martedì, luglio 14, 2020

La tenuta delle rose by Hannah Richell

A romantic love-story La Tenuta delle Rose by Hannah RICHELL
. Cloudesley    is a magical place for Lillian. The lady, old, alone with her memories and the story of an unforgettable past, one day falls sick and she asks for the arrival of her niece Maggie. After all she grew up Maggie and Maggie is the only person she trusts. Maggie remembers her granny with great affection but the idea of a big house that needs a lot of works of restoration, a granny pretty sick, discomfort her. But her granny called her to Cloudesley not just because of company, no, but because she needs to tell, and where possible setting free the past.

Lillian was married with an influential man but at a certain point, during a sunny summer fell in love for an artist. The sentiment was reciprocated; the two lovers will experience intense moments together and Jack arrived to asking her of leaving the house, the husband, everyone. They would have started a new existence somewhere else. Lillian couldn't abandon everyone; there wasn't just Charles close to him.

The day after a terrible fact will change again the existence of all these protagonists.


It's a story of past and present; of renewal and new beginnings, respecting what it was that house and what it is becoming; what it meant for Lillian and Jack that house and in particular a room, where everything happened.

I love the cover as well! Spectacularly relaxing!

If you want to read a romantic novel this one is for you!

Highly recommended.

I thank Garzanti for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

lunedì, luglio 13, 2020

Shine On by David Ditchfield

First of all, the story you will read in this book Shine on by  David Ditchfield

is absolutely true. 

It's the account of what experienced David Ditchfield when, once, was catched by the wheels of a speeding train rinking to die.

David spent a lot of time in a limbo pretty known by everyone as near-death experience, NDE, if you prefer the words abbreviated, and once he returned to life, and left that world, everything lived, seen and felt was so vivid, real; also for this reason wrote this book. 

But...Which was the first emotion once the horror was over and he was very sick? "....A beautiful blue sky. And I felt the air. Cold air on my face. And the warmth of the sunlight. And I thought to myself, what a beautiful blue sky."

The trip for returning to the normality was long because David had badly injured his left arm as well.

When he entered in the condition of near-death experience, David will tell "....This new world and this light feel so wondrous and fantastic and alive." 

David continues adding that in this light there was a Being, but it was a compassionate Being: "I feel safe, because I feel total trust in the love and compassion of this Being. There is no feeling of fear, no questioning, only acceptance. I feel loved to the very core of my soul."

Then there is another Being. Their bodies, the bodies of the Beings, if it's possible to use this expression, resemble the ones of the Native Americans but it was impossible to classify them in a scheme adopted in the world left behind. They were something else. Maybe David imagined them in a familiar shape to him so that they could be familiars. The Beings knew that this one was to him a new condition and they had to give nourishment to his soul. 

They tell him in the language of love: "Relax, you are safe, everything is well. You are loved."

Family, to him, starts to becoming like an old, distant memory; there is not anymore the urgency of speaking to them, or just reassuring them that he is safe; he is happy, surrounded by an extraordinary light and pure peace: maybe he doesn't feel the desire to return in his precedent world. 

He would want to try to see if his family can be spotted but what he sees is the entire universe. I have always thought that being composed by stardursts we are part of the Universe, or better, we are the universe; the birth of a star and the process of dying is too similar to the one of a human being. This reading is reassuring me a lot. My theories are corrects.

Irene, Dr.Wallis when David more OK, started to ask him questions about the moment of more profound stress experienced just few days earlier.

David was a drunker before this trauma and at the end will tell to Irene the experience he lived when very sick. Maybe you will know that doctors think that these episodes are chemical interactions of the body in extreme conditions.

When speaking with a therapist, David laments that no one would believe this story, if told.

But why did it happen? David's therapist is sure of it: "Your challenge in life is to bring back some of that unconditional love into your life now and show other people, who are struggling with similar issues, that it is possible to do so."

More, the therapist added the example of the most beloved President of the USA, Abraham Lincoln; his pasts, his failures, his poor education because too poor, his terrible losses, his depression didn't avoid him of becoming the President of the USA. 

David decides of asking for other advice and someone will tell him that: "We have the choice to follow our heart...should I eat this food, have this drink? Is this the right person for me to be with, given the life experiences I need to go through? I believe it’s our responsibility, our free will, our choice, to create a life that supports us on the journey, giving us experiences that make us feel more and more connected to who we really are."

David will start to painting. A fascinating trip, and the union of spirit and body for healing. A trip that means to him a lot of satisfaction. David will also join other activities and at the end he will also rediscover love. This book is for everyone. You can read it for curiosity or like a believer; it's not, after all, important. The important is the message of love spread by David and that I am more than sure will reach you completely being a very communicative and unique person.

The book can be read pretty quickly; there are many dialogues and it is not put in a heavy tone.

Highly recommended.

I thank John Hunt Publishing for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori 

sabato, luglio 11, 2020

Le Regole del Contagio L'Età Virale e le epidemie Come Nascono, Come si Diffondono, Come Scompaiono by Adam Kucharski

Le Regole del

Contagio L'Età Virale e le epidemie Come Nascono, Come si Diffondono, Come Scompaiono in english The Rules of Contagion Why Things Spread - And Why They Stop by Adam Kucharski is an amazing book published by Marsilio.

What is a contagion? This word is just used in medicine? Nope.

Thanks to the author, we will navigate in many fields, from the net, to social situations for "lighting" some episodes of contagion apparently distant from the world of medicine and viruses; they can be cases of suicides, delinquential situations, the tragedy caused by Lehmann and Brothers and other companies in 2008, but also private episodes involving only a person but that then, put virally, ended up for being known by everyone, with national and international resonance; creation of viruses and dangerous malwares.

Yes, this world is not exactly the one the Spanish Flu knew in 1918-1919, more closed, less interconnected and where news spread pretty lazily thanks to the fact that there was still the first world war and censorship in most countries; contagion in the internet era is practiced in a daily base and people are "infected" with simplicity, metaphorically of course. 

Fake news is an exaple of contagion, but also sharing pictures because asked. I guess you read in the past phrases like this one "Let's post in your profile the pic of your favorite cartoon;" of course it could be a movie star, singer etc; the most viral one recently, the profile pic with inserted the motto #IORESTOACASA during the lockdown.

We become infected and influenced when we are on the net because of the benevolent "influence" that a certain little behavior has in the psyche of people.

Illnesses are another story, and for example as remarks the author, it is difficult a comparison of a contagion caused by a virus as this pandemic flu is, and a viral situation propagated via the net. 

In the net  time is crucial for "infecting" people; an influenza pandemic caused by a virus in general is more lazy at first, taking its own time for finding, (imagine the virus as a "catcher of bodies"), susceptibles ones where to start its deadly long trip in the world. 

Once found and infected them, there is the phase of transmission of the virus thanks to these first individuals. 

Transmission of viruses are diversified.The HIV is catched via blood, or sexual transmission; a pandemic flu like the Covid-19 has a percentage of infection pretty high, and so social distancing, avoiding closed places, wearing masks, washing hands often are the best things to do.

Kucharsky will vividly described the existence of Ross; he wanted to become a man of letters; he ended up to be a doctor; a special one because studied the interaction that there was between mosquitos and malaria; he understood that leaving stagnating water all alone meant to mosquitos a dangerous proliferation in grade of attacking the body of people transmitting dangerous and fatal illnesses; he fought most of his existence spreading the message that the elimination of mosquitos in a massive way would have avoided new severe outbreaks of malaria and people would have seen the disappearance of the illness in the interested area or a big reduction. Ross will anticipate the times and will be soon followed by other researchers. 

It's a book, this one that will present you a complexity incredibly fascinating. If you want to understand much better the hidden part of the world where we live in, this book is for you! Plus, Kucharski, let me add this, is a real wonderful mind! Kucharski has the ability of telling stories captivatingly, with love, dedication and attention. 

Highly recommended.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

domenica, luglio 05, 2020

Comment faire entrer le dentifrice dans le tube? by Veena Prasad; illustrated by Rajiv Eipe and translated by Goofy

I confess that during the lockdown I downloaded a lot of ebooks. Tonight I focused my attention in an interesting children's books. It's french and the title is Comment faire entrer le dentifrice dans le tube? by Veena Prasad; illustrated by Rajiv Eipe and translated by Goofy. 

Toothbrush, toothpaste are voices incredibly common and very diversified in our times. We find toothpastes for all exigencies: whitest teeth, anti-sensibility, children's ones and same is for toothbrushes; they can be medium, hard, they can be electrics, colored. 

Well, once the story was different.

We are in New London, Connecticut, United States of America in 1878. 

Everyone had a sort of primitive old-fashioned toothbrush, and with that, every member of the family took, sharing happy viruses and bacteriums the "pate dentifrice" with the rest of the family. It was, in fact, put in a pot.

It wasn't hygienical at all. 

One day the son of a dentist, Sheffield refused to share his bacteriums with the rest of his family. That method didn't work at all and was insane thought the kid. Once a young boy afforded to Paris for studying as a dentist, when one day noticed a painter along the Sein; he used a metal tube for putting color on his palette. C'est genial! thought Sheffield. Just, Sheffield could not yet visualize his creation. He thought and thought: how  keeping safe the process of introduction of the pate dentifrice in the tube putting the pate dentifrice in the toothbrush without touching all together the pate dentifrice? Of course he sorted out the problem genially.  This children's book take also in consideration our times and our way of thinking and living the dental hygiene.

Beautiful! Highly recommended.

Anna Maria Polidori 

The Life of Imagination Revealing and Making the World by Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei

Interesting book The Life of

Imagination Revealing and Making the World by Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei.

What is imagination if not the door to the unknown? 

Imagination is a perennial exploration of the immense and endless possibilities of a human being that passes through creativity and wonder.


Imagination presents to the world a big possibility: the one to see a fantastic imaginative project becoming reality. 

We do see it everyday. Painters, writers, creatives of all the world tranform their imagination in something that we all later can touch, see, listen, watch, read.


In this particular moment imagination is crucially important because help us to escape somewhere else with our mind, in lands where there is much more peace, at the same time thinking creatively and being more productive because of this mental disconnection with the current events.


Man, also the primitive one, has always desired to leave a trace of himself; in the prehistoric age he created drawings in caves where he lived in; ancestrals and still not too elaborated ones, that, gave us back the idea of his existence.

Modern man meant a biggest complexity and a biggest urgency to him of demonstrating his intelligence, imagination, creativity, for the posterity, but first of all, for himself.

I found interesting the chapter were the existence of little babies is taken under examination with the various phases of development of the brain and consequent good elaboration or better, birth of imagination.

It is also true that imagination in the past has also seen as a negative threat for rationality. 

Plato thought that artists were affected by madness; Shakespeare analyzed imaginative distortions that brought sometimes at desperate conclusions, but also Pascal and Descartes developed a negative idea of imagination. Oliver Sacks: "Hallucinations and delusions originating in neurological disturbances, can cause disastrous conflicts with reality." 

Another aspect taken in consideration by modern studies is the daydreaming and other pathological conditions. 

Imagination is also great because thanks to it we can return to the past, our memories re-elaborated, read under various different lenses. Sometimes imagination could interfer with memory, in particular when crimes are taken in consideration. 

Kant focused in the little pleasure and things that can be found, completely free in grade of donating to  people pleasure. 

Einstein materialized his imagination through... imagines. He called the process: "a rather vague play, a combinatory play and an associative play."

Giotto read the frescos in Assisi to the author as a connection with a world that was ending and the birth of a new one, the Renaissance.

While Frost thought that imagination passed through nature, T.S.Eliot projected in Wasteland all the horror of the first world war, and the uncertainty of the future.

Proust lived an existence characterized by a nasty lung's illness so his imagination and memory transported him in a warm house, in contrast with that outside world to him dangerous sometimes.

Not only: memory brought to the mind of Proust places where he previously lived in and where he would have wanted to return with all himself.

A book plenty of examples from jazz, to cinema, passing through literature, philosophy, poetry, paintings, where creatives expressed their geniality and inconsummensurable talent thanks to a little word that meant the world to them and was, sometimes reason for a crucial escapism in sad times: imagination.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

giovedì, luglio 02, 2020

Digital Contact Tracing for Pandemic Response by Jeffrey Kahn

Virologists and scientists repeated like a mantra these past years: a pandemic flu is possible. It reached us with prepotence, death, desperation, fears, depression this year.

A pandemic flu changes the world but, in the middle what the world can do for trying to prevent new  Sars-Cov-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) or Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) patients? 

Digital Contact Tracing for Pandemic Response Project Johns Hopkins Project on Ethics and Governance of D

igital Contact Tracing Technologies  by Jeffrey Kahn explains the digital contact tracing. I personally joined with enthusiasm the new app called Immuni in Italy that, through bluetooth and smartphone position can signal if I am close to a positive patient. 

This way of surveillance, contact tracing, is extremely good because in complete anonymity is possible to stay informed in case we meet a positive patient. Plus, smartphone with the time became another part, better, an extension of our body, like masks and hands cleaner, so, said it, it is more than normal that governments want to adopt this sytem for keeping under control a pandemic flu reducing the risks of infections. People can't live without smartphone.

The Johns Hopkins University is the American University that everyday give us a fresh prospect of the point where we are at the moment in terms of infections and new cases; dead people, new cases, healed ones.

We started to recognize its page and everyday we wait anxiously to see the latest news.

Said that, the JHU "recognized the importance of helping to guide this process" as written in the book.

Some people are skeptical regarding this method, because of privacy and other ethical aspects. Let's see: there are three kind of approaches with the digitalization of the Covid-19: the one adopted by South Korea the strongest one; then a minimal approach and contact notification. In general digital data can be shared with public health authorities. 

These apps sees the location in general but they don't register it and there is complete anonymity. Apart the fact that positives to Covid should stay quarantined at home, but, let's say for example that a sick person is at the grocery story; if he/she communicated to the app his/her positivity, cheerful and still healthy people who met him/her along the way will be alerted of the good news: they spotted, met along their way a positive! 

Oh my! 

Of course no one will know who the infected person is for privacy. 

These apps are central in the pandemic process that it is going on for reducing the spread of, in particular SARS-COV-2 and Covid-19 because both these illnesses are not a joke; a pandemic means a shock for economy and for the social existence of people. It's a heavy period, sometimes not brief and of course there is more unhappiness in general. 

Contact tracing means identifiying positives, people they met along the way, close contacts, then quarantine them, monitoring the situation of people in quarantine, in case of positives at home the progression of the illness.

It's not the first time that smart phones and contact tracing had begun to develop this modality; HIV, gonorrhea, Ebola, although of course with different purposes.

A pandemic need a strong response and must pass also through digital tracking.

Highly recommended.

You can download this ebook for free in the site of the JHU.

Anna Maria Polidori 

mercoledì, luglio 01, 2020

Gone with the Wind the movie and latest polemics

I jumped on my chair when reading the newsmagazine days ago I understood that Gone with the Wind

was listed as a racist movie. 

"What???" I thought discomforted. 

What happened after the murder of Floyd has been an escalation of historic revisionism. 

Black Lives Matter meant a lot of pressure in the public opinion so that in various cities statues of past leaders were devastated, removed. An operation for cleaning consciences, and possibily, for forgetting  the sad past. 

Pity that...What has been has been and can't be changed. 

It's printed in books of history and books of history can't be rewritten. 

Symbols can be put aside, but the centrality of the racial problem remains: a statue, a symbol can't replace hundreds of years of humiliation and separated existences.

The USA has a history of profound, incredibly radicated racism and should start from that point for bettering the situation, not removing or destroying statues of Columbus or other leaders of the past, simply because it doesn't change the situation. 

Searching dialogue and not distances, living closely to black people and not in separated places; making movies mixing white and black actors, and not just promoting black or white movies;  for what I understood, trying to better the police corp! keeping humans and not cruels police men, because it's not important if you are white or black, when you are stopped somewhere in the USA also as a tourist by police men for what told me a friend, that one will be the the scariest experiences that you can prove; it musn't exist, because a control doesn't imply anything else than an innocent control. And trust me, you can be absolutely white! My friend was white.

Police men should be educated for giving assistence, of course for punishing, but passing through a correct and educated behavior with everyone. It's not possible to kill people in this way for a control.

Said that, Gone with the Wind. 

The first time I watched that movie I was with my aunt Dina. Aunt Dina was fascinated by the character of Mammy. She worked as a maid when she lived in Rome, in the center of the city and she remembered the experience with enthusiasm, so maybe she saw in Mammy some treats she had.

Mammy is absolutely a devoted lady, and she constantly tell to Scarlet her opinions regarding her behaviors in the society. She doesn't live in an intimidating place where she can't speak, she can't express her personality; she has a strong personality and she affirms what she wants. When black people became free she considered the story without importance; after all she hadn't never been a slave and no one treated her in that way. So, under many ways as we can see again, it's the way in which people are treated, or how people treat others that can make the difference in their existence. Mammy was happy in Tara, with Scarlett and the O'Haras and she didn't want to change anything of her existence.

The same Rhett will fight for conquer the respect of a skeptical Mammy, when eventually married Scarlett. Mammy did not have a great idea of Rhett, but later, Rhett will conquer her and only in that moment he will be completely happy.

There is not just Mammy, other Tara's workers, after the Secession War will be helpful, will save the life of Scarlett and will return to work for her. They were treated very well, and they were an integrant part of the family.

Who was seen as real evil were Nordists in the movie. In that sense the movie is strong, reporting violences of nordists, various prepotences because after that they won the war, they felt the sensation that they were the new lords of the South. The same Mitchell returned home before ending the school at the Smith College in Massachusetts because she didn't like the Yankees. She had a curious personality. She also guessed that she would have lost the existence with a car incident. Prophetic.

You can tell me that Scarlett was hard with Prissy, but Prissy was an irritating, false, superficial creature; she told to Scarlett that she was in grade to help her when the baby of Melania would have arrived in the world and it was not true. The violent reaction of Scarlett was absolutely normal and to my point of view, she would have slapped a black or a white in that way, because she wanted to return to Tara, she wanted to forget the horrible scenarios she saw in a daily base in Atlanta, she wanted to forget the horror brought by a war, she didn't want to be in Atlanta but she had to because...Because of Melania.

Rossella felt for Melania conflictual feeelings; she was her sister-in-law because Scarlett married Charles, Melania's brother but...Melania was also the wife of Ashley Wilkes. Scarlett simply adored him.

But...It's the not end of the story. The movie as the book are not racists, but the premieres of the movie has experienced limitations for the black actors. Mammy Harrie McDaniel for example could not attend all the Atlanta's celebrations when the movie released because of the segregational laws; Hattie received the Best Supporting Actress Oscar on Febr 29, 1940, the first black winner. 

Not only: when they started to filming someone noticed separated toilets for black people. James Tumblin a photographer decided to speak of this topic with Clark Gable. Glable, infuriated said to Selznick. "If those toilets are still here tomorrow, I won't be!" Gable would have given up with filming if black people not treated as white people were treated. Toilets were immediately removed.

Selznick confronted his opinions with some African American Journalists. They wanted a human script, remarkably good. Selznick was seeing what it was going on to Jews around the world; racial thematic to him was important and as he said: "I feel so keenly about what is happening to the Jews of the world that I cannot help but symphatize with the Negroes."

In a scene at the beginning of the movie, the moment of prayer, all the people of Tara,  from children to adults, from workers to members of the O'Hara family prayed together without distances, without segregation and without differences.

If there has been a movie in grade to make a difference in the racial situation of the USA, to me this one has been Gone with the Wind, so I just hope that this polemic would be over soon, because absolutely ridiculous.

Anna Maria Polidori 

lunedì, giugno 29, 2020

Il Prigioniero degli Asburgo Storia di Napoleone II Re di Roma by Alessandra Necci

What an interesting book Il Prigioniero degli

Asburgo Storia di Napoleone II Re di Roma by Alessandra Necci is. This one is the singular story of little Napoleon II and his tragic destiny at the cold court of the Asburg.

This book doesn't just treat the short life-story of Franz, as later they would have called him but also the one of Napoleon, in a wondeful fresco of fights, dominations, defeats, and sad ends. 

Famous, intelligent, prestigious and rich, once he lost his power thanks to viscious people close to him and personal errors like the campaign in Russia, will be abandoned by everyone. 

He committed an error when he married that girl from Austria, Maria Luisa. French people tried Marie Antoinette, another austriac girl, but she was a big delusion; this one would have been the same. 

But no: absolutely a worsest version of Marie Antoinette to my point of view, this Maria Luisa. 

Marie Antoinette died with the husband, she followed him in his sad destiny; they escaped away together, Maria Luisa disappeared completely from the existence of Napoleon, uninterested at the new life she would have had with him, frugal, not anymore splendid at the Elba. Her dad would have introduced to her another man, with which she had children once she was still married with Napoleon; but, first of all she returned to Austria, for abandoning there  little Franz, in that Austriac Court that would have been his cage for enjoying her new life in Italy with her companion and new children.

Napoleon adored Franz.

When he divorced from Josephine he did it also because he needed to have a successor; he became in the while emperor and a kid was indispensible.

The choices the wrongest one, because Austrians were acute and smart politicians; they manouvred Napoleon with great sophistication. Napoleon was a man of action, that ones were men who enjoyed the idea of destroying him with all themselves.

The operation was conducted successfully well by Metternich, an evil soul as you will see. But you see: business is business, we could read this story in that way.

At first Maria Luisa appears happy and cheerful with his groom. Surrounded by luxury, she had everything she wanted; she didn't have any kind of maternal affection and once born the little baby, very sweet and cute, she preferred spending her time in other activities. Painting, walking, racing with horses, everything but not to see around that baby. Napoleon adored the little one, who, in his idea would have become the king of Rome. Dominations of Napoleon had great vastity; but his campaign in Russia meant the end of his military successes like also the perennial fight with a powerful state like the Church was.

The governess of this little baby considered the wife of Napoleon a discutible person because she didn't care at all of this poor little baby.

Franz, affectionated to his mother didn't understand this behavior, but after all, his existence was beautiful! surrounded by people in love for him. 

Then the wind changed, they, mom and son rushed away, abandoning France for Austria, where the kid became someone else; a sick boy, plenty of maladies, segregated in various castles: everything, from letters to books he read were checked and controlled, because Franz hadn't to remember sunny France, his past, and first of all his daddy: Napoleon. He was a prisoner but he did never understand this. 

To Napoleon the defeats and that kid so distant to him, impossible to see anymore meant a big disgrace. 

The brainwashing operated on Franz was made under many levels; he could not speak french anymore but just the local language, slowly slowly french people affectionated to him and part of the staff of the kid were removed, fired, for giving place to austriac people. 

The existence of this boy has been completely manouvred; he hasn't never had freedom.

When some friends proposed him of escaping away,  the young boy, constantly followed and without the same adventurous spirit of his dad, because his spirit killed by many malicious, horrible people, and so chained, trapped, procrastinated, for personal fears and because maybe the unknown, for someone kept in a cage the entire existence as he  was, meant to leave his comfort zone and probably he was scared of the sentiments that he could have proved.

No one knows if he had relationships;  it is known that girls fell in love for him; he was slim, blond, very tall and absolutely attractive. A person who later we would have met as another hard person, Sofia, the mother of Emperor Franz Joseph with which Sissi had violent discussions with, was in her young age a completey different girl. She helped a lot Franz during his short existence, she was a normal girl with good sentiments; his death meant to her a big shock and... fever; once she recovered her character changed forever, becoming pessimistic, hard and closed, without any kind of compassion as the one we later would have known.

I personally found a great compassion and sadness for this kid, and young boy, because he was a real prisoner and no one should be kept prisoner. Maybe it was great that he died so soon. I imagine his soul incarnated somewhere else, loved, appreciated by people and for once, free to be who he wanted to be.

Not just a "problem" to keep under control, not just someone who needed to be tamed. It's horrible and devastating what it was done with this kid, and when people act in this way at many levels is devastating;  things like these ones should never happen because it means stealing the existences of people and no one should do that.

I suggest this book to everyone. 

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

sabato, giugno 27, 2020

Coming Home to Greenleigh by Maya Rushing Walker

Coming Home to

Greenleigh by Maya Rushing Walker is a delicious love story and at the same time a vivid portrait of New England, its little towns and people. Traditions, old houses, old habits are the main thematic of the books. We discover that Beth, the protagonist is the owner of a very old house built in the 1700s and with serious heat system problems. She did various different works although she is a lawyer poorly paid: she needs to implement her work because of the house. She does a lot of sacrifices. She doesn't cut anymore her hair from two years, and she lives with simplicity. The old house is cold but a good warm cup of tea can do myracles.

The day of her interview at the firm where she is interested to work with, she will discover that the man she will speak with is Shawn, her biggest love. For many reasons, this love-story ended up. Shawn decided to start a new existence in New York where found a great job at Wall Street. He is back home from the Big Apple because his father hasn't been well and they have a large factory.

Of course love between them is never completely finished and many things must be said....

But at the same time Elizabeth find a new client in Angela Stuart. This lady after 40 years of marriage wants to divorce. ..Oh no, it's not like you can imagine. It hasn't been a story of betrayel, but of indifference regarding her existence.

While Elizabeth is discovering everyday more regarding Angela and her husband, Shawn is a good friend of Angela's husband. 

What will happen?

This one is a  book written with love, sentiment,

that I warmly suggest for spending some relaxing time.

I thank the author for the copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori 


lunedì, giugno 22, 2020

The Art of Making Magazines On Being an Editor and Other Views from the Industry Edited by Victor S. Navasky and Evan Corneg

The Art of Making Magazines On Being an Editor

and Other Views from the Industry Edited by Victor S. Navasky and Evan Corneg is a new book by Columbia University Press that, to my point of view, every journalist interested in printed words should read. 

These short essays, very readable also for common readers are like gems and they arrive from people who made the history of American Journalism. 

Written for students of Journalism, these advices reach the heart of everyone.

I start with a consideration made by Felix Dennis. An editorial person should "Put themselves in the shoes of the reader and provide what the reader wants, wheter or not the reader knew what they wanted before they opened the magazine."

Because, continues Dennis "It  comes from emphaty with your readers." Another suggestion is this one: "If the company you work for will not recognize that and prefers a quiet corporate life without annoying interruptions from uppity editorial juniors, my advice is simple: leave 'em. You won't learn anything worthwhile there, no matter what they pay you."

John Gregory Dunne focuses on the importance of the journalist and written words.

The singer, explains Dunne, becomes more important than the song; every journalist reports in an unicity that it is a mixture of his existence and sensibility. A recognizable, unique "DNA".

Ruth Reichl maybe was the one I found more nice because she became a food journalist for case for the New West magazine, California. She was electrified! of course. The magazine  paid her a dinner to the restaurant she needed to review. She decided to write down a hylarious and absolutely wonderful, different piece from the one read in other magazines.

It was a big success and for several time she loved to entertained the readers of the New West, when the Los Angeles Times knocked to her door. 

What to do? She tells that she didn't like L.A. at all, but ...You know it was the L.A.Times. 

So, she started a completely different work, and, she admits candidly, she didn't know anything of real journalism. She wrote for the New West sometimes surreal stories warmly appreciated but...This one was a newsmagazine, the style and offer to these readers needed to be a different. A beautiful story!

Roberta Myers will explain how to become a successful editor-in-chief of a Women's Magazine. Roberta worked for Rolling Stone, changing for Interview; then the work with Hachette group, the creation of a new magazine for teenagers; again she discovered racial frictions when she proposed, and later was approved the cover with Will Smith on it. Roberta wanted to change air and asked to a friend of her of hiring her at the New York Times. This friend has never taken in consideration the offer, but convinced Roberta that what she was doing was right and women magazine are important if written intelligently.

Myers worked so for InStyle, later joining Elle. Although Elle is french, tells Myers, Elle Usa is the most influential one. 

Roberta's advices once you get the job: "Read. Watch. Listen.Be the person who knows the most about whatever it is that you are interested in....Be enthusiastic, be humble."

Peter Canby, the New Yorker and fast-checking. Canby told the importance of fast-checking for presenting high accuracy to the readers of the magazine. Their work can be monotonous. but it is indispensible for avoid errors in the printed and digital edition.

Substantially a fast-checker has in the hands every section of the magazine. 

Nonfiction pieces are sorted out with the help of the writer; names and dates must be right. Sometimes magazines forget to publish pieces. It happens. Once the New Yorker waited 20 years before to publish a piece sent by a young journalist. In the while this girl married a man, she has had a daughter, the daughter married someone, divorcing later.

Another wonderful advice: "..When the interview is done you put your notebook in your pocket, you put your pen away...and then the person stops you and says the most important thing of all....You spin the conversation as long as you can get. ...and you write down after the fact...This is the way reporting happens."

Barbara Walraff is a copy-editor. They are extremely important and their work is immensely important. Some reporters are not good at their job. Writers good at their work don't have the time to polish their work. It's a story of punctuation, style, spelling and grammar. 

These 12 essays are great for new journalists but also to all the rest of reporters. 

A beautiful, fresh book for everyone!

Highly recommended.

Anna Maria Polidori 


venerdì, giugno 19, 2020

The Self-Help Compulsion Searching for Advice in Modern Literature by Beth Blum

I confess: I adore self-help books and wherever there is a self-help book I must read it. I love the idea of an author thinking that he/she has in his/her mind the proper recipe for my problems and the ones of my readers. They're books I read with joy and attention because there is inside a mixture of psychology and good proposals. Some of them pass through Christian prayers, the presence of God. 

So, when I noticed this book by Columbia, The Self-Help Compulsion Searching for Advice in Modern

Literature by Beth Blum I thought I had absolutely to read it. Let's start to saying that maybe the first self-help book promoter in the modern age, the beginning of 1900s was Dale Carnegie. We are in the Modernism.

His How to Win Friends and Influence People was one of the best books of that times  while authors like Lenny Bruce and Toby Young  published first parodies in How to Talk Dirty and Influence People and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. You musn't be surprised. Once published The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien the Harvard Lampoon published The Bored of the Rings.

In the case of Carnegie, no one felt that he was a serious author because he did want to change the path of literature and the reasons why it was born: for presenting beauty in the world. 

The proposal of Carnegie passed more practically through a biggest involvement of all  social classes, including the working-class, so that everyone could have a word of comfort and could search for proper answers, escaping the most common problems thanks to that book.

Self-help books are not just books for our soul, no. Most of them pretend of letting us understand much better also modernists authors like James Joyce; these authors  were not accessible to everyone and  maybe they needed to be "revealed" much more to the so-called common reader. 

A writer doesn't mind if he is understood; he doesn't write in function of being understood by his/her readers, and Joyce was not the only hermeneutic writer known around.


Writers didn't see with positivity the arrival of self-help books because they distracted potential readers, that maybe would have neglected and snobbed their books for these ones. 

You musn't never think that self-help books were born with Carnegie. They have always existed! Till the ancient Rome. A symbol was Cicero with his De Officiis.

Self-help books meant also the understanding of nature, seasons, thanks to modern Almanacs  plenty o jokes, recipes, events, curiosities. 

Not only but self-help books tried to read the various big authors as saviors of the rest of the humanity. So you musn't be surprised if someone wrote: "How Proust can Change your Life."

Self-help books with the time became influentials: they started to influence the same literature embracing at the same time every possible field: from science to sociology.

More recently, we can read, as wrote the New Yorker Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert as a self-help book because of the traumatic experience and changes wanting by the same writer of this book. After all every woman can experience that state of mind sorting out problems in creative ways. 

Isn't is Eat, Pray, Love a modality for re-discover the self and our centrality as women in the society?

Self-help books were and are for everyone because they embrace all the possible fields of knowledge. Some African pamphlets published by a Nigerian's publishing house, the Onitsha Market included also Hard to Get but Easy to Spend and also How to Start Life and End it Well (sounds great!) and How to Live Better Life and Help Yourself. 

Of course different societies has had their own gurus or people who reached the heart of people. 

In modern times John Gray has experienced a big success with his Men are from Mars, Women from Venus. This self-help book like other ones has been translated in Chinese as well! because independently where we live in, everyone search for happiness or good advice for a best life or for understanding better his/her partner.

The same Flaubert in his latest book Bouvard et Pecuchet published in 1881 approaches the self-help element. The story is the one of two men who inherited a large fortune leaving Paris and their work for moving in a country enjoying full time their hobbies. Self-help, gratification, living a good existence doing what a person love to do start to enter in the mind of readers but mainly in the ones of writers. It's a crucial point this one. 

Not everyone was happy of a novelty like this one was.

Someone wrote: "There is no longer an office of the mind, but an office of recipes; the products of thought are priced like merchandise in a boutique."

In modern time, and with more than a touch of religiosity I signal to all of you Reverend Norman Vincent Peale, founder of Guideposts who, in recent decades wrote The Power of Positive Thinking, that I guess is in all our shelves.

There is not just Peale. If your dream is to become rich why not reading Hamid's novel: How to Get Filthy Rich?

Self-help books during the Victorian Age became powerful tools, books of great importance for keeping people informed or more learned than what they were, in particular if members of the working class so with less possibility of enlarging cultural skills.

Beautiful book, informative and extremely interesting.

I love the cover too. It says everything and it's friendly.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori