christmas is not just for a day: it should be celebrated everyday with the same joy of December 25th.

Highly recommended.

I thank Abrams & Chronicle Books for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

The Friendsgiving Handbook by Emily Stephenson, illustrated by Melanie Gandyra

The Friendsgiving
Handbook by Emily Stephenson, illustrated by Melanie Gandyra is a new book by Chronicle Books pretty stimulating. Thanksgiving is the holiday more loved of all the USA. As Constance an American neighbor and friend of mine told me, this festivity is felt, there is not the stress brought by Christmas and people really enjoy to staying together and can you imagine it? For this reason, and for this feast million and million of people return to their hometowns, for a meal, true, but also for sharing some time with the rest of their relatives.
The author experienced a lot of weird Thanksgivings; pretty depressing, in restaurants, weird ones and at least, considering also the distance with her own family and the idea of seeing them during the Christmas's Time, the final decision:hosting the Thanksgiving, calling it Friendsgiving, inviting all her friends. Consider this: the Thanksgiving is an enormous meal with wagons of people ready of eating this world and the other, so, of course it's necessary not to be generous: much more, in terms of food, beverages of every sorta, hospitality. This book won't just offer you 25 wonderful recipes for all tastes (you can find friends intollerant at some food, vegan or vegetarian; no one must be discriminated or left alone) but also practical advice for not getting lost in a day that, for you and for your friends must remain a memorable one.

Written with a friendly and energetic approach highly recommended. 

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

martedì, novembre 12, 2019

Fund rising on FB for The Gubbio - Raccolta fondi per Il Gubbio di San Francisco

I know the Gubbio Project till the beginning of its story. I was a reporter, once, and it happened, a sunny day of 2005, surfing the web and searching news of our city, Gubbio, online, of discovering this charity based in one of the most stunning, beautiful and sunny cities of the USA: San Francisco. 
I said to my colleague Carlo, our coordinator and vice-editor: "Look Carlo: in San Francisco a charity has been baptized Gubbio. I would want to discover much more about it. This story sounds amazing." He was enthusiastic like me of this news and so I contacted, at that time, the first coordinator of the Gubbio, Michelle Roder. Michelle was thrilled of being in contact with someone from Gubbio.  Fr.Louie, the founder of the charity decided of creating this reality inspired by our city and the story of Saint Francis and the Wolf, helping some homeless who, in opposite case would have spent the night outside, and without any certainty of seeing the light the day after. Night is pretty scaring and cold.
But what did at first the church of Saint Boniface located in the Tenderloin? They open their doors and pews at homeless, letting them sleep in the church, a sacred place. If churches don't help, who should, after all?
I continued to support the Gubbio during the years. When Michelle married her husband, they have two beautiful children now, she also invited ALL the homeless of the Saint Boniface, because inclusion is important, and goodness and being all united, without differences is the best thing to do. The Gubbio Project  is a place where people are treated with dignity. 

Later the role of Michelle was absorbed by Laura Slattery. I met her this past summer to Gubbio. I remember I didn't sleep at all that night, thinking I would have met someone of a charity and a news that marked my reporter-life, because one of the first I discovered on the net and one of the most beloved ones.
I had written during the years various pieces, interviewing Laura, Michelle, trying to understand what the charity was doing for bettering the existence of homeless. Sometimes homeless once were intelligent and brilliant people, with a work, with a family; then for a reason or another they lost everything. Of course we find also stories of veterans, of addictions. 

It's a great charity, and to my point of view is the best example that we could have had in a city, San Francisco, where freedom, compassion, dignity is assured to everyone. And it brings the name of the city where I was bor: Gubbio.


Conosco il Gubbio Project praticamente dall'inizio della sua storia. Fondato nel 2004 mi imbattei in questa notizia, online, nel 2005. Ne fui entusiasta. Ne parlai subito con il nostro coordinatore, Carlo e lui mi disse di procedere. Capii da subito il grandissimo valore che portava con sé la charity. Chiamare una charity Gubbio significava credere in quanto fatto da San Francesco con il Lupo e con le persone: donare dignità agli altri, anche quando questa dignità, per una ragione o per l'altra era andata persa. Donare una nottata al caldo ai senzatetto, permettendogli di dormire in chiesa non aveva prezzo.
Michelle è stata simpaticissima (stupita e meravigliata dall'essere stata raggiunta da qualcuno che vive a Gubbio) e da subito mi ha offerto tutto l'aiuto e il sostegno necessario per comprendere. Noi viviamo in una piccola realtà e capire cosa stesse accadendo a San Francisco necessitava spiegazioni. 
Ho continuato negli anni a seguire il Gubbio Project. C'è stato un momento di riflessione in cui la charity ha tentato di capire come migliorare il servizio per i senzatetto ed adesso non ci sono solo spazi per dormire the sacred sleep, il sonno sacro, lo chiama cos' Laura Slattery ma vengono forniti tantissimi altri servizi: dalle colazioni, alle docce, per passare agli esami del sangue, laddove vogliano essere fatti, al reinserimento nella società tramite un nuovo lavoro, e così via. Gli ospiti vengono seguiti con attenzione. Con gli anni il Gubbio ha coinvolto altre realtà che hanno trovato l'idea più che eccellente.
Perché ho scelto questa charity per le donazioni sotto il mio compleanno?

Ci sono affezionata, porta il nome della città dove sono nata; credo sia un esempio stesso per dirla tutta per la nostra città, di dignità, inclusione,  partecipazione, compassione, reale aiuto verso gli altri. Tutti valori che sarebbero piaciuti da Dio, permetteremi l'espressione, a San Franscesco. Mi ha finito di convincere il fatto che gli ospiti necessitino di un nuovo boiler e coperte, sennò stanno al freddo durante l'inverno. 
Direi di dare tutti quanti una mano, con quello che possiamo. Oggi ho donato 10 euro e spero che anche voi possiate fare la vostra parte. Non so voi, ma quando penso che un piccolo gesto possa far stare meglio qualcuno che magari non conoscerò mai ma che potrà mangiare con gli spicci che invio, potrà riscaldarsi con quel denaro che ho versato, mi sento felice, appagata.
Grazie a tutti e grazie al Gubbio, a Laura Slattery che ho conosciuto con grandissimo piacere e a quanto tutti i volontari e i sostenitori, in modo diverso fanno ogni giorno per migliorare l'esistenza di tante persone.



Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, novembre 10, 2019

Storie dal Ghetto di Budapest by Giorgio and Nicola Pressburger

Storie dal Ghetto di Budapest
by Giorgio and Nicola Pressburger is a book about a series of short tales appeared many years ago and re-published now in honor of Giorgio Pressburger, disappeared recently. Portraits: portraits of people, in their essence, seen physically and psychologically with their own miseries, their existences, and their human tribulations.
It's a beautiful book this one because these portraits are enchantingly interesting; a microcosm resonating thanks to uits past. 
Jewish tales, they can be short, they can be long won't never leave the reader indifferent, because there is a mixture of magician, wisdosm, religion, and much more in all of them and these ones are not different from the ones I read in the past. 
Thanks to these little biographies, thanks to these anecdots we will touch the ineluctability of existence, the horrors seen and lived by most of the characters, like also their new beginnings, failures, victories.

Budapest knew the Eighth District; it was the Jewish Ghetto. In that place, in particular poor Jewish men and women worked and operated: you will discover that all of them became special, peculiar, at the eyes of the rest of population of the Eighth District as it happen in little communities; they had  special characteristics and a strong unicity as it happen in all little communities.

You will read the story of an enchanting lady in grade of capturing the heart of a little boy, but also the one of Franja, a retarded lady; also once dead she will become a real pest with the living ones; you will discover who Selma Grun was and her bad character; there is the story of another  boy with an important mental retard. For this reason, the story is told with the narrating voice of Roberto Leuchtner, the protagonist, once discovered that her mother and relatives wants to put him in a special place he promises of not giving peace to her mother, if she will accomplish to it, maintaining the promise.

There is a story of love and hate for a relative.
Tibor Schreiber was a man without too much moral values. He earned money always cheating other people with unclear business, but he had a good character after all with her relatives. Being a social man started to be appreciated by his littlest cousin; but one day, when this little boy went somewhere for picking up a caldrum for the sciolet, he met along her way a contemporary of him, this time christian and that boy insulted him. Devastated the boy run away crying alot but met along his way Tibor. Tibor decided that his cousin had to be more rude with the christian, and asked him, (they returned in that place) of hurting him. But his cousin did not it, because simply he thought that it was devastating, that maybe that boy once would have changed his mind; that a revenge was not necessary after all. Why fighting in that way?
Tibor devastated his face with fists and slaps. From there the little boy started to hate with all himself Tibor. Why was he so nasty? And he cursed him, wishing him all the worse.
Pity that people like Tibor, as understood also the protagonist of the story won't never lose because they know how to navigate in this existence and once in Paris seeing Tibor happily together again with his ex companion (I can't tell you all the short tale) will eat all sad another terrible sciolet.

The Green Elephant is a longest tale and it's the story of Isacco, a boy who once made a weird dream involving a green elephant. His dad was more than sure: this one was a great sign of a wonderful future for Isacco and his entire family after generations less lucky for their family. Isacco so, is pretty optimistic, but a lot of misadventures will always change for worse his future and present.
The promise will remain his two children. They ended up in America and Rome, but it will be the actor one who will experience the old frenesy and where possible unhappiness experienced by his dad.

A strong book, with strong tales that I am sure will leave you satisfied, and also with a lot of thoughts in the mind.
This one is a book of no more than 210 pages but its density will remain with you forever.


I thank Marsilio Editori for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 


Mon Carnet de défis pour un année Zéro Déchet Zéro Dechet Pas a Pas by Monica Da Silva

Mon Carnet de défis pour un année Zéro Déchet Zéro Dechet Pas a Pas by Monica Da Silva is a book by Leduc where you can follow these warriors who have also created a Facebook group inspired by this book and where you will enter using the QR in the ebook. Once you will join it, you will be invited of interacting pretty much with the rest of members telling and sharing your experiences and proposing new ideas.
Each week these ebook will propose you a strategy of action for reducing, drastically reducing garbage, junk, all that unnecessary stuff that we often see around in your house. What do do with them? Of course you can just throwing away what unnecessary, but you can also consider the strategy of the four boxes as illustrated very well in the book: " Faites
un tri que vous allez classer dans 4 cartons : à garder (les objets ou souvenirs que vous n’utilisez plus mais que vous ne vous sentez pas encore prêt à laisser partir), à vendre, à donner, à jeter."
A good work should be done also in the kitchen, where it is always better to prefer ceramic at plastic.
But it's not just this: it's also the perfect pianification of your menu, what to eat because "la planification des menus permet d’optimiser son temps et surtout d’éviter le gaspillage alimentaire." 
It will be indispensible to using products in grade of being re-used for other dishes also for not throwing them away and for saving.
TooGoodToGo.fr will permit you of buying food still good at a very cheap price; you shouldn't avoid of preparing with fruits and other seasonal legumes some jars for enjoying the food during the rest of the year.
Do you want to save money also for cleaning your house? No problem; you will learn how to use: "vinaigre blanc, bicarbonate de soude, percarbonate de soude, cristaux de soude, acide citrique, savon noir et savon de Marseille."
In this way you will also help the Planet.
Vinaigre blanc c'est tres bon, ops, it's very good for cleaning the bathroom but also your electric coffee machine. There are many tips and advice for wagons of other voices, so that you can save money and at the same time you can keep economically "cleaned" your house from excesses.
An intelligent book, I guess a good blog.

Enjoy this ebook, indispensible for everyone.

I thank Leduc Editions for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori 

venerdì, novembre 08, 2019

Just Dessert by The Tall Poppy Writers

Just Dessert by The Tall Poppy Writers is a book written by various writers of Tall Poppy Writers Association. 
As remark the contributors, in general they write, but when they don't, they also love cooking and baking. What is cooking and baking if not a natural extension of what we all do for a living? Cooking means giving pleasure to other ones. These recipes are old ones, favorite ones from generations or newest ones, discovered for casualty or for work, writing some books, and shared with the readers and let me add...bakers.
Cooking adds Sheehan introducing us her apricoat ginger scones is "The transference of energy from the chef, to the food, to the customer".
I was impressed by the story told by Nicole Baart. She loved to share a lot of time with her grandma and grandpa and Julia, her granny was a great baker as well. Nicole adored whatever she baked, but her favorite treat were her gingersnaps because spicy and sweet at the same time.
Eileen Goudge will share the best recipe of banana bread you have ever tasted, directly from her book: Something Warm From The Oven: Baking Memories, Making Memories but also the Heart-Shaped Cake.
Grannies were the best bakers, for what you will read. It's also the case of the Chocolate Pie's recipe shared by Kathryn Craft. This recipe is transmitted from generation to generation.
There are delcious Jewish recipes and Julie Cantrell will introduce is her Louisiana French Apple Pie, a quick recipe while Susan Gloss will share with us the Plummy Rum Blackberry Buckle.
Do you want a different breakfast surrounded by chocolate? So, goes for this dessert from  Sonja Yoerg plenty of proteins: Chocolate Chia Pudding.
Ann Garvin proposes her Lemon Mousse recipe and  Amy Impellizzeri the Homemade Grape Jelly.
Kelly Harms arrives with a delicious recipe good for thermos and for what I read absolutely delicious! and with a great story behind. Perfect for winter, it's the hot irish malted.

Delicious cookbook for sure. It must be yours!

I thank Ann Garvin for this cookbook.

Anna Maria Polidori  

Lotion Bars in 1 Day Learn how To Make you DIY Lotion Bars in 1 Day and Use Them for Healthy Skin, Beauty and Gifts by Hollie Thompson

Lotion Bars in 1 Day Learn how To Make you DIY Lotion Bars in 1 Day and Use Them for Healthy Skin, Beauty and Gifts by Hollie Thompson a wonderfu
l ebook about the creation of Bars. The first one I saw one of them, I was 6 years I was at Rome and some cousins presented me that. To me it was a novelty. It was a precious gift for sure. We used lotion bars but simply we bought it, and we still buy it (I sell them telling to you the truth and they are wonderful). Recently the children of my cousin Irene launched themselves in this adventure, creating wagons of lotion bars of all possible shapes. So: what is this about this hobby, activity and why can it be important?
Well, let me add this: every creative activity is great, plus, it works also when you plant some veggies in your garden, you know what you will put in your lotion bars.
Lotion bars are nice because they are portable everywhere. Trip, distant or close; you can add any kind of scent, from lavender to chocolate passing through arnica and menthol. You must understand your own exigencies. If it's just for fun or for also, for curing some physical disturb, for repelling bugs, for calming your nerves (see at the voice: lavender.)
This ebook and Hollie will guide you through important steps: what you need for the creation of your Lotion Bars, including many delicious "recipes" for sunny, funny, absolutely stunning lotion bars.


Highly recommended.

I thank Hollie Thnposon and LibraryThing for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 





giovedì, novembre 07, 2019

La La Land

I know that this one is a book blog, but yesterday night I watched La La Land and I would want to write down some considerations.

I hadn't never seen this musical, I had just read a wonderful review in the Boston Globe many years ago but I had completely forgotten this movie.
Let's start to saying that if more musicals would be made it would be wonderful. I am a fan of the genre.

The movie with Emma Stone And Ryan Gosling won 6 Academy Awards. 
Written and directed by Damiene Chazelle, this one is the story of Sebastian and Mia. Mia would want to become an actress; Sebastian would want to open a jazz local and he  would want to realize his inner dream of becoming someone unusual, writing, playing songs he loves to playing; also when people don't love what he does. The two soon become a couple and they are simply perfect, sharing same feelings, ideas and life's vision. Something change when Sebastian signs a contract with a friend of him in need of a piano singer; the band and music are completely different from the genre Sebastian does but he can earns money and Mia can goes proud of him.

Mia at the same time tries and tries a lot of auctions but without any success. Tired of this situation and frustrated because of the lack of success of his show in theather, she decides of moving on, leaving Sebastian, the city where she has invested her time and passion for six years, returning home.

Sebastian knows Mia and he loves her profoundly also if things are not matching anymore greatly between the two; there is respect, knowledge for the other, a real tender approach and when Sebastian receives the call from an important studio, it's a call for Mia, he run at the house of Mia, convincing her of giving a try at this new chance. Altruistically and in love, he did not hide this crucial information. Mia, in case taken in the production will live to Paris at long. Sebastian can't follow her. What to do? What will happen at their relationship? 
It happens that Mia will change and will take other decisions. This movie is substantially the metaphor of life: what would have happened if?

Five years later we meet Mia again, completely changed (that story it's up to people if they want to change if they change their social status, if they make money: let's remark it) with a husband and a son, a beautiful house and a successful career. With the husband they decide to go out, and they will end in the Jazz local open by Sebastian. After all he realized his dream. When she saw him and when Sebastian saw her, there was in the protagonists, in particular in Emma that regret and big melancholy that the if bring with it. And she imagines another story and another end. With Sebastian. What if....What if she would have had more success in theater; what if Sebastian would have supported her much more when she needed him? Substantially they would have ended, as it happened with Mia and her new partner, together; they would have built a family and they would have been happy forever and together. With that informality, with that love, kidness that they knew very well and that with the new husband can't exist. 
But it didn't happen, because life can't be written, it's not perfect, situations can't be changed, a work can't be given up because a partner feels the exigency of having close to her the other one; and sometimes being extremely busy Sebastian missed of proving to Mia his love for her. 

So, Paris returned to be a city of Love, changing the destiny of Mia forever.

When she leaves, Mia will look back another time at Sebastian and Sebastian will meet her eyes, smiling approving, and still loving her and trying to follow, after all what Mia had always said him: staying the old guy she knew.
In this case I felt that Mia was profoundly changed; Sebastian after his experience with his friend's band returned to be the boy he was, following his feelings, music, ideals.

The movie put in connection problematic as the realizations of the self. Many broken dreams, many unrealized desires, and a lot of traumatic experiences; a lot of no's; as in the sing song by Sebastian, City of Stars he will say, "City of Stars, are you shining just for me?" remarking the unicity of every man and at the same fragility, uncertainty.
The movie reads the melancholy and solitude of the moment. Although surrounded by many people, there is an elevated solitude, and at the same time the desire of brighting like a star. But...Is it possible?

I Iove the scene, portrayed wonderfully well of Mia and Sebastian, flying in the sky, touching the clouds. In love, the couple feels the perception of moving away from the ordinary life; touching sky and stars, reaching their dreams and existential perfection.
I don't know if that Planet that obscured for some second the couple can be read as the sign of an approaching storm. Maybe the biggest lesson learned through this movie, - pretty hard, after all, the end will leave you sad if you loved the couple Sebastian-Mia as I did, but is absolutely realistic, - is this one: life can't be re-written or imagined in its perfection but just accepted in its reality.

Anna Maria Polidori 

mercoledì, novembre 06, 2019

The Worst Witch Strikes Again by Jill Murphy

The Worst Witch  Strikes Again
by Jill Murphy is a book by Candlewick and a funny one. Set at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches, this children's book tells the adventures experienced by Mildred, a young witch pretty....troublemaker (but most of the time not for her fault). The new term is arrived and a new scholar Enid is assigned to Mildred. She must introduces her the new school. Mildred's got a great friend in Maud, but Maud will be soon disappointed by the lack of attention of her friend, becoming upset with her.
Mildred does have real terror for Miss Hardbroom, after all the last name says all; she is nasty and she is hard and she can't understand if not through disciplines, her scholars. Not only: she had predjudices regarding Mildred and she doesn't consider her a good person.

Although Mildred will experience a lot of seriously funny adventures, at the end, as you will read, she will be in grade of avoiding expulsion.

Beautiful!

Highly recommended, in theme with this month.

Anna Maria Polidori 


martedì, novembre 05, 2019

My Portable Paradise Transform your Life Through House Sitting by Abdiel Leroy

My Portable Paradise Transform your Life Through House Sitting
by Abdiel Leroy is absolutely a fascinating, spectacular book.
I am a sagittarius and the idea of travelling is a constant in my life. 
Can you imagine? There is an association called TrustedHousesitters.com providing this possibility. Leroy will write abundantly about the possibility of becoming an efficient house sitter.
Taking care of a house for a person who, for a reason or another can't do will be electrifying. The reasons why this eprson can't does it are the msot diversified: he/she/ is leaving for work for a week or two; he/she took a vacation; sometimes one of your obligation will be to feeding and taking good care of their beloved pets, dogs in particulars.
At the same time the house sitter will be in grade of explore another corner of the world, staying in a place that maybe in opposite case wouldn't never had the chance of visiting.
Leroy offers tips, tricks for avoiding common errors, for offering to you the best chance if you want to give a try this a try. I checked the website and I admit that it is absolutely attracting.
So: what are you still waiting? Be a house sitter, and you'll enjoy a quiet perennial vacation, in the most wonderful corners of the world and in most cases in stunning houses and locations.

Beautiful book. Highly recommended.

I thank Abdiel Leroy for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

lunedì, novembre 04, 2019

Blankets and a new boiler for the Gubbio Project

Blankets and a new boiler at the Gubbio Project! main necessities these days.


It's this one the new appeal launched by the new executive director of the Gubbio Project Shannon Eizenga. 

It's a touching e-mail this one received where the new director explains her worries for the Californian's fires, the heavy situation still lived, the poor situation of an air not completely healthy thanks to the closest fires, keeping in prayers all the people affected by the heavist part of the story. burning houses, burning animals, a complete different existence for most people. 

As we were writing, the boiler at the Church of Saint Boniface is broken and so there is a lack of heat. Worries of Eizenga is that maybe weeks or months will pass without to return at the normality. Let's hope that some donation will restore the heating system with a new boiler for the joy of all the guests at the St.Boniface.

Fall is more than approached and so new, or used, but in very good state blankets are necessary for the guests of the structure.

So, please, Californian friends (but you can live also in another part of the world buying blankets directly via Amazon and sending the donation at the Gubbio Project) donate, donate, donate blankets. Eizenga doesn't specify the number of blankets needed, but the guests of the Gubbio Project are pretty numerous, so please be generous.

A story Eizenga shared in her e-mail the one experienced at the church of St.John where everyday is served a good, robust, warm breakfast to all the guests.
At the end of the breakfast, one of the homeless confessed at the director all his gratitude for their work. "At the Gubbio I am feeling safe and respected." As adds the director: "The Heart of the Gubbio Project is compassion, dignity."

Donate, donate, donate!

I want to remember that you can support the Gubbio Project also through Amazon Smiles. 

Anna Maria Polidori 


domenica, novembre 03, 2019

Ernst Junger A German Officer in Occupied Paris The War Journals, 1941-1945 Foreword by Elliott Neaman

Ernst Junger A German Officer in Occupied Paris The War J
ournals, 1941-1945  Foreword by Elliott Neaman will surprise you. The cover-picture of this book by Columbia University Press attracted my imagination: I can see worry, compassion, curiosity. And the story of Ernst Junger is peculiar.
He wasn't a great scholar, all the opposite; he was a constant worry for his parents. Army was his destiny although young Ernst was also a man attracted by reading and writing. The first book he will published will be released on 1920.
Although he joined movements of right, what Ernst wanted to do was to be a writer and for this reason with his wife and son they all went to Berlin at some point.
Ernst starts to be infatuated by Paris during that period.
Junger distanced himself from Nazis and their dangerous ideas. Hitler would have wanted to meet Junger, but Junger didn't never meet him because he didn't reciprocate respect.
Important men of letters joined the regime. Let's remember that also Thomas Mann did it.
When the war broke out Junger was conscripted as a lieutenant, reaching later the rank of captain. From 1941 to 1945 he lived in Paris although for some time he visited the Cucasus and the end of these journals will be written at home in Kirchhorst. His headquarter was the Hotel Majestic. He soon began to become part of the Resistance against Hitler. 
Junger will also take part at a complot for trying to kill Hitler, although it won't work and many people were captured, or tried to kill themselves for escape the nazi's revenge.
When in Paris, he found, being a writer as well, the best humus and was introduced in the best circles of men and women of culture: he was first of all a thinker. In an entry of one of his journals he will write "Subject for Study: the ways propaganda turns into terror. The beginnings in particular contained much that people are going to forget. That's when power walks on cats's paws, subtle and cunning."
In another entry he tells the story of an execution of a soldier who escaped away and found help and refugee in the house of a girl.
He is devastated by the idea of the end of a life that it is predictably driven by men. 
Junger described vividly how he proceeded with his journals: "...I don't usually update my notes until the following day, and I do not date them on the day of their writing but rather the day they occurred."

Once in Monte Carlo he won't forget of telling the exciting visit at the reptile musem. Junger loved nature and descriptions are accurate, long, exhaustive. He locked up all his journals and letters for security. 

Avid reader, he divorated wagons of french books although his visits could be also pretty particular. Ernst didn't forget to visiting  the little cemetery of the Trocadero:
 "Things glow in their after-image and often more beautifully in memory before they dissolve into the nameless void" he will write or the one of Montparnasse this time for searching
 for Baudelaire's grave, the one of Roussel. To him "Ordinary people in this seas of graves ...Like tracks in the sand, they are soon erased by the wind." Although no one is dead till is remembered on this Earth.  Visiting Pere Lachaise, he found a big diversification, richness of its variety. 

Reading last letters of people executed, Ernst writes that "Man seems to emerge from his blind will and realize that love is the most intimate of all connections."

Ernst felt that was at home when he visited antiquarian bookshops, book dealers, old workshops. 

"I feel so at home, it's as thought I had lived among them for five hundrad years."

Prudent in sharing sensitive information through the pages of his journals and letters, Ernst in strickt connection with people in Russia thinks that the hard condition of the place and the personal situation of a lot of soldiers, with frozen part of the bodies would be so terrifying that he writes: "Who would not prefer to be among the dead?"

Fascinated by One Thousand and one Nights, his dreams are sometimes articulated and often reported in journals.

Sharks, people who committed atrocities, Ernst Junger imagines a nihilistic world: "They have an inherently satanic will that takes cold pleasure in destroying human beings. perhaps even humanity."

French government is supporting all of it, adds in the entry of his journal, Junger.

In the while Ernst is introduced at Cocteau, Weimer and Poupet during a party.

But...What are books for Ernst Junger? "It is wonderful to find thoughts, words, and sentences in them that make the reader suspect that the narrative is leading him down a man-made trail through uncharted forests, deep and unfamiliar.  Thus, he is led through regions with unknowhn borders, and only occasionally do tidings of plenty reach him like a breath of fresh air."
Not only. in general he tended to read all books but he minimally touched the ones he thought were plenty of lurid description and where there wasn't any gentle touch in descriptions. His opinions of books, authors, are written down with clarity, and with a fertile mind attracted by a vision not just limited at a topic or two, but in perennial expansion in the most diversified fields of knowledge. He could read various books per times. Once he wrote that he completed more or less the same days  The Life of Jesus by Renan and The Bronte Family by Robert de Traz, rereading books he appreciated in the past. His reading was continuous and in a daily base, as also the one of answering and receiving letters or writing, intrigued also by books of authors with which he started to interact in Paris as Cocteau was. Conrad with An Outpost of Progress will let him think a lot. "A story that superbly describes the tranformation of civilized optimism into utter bestiality."

The biggest critic moved by Ernst regarding resistance and their opponent is the weakness of the most in particular middle class and aristocracy, but "They lack the authority and ability to oppose minds motivated only by violence."

There are important reflections about what Hitler was doing to sick people, Jewish, and also... in the future who will dominate Earth: humans or automatons?
I found fascinating the description of the day he spent with Picasso; his dissertations about life and death are truly fascinating. A trip in the Caucasus, and then his return to Paris on 1943 for leaving again in 1944. In one of his final entries Ernst wrote some verses written by Marcel Arland: "I love candied grapes / Because they have no taste, /I love camellias/ Because they have nof ragrance/ And I love rich men/ Because they have no heart./

I lost the count of books read by Ernst, mainly for trying to understand also what it was going on. He was also a voracious reader of The Bible. Trying to find rationality in an irrational moment is where possible indispensible for not become crazy, or hallucinated. Of course Junger didn't read a lot just for this reason. He was a writer and a man of culture, but he also searched to my point of view a sense, in history, religion, philosophy, sociology, art, a sense. Wherever it could be possible to finding some of it.

Remarkable book, stunning journals, informative, pretty stimulating, and in grade to add something more to our existence.

Highly recommended to everyone. A perect gift if you know someome in love for diaries, journals, history, Paris.

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

Anna Maria Polidori