domenica, dicembre 27, 2020

Buonvino e il Caso del Bambino Scomparso by Walter Veltroni

 Buonvino e il Caso del Bambino Scomparso


by Walter Veltroni is a new book published by Marsilio. 


I read it all yesterday. Buonvino, in english Goodwine, is a commissioner of police, pretty inclusive and under many ways, dreaming. 

He is alone, and in his wallet collects several imagines of his ideal woman. 

He has been left several times and share his flat with two cats named after two famous Milanists soccer players of the 1980s. 

The door of his office is kept constantly opened because he loves to hear what it is going on around and because he wants to share with the rest of his colleagues and police-men what he does. 

His team is very good and after the first case sorted out successfully, and that donated him a lot of fame, someone suggests him of adding new elements in his staff. Buonvino is affectionated to all his men although they are not perfects, but the best human beings he could have found around, and with a certain reluctancy adds two people at the team; one of them is a police man pretty racist (but there is a sad story behind) the second is a femme fatale, who, immediately attracts the fantasies of Buonvino. 


The book is set in the middle of the pandemic flu, spring 2020 describing how certain events at the end of 2019 lived by the protagonist as a premonition of what would have happened later. 


Buonvino is a good man, with strong notions and a solid  cinematographical culture.


One day, when he was spending some time relaxed after the national lockdown in Villa Borghese one of the most beautiful corners of Rome, where people enjoy to share some time, meets a girl called Daniela. Daniela needs help: she wants to know where his beloved brother Aldo is. 


Aldo disappeared 10 years ago, so this one is a cold case!


The disappearance of Aldo left frustrations and sadness in Daniela's family and a profound personal remorse for not having paid attention at his brother as the parents suggested her to do the day of his disappearance; his father apparently lost the existence because of a suicide and her mother became crazy, starting to paint everyday in the terrace of the house, with good or bad weather; horrible paintings, let's add this. That lady has a horrible laugh.


The investigation appears complicated because a lot of time passed by, but also because this cold case has various diversified important tracks that must be analyzed, and certain aspects that, in the previous investigation were left behind. 


The first, and maybe more banal consideration the one of a dangerous mind, a paedhophile who decided to capture the little Aldo. Aldo was just 5 years old when disappeared. 

Pornography is another important element although, as Buonvino will discover pretty soon, the story is completely different. The father of Aldo was an important man who made wagons of money thanks to a method created in the 1950s for stealing money at people. So, after all, maybe the point was this one...


I can't tell you the rest, just, I found it surreal, let me add this, and the end is open and uncertain. When I finished this book I found a profound sadness for Daniela, the sister of Aldo, because lies are endless in that family.  


The book analyzes a broken family with punctuality, describing the eccentricities of sufferance and personal egoisms. In the book you will find also dreaming stories of internal romantic fantasies of the various protagonists and touching encounters.


There is a strong delicacy in this book and a romantic, sometimes shy vision of the existence. 



Highly recommended.


I thank Marislio for the physical copy of this book.


Anna Maria Polidori 


  









venerdì, dicembre 25, 2020

Rilke's Venice The City in Eleven Walks by Birgit Haustedt

 Rilke's Venice


The City in Eleven Walks by Birgit Haustedt is a new, captivating and romantic book by Haus Publishing; this time this cultured book mixes Venice, literature and Rilke's trips in the city.


The existence of Rilke was absolutely particular.


I was bewitched by him when I read his Notebook of Maltes Laurids Briggs.


With this book, a literary trip in eleven walks, we will follow pretty closely the steps of the poet and writer in the city, understanding much more his passions, special friends, and we will have the priviledge of observing Venice with Rilke's eyes.


Rilke travelled continuously during his existence and didn't have an address, or a house, or furniture; nothing; he loved to buy and to bring with him wherever he went lot of books, pencils, pens, but not much else.


Venice was the city he was more in love with.


Rilke could be a man in love for luxury when he could afford it; he also loved cheap choices when he could not do anything different; most of the time spent his trips to Venice in the house of the Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis - Hohenlohe in the Grand Canal. 


The princess was more than happy of helping this young friend, very different from the person he had imagined (he was so young! confessed the princess) sharing with him her apartment and more, introducing him to his friends and men of letters and artists located in Venice. 


When he could, Rilke stayed also in luxury hotels of the city located in the Grand Canal, appreciating it; in the Grand Canal there was also the house of the Princess; the Lido was another beloved place where Rilke loved to swimming in, adoring the beach at the same time; he also rented a capanno at the lido; he was in love for Piazza San Marco, sometimes over-crowded, complained the beloved poet. 

Yes, Rilke would have wanted Venice just for himself being in love for the city!


Venice, although we are at the beginning of the 1900 became to be over-populated by tourists; they annoyed him a lot, like also the presence of children playing close to his window and so disturbing his concentration when he was creating something.


Being vegetarian thanks to a friend of him, diligently Rilke researched restaurants where they served food for these kind of people, but at that time it was a sort of lost battle; although it was hard and difficult, Rilke maintained his habits.


Once a friend of him suggested a place, the Romanelli's little pension where he would have found a lot of peace in Venice, spending a cheap soum of money. The premise was fantastic! 


The arrival, traumatic! 


The Romanelli pension was a shock for the poet; at the beginning there was, with his arrival a lot of embarassment, because this little reality was owned by two sisters and a maid; they were waiting for a lady, and they saw that the lady was, realistically a young and beauty man; Rilke, at the same time, waited for a cheap place, but Romanelli was less than what he had imagined. 

But... Surprise! at the end Rilke fell in love for the youngest sister Romanelli and his creativity increased incredibly in the following months. 


The relationship with ms. Romanelli, although powerful, at the end ended. 

She continued to love the poet for all her existence, although ms.Romanelli was kept by him at a proper distance. Rilke continued to follow ms. Romanelli and her personal events, helping her when he could, but then decided to move on and not meeting her anymore.


A place fascinated him a lot was the Venetian Ghetto. Created centuries before, when Rilke was in Venice, just some people, still many, the poorest part of the community, continued to live there; the other ones, rich, became part of the city of Venice. The ghetto was born for keeping at distance jewish people arrived and considered dirty; Venetians realistically were very similar at Jewish people, real business men; Venetians  "presented" them the dirtiest place of the city; but that ghetto became for the fertile Jewish community their strength and power because although isolated they created an unique and strong reality with their creativity. 


Rilke was bewitched also by Tintoretto and the little island of San Giorgio Maggiore, recommended by the poet at his friends, the church ai Gesuiti, the Doge's Palace, and many more other corners. Each walk is followed or integrated with some poems Rilke dedicated to the city, or letters written for explain some parts of the city at some of his friends. 


His last trip to Venice in 1920 was lived more conflictually because at lot of things changed in the while: war was over, the pandemic spanish flu was over, but the city in the while, with these traumatic events, changed; Rilke was changed as well. There were frictions.


Rilke left behind him, in Venice, many estimators of his poems and his production.


What did to Rilke mean travelling?


Travelling to Rilke meant fascination and thanks to this fascination he could create his poems. Rilke was in love for Venice because of its richness of artistic creations and literature and because of its unicity. 


Rilke loved to walk and covered miles and miles when in the city, because when visited "La Serenissima" stayed for several weeks or months every time.

He was a great traveler; Russia, the Nile; Paris was another of his favorite places where to live in.


Rilke loved to write letters and also in these letters is visible his love and passion for this city; letters were indispensible to him and they remain all a little piece of art. Rilke, more than any other poet was in grade of let us see in words, feelings, sentiments, emotions, and places.


Very centered and stimulating book, everyone should have this special literary travel guide when in Venice!


Highly recommended.


I thank Haus Paublishing for the physical copy of the book.


Anna Maria Polidori 


 

martedì, dicembre 22, 2020

In Prima Persona Una memoria controcorrente by Alain Finkielkraut

 In Prima Persona Una memoria controcorrente by


Alain Finkielkraut is a stunning philosophical book with a good and friendly approach; it's for every kind of reader. 


It starts with a lucid analysis of the jewish condition. Yes, Alain didn't ask too much to his parents, he confesses and what happened during the Holocaust remained between the lines, although his father remarked: no more an horror like that one. No, the Holocaust didn't at first touch Finkierlkraut, too absorbed by his studies and life but...


It wasn't the end, but just the beginning.


Although there is an endless literature plenty of memories of what happened,  first people's tales from the horror about the horror, Anne Frank, Primo Levi, two examples, Alain discovered with sadness and surprise what the revisionism wanted to affirm: that what told by jewish people was not the truth; with the time Alain discovered with apprehension that, to some groups of people, the Holocaust was affirmed, it was not an invention, but exxagerated. 


In this confusion, the situation of Jewish people reclaiming a State returned to be again matter of different kind of confrontation; in this world always more confused, always more populated by english language, where french language is mispelled, not treated well, and where everything is cultural without to be culturally good, we discover also that on Sept 11 2001, there was something else that was going on in the world; not only anti-semitism, but the understanding that a war of values, civilities was going on and no one noticed it; it was like a phantom; it was close to us, but we didn't notice it till at the moment in which the Twin Towers and more than 3000 souls disappeared in a few minutes.

In France laicity and values of the nation affirmed a lot of time ago are incredibly important; and what to say of Notre-Dame? A wonderful cathedral, but much more a symbol for the city and for the entire western catholicity. The shock of the big fire confirmed the big attachment, catholics or not, of every parisienne and men of this world.

Tourism with the time has destroyed the best parts of the world affirms Alain Finkielkraut; every little town, big city, became  a product, not a reality to explore. The tourist should avoid a place, for saving it adds Alain and in this sense I remember the situation of Venice. Before the pandemic flu the city was in big distress because there were too many tourists; tourists are different from the ones of the past, and everyone can travel. Every space, corner of a town is used for touristic purposes, but doing it the place loses its soul, populated as it is by wagons of people and a lot souvenirs.


Plenty of confessions, reflections, doubts, certainties, with a lot of biographical touches this book is.

Alain had prestigious teachers and professors, studied in eminent schools, met along the way Milan Kundera, who, adds the author, opened his universe not just at philosophical abstraction, but literature. I loved this idea of  good book as expressed by Alain: "Big books Read Us" not the opposite.



Highly recommended.


I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.


Anna Maria Polidori

lunedì, dicembre 21, 2020

La Campana di Marbach Antonio Ligabue Romanzo dell'Artista da Giovane by Renato Martinoni

 La Campana di Marbach Antonio Ligabue Romanzo dell'Artista da Giovane


by Renato Martinoni published by Guanda is the second book of the author about Antonio Ligabue. If in the first one that I reviewed months ago published by Marsilio  Antonio Ligabue Gli Anni della Formazione Martinoni treated the formation years of the painter, in this one the author treats and reveals Antonio Ligabue's childhood and origins.


It was a sad beginning the one of Ligabue in this world. 


He was the son of the sin as once were called children born without a father. 


Maria Elisabetta her mother was born at Cencenighe. In the misery that there was, her family lived in dignity. 


She was a cioda, a girl who went for work somewhere else during the good season, doing domestic and outdoor works. She was also good at it, and in particular the Kofler family, treated her very well.

Her future didn't appear after all too miserable, but once, returned to his town once, and because of the long winter, she made good friendship with a carbonèr, Martino, and legend after legend, told by the carbonèr to an enchanted Maria Elisabetta close to some good glasses of wine, the two made love and Maria Elisabetta became... pregnant.


Who was Martino: a real man or a matharol a mythological creature of the Alps in grade of destroying the existence of  this pretty young girl? After all Martino looks like a matharol...

Rejected by her family, Maria Elisabetta finds another boyfriend, disgraceful unfortunately also this one, Bonfiglio Laccabue.


13 Years later, Maria Elisabetta, three children, a fourth one buried, a fifth, Antonio Laccabue given to a family for economical reasons is a woman completely destroyed.She is desperate. She lives of charity, asking for some coins during the day, and the night she goes out, searching for some food in  closest gardens, stealing something to eat, like also her children do; her husband, the one who recognized Antonio, is a drunker. Her family is so miserable that her desire of ending this existence is big.


Then,like in an hallucination, one night, when she wanted to kill herself and her daughter, she meets Martino again. He changed with the time, they talked briefly and then Martino presented her a red ball asking for a pair of knocks; then he gave her also some lard. Once home, Maria Elisabetta  prepares the dinner at the children adding at the pasta the lard. During the night all her children died; she died later, to the hospital, after many and horrible sufferances.


Years before Martino told her the story of the matharol. Once upon a time there was a Matharol and this Matharol could become a red ball. A girl decided of stealing the red ball, thinking that no one would have seen the absence of that little red ball but a matharol doesn't joke....


While Maria Elisabetta spent a sad and absolutely unhappy existence till at that absolutely horrible, horrible death! a family in love with the idea of having a child, asked for a kid and Antonio Laccabue enters in the family of the Gobels. 


The Gobels remains a very different family if compared to the Laccabue, although, once the little Antonio enters in their existence brought new thoughts in the existence of this couple because Antonio appeared immediately a difficult kid with mental issues and also physical ones. Antonio in fact was often starved when lived with Maria Elisabetta and his step-father, and this problem brought several and severe mental and physical consequences.

.

Antonio, found an adorable family; in particular her second mother was an excellent person. She tried everything for bettering the existence of Antonio and also when Antonio, plenty of anger, said her nasty things, she continued to adore him.


These two people cured in many ways Antonio mentally as well, finding for him a wonderful place where to stay when a teen-ager. Bad companies, and also a temper not always great convinced that christian people that unfortunately Antonio couldn't be recuperated with simplicity. 


But...There was some hope. He loved to painting. He was fascinated by animals.


He was, yes, strange, not a common person, but the sufferances Antonio brought in his soul and body were also part of the genetical "patrimony" of his real dad, Martino; Martino and his father worked in places where brain and lungs became intoxicated by chemical substances and both of them became weird, people classified like crazy; people who, at the end, lost their minds. 


Once at home, her adoptive mother denounced Antonio, and Switzerland didn't want him anymore; Antonio, so, was brought in Italy, where he met success and where his art became to be known.


A beautiful and moving book, the author enters in thoughts and minds of the various characters with great reality and with a peculiar, particular writing-style. 


I thank Guanda for the physical copy of the book.


Anna Maria Poliori 







 



lunedì, dicembre 14, 2020

TAXI! A social History of the New York City Cabdriver by Graham Russel Gao Hodges

 TAXI! A social


History of the New York City Cabdriver by Graham Russel Gao Hodges is a wonderful account of, maybe, the most important symbol of New York City: taxis. 


But...Do you know their history?


Let's start to saying that the author, now a professor of History and Africana, once a student in a NYC university, searching for a work in grade to bring some food on his table met along the way this one. It was wonderful because of course permitted him the discovery of a city, and at the same time the possibility of earning a lot of money with fun.


Of course later Hodges left for discovering new horizons but he hasn't never forgotten this work-experience that signed his existence and that he goes proud of, reconstructing so in this book the story of the NYC taxi, from the foundation, at the beginning of 1900s when someone understood that the European experiment noticed when in the Old Continent could be imported also in the New World. 


Of course at first taxis were differents, and there were also other problems to fix, but with the time they became what they are today. 


Who were at first taxi drivers? Jewish, Italians, Irish although they were not yet regarded as American. Of course the introduction of this new vehicle meant for NYC a less safe place where to walking in or where to driving in. 


In the Age of Prohibition taxi were also part of this program. The publication of a first taxi driver memoir revealed also who were men driving taxis: gunmen gorillas, people who serve a district leader at election time and get a certain amount of protection in return. Not only: these first memoires speak again the language of a rampant racisms between the various working classes of the ethnic groups involved in the work. But it was when the police department took control of the cab industry that taxi drivers wore uniforms and they had to be "temperamentally fit for the job."


Cabdrivers disagreed and they wanted to force Daly to resign but without success.

With the time taxi drivers made great money also thanks to prostitution and bootlegging. 

There was the birth, in fact, in NYC of new locals of the most diversified genre.


The decade from the 1940-1950 was characterized by a big prosperity for cabdrivers although sacrifices imposed by war. Also, when returned home from war, most veterans started a new career as taxi drivers. Also, drivers were more comfy while driving and the service for everyone, guests and cabdrivers for sure was better. Not only: but during the war many women became cabdrivers! arriving during the war at 68!


Some cabdrivers reached also fame working in a tv program called This is Your Life.


A reporter Damon Runyon wrote a story on them called Pete Hankins and during this decade a writer and his cabdriber, worked together for the creation of a series of stories involving the category. With the masterpiece of D.H.Salinger The Catcher in the Rye, the portrait of the cabdriver become hilarious.


If the second world war created a good humus for cabdrivers and their work, the 1950s ended in much poverty for the entire category.


The 1960s opened with a new redefinition of the category and thinking that, after all, cabdriver could become testimonials for several products. 


Their popularity raised again although they understood that popularity could also mean danger because medias could distort their work.


There were in the 1970s tensions between cabdrivers and african americans; when a colleague of them of hispanic origin, Benjamin Rivera 40 years, was killed, there was a great demonstration of all the NYC's taxists for the funeral of the 40 years old man.


Taxi Driver is one of the most iconic movies of all the times and portray the taxist as an invisible man, maybe a witness, "someone invisible to his fellow men", writes the author.

But it's in this decades that taxi drivers at least received a stable union, medical benefits and pension.


In the 1980-2010 taxi drivers have seen new characters entering in the category: Indians, Pakistans, Russians, Africans, Asians: but people fell and fell in love for them. Andy Wharol confessed that loved to take everyday taxis in the city, but also common citizens; they have always thought that it is the safest way for reaching other parts of NY.

There were also famous taxi driver: Eli Resnick The Candy Man, The Zipper Man and there was also a Santa Claus taxist. Yes: all of them with a specific car-theme.

This last decade maybe the biggest competition the one of Uber.


Intriguing book this one. It was an age that I wanted to read a book about NYC's taxi! They're the most characterized and colored icons of NYC and they keep the city of New York frenetically...wonderful.


I can tell you that it is written with immense love, for giving us a fresh idea of who, these people who touch our existence sometimes for just 15-30 minutes are, and the history of a vehicle that is marking so spectacularly well the reality of the city that never sleeps.



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


Anna Maria Polidori 





 

 


Le Chien by Marcel Ayme Illustrated by Roland Sabatier

 Le Chien


by Marcel Aymé Illustrated by Roland Sabatier is a very good french book for children. Part of Folio Cadet, it is pretty educative under many ways. It speaks the language of education, respect, and wisdom. The story starts when two children, Delphine and Marinette met along their way a dog. This dog appears immediately pretty wild and starved. He said them that he would want to eat, but firmly the girls say him that they can't give him the food in the basket  because they must respect the orders of their parents. Once at home with the dog, Delphine and Marinette asks to their parents of keeping the dog. The parents, at first, furious because of the dog, will understand thanks to him that their children acted more than correctly and that they had used a lot of education and respect and that, although the dog was starved they hadn't at first helped him because they had to follow the guidelines of their parents. Thinking better, the parents of the two children start to think that this dog is wise and they keep him, starting to appreciate him a lot. There is a member of the family that can't see with joy the arrival of this new element: the cat. A selfish individual, not too great with children, the dog, before to return home will leave him other important lessons of respect for children and maybe also for some little mices.


Dialogues involves humans and animals in an animistic modality.


Simply adorable!


Anna Maria Polidori 


Hairlarious Dog Tails by Sharon Kleve

 Hairlarious Dog Tails


by Sharon Kleve is her newest ebook. All you wanted to know about dogs and you hadn't never asked for. Sharon starts to tell that with her husband they have had a long series of dogs and other animals and that these last ones, for obvious reasons remained in her heart in a special way. And to them she dedicated this special ebook that spans from  curiosites, doggy customs and habits, jokes, trivia. You'll learn that there are dogs uncapable of barking, you will learn the age of the oldest dog that passed away but also which is the breed of dogs favorite by Queen Elizabeth or simply, how our dogs think and act.


A beautiful book for all the canine universe.


I thank Sharon for the copy of the book.


Anna Maria Polidori 

giovedì, dicembre 10, 2020

Carol Jose passed away

 What a year!


I read right now a post written by the family of Carol Josè a writer and journalist located in Florida. It says:


Carol, Mom, Aunt Carol,


Meme


Your mortal form has left us, but your spirit still survives. For when we count, and wish, and dream

the things that mean the most

are love, loyalty and laughter

of the ones we hold so close.


We know from this day forward we will miss

you more and more

But we will keep you close within our hearts, and

we'll remember

when you carried the flag for so many, brought joy and made us laugh.


And that, iur fearless friend, is the finest epitaph.


Carol was born on March 8 1937 and died on Dec 8th 2020


OK. Carol


entered in my existence when I started to be curious about the Partisan band located in my territory during the last World War Conflict, the San Faustino one. Being a reporter this one is a theme dear in the territory.


This band saved an American consul, Walter W. Orebaugh from the enemy and Orebauch, once returned in the USA, asked to a journalist, Carol José of writing with him the story of his adventures in Umbria, during the war and what happened to him and the rest of the band. 


Carol was incredibly happy when I asked for an interview. 


At first, she confessed me, she was skeptical regarding this story, but when the consul started to tell her this story in a restaurant, during a dinner, she asked the permission of leaving for later returning with a recorder all enthusiast for what the consul was telling her.

They wrote The Consul or Guerrilla in Stripped Pants in two years and that book has been maybe the most beautiful tribute to all the partisans and our land, Umbria.


My correspondence with Carol continued; we exchanged often e-mails. She also introduced me at Heliane Metzger, the daughter of a friend of the consul Orebaugh.


Later she decided to afford again in the town of Pietralunga. The ex mayor of the town Furio Benigni like also Luca Sborzacchi, the mayor of that years, were absolutely thrilled! 

The arrival of Carol would have meant another big reunion of partisans and the possibility of celebrating again and again the liberation of our lands from Nazis and fascists.


Once returned in the USA Carol tried in several ways of contacting people in the cinema for a movie based on this story. Carol told me that yes, there was a project, and an American director visited our places in 2000 but then September 11 changed the priorities of the movie industry.


Years ago Carol participated at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in North Carolina, section "Why-War"and there she met Martin Scorsese. Carol donated to the famous director a copy of The Consul. She also participated at the Tribeca Film Festival.


Born in Red Bank, New Jersey, she lived in Melbourne Beach, Florida where she was  the correspondent of the Florida Today. Carol visited Italy the first times in 1994 and 1997, assisting at the feast of i Ceri, once. 


She had met our bandit priest, don Marino Ceccarelli several times. "Oh, yes! He is a man in love for fresh air and open spaces;" what Carol wished the most, for remembering don Marino was this: planting a tree in his honor with a bench for permitting to the people some moments of relaxation close to the beautiful umbrian countryside.


To all the family my deepest condolences


Anna Maria Polidori 

Rinascimento Babilonia by Luca Scarlini

 Rinascimento


Babilonia Una Storia Erotica dell'Arte Italiana by Luca Scarlini is a new book by Marsilio.

During the Renaissance, close to immense masterpieces and intellectuals of every genre, great was the interest for love and sex in the italian community. An Italy that one profoundly divided in States and in varioud hands .


In this book, constituted of several chapters, we meet Niccolò Machiavelli but also several times i Medici, beautiful girls, and witches, illnesses transmitted because of sex, but also homosexuals tempted by etherosexuals or ermaphrodites, women interested in encounters with strangers. There are men proud of their attributes, but also recipes for not become impregnating.

I found the book pretty interesting, because every aspect of sex has been taken in consideration, and because this book give us back the Italia of a certain erotical comedy, portrayed also magnificiently well in the Decameron by Boccaccio.


Highly recommended.


I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of the book.


Anna Maria Polidori 



mercoledì, dicembre 09, 2020

23 Things I Wish I could Ask My Mom and Dad Today by Jan Zlotnick

 23 Things I Wish


I could Ask My Mom and Dad Today by Jan Zlotnick is an original book for sure! I discovered the author in a FB page that I follow and I asked for the ebook. 

Jan is a real good person and answered me back immediately with a good e-mail and an electronic copy of his book.


It is one of the most moving books I have read. 


You musn't imagine a lot of words, there are more or less 50 pages of questions to the dad and mom of Jan if hypotetically still alive, but these questions are powerful and they enter in the soul with importance and there they will remain. 


There are moments in our existences, in particular when we are too sad or when we search for answers, or differently if in the past we had experienced a conflictual relationship with our parents, or if we are missing them so badly, that these questions can influence our days; they would make the difference for sure; but... they will remain unanswered and there is nothing more ugly and powerful than an answer never given from a parent to a child or vice-versa, because too busy with their existence, or because, simply, families love to keep their own distances. 


I thought immediately, reading these questions, that I wanted to ask them to my mother, still alive. 

I also imagined the answer at this question, referred to my dad: 


If you had one day to come back

to life, what would you do?


He would drink a glass of wine playing at cards with some of his alive friends. He loved wine and good company.


At the end of the book, the story continues, Jan Zlotnick asks to his readers:  What would you ask a loved one lost or still alive? 

You can send your One Question to jan@janslittlenotebook.com


Highly recommended.


I thank the author for the copy of the ebook.


Anna Maria Polidori 


 


lunedì, dicembre 07, 2020

Books for Dogs Emporium open this week!

 Books for Dogs,


the Emporium of "Everything You Wish to Have at a Cheap Price" will be open this Wednesday and Saturday for the joy of everyone.

The ladies of this stunning reality located in Umbertide are more than happy of offering more details: like for the past year, there will be a big, big, big, endless selections for good Christmas's gifts, but also, where you will want, Christmas Decorations for your tree and of course new books that we are more than sure will tantalize the good taste and reading appetite of the many affectionated customers. Let's remember to everyone some anti-Covid-19 measures: probably it will be necessary waiting in line and please at more than two meters of distance; the emporium can't permit more than 2-3 people per time and it would be great if you have clear ideas of what you want to buy, because you can't stay there all the time (it happened to me, I am a lazy customer, I love to see a lot of things and thinking what to buy; I love to see a lot of books, and DVDS and CDS...Well, it's better to be quick for respect to the next customer that he/she is in line; these ones are not normal times but pandemic times and times of emergence; it is indispensible for every customer once in the shop to clean the hands.

Happy and safe shopping!


Anna Maria Polidori 



venerdì, dicembre 04, 2020

Sachiko A Novel Endō Shūsaku. Translated by Van C. Gessel

 Sachiko by Endo Shusaku is a book that will remain with you at long. It is moving and tells two different stories connected: the one of Sachiko, the female protagonist of the story and her boyfriend Shuhei and the one of Father Kolbe, who, I didn't know that, spent some time in Nagasaki.



Sachiko is catholic like the rest of her family and we see that there is a certain diffidence from the japenese government regarding christians and catholics


in general. The story starts in 1930s and the advent of war doesn't better these predjudices. 


Father Kolbe that Sachiko knows, is intimidated by Nagasaki, but, oh he loves it so badly. He loved to spread a message of love wherever he went and same he did in Nagasaki.


Once returned in Polland and captured destination Auschwitz, he knows an 18 years old boy, Henryk. He doesn't believe in God. God doesn't exist, there is nothing. Father Kolbe will try to open his heart, although it is difficult, because this boy has a very hard heart.


While Sachiko growing starts to fall in love for Shuhei and while Shuhei asks to a friend of him if killing a man is correct, or what would it mean dying so young, Father Kolbe at Auschwitz is continuing to spread words of love.


This one, he said, is not technically hell, because it is possible to see love between prisoners. One day, Father Kolbe told to Henrick, he saw with his own eyes a prisoner passing to another one a piece of bread, for surviving. So, it meant, added Father Kolbe, that there was humanity, and that the horrible human conditions in which people lived didn't degradate their spirit, more weak because of starvation and cold and heavy work, but not less compassionate.


It was of course a fight for surviving, it wasn't anything else. One day prisoners escaped and germans nazis promised of killing twenty prisoners per fugitive. One day another one will escape away...Later, during another episode, when ten men were captured for being killed Father Kolbe offered his own life: the man who had to die had a wife, children. He told to Germans that he was a priest, not anymore young and alone. Yes, sometimes Father Kolbe, remembered the Japanese he had met at Nagasaki thinking: who knows who is remembering me and who is asking for me and my life? but he knew that he was alone.


The departure of Father Kolbe was extremely low and at the end they decided for a jag of poison, because prisoners after 11 days didn't speak anymore and they were in a horrible state.

In this final end, there is also the story of Martin,  who worked at the camp, who killed everyday many people.

He talked with Father Kolbe, confessing him that to him killing didn't mean anything.


Father Kolbe anyway, remained in the heart of this man for unknown reasons. Beasts, not men where Nazis. We must always remember it. And it was so...Straining reading the life at home of Martin and the one in the concentration camp.


The existence of Sachiko won't be anymore the same after some losses and the nuclear bomb.


We find her thirty years later, remembering but without sharing, because what her eyes saw, when the bomb fell in Nagasaki was just too horrible to report.


Intense, it is the first time I read in detail the experience of Father Kolbe in the concentration camp of Auschwitz. I knew his history but not in detail and I didn't know how he was killed.


 Look: in this book war is taken in consideration letting us see various "shades": battlefields, let's call them in this way, a nuclear bomb in Nagasaki and a concentration camp, Auschwitz in Polland. Is there an experience you would want to try? An experience of war less traumatic? No. The horrible devastations, destruction, losses, sufferances caused by a war, are in every country lived powerfully and with the same, damned intensity. 


A war means just desperation. Sachiko suffered because she lost people she loved and because she was a survivor, shocked of what she saw when the nuclear bomb launched by the Americans destroyed Nagasaki and killed most of the people she knew; at the same time, Father Kolbe and his friends tell us the experience in the most horrible concentration camp created in Poland.

Leaving us a message: that love is more powerful than hate.


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


Anna Maria Polidori 



giovedì, dicembre 03, 2020

Almanacco della Felicità

 Almanacco della Felicità


365 idee + 1 per coltivare la gioia ogni giorno published by Sonzogno is a manual spreading a message of happiness and gosh,  we need it so badly in a moment of profound discomfort and fear like this one is. Published this November 2020, it speaks the language of freedom. In this sense it is not a different manual from the ones I read pre-pandemic influenza.


Happiness is wondeful and passes through the understanding of who we are and what we want in our existence.


This book is divided per months and every month there are many suggestions: watching on TV movies, eating healthy,doing some exercise, reading Jane Austen or other kind of books, writing down what you feel, in a journal, using the dear old pen, buying a bouquet of flowers for yourself, you will pick up the flowers you want and love the most!, adopt a puppy, or take care of some dogs in any possible way, wear different clothes from the ones you tend to use in a daily base, try to find time for making new friendship, adopt the Kintsugi; it is the art of re-putting together pieces of a broken object. Don't throw away a broken object, try to fix its scars and you'll heal as well. Other suggestions? Tips for finding new friendships, adding new clothes without spending money with the swapping, cure your hands, buy food with criteria, be a tourist in your own city, learn a new language, treat well your hair!, walk, social medias,recipes for the feasts...


The perfect book for a new hope and first of all, for being happy!


Highly recommended.


I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.


Anna Maria Polidori





Fratelli Tutti by Francesco

 Fratelli Tutti



Sulla Fraternità e L'amicizia Sociale by Francesco is a wonderful new book by Marsilio.

What is the important message of the Bishop of Rome? 


The meaning of brotherhood, a word that sometimes is not taken in consideration by everyone. 


But...Who is a good person for Francis? 


San Francesco with his life inspired Francis in writing this: brotherhood means loving friends although they can be close or distant from us. This simple act means that everyone will be appreciated, although maybe born in a complete different country and so, with a different story if compared with the closest friends.


After all Saint Francesco, writes Francis walked through people abandoned by the society, the so-called "discarded" people.


Who is a real good person to Francesco? Someone who wants to help other people at becoming themselves. It's important, Francis adds,  that we dream all together, because if our dreams are isolated we risk that they remain just...dreams.


If, remarks Francis, the world tended decades ago at a sort of unification for avoiding new wars, like the devastating second one, it's a fact that most countries are returned at the so-called strong men and new nationalisms are born.


Yes, the globalization, adds Francis is keeping the world more close to us, but that doesn't want to say that we are more close or more...brothers.


Consuming is becoming a compulsive act, and individuals tend to think that their personal freedom will permit them of building everything starting from zero.


Be careful, adds Francesco: be careful because there are people who want to manipulate our mind, and want to let us think as they think, and more, they don't respect  what history told us, what our past generations are telling us.


In general dictatorships starts in this way: a sort of brainwashing in which people think not anymore with their own mind and brain, although maybe they think that they are doing this, but with the one of someone very dangerous.


What kind of seeds can these manipulative people plant? Oh, not good ones at all, admits the Pope: lack of hope, a constant unhappiness and lack of trust. In this way society becomes sick, because there is not the common confrontation that there is in a country, but a sort of marketing operation for ruining the other competitors.


If winning means destroying the other ones how can it be possible to recognize people in need?

If we do love to take good care of our closest and distant world means having respect and curing ourselves as well!


There are big portions of the society that it is discarded with a little "selection" of human beings living limitlesses.


Yes, people are not felt anymore as people if they have difficulties, if they simply are not "standardized", and the main problem is that one.

If they are not useful or if they are not anymore useful, speaking of the old people they are discarded. If we abandon our old ones, it means that what interest us are just our indidivual interests.


So, with food and clothes also human being are discarded. 


Let's speak of work  and its obsession, remarks Francesco: reducing drastically costs of work means more unemployment and unemployment means poverty.

There is more richness tells Francis, in the world, but less equity and so new poverties.


This historical moment is dominated by the fear of future, delusion, uncertainty. 

Man sometimes think that he is onnipotent, but after all, concludes Francesco, we are all in the same ship.


No man is an island sang once a singer; and Francesco thinks that Covid-19 for once created this state of mind: no one can save himself alone, in particular during this terrible and terrifying pandemic influenza: all the world is suffering. No one excluded. We're in all of this together.

Francesco uses splendid words, for describing the past and the present: the isolation created by this egoistical society and the rediscovery of the other in a new sense of community.

We created, affirms the Pope a world of porks, and this world disaster, the pandemic flu, is inteconnected with us and our life-style.


What it musn't happen, once this pandemic flu will be over, a return of egoism. 


There's to hope that there will be a new society of "us" and not of "the others".

It's important to learn from this event. It is crucially important learning for becoming best people.


A long chapter is dedicated to migrants, symbol of weakness, research of a best place in the world where to live in, that fall in the hands of horrible people involved in drug, human and guns trafficking. No one should emigrate anymore if these ones are the results, and everyone should stay in the country where he/she is born.


When migrants become a political fact, old fears re-start to circulate dangerously creating hostility, hate.

Migrants need respect, and they are people like us, emigrated because in their lands there is a political condition unfortunately not good enough for staying. It's an act, the emigration, in most cases, caused by desperation and conflicts.


If a person is christian can't be racist, affirms Francesco.

Francesco focuses in the fear of the other that passes also through the internet, adding that in  social platforms operate big economic interests manipulating the thinking of people.


We have been all migrants. Jewish people have been migrants, we emigrated in many countries, and in the Exodus, a line says that no one should offend a migrant, because you have all been migrants in the land of Egypt.


Compassion means helping others. Let's remember tells Francesco the parable told by Jesus of the Good Samaritan, a man surely with its own programs for that day, but that found a lot of compassion for the man in need, and healed him.

Many important people avoided the sick poor man but not the good Samaritan. So, asks Francesco: who are you? The helper or...the digger? 

We became with the time says the Pope, insensitive people; if a problem doesn't touch us personally, we avoid any kind of help.

This behavior, avoid help, ignoring the other is a real misery. Better to be like the good Samaritan.

It's important to re-establish a good social order, relationship tissue. "The existence of each of us is strongly connected at the other ones; life doesn't mean time that goes by, but time of meeting" tell us Francesco.


We musn't wait that the our government sort out everything for us, as if we would be children but everyday being a new day can be great for every individual for building a best society.


Inclusion, integration, helping the one who fell, are crucials and very important things to do.

The samaritan, at the time of Jesus was considered impure, he didn't have the social consideration of all the other important people who refused to help the sick person, but he did it.

Helping other ones, also when different from our social tissue it's what we must do.

Slavery, violence, what a shame that the church recognized them as great sins with great late sometimes, writes Francis.


People must donate themselves says Francis. No one in fact can experiment the value of the existence without real faces to love. That one is a life much more strong than death! remarks strongly Francis.


I can't build my existence just staying close to my dear ones: it's necessary to diversify people we meet. In the desert, pilgrims are highly accepted by the local populations.

Poor and pilgrims said Saint Benedetto should be treated with great respect. No one become a real person, mature, if live isolated from the other ones.


We musn't search, says Francis too far for the suburbs of our world: they exist in a family, in a community. Disables, people abandoned for the most diversified reasons become strangers in their own country.


Every person should have the same right of the luckiest one. There are people are lucky enough; they start from their beginning a good existence. Warm houses, culture, food. Other ones are not so lucky enough and in a society like this one for sure there is no place for them.


If we use in this society and in this case words as freedom, democracy and brotherhood, they become...senseless. 


They don't mean anymore what they should mean for a healthy society.

Educators must also know that their job is fundamental for helping newest generations at solidariety, freedom. 


But also, affirms the Pope we must re-start to be kind, gentle with the other ones.


One of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Truly inspiring, simple, for everyone and clear.



Highly recommended.


I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of the book.