venerdì, gennaio 31, 2020

The 2019 Best American Magazine Writing Edited by Sid Holt for The American Society of Magazine Editors

The 2019 Best American Magazine Writing Edited by Sid Holt for The American Society of Magazine Editors
this year has an introduction by Adam Moss. Mr. Moss explains his profound, big love for magazines since he was very little and how, the opportunity to find in various places magazines to be read, with their own differentiations was to him reason for being happy and constantly informed. What read Moss were beautiful magazines: from the New York to the Esquire. Later Moss worked in the journalistic sector.
To him every single age of the journalism with troubles, with problems that the profession has always had, is the goden age; from the richest golden age one, passing through this age, characterized by the advent of the net. In this sense Moss describes very well the birth of the net and the hope for the future. Not only but also the diffidence developed after a while by reporters and editors; the collapse   progressively more rapid of a solid world, with solid certainties. 

The disgregation of many realities; the death of wagons of little magazines because simply people, stores, brands big and little, were not interested anymore to seeing their publicity in a printed magazine. Not only: readers became less loyal with their favorite magazine; news could be found in the net.
Some big realities thought that investing in online editions would have paid much more. It was the beginning of the end as the journalistic profession was known and a new start; the beginning of something new: for this reason for Moss also this one is the golden age of journalism, ready for new fights that must be won. After all it's impossible to disagree: we will continue to reporting what happen in this world in every possible way.
This series born in 2000 in 2005  started to be published by Columbia University Press, although the story of this prize is more old: the 1960s! This prize was born for being a sort of counterpart of the Pulitzer Prize. What this award have always searched is this: what makes magazines special? It sounds a simple question but behind this question there is never a simple answer. Using this criteria this year 275 realities entered the National Magazine Award. 300 judges, 67 organizations received nominations led by the New Yorker with nine.
Reportage, opinions, commentary, there is all you can want; this edition portrays the historical moment with all its contradictions. 
We find in the book articles of ProPublica copublished with New York, the Marshall Project, the New Yorker, The Atlantic, but also the National Geographic, Mc Sweeney's. Pieces are about policy, gender, prison, possibility of a different destiny leaving old and dangerous friends behind (with weird surprises in the while), ecology, death.

Enjoy the reading, magazine lover!

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

domenica, gennaio 26, 2020

The Ferrante Letters An Experiment in Collective Criticism by Sarah Chihaya, Merve Emre, Katherine Hill and Jill Richards

The Ferrante Letters An
Experiment in Collective Criticism by Sarah Chihaya, Merve Emre, Katherine Hill and Jill Richards is one of the most new intriguing books published by Columbia University Press.

Four women of letters decided one day of writing a book, exchanging their own critical letters through a fertile and absolutely captivating correspondence with the other participants, analyzing a saga of an author that they would have picked up. Choices were immense as you can imagine, but at the end their attention fell on the books written by mysterious Elena Ferrante. 

The book is divided in three sections. In the first one you find the correspondence of these four teachers, the second are various essays that I know you will find extremely interesting and at the end in the appendix, letters written by people involved in this conversation about Elena Ferrante and her books thanks to the authors's invitation.

I read recently a book where the author admits that the best of writing is this one: the possibility of re-capture the past, resuscitating it, for setting people free; in a way or in another a writer heals problems, re-putting in the correct order the events of a life-time; this process means sharing informations, feelings, honesty in the narration. It should be all the time in this way.

Sure, these authors articulate, sometimes  a writer can be "dishonest." A writer, as also admitted these teachers sometimes can't be loyal: first of all this friend, as Elena is  knows Lila so well? She can changes fragments of the story for keeping the novel more interesting. 
Is it true the portrait donated us by Elena? It depends; surely is more real than not a tale written maybe by someone who hadn't never met that girl but that had just heard of her.

Friends remain in grade of perceiving, capturing the soul of another person and they can guess, understand, feelings, emotions, and emotive state; why? Because they are "in love" in a completely different way, with and for another soul. What a friend searches in another person is that pieces in grade of completing her/his character. A friend is a discovery, a powerful engine.  

Sometimes being friend is searching for someone completely different from us as it happened for Elena and Lila.

Lila and Elena were two different universe, but not because, after all, there was a great difference in their existence; more or less their life, people they met in a daily base were the same ones; but yes, the family of Lila, was more practical and less intrigued by school, education and a possibility of bettering the existence through culture. Lila was very intelligent but no one in her family invested in culture. This one was perceived by them like another language.

Lila at the end will prefer a more practical life, the one every daughter born in that district of Napoli would have choosen because the only possible one. 

Elena is absolutely absorbed by the violence, brutal character of Lila, when she meet her the first one and they are little; and she is powerfully attracted by it.
Lila feels the necessity of being strong every second of her existence. Elena is passive regarding life. She is simply an observer, while Lila acts, acts every second of her existence. 
To Lila, my point of view, being a prepotent and feareless girl means to her trying to giving back to life the answer to the existence that that same life donated her; her answer to the asperity of an existence that, she understood, wouldn't never been too pleasant.

Errors committed by Lila has been maybe the common consequences of choices she made for trying to stay more happy with a man plenty of money, without asking too much to her existence; but that one will be just the beginning of other tribulations.

The two girls read together Little Women when still at the elementary school, and it was for them a formative book: they imagined a beautiful existence, where they would have been in grade of reading but also writing many books, telling stories. They both fell in love for Jo March, the girl more independent, more free than the rest of the other sisters March. Amy was in love for beauty; Meg was the perfect little woman devoted to the house; Beth the sweetest one.

The authors will write a lot about the idea of disappearance; disappearing without existing anymore is possible? Under many ways, maybe for the person, but not for the rest of people who touched that existence. As you will read the result of this conversation will be absolutely touching.
What we know for sure is that Lila, tormented by her sad past, had a desire: leaving  this world for good, every single cell of her body deleted from the stage of life.

An author of this book arranged an interview with mysterious Elena Ferrante, without, after all obtaining a lot of answers. She tried to contact her via the American publishing house, (they declined at first the interview and later, accepted it) via Ann Goldstein American translator of the Ferrante's books.

Personally I discovered the Ferrante's world for case. Ann Goldstein, American translator of all the books of the Ferrante's saga was in Umbertide, at Civitella Ranieri for a meeting two years ago. What attracted me of that lady, so skinny, and with a sweet face when I received the newsletter with the invitation, was just a fact, I confess: she was once a co-editor of the The New Yorker. I read that magazine when I find it, and to me is one of the best ones in circulation. It's a temple of the American Journalism, and I wanted to see who could be a co-editor of that immensity. Personally, I didn't know anything of Elena Ferrante; I didn't know who that italian writer was and obviously when I introduced Anna Maria to Goldstein, from her face I understood I mispelled the name of Elena Ferrante: not having heard that name before I didn't feel any shame. 

Beautiful book! For everyone, if you are new at the Ferrante's world this one will be a great introduction. If you read the books it will be a formative reading and a possibilily of seeing the story under many different ways thanks to these authors that won't leave any voice apart.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 






sabato, gennaio 25, 2020

Christmas Eve by Verna Hargrove

Christmas is magical. When you think to Christmas Season memory return invariabily at childhood and Christmases spent all together; big tables, with wagons of relatives, ton of food waiting for people, and a joy and happiness that it was simply unique. Also the mass was synonime of beauty and solidarity and people, all people sounded and were more happy and jolly than usual. The Christmas Spirit.

Christmas Eve by
Verna Hargrove aka Summer Lee is a short tale describing the most perfect Christmas of all her life, when she was little, her family a bit poor but everything was perfect maybe also thanks to the complicity of age, parents, a nice, kind Santa Claus, Christmas cookies baked in particular for making happy Santa Claus. Presents, the ones waited by her and her sister, everyone was happy and cheerful. I noticed this tale when I opened my Amazon Fire. I was searching for a quick reading and considering that we closed Christmas just a month ago I thought that it would have been perfect.

I downloaded this ebook through Amazon.com

Enjoy it!

Anna Maria Polidori 

It's Christmas, Carol! A Short Story by Sara-Lisa Andersson

It's Christmas, Carol! A
Short Story by Sara-Lisa Andersson will be a tale that will let you cry, because moving.
Sometimes Christmas is like pictured by the author: a messy period of the year. You wait for the best, and everything goes wrong. Personally it's more than 10 years that Christmas presents us always some little or big problems every year. I don't know when this curse will be over (last year we did not experience anything bad thinking better), I learnt with the time that at its arrival all problems fly away. 
It's impossible not adoring this feast, for the simple fact that it presents magic, and it's plenty of magical signals: angels, Christmas Trees, colors, from music to Santa Claus, the birth of a Child: Christmas is the feast of light and good feelings, and just this present to people joy and serenity; just few people enjoy darkness after all.
Well, this story sums all these thematic together. 
The main character Carol, hates Christmas because of a real sad fact happened during the Christmas Day. She was little, it was true, and so with the time she should have re-started to celebrate Christmas, but...Simply she could not. She hadn't the sufficient strength for thinking that Christmas was a beauty event.
That night Carol went to work, not wanting to celebrate Christmas as she did everyday, although that one was a special day. She will meet all along her way, in her workplace strange, weird workers; people she didn't know at all. A man with a white beard, other one who will cuddle her with delicious meals, other one who will be in grade to let her see at the end the beauty of the feast and simply all the magic of Christmas and the possibility, for every man or woman of a new beginning.
Beautiful. Not too much dialogue, a lot of narration plenty of suggestions.

Highly recommended.

Anna Maria Polidori 

venerdì, gennaio 24, 2020

Juliette Victor Hugo, mon Fol Amour by Patrick Tudoret is a wonderful book, plenty of pathos

Juliette Victor Hugo,
mon Fol Amour by Patrick Tudoret is a wonderful book, plenty of pathos and beauty published by Editions Tallandier. I have always admired Victor Hugo's brain, and intellect. One of the finest minds of our world's literature. I didn't know a lot about his private life and I was absolutely at the obscure that a long long liaison, 60 years! of love marked his existence: the one with Juliette Drouet. 
Born on 1806 Juliette  as you will read in the book, remained orphan pretty soon. She stayed at the house of an uncle for some while but later she was admitted in a convent in Paris,  where she studied, she was very intelligent, and where she was starting to become a nun, but obviously this one was not what she would have done in her life.
Once she didn't live anymore in the convent, she became the lover of James Pradier with which she had after a year a baby, Claire, disappeared tragically because of consumption when a teenager. Then it was the turn of an italian man, Peruzzi. 
Very beauty, Juliette started to working at theater being a good actress. Her meeting with Victor Hugo the first time in 1832 during the show of Lucrèce Borgia, but it's in 1833 when she was 26  that the two will start officially their relationship. Hugo at that time was depressed; his wife had a lover, he was betrayed under many ways and he didn't see any escapism. His escapism for the rest of his existence, he survived other 10 years after Juliette's death, will be this girl and later, woman.
In the book Juliette will tell: "Comme femme n’a jamais aimé homme, comme un être n’a
jamais aimé un autre être," As a woman I haven't never loved a man, but as a being I haven't never loved another being."
She would have followed him during the time of the exile, and Juliette was there for him in every occasion as also did Hugo. 
At a certain point in the book, old Juliette writes: "Je suis trop âgée aujourd’hui pour ignorer que l’amour évolue, ou plutôt qu’il change" I am too old today for ignoring that love is in constant evolution, or maybe, just this, it changes."  
Many sacrifices were made by Juliette. During a romantic trip, in 17-18 november 1839 the couple celebrated their mariage d'amour, marriage of love without of course any priest close to them. It was a marriage of the heart. At the same time that night Juliette renounced at her career while Hugo promised of loving her all his life. A date this one celebrated by the couple every year, for the rest of their existence.
This book is plenty of pathos, it seems like to read a confession, a memoir of the same Juliette.

In this part of the book Juliette will confess: 

"Avec lui, j’ai exulté de joie, de plaisir, mais j’ai souffert aussi... J’ai envié, j’ai prié, mais surtout j’ai aimé. Je le jure devant tous, j’ai aimé ! Je l’ai aimé, ce Victor, comme une folle, malgré moi, malgré lui, malgré le monde entier, grâce à Dieu et
malgré le diable qui, parfois, s’en mêla aussi…" With him I exulted for joy, pleasure but at the same time I suffer a lot...I envied, I prayed but most of all I loved. I swear it to the entire world, I loved! I loved Victor as a fool, despite me, despite him, despite the entire world, thank to Lord e despite the devil who, sometimes put his hands in our existence."

Hugo sent a letter to her lover on April 11 1883 plenty of pathos where he remarked his hope of dying with her, at the same time of her because terribly in love with her. 

There is an anedoct to tell: although these two people stayed together for 60 years, when Juliette died, for a story of reputation, Victor Hugo did not attend her funeral. It sounds the only weird act of this man. 

In her grave there is written: 

Quand je ne serai plus qu’une cendre glacée,
Quand mes yeux fatigués seront fermés au jour,
Dis-toi, si dans ton cœur ma mémoire est fixée :
Le monde a sa pensée. Moi, j’avais son amour !

Beautiful, romantic, I remain always enchanted by the beauty of french words, and their power.  Read it!

I thank Editions Tallandier for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 





martedì, gennaio 21, 2020

Il libro dei Baltimore by Joel Dicker

Let me write a completely different review in comparison to the other ones that in general I write, plenty of spoilers. 

I won't present you any spoiler with Il libro dei Baltimore by Joel Dicker. 


Well, there is a story behind: I think I requested a copy at the italian publishing house a year ago, but I hadn't received any answer. Weeks ago this book was heavily discounted in the magazine of my book club called Club per Voi and I decided of buying it. I read in a literary magazine a review months ago and I immediately imagined the big potentialities and beauty of this book. 

Plus...Yes: I know that portion of the USA, their universities, that cities, and I know that I would have recognized also the way of living of that American citizens.

I brought in my bedroom all the books arrived with this one. The idea was starting to read this one after a nap of 5 minutes for recharging my brain's batteries. But...I was tempted and I ended up reading and reading this book till the end, attracted as a magnet. 

I was expecting surely a great product, but this one is much more than what I was waiting. Absolutely. 
There is a great profoundity and knowledge of life dynamics; there is a powerful wisdom and a stunning capacity of filtering human nature digging in profoundity but leaving at the same time the reading light, fresh, captivating. 
In this case I ask to myself always what kind of books formed the author. Joel Dicker is a superb mind. 

Not only: to my point of view, if you are a potential writer, you should keep this book close to you or you should read it, because it is inspiring and will present a powerful lesson of creative writing; everything start in fact because of an exigency of the narrator, Marcus Goldman: the one  of telling the story of a family: in fact this one is The Book of the Baltimore.

You will laugh, you will smile, you will cry, you will feel sadness and your heart will beat more when close at the topic scene of the Tragedy. But promise me that you won't live the adventures of the Gang of the Goldmans just for waiting that moment. You must live the good and positive vibes of the Goldmans because they will love it. 

This book will present to you only good values and these good feelings, these good traits of the Goldmans will resonate till the end of the book and will remain with you as also will remain the characters.
I can't leave the Baltimore. I mean: I must do that, but their presence will stay close, because this book is a powerful one, where characters are created with strength, vigor, humility, compassion and understanding. It's a book that should be reread. 

You will meet real friendship for starting; but not a superficial one in grade of not making a difference, but one who will become cement for the life between the various protagonists of the story, Marcus, Hillel, Woody, Scott, Alexandra. 

A very good family the Goldmans with the differentiations that you find between two brothers and their existences. There are in facts the Goldmans of Baltimore, the richest part of the family and the ones of Montclair, New Jersey, more modest. Marcus the writer and narrator, is a Goldman of Montclair. He lives with a great admiration for his uncle Saul, his aunt Anita, his cousin Hillel and later Woody. The social status of his uncle, the house, his life-style but also the capacity of Saul of appreciating this nephew, created for this teenager an unforgettable atmosphere. Soon the Goldmans became their heroes.

It's a book about various families. There is solidity in all cases; good families with their little problems without big dramas, if not, sometimes misunderstandings. 

It's a book plenty of respect for the various generations involved in the story as you will read.

It's a book that will also treat thematic as bullism and violence and how to sorting out these problems: it's a book speaking at the heart, and giving you back calm, capacity of appreciating the good side of the existence, real values, memories and the importance of not losing the family-history behind, because people must breath their dignity and stories must be told.

We live of memories as said; people who touched our existences making the difference in better, places we visited, things we did. Sometimes it happens that life changes the cards on the table and this one is the beauty of the writer, because thanks to his work characters disappeared for the most diversified reasons can return prepotently in the scene, for staying for some while, for returning to make the difference although in a different way, for bringing back the past, with its smells, perfumes, sun, lightness, friendship, love, enthusiasm: it's maybe one of the most precious treat this one for a  a writer and for many other existences if stories are told and books become best-sellers. 

This book was also written thanks to the desire of one of the protagonists, Saul. He asked of repairing with the writing their family-story, narrating the facts, giving shape to all the truths existing in a family. No, not big and logorating secrets: but facts and tragedies that, put in order create the story of a family in its complexity and simplicity.

You will also meet sentiments like jealousy and certain crucial facts created ad hoc will be the cause of an escalation of problems and change of destiny. But, while you will continuing to read this book, you will understand that also that sentiment was born for certain reasons but that, after all, friendship and loyalty prevailed till the end as a distinctive trait of the Goldmans. 

At the end everything will be forgiven, forgotten, repaired, deleted.

Saul Goldman said at a certain point: 

"In this life is important loving, being loved and having the capacity of forgiving. Nothing else."

Stunning! Extraordinary. Exceptional book. Read it!

Anna Maria Polidori 






giovedì, gennaio 16, 2020

Jacques Schiffrin A Publisher in Exile, from Pléiade to Pantheon by Amos Reichman Foreword by Robert O.Paxton Translated by Sandra Smith

Jacques Schiffrin A
Publisher in Exile, from Pléiade to Pantheon by Amos Reichman Foreword by Robert O.Paxton Translated by Sandra Smith is a new captivating  biography published by Columbia University Press. Complex character, pretty melanchonic, Jacques Schiffrin spent most of his time in exile in various part of the worlds. 
Born in Russia in a little locality called Baku, his father was in the business of oil and so the family lived in the abundace and richness. He left Russia for political reasons, affording to Paris in the early 1900s. Intellectual fertile activity, Schiffrin invented les Editions de la Pleiade, for letting know to french people Russian Literature and extending it to the rest of best writers and literature presents in the market. Edgar Allen Poe was close to Baudelaire. Ten volumes were published  between 1931 and 1932. Considering the big success of these series (with peculiar characteristics, starting from the pages) it was necessary implementing the financial aspect of the business and it's because of it that Schiffrin met along his way Gaston Gallimard. 

Everything happened for this publisher in 1911 when with two other friends, Gidé and Schlumberger created the Nouvelle Revue Francaise tranformed after the first world war in Librairie Gallimard. Soon the motto of Gallimard became "I am french literature."

In 1933 Gallimard bought the catalog of the Bibliotheque de la Pleiade. They were fertile and happy years these ones for Schiffrin and Gallimard. They were very good friends, but as always, war put again a wall between the two: Schiffrin was a jew and so Gallimard fired him from the position of editor of La Pleiade.

Sadness and unhappiness mounted immensely in a character like the one of Schiffrin pretty melancholic, like also the idea of going away possibly in the USA for building in NYC a new existence.

The trip was pretty long and tribulated with a long stop in North Africa; the arrival and accomodations when in NYC, although in beautiful places and corners of the city didn't give back to the publisher any joy. New York was so different from Paris.

Not working at first, he insisted for being paid by Gallimard. 
Later Schiffrin found a first job but the owner of that reality substantially did everything alone. 

Schiffrin at the same time didn't sound interested in re-starting to follow french publishers located in NYC. He wanted something else and he found this something else thanks to Kurt Wollf, german and like him Jewish, emigrated because constricted to leaving, in the USA. Creator of the Pantheon the two will start a long and profound collaboration although Schiffrin who, now, should have been happy because there was again a reality where he could express himself felt always melancholy for Paris and Europe. 

Unfortunately when he was a soldier for France in his youthness, he fell sick with an important chronical ill. 
It was an experience, this one of being a soldier and serving France lived at first with enthusiasm; Schiffrin thought that spending time with "little men" as Schiffrin considered the other soldiers could pay. But it was a delusion as well. 

This nasty illness at the lungs would have later dictated the final choices of his existence.

Schiffrin tried also to seeing if it was possible an importation and collaboration with Gallimard regarding Pleiade, but the condition of the contract, as you will read were not at all good, so Schiffrin continued to asking money at Gallimard, as did later once dead his father, André Schiffrin, his son.

Beautiful book written with love and dedication, pretty warm, for everyone.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

mercoledì, gennaio 15, 2020

Dans La Bibliothèque des Nòs Présidents Ce qu'ils lisent et rilisent sous la direction d'Etienne de Montety

Dans La Bibliothèque des Nòs Présidents Ce qu'ils lisent et rilisent sous la direction d'Etienne de Montety is a beautiful and inspiring book by Editions Tallandier. Why reading a book about the french Presidents and what they love to reading? 

For various reasons. Once an ex neighbor of us, now living close to Paris from decades said me that once he had worked, decades ago, in the library of a beloved french President for a restoration; just last year I watched on TV an interview with Emmanuell Macron and I found it amazing. Although young he is a real man of culture, and he sounded different from all the rest of politicians at the moment in Europe and other countries; he said in a portion of the interview in the section dedicated to him "Nous sommes un peuple littéraire et les Françaises et les Français, sourdement, attendent de leur président qu’il soit littéraire."  "We are a literary country and french women and french men wait for a president with high notion of literature."
Plus: it's always wonderful discovering other people's favorite books. It says a lot of their interior and exterior world; least but not last a book like this one is precious because will give a lot of good book suggestions to its readers.

The truth is that apart being Presidents, french Presidents are people in love for reading; and all of them are characterized by special tastes.

Adolph Thierswas  the first one posing close to a book.
Same did later de Gaulle; he loved to posing close to ancient books. 
There is also to say that the patrimony of France in terms of literature is for sure great. De Montety in the foreword adds that a president surrounded by books represents the entire French and its literary patrimony. 

De Gaulle was a general and his library is in a lovely countryside a bit distant from Paris. 
Books that marked his existence were special ones. Six years in exile, he was a voracious readers of history books, but also literature, art, travels and geography. 
De Gaulle started to develop with the time a technique in grade of let him read a book pretty quickly. He also had many memoirs of Richelieu, Poincaré, Auriol, Herriot, Eisenhower, Patton, Kennedy, Truman, Churchill, Spears, Littleton, Adenauer, but also books by André Gide.

Georges Pompidou developed pretty soon a voracious enthusiasm for reading. Verne, Dumas, Balzac, Proust, Stendhal but also greek and latin authors, poets, foreign literature. He read what he could find close to him. Victor Hugo but also Verlaine considered tremendously mysterious but also the poet of melancholy and regret. And then Pascal, Molière, Racine, Boileau, Bossuet, Diderot, Montesquieu; he also had the original edition of La Principesse de Clèves by Mme de Lafayette, dated 1678. He loved André Gide, Sartre, and many more.

Valéry Giscard d’Estaing is a spiritual person. You will discover that he is in love for authors like Tolstoi for the profoundity of the knowledge of the human soul, but also, thanks to a trip de Gaulle asked him of attending in China of Confucious's books and quotes. Substantially he reads these quotes everyday and he says he is attracted by the model of man portrayed by Confucius, because that man is a good man, a gentleman, someone interested in the problems of others. In love also for an author like Karen Blixen, Out of Africa, his final thoughts are for Europe. To the ex President, Europe should present to everyone life and work conditions satisfying, ending with these considerations: if Europe will be a hospitable continent, maintaining its cultural and spiritual roots, at the origin of its existence, it will become a continent different from all the other ones, with a touch of color and light that will become always more important in a Confucian Sky!

Francois Mitterand was a great book-lover. He could not live without books and he brought books with him wherever he went. He venerated Hugo and in particular Lamartine. He was in love for history and he appreciated Vladimir Jankélévitch, Daniel Cordier, David Rousset, Jean-Marcel Jeanneney,  William Styron, Gabriel García Márquez, Julio Cortázar. Thinker like Bergson, Descartes were other favorite readings. His ideas, once he left the Presidency was to writing a book about Laurent de Médicis but he did not find the time.

You will discover the profound and immense love of Jacques Chirac for poetry, in particular, Japanese, chinese ones. He loved a special adoration for Philippe Jaccottet and his À la Lumière d’Hiver. Walt Whitman, adorable optimistic poet, was another favorite author of Chirac. Chirac loved the ethnic, and the exotic, and all that authors in grade of whispering him of distant places, other cultures, different sounds, light, tastes, colors. 

Nicolas Sarkozy appreciates Flaubert, Balzac and he has an entire collection of La Pleiade.La Pleiade has a fascinating history; a project started in the early 1900s by Jacques Schiffrin and supported by Editions Gallimard. 

Francois Hollande's reading are impregnated of freedom and rights. He has been touched by a book Les Lettres à Anne by Francoise Mitterand and then Victor Hugo and Zweig for understanding with this last author how the anti-semitism started to become seriously dangerous in Europe.

Emmanuell Macron read from his childhood. Theater in particular, once a teenager: Racine, Molière, Musset, Hugo. He also confesses he completed his literary formation thanks to the library of his father. a more intellectual one with books of philosophy, sociology, but also contemporary literature. Garcia Marquez marked Macron, like also Foucault, Derrida, Proust and Celine. Macron tells during the interview that he loves to keep two editions of the various books he reads; one more elegant and another one more informal for experiencing a different  freedom. Reading is the best way, confess the President for living some moments of abstraction from the daily routine. 

The authors of the various sections: Charles de Gaulle Frédérique Neau-Dufour, Georges Pompidou
Éric Roussel, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing Charles Jaigu, François Mitterrand Laure Adler, Jacques Chirac Christine Albanel, Nicolas Sarkozy Camille Pascal, François Hollande Cécile Amar, Emmanuel Macron Étienne de Montety. 

Highly recommended.

I thank Editions Tallandier for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 




venerdì, gennaio 10, 2020

Grand Hotel Scalfari Confessioni Libertine su un Secolo di Carta by Alberto Gnoli and Francesco Merlo

Grand Hotel Scalfari Confessioni Libertine su un Secolo di
Carta by Alberto Gnoli and Francesco Merlo is the most amazing book I read on journalism in Italy since now.

Eugenio Scalfari has been for several decades the editor of Repubblica, one of the most important italian newsmagazines. His personal history, considering that now he is 95 years is told in first person so preciously that I am more than sure you will remain enchanted by it.

An only child, in a family devastated by a father intrigued by losing his time and money playing too much, and later winning his demons when he will start a prestigious work at the Casino of Sanremo, Liguria, Scalfari tells with freedom that years, his friendship with Italo Calvino, in the same high school. Calvino: someone who decided to live in a world populated by fantasy and fairy-tales more than staying in a reality of aboundance, as remembers Scalfari was the after-war in Italy. 

Although at first religious, he simply lost his perception about God and the idea of His existence growing up; famous was the correspondence exchanged with Pope Francis and the friendship born between these two men (other two in grade of being friends although their ideal differents were our President Sandro Pertini and Pope Johannes Paulus II).

Scalfari remembers at long his friendship with Italo Calvino and with many more collaborators as Citati was, for and of Repubblica. You'll love the stories of these friendships.
Intellectuals he desired to have close to him when at Repubblica because they made the difference, because, also if sometimes their political ideas were not the same ones of Scalfari, he simply appreciated their minds.

Politically Scalfari has been a man of the right and later of the left. During the fascism he was a balilla. Later he became a man of left. 
Surrounded by intellectuals, passion for writing and reading became soon a work for Eugenio Scalfari. He wrote for magazines of right as well; after all they paid good money and it was important.

What maybe shocked me positively, being a reporter, has been this: once in Repubblica Eugenio Scalfari worked for keeping happy also the rest of his journalists. Who worked for him had to be happy. And to me this passage of the book has been shocking, because I haven't never thought that an editor wants the happiness and joy of his journalists. Then I imagined the joy and contentment of that staff; when in a workplace there is harmony and a happy atmosphere, there is substantially everything.

Scalfari created with the time, with great collaborators, an idea of innovative journalism; left was plenty of enthusiasm and potentialities, but also researched; there wasn't a section of sport, and when created, sport was not treated as commonly is in most newsmagazines, but trying to research also in this sector of the existence, an intellectual key for reading the reality.

His friendship with Indro Montanelli, but also his devotion for D'Annunzio, a cult he cultivated thanks to the friendship of the poet with his father will be important pages.

At the end a strong analysis of what it is journalism now.

Scalfari starts from the past, and when Repubblica became the first italian newsmagazine, followed by Il Corriere della Sera. The advent of the internet has put the sector in a serious, absolutely dolent turnmoil, because what it was true before, with the advent of the net, it wasn't anymore true. People, no, better, readers, became confused by the news they could read thanks to the net, and at the moment the situation of newsmagazine is not at all cheerful. Million of copies of newsmagazines were sold just few years ago in one day, but these numbers are just memories. 

Scalfari thinks that books and newsmagazines, the first ones the only ones not killed by the internet, won't die. He adds more: that now we are all living in a moment of serious decadentism; and decadentism doesn't never bring good things. Sure: there will be a new re-birth because soon or later people won't accept anymore this situation of mediocrity.

The informations given in the newsmagazines can't be anymore the old one of the past; if there is an interesting news, given by the net, people are informed. What a good editor and his staff should do, affirms Scalfari is to "open" the news, for finding as many elements of interest as possible for the readers.

"Where once there was the power of journalism with its greatness and miseries, now I see many dishoriented gangs" adds Scalfari.
It's sadly true.

Beautiful, beautiful book, a biography and a spiritual testament of a man who has always made great journalism, and that can give directions for the future to come.
Written with extreme clarity, class, style.

Highly recommended!

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori









giovedì, gennaio 09, 2020

The Paris Effect by K. S. Burns

It's a very complicated story this one by K.S.Burns, The Paris Effect
. It's a sort of trip not just in a city like Paris, with pretty heavy misadventures. This book is also a story of loss, of searching for a new identity, when, after all the identity is lost also during a trip that should reveal the best of ourselves; in this case, you will see, a lot of confusion and additional messes.
It's a story that spaces in the past, with numerous flashbacks.
There are these two friends, Amy and Kat; more than friends, telling to you the truth, but then Amy married William, upsetting Kat a lot. 
The two girlfriends had an idea, a Plan: to travelling once two capitals, but then Kat falls sick with a bad breast cancer and she died leaving Amy devastated. Amy is not in grade of finding answer in her present, with her husband, her work; she prefers to escape away travel alone, for finding some answer, and her choice is Paris. Sometimes it happens. We would want to be in the other part of the world for escaping sufferances. It's human and understandable. But there is nothing of seriously romantic, or nice in this trip, because pretty soon and alone she will meet a weird creature, Margaret who will manipulate her all the time, who will drug her for keeping her close to her. 
Misadventures will be many; Margaret will also avoid of telling her that William, Amy's husband desperately searched for her in Paris, from Phenix, Arizona. Once returned home well, William will be implacable.

Pity that there hasn't been a good end, in an existence, the one fo Amy, pretty confused. Her confusion became her reason of life.

Highly recommended.

I thank the author for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori 

La furia della Marea La saga di Poldark by Winston Graham

Poldark is a long saga started by beloved author Wiston Graham, who devoted most of his life to these characters and their fascinating histories.

Started in 1945 the saga was completed in 2002. After decades of interruptions, the idea of continuing the saga re-appeared in the mind of Graham in 1973.

These first set of books portray the  XVIII century, the XIX the second part.

Everything starts with Ross Poldark. He fought during the Independence War in the US and once returned home he discovered that his belle has decided to marry one of his cousins, thinking that he was not anymore alive. 

This fact was devastating for Ross although he will re-start a new beginning marrying, at the end, a servant.

In this book La Furia della Marea published by Marsilio Ross continues to experience relationship problems, although at the same time he become a member of the Parliament. He would want with all himself to re-start from the beginning everything with her wife but a playboy will try to steal the heart of Ross's wife. Poldark in this case won't forgive him at all!

But also Elizabeth, the first love of Ross is tormented. She thinks that her son is the fruit of her clandestine relationship with Ross.
The story is more complicated with many other characters involved in betrayels, sufferances.
If you are a romantic spirit this book is for you. If you dream of stories lost in the time, this reading is perfect.

Highly recommended.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 


sabato, gennaio 04, 2020

Firmino by Sam Savage

Firmino by Sam Savage
is a stunning book to my point of view and can be read at different levels. I was re-ordering some books when I met Firmino. My bookclub, Club per Voi, presented me this book with other ones that I bought, many years ago. 
I remembered someone called Firmino asked me the friendship on FB. For the rest living in a countryside and coping constantly with mouses and rats, I decided of post-poning the reading.

What a joy this book is. If you are a passionate of books you must read it!

Why did I write that we can "reading" Firmino at different levels? Because substantially Firmino is the misunderstood, the one no other ones will believe in grade of doing anything or just having a mind in grade of understading the world and its dynamics. Firmino is a sort of  Matilda by Dahl. Someone in the wrong place for the most diversified reasons or in Firmino's case, shape.

No one will think that a mouse is in grade of playing a piano, or having a mind, isn't it true? In a society of appearance like this one, being out of the schemes is not tolerable.

Under many ways Firmino, "read" as a human, is the weakest part of all of us although he is cynical, he can't cry because mouses don't cry and because world is too cruel for crying; he doesn't wait anything from a common mortal; yes he would want to sharing with other ones his thoughts but he can't articulate words, he can't speak like the other ones; his imagine reflected in the mirror is not a beautiful one, but an horrible vision to him. He would want to be human but he is not.

Who is Firmino? Apparently a common mouse born in the Boston of the 1960s and as all the possible mouses of the world, hated for the reasons we know. But...Firmino is different. 
Firmino is human under many ways; he is a passionate of books and girls, good and bad cinema; he loves Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, he reads the Boston Globe and he is a mouse of culture. 

Very soon he discovers that he is different from his siblings, from his mother, constantly drunker. He falls in love for books thanks to the fact that the nest where he was born in was in a bookstore: the Pembroke Books. He decides of staying. He didn't feel a great friendship with and for his siblings, and he won't never miss them. His reading is accurate and will involve all fields of knowledge. Nothing will be missed. At the same time Firmino starts to be affectionated to the owner of the bookstore, Norman. He will also present him some gifts, deciding to stopping because at some point the poor man will be too confused by these strange arrivals when the store is closed.

Firmino thought that he could become friend with Norman, of the bookstore and he will try, but without success. The man, once he discovered him and later his nest, did what we do all the time: he will add some poison for killing him.
Firmino is terrified by this discovery: betrayed by Norman, a man he appreciated a lot.

He will move on; moving on means to him meeting a writer often at the Pembroke Books, Jerry.
Not only this writer won't be scared by him but will bring him at home, a modest home; for disorder, close to the one of a family-mouse, thinks Firmino, donating him a new nest. He won't be surprised when he will find Firmino reading books; he won't be surprised when Firmino played a little piano that Jerry found somewhere and restored at new life.

Jerry was fat, he didn't live good moments sometimes; he was moody, but a good person. 
Too much.
Firmino imagined writers differently: characters like Ernest Hemingway or Francis Scott Fitzgerald attracted much more his attention. Women, excesses, extreme sensations; Jerry in this sense spent a lot of boring time to his point of view. Firmino didn't understand why he lived in that way sharing his existence, just, well, with a mouse.  

One day Jerry fell seriously sick and the arrival of relatives in the house upset to death Firmino. What it writes Savage is impressive: Firmino thought that it was scandalous that the relatives of Jerry did not notice the condition of the place where Jerry lived in, the human conditions he touched, but, mostly, reading the letters that they had sent to him, just being sad for their own time passed by insensitive to all the rest.

The end is stressing under many ways.

Questions left by this book are many.

At a certain point, thinking that maybe I was over-thinking I read two lines of Savage for understanding who he was. I read  that before to becaming a writer of success he was a teacher of philosophy. I thought that I was right in my over-thinking.


Highly recommended. 

Anna Maria Polidori