sabato, febbraio 29, 2020

House of Ash by Hope Cook

House of Ash
by Hope Cook is a children's book published by Abrams.
I admit that the book didn't fascinated me at all. I tried several times of reading it with attention but I found it powereless and unable to capture the attention of people. The story wouldn't have been bad at all: set in two historical period, in 1894 we see Mila and the sibling coping with the depature of their father and their new-soon dad mr Andrew Deemus. This man surrounded by a lot of mystery, silence and untold stories inherited a house called Gravenhearts (the name is a program). Too soon Mila understands that nothing is going on normally in the house and that mr Deemus hides a lot of secrets.
While Mila's got these perplexities, Curtis, in our time, another kid, starts to think that maybe he has inherited the same illness of his dad, suffering of schizofrenia, because he hears voices. He will understand later that he is absolutely fine but that there is an interesting story behind.

It's a rarity, because I carefully choose books that I will review, so automatically falling in love for them just for the reason that I picked up them for a reason; in this case the reading was impossible. I tried several times but I didn't find any connection. 
The publishing house sent me this book for Halloween and not the past one but I didn't enter in the story at all. I re-tried later, but nothing.  

The idea is beautiful just maybe not developed with that passion in grade to keep people reading the book.

I thank ABRAMS for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

giovedì, febbraio 27, 2020

The Vestigial Heart A Novel of the Robot Age by Carme Torres

The Vestigial Heart A
Novel of the Robot Age by Carme Torres is a book published by MIT Press. It's an important book because focuses the attention in a future where human emotions are completely disappeared and just robots can be helpful to people who lost their humanity on the road.

Ethical problems, with questions still maybe too big for being answered briefly, this one is a good reading.

I thank MIT Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

La Rete Invisibile della Natura by Peter Wohlleben

La Rete Invisibile della
Natura by Peter Wohlleben is a new book published by Garzanti, In this essay the author will introduce us to the world of animals, plants, populating our eco-system, offering a suggestive portrait of their daily life.
You will discover what happen to ants and their importance for trees; at the same time we will learn how important and vital the presence of wolves are for a healthy and balanced eco-system; what happened in the Yellowstone Park when wolves were decimated altering the eco-system of the area per decades. Sometimes people are scared of meeting wolves while walking in the woods. It happened once to me and my father. We went to the wood for searching for some mushrooms and we also spotted a wolf. I won't never forget this: it disappeared at the velocity of light when he noticed unwanted guests close to him.
Animals are important, fish included, for keeping healthy rivers, seas. Look atthe story of the salmon!
Nature is realistically an "organism" in grade, if man doesn't commit too many horrors, altering with buildings, structures of various genres the environment, of staying very well. Each animal, each plant, play a good and natural role recognized by everyone.
There are plants in grade of develop tricks for not being anymore decent food for deer; but not only. Once a big animal dies, as you notice walking in a wood, you don't find any sign of his remains. Many animals big or little that they are, find mucho gusto at ending the existence of the ex-living creature, leaving no physical traces of his passage on this Earth.
I discover always new facts reading books. I did not know that broom are poisoned and that's why no one eat them. Interesting the various passages of ticks and their existence and relative role played by animals and plants.

Absolutely beauty, this book is for everyone in particular people fascinated by nature and its secrets.

I thank Garzanti for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Conquer the Clutter Strategies to Identify, Manage, and Overcome Hoarding by Elaine Birchall &Suzanne Cronkwright

Conquer the Clutter
Strategies to Identify, Manage, and Overcome Hoarding by Elaine Birchall &Suzanne Cronkwright is a new book by Johns Hopkins University.
At first I thought that this one was a book as many other ones regarding clutter and how to remove it. It's very different, and much more intriguing. Why? 
In this book we will meet a word, hoard, with a meaning, I searched in my dictionary, not precisely negative, but with negative repercussions when the complexity of keeping become compulsive for compensate past frustrations, unhappiness, big stresses; the hoader, yes, suffers of a mental illness. 
Why, in fact, accumulate massive things in a house? What the person wants to do? 

Substantially there is like a hole in his/her soul and as seen in this book in general there is behind this mental disorder and illness a loss, a physical, mental one, maybe an unhappy childhood, or some past stressing moments not sufficientlyw ell elaborated and in grade of bringing with simplicity the person affected by hoarding at accumulating for searching for happiness; that happiness that there is not in his/her heart.
The mind of the person affected by this mental illness, not in grade of sorting out the stress, negative facts of the existence tries to stay happy buying and buying and buying new items, collecting everything and keeping wonderfully plenty the house. 

It is more than normal to see a house plenty of items but situation become serious when these items are in disorder, when the house is not hygienal anymore, when these accumulated things reduce the physical and emotional space and freedom of the person and his/her family. When children don't have spaces where to playing anymore because of accumulated items; when people are constricted in little spaces because all the rest taken by objects; objects that can have also a sentimental meaning but an accumulation in grade of killing social, emotive, space and a normal daily life. 

Yes this one not just in fact a story of accumulating; it's a story of suffocating, materially and psychological; hoarding is in grade to block in this way the creativity of people, setting them prisoners of themselves, their past, their cross, and what they became: serial hoarders who needs help. An urgent help for setting them free from the emotional prison that they have built. In what way? You will ask. This book is clear, precise and will guide hoarders in a territory that maybe they wouldn't want to visit: their profound empty space in the soul kept plenty by items, objects of various nature, for later helping them to return to be independent and free from their own unhappiness. 
Not only: it will be necessary some time before to see the light after a long tunnel of therapy. A hoarder must understand that he/she is more important than the objects he has in his/her house and that it is just when he will be in grade to setting these objects free that he/she will be again plenty of energy and in good mental health. Not only: he/she will return to be much more productive because this fixation will be over and he/she will remember who he/she was before these dangerous compulsions..
Various cases are taken in consideration from the compulsive buyers, to the serial accumulator who doesn't want to set free objects because they remind him of best periods of his/her existence.
Therapies, modalities for removing clutters are explained with precision, and method.

Beautiful book, accessible to everyone and absolutely interesting.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

lunedì, febbraio 24, 2020

The Illustrated Police News The Shocks, Scandal & Sensations of the Week 1864-1938 by Linda Stratmann

The Illustrated Police News The Shocks, Scandal & Sensations of the Week 1864-1938 by Linda Stratmann

is a powerful book, reporting the adventures of a magazine born with the intent of telling the most horrible sad facts to its readers: the subject of our interest is The Illustrated Police News. 
This magazine was pretty cheap: for a penny you could read stories of homicides, suicides, incidents, weird and scaring stories told with much gusto. 
Born in 1864 and passed through various owners, Purkess the most important one, this magazines was largely recognizable thanks to the stunnign sketches realized by collaborators. Wherever it was possible to go, the magazine sent drawers for reporting not just via words but also via sketches, people, events, sad facts. Was there an homicide? Great: drawers needed to represent it; a suicide? Same story.
It was unclear if people working in that reality were paid, but as also written by the author, if it was difficult to be published by a newsmagazine like The Times, differently it was extremely simple to approach some people at the Police News for a collaboration. Sketches, pieces, everything. Journalist worked mainly coping, or elaborating pieces written by reporters of Reuters and similars when they could not go in the place where the act took place.
You will find probables and improbables news in this book, reported diligently by the Police News. What I love the most of this magazine are superb illustrations. I always love illustrations and sketches are seriously powerful although not yet anymore used too much in magazines or newsmagazines. In this sense the Police News is strong and enthusiatically powerful.
You will read about the existence of several, big and cruent facts occurred in England, but also a forgotten kid brought to the local police station; an elephant, Jim, once was spotted to London completely free. Londoners don't panic for these big animals because they are peaceful.
Another story involves an eagle and a baby, potentially captured by the eagle in North Carolina, and then abandoned because too heavy although the story's credibility is not big.
Divided in nine sections, you can read this book entirely or as I would suggest, jumping here and there through the sections for capturing the best, curious, sometimes scaring news reported. A news I found curious is the one of a man who was severely injured and later died when a coffin collapsed on his body during a funeral. What a lack of luck.
In its exxagerations, the Police News has anticipated what the world would have become later, thanks also to the rest of available medias. 

I bought this book at the store of Books for Dogs located in Umbertide.

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, febbraio 23, 2020

The Invention of The Restaurant Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture by Rebecca Spang, Foreword by Adam Gopnik

The Invention of The
Restaurant Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture by Rebecca Spang, Foreword by Adam Gopnik is an impressive and curious book about a birth no one think too much, I guess. The habit of going to a restaurant is so typical and eradicated in our culture that no one think at the origins of these structures.

At first restaurants were places born for all that frails people who needed good meals in grade of restoring their health system passing through the mind as well. People with the most diversified illnesses were accepted in these places, where it was possible, if health temporarily lost, passing through good and regenerating food, to re-become stronger everyday.

For this reason food was cooked, mainly broths using scientific notions (books in the past kept secrets and just for doctors, appeared cheaply for everyone and it was a big success.)
Slowly restaurant added more meal, more fruits, veggies, and if during the French Revolution restaurants were the symbol of frugality, once captured and killed Robespierre, the perspective of restaurants changed radically. If years before this event, restaurant-owners tried to open their structures also to other kind of people, not just the sick ones, after that moment Parisienne Restaurants became the symbol of food passion and love, and one of the main voices of attraction once a tourist is in La Ville Lumiere. 
I was thinking at the big change adopted by owners of restaurants: maybe it was not a case that, once the period of Terror was over, people rejected any kind of frugality, searching for food; a compensation for the horror they saw during that years.
Although there are different reasons for the evolution of restaurants, I want to think that maybe one of the main hidden causes was also this one.
People wanted to live, passing also through food. 

Beautiful book, written with competence, love.

Highly recommended to everyone.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

martedì, febbraio 18, 2020

Il Più Grande Bestseller di Tutti i Tempi (Con Questo Titolo) Come Difendersi da Chi ci Inganna con i Numeri by Sanne Blauw

Il Più Grande Bestseller di Tutti i Tempi (Con Questo Titolo) Come Difendersi da Chi ci Inganna con i Numeri by Sanne Blauw is one of the most promising new books by


Why? Well, our reality is mostly measured by graphis, numbers, statistics.
Are these numbers true, and when this fixation for statistics started to become so compulsively obsessive?
Not only: people, when interviewed by a researcher become a number. Nothing else.

Sanne was a researcher and her job was pretty satisfying, but one day she met a lady from Bolivia. She interviewed her. She asked to the lady questions about her quality of life, happiness and the result, at first a psychological one was shocking. When Sanne put numbers in order, hapiness 1, age 58, she noticed that nothing was in order. That lady she had just interviewed wasn't a number but a voiceless woman searching desperately for someone in grade of telling her story for a better end.

Sanne changed her job and she became a journalist searching for that "numbers", for putting people in the proper order, not, for once, numbers.

In this book anyway, she analyzes the fascination for statistics during these past centuries,  taking in consideration people fixated with numbers, statistics; most of them also for a great purpose.

The first story is emblematic: the one of Florence Nightingale and the sanitary reform for helping soldiers. Thanks to her, soldiers received best food and places where they lived and slept did not lack as it happened in the past, of hygiene. Nightingale passed to the history because she was the first lady in love for statistics. 
Archie Cochrane became famous for his numerous interviews for preventing heart attacks. His studies saved wagons of people. 
Robert Yerkes interviewed potential new soldiers understanding that the level of intelligence of Americans wasn't so excellent.  Americans were not so intelligents as thought before but not only: these studies and this results created predjudices and many more problems where possible because people started to discuss about "white" and "black" intelligence.

Not only: American presidential campaigns from the 1800s started to become a story of numbers with funny results as you will read. 

Kinsey grew up in an obsessive family with the cult of religion. He didn't know anything of sex when a teen ager and substantially spent his time masturbating himself; later, still maybe under the influence of his traumatic past, became a mentor for couples in need of sexual advice.  Kinsey organized courses for young couples teaching them the proper sexual behavior once married. His interviews with these couples were later critized and lived with vivid skepticism by colleagues of other eminent universities, Mosteller, Cochrane and Tukey. More than 520 questions, Kinsey interviewed his children (sic!) as well; one of the main lacks the fact that just some social groups represented the champion of people interviewed, leaving outside a large part of population.
Questions ingenerated falsity and people cheated the interviewer for fear of telling.
The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book was for Schoenfeld and Ioannidis reason for a research on cancer and food.
40 of the 50 ingredients the researchers had taken in consideration in that book were considered potentially dangerous.

Just some example of what you will discover and find in this new interesting book exploring numbers, people, but also customs, traditions, fixations and a modality for putting in order, rationally, our reality thanks to numbers.

I highly recommend this reading.

I thank Garzanti for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

domenica, febbraio 16, 2020

Le Monde Selon Tocqueville Combats pour la Liberté by Nicolas Baverez

Le Monde Selon
Tocqueville Combats pour la Liberté  The World according Tocqueville, Fight for Freedom by Nicolas Baverez published by Editions Tallandier is a book that everyone should read, because its words are profoundly important also for us and our current historical moments;  precious and crucials for our times.

Eighteen chapters, inglobating personal history, trips, thoughts writing, letters of the french thinker and politician.

France is considered by everyone the land of freedom, but Tocqueville, although treated this topic in every possible ways, was sadly ignored.  

Tocqueville was an incredible man, a fine thinker, someone who made the difference, although, for weird reasons, in France disappeared, like also his thoughts, for "reappiring" only during the mid of the XX century. It still is considered in France an enigmatic character, and one of the most illuminating persons while in the USA his thoughts are avidly studied by students, professors, teachers and whoever want to understand better the democratic system of a country and its internal problems.

Tocqueville was born in an aristrocratic french family and his existence was characterized by good education, later by the so-called Grand Tour, a trip attended mainly by wealthy young men and girls all around Europe. Tocqueville spent a lot of time in Italy loving the country very much. 
But it was a trip he attended later in the USA for work that "created" the thinker; the USA "made," modeled the mind of Tocqueville. Once returned to Europe that influences will remain with him for the rest of his existence seeing the world under other aspects and visions. Forever.

His most important writings are De la démocratie en Amérique,  L’Ancien Régime et la Révolution. His writings touches in particular the situation in Ireland, pauperism, but also the sad conditions experienced by France during the decades. 
Tocqueville was a politician as well, but substantially he hasn't never found a proper space and kept, always kept, an original thought that avoided him of being too satisfied of the government existing in a certain moment. 

He analyzed the French Revolution and its aberrations, like also what happened later with monarchy. 

Being a person of great integrity he spent a solitary existence although his writings are not just brilliant, but wonderfully, terribly, modern. 

The French Revolution was a shocking experience for sure. Why that? If the motto was: Libertè, Egalitè, Fraternitè, nothing seriously democratic was going on. The radicalization of that men and women brought just the loss of every freedom and traditions. The end of religion; the end of a normal life. Napoleon was an answer, but it passed through despotism and many wars.  

Six people of the Tocqueville family lost the existence during the period of Terror. His father lost everything and later just a little portion of their patrimony returned to them.

Tocqueville was a noble and it meant to him understanding the real values of nobility, grandeur; he hated mediocrity.
Tocqueville lived internal conflicts for many reasons. Yes, he was a noble, but he was a liberal as well; at the same time someone who could not accept, let's use an euphemism, the frequent "confusion" of public and private interests. 

A democracy is in peril when a majority "destroys" the minority part and if equality suppress freedom. 
Another wonderful thinker with which Tocqueville will enter in contact and will keep a correspondence 'till his premature death is John Stuart Mill. 
Tocqueville married a british and protestant girl more young than him of 6 years, for remarking what it meant to him independance of spirit. 

What he was searching for France was a democratic state, liberalism was another inspiration. 

Biggest tensions and problems of democracy? The imperant individualism mixed at a complete disinterest for the problems of people, caused at that times by industrialization, urbanization and new social classes. 

Analyzing the United States and Russia Tocqueville noticed that while the first one adopted individualism and freedom as way of living, the second one was an autocratic and violent regime. A good democracy permits to everyone good social conditions but also many other rights. 

These years are populated by a profound  international crisis and democracy is less potent; there was a populistic choc in the entire world, we can add. Regimes promising security, prosperity at the citizens became a reality. 
Socialism doesn't exist anymore, capitalism, and prosperity are words not anymore of the Western countries but of Asian ones, starting with China. 
We have seen it these weeks with the advent of Covid-19 a dangerous Coronavirus in grade of paralyzing a country and the economy of the entire world, dependant by China, and we don't know yet what will happen in the closest future. 
The USA and its leadership is diminuished with the immense power "captured" by China during these past decades. The old world known by Tocqueville if not disappeared is changed a lot. 

Equality is maybe the most beloved word of Tocqueville and he analyzed in his books democracy under many aspects, without to offer a real definition of a democratic system because of the contracditions offered in the various countries where this system is "installed." 

Risks for a democracy are also the interior decomposition, corruption of medias, demagody, fascination for strong characters: at the end, violence. 

That the world fell confused and lost recently is pretty known: Brexit, the ascension of Donald Trump at the American Presidency, in Italy M5S and North League, without to looking at other extra-european realities are signs that there is discomfort; new dangerous shadows disappeared per decades are sadly re-emerging. 

That's why this book is so illuminating and important: this world has lost the light and light must return. 

Died prematurely Tocqueville in his testament spent important words for his wife Marie: Elle est la seule femme que j’aie réellement et profondément aimée... "She is the only woman I profoundly loved."

Highly recommended.

I thank Editions Tallandier for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

giovedì, febbraio 13, 2020

Klotsvog by Margarita Khemlin, translated by Lisa C.Hayden, foreword by Lara Vapnyar

It's difficult that a character of a book remains in my mind because nasty, but absolutely I didn't like at all Maya Klotsvog the protagonist of the novel Klotsvog
written by Margarita Khemlin, translated by Lisa C.Hayden, foreword by Lara Vapnyar published by Columbia University Press. Not just her, but also the abusive men she met along her way. They are in some cases horribles, maybe direct consequences of her wrong actions and falsities.
That woman irritated me, because she was a powerful liar during all her existence; because firstly she married a man discoring she was pregnant of her former lover, cheating in different ways her husband but also the ex-lover, liquidated without too many explanations.
She married that first man for not remaining alone. Can a woman marry someone for this reason without to commit a terrible error because not in love?
Of course what it could be an idilliac love-story, this man was expecting children, and having been married, and still missing his first wife and children, would have adored to experience the same situation with this second wife, because a nightmare. Maybe he understood that Maya didn't mind at all of him and didn't love him; maybe he understood that the son was generated with another man, he started to drink, to be verbally abusive and distant, feeling that something profoundly was wrong in all that story although it is scaring  a situation like this one, where at first someone is clear, but the other is a liar for later living the horror in both sides. The violence of a frustrated man and the multiple lies of Maya. 
The first child she had had, Mishenka, "met" along his way and his first years, a lot of problems, in particular health problems because the pregnancy of Maya was tormented while he was still in his belly and he felt it; he felt that his arrival was a bit messy.
The divorce arrived pretty soon ad Maya continued to collect husbands and lovers remaining, you will see at the end, alone and without having met anymore her son from more than 40 years! At a certain point the daughter she had had with the second husband will ask her if for case Misha was her brother. These sufferances, these secrets, these pains have been lived by Maya as if her person wouldn't be touched after all by an existence built in such a horrible way.
Something she will remark often in the book, is "But that's not my point." If this lady would exist, I would ask her which is her point of view. This line gave me irritation as well.

This book has been written with a powerful method, you see my strong review of a poor character born thanks to the pen of ms. Khemlin. This book is wonderful if you want to understand dynamics sometimes existing in the life of a woman.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

lunedì, febbraio 10, 2020

La Temeraria, Luciana Frassati Gawronska un romanzo del Novecento by Marina Valensise

It's fantastic this new book by Marsilio La Temeraria, Luciana Frassati
Gawronska un romanzo del Novecento by Marina Valensise.
It's the story of a family and a person; this work has been possible thanks to the letters left behind by mrs Frassati Gawronska, the auto-biography of the same Luciana, and many other writings.

The Frassatis were an important and crucial family for Turin. Mr Alfredo Frassati, Luciana's father was the founder of La Stampa, one of the most beloved and prestigious italian newsmagazines. 

Personally the character I loved the most was the one of Pier Giorgio, the brother of Luciana. Although the family was very rich and well introduced in the most important places of the city, Pier Giorgio preferred to chant a different song. He was the son and the brother of the latest ones. Catholic, spasmodically devoted, he did all his best for helping, taking good care, bringind food, to the most miserables people of Turin and later foreign places where he stayed. Not only: he joined catholic movements and magazines when his father was a man of left, clear direction given at the newsmagazine. 
Luciana loved immensely this weird, to her point of view, brother and their connection was incredibly good. 
They grew up united, they studied several languages, they travelled a lot. Luciana enjoyed the good world. She fell in love at first with a wrong man 'till at the moment of her fatal encounter with mr Jan Gawronski. Gawronski was so insistent with Luciana that, at the end, she married him although she wasn't so sure of wanting it. 

When also the granny of Luciana was dying, the arrival of the terrible illness that would have brought to death Pier Giorgio: polio.
A terrible loss for all the family, in particular for Alfredo, his father. He felt not just the absence of his son, but now he understood the beauty of the world he had left. His funeral was populated by people, folk no one thought could exist. The family received wagons of messages from the most diversified parts. Pier Giorgio had helped silently many poor people, trying to better their human conditions, giving hope, a word of comfort and making all the possible for helping everyone. When he could bring them fresh flowers, food, money, he did it. 

Luciana received the joy of a first baby, a female, in 1926; a marriage populated by many children; the one called Pier Giorgio died after several hours from the birth.

Luciana was particularly active during the second world war, and she fought with all herself for the beatification of her brother, arrived thanks to Johannes Paulus Pope II.
She admired and she was admired by a lot of men: let's remember Furtwangler and Arturo Pagainini. This portion of the book will permit you to look more closely at the relationship between these three protagonists of the XX century.

Luciana died in peace and at a very beauty age. 

She wrote once: "I want to possibly die ten years before my natural departure, for not leaving behind nothing of special apart the memory of my existence."

This book is portrait of a lady immensely in love for all her family and that brother gone at just 24 years although it is much more, because will immerse you in the complicated scenarios that brought at the First and Second World War, national, internationals dynamics and facts, thanks to the fact that the father of Luciana at a certain point will become an ambassador adding to all of it the daily routine of the existence of the Frassatis.

Highly recommended.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori  

venerdì, febbraio 07, 2020

La Straniera by Stefan Hertmans

La Straniera by Stefan Hertmans
published by Marsilio Editori is the sad history, reconstructed with great ability, of Vigdis Adelaid and her big love David. Vigdis was born on 1070 in Normandia, Rouen. She is beautiful and she is the baby of a very rich family. For this reason her education is beauty, centered in the main purpose of preparing her for a beautiful wedding with another rich young man so that she can be helpful for her entire family.
Her destiny and her heart will speak a different language in comparison to the one of her family. When still little she meets a child of her same age more or less killed by christians just because Jewish. This episode will torment her. When a teenage, walking along the street where a lot of jewish lived she sees a new boy, arrived from a distant land, with black hair and intelligent eyes: David. 
They fall in love immediately and Vigdis will search for him, speaking with him, hidden always in different places because at that time an union between a christian and a Jewish was not possible. Mouths could not stay closed and started to whispering. The parent of Vigdis will close their daughter in a convent, but she will escape away with David, her big love. The teenagers thought that they could make it. They hadn't consumed yet their passion and it will happen on the road. At a certain point Vigdis noticed that she was pregnant. 
In the while, searching for a stability they lived in different cities. When she had the first baby she joined the jewish community rejecting her christian religion and changing her name. David had thought, thanks also to the beautiful meaning of it that Hamoutal was the best one. In total with David Vigdis had three children but the couple remained terrorized by the christians and the possibility, still high, of the destruction of their family and their dream of living a good life all together. And in fact it happened. Hamoutal, destroyed, will go away, in Africa, returning but always changing places, being peaceless. In the while, when in Africa, shemarried another man and had a baby but she needed to see the rest of her old family thinking that David and her children were still alive. Her new arrival at home didn't bring any answer and she left again, till at her complete perdition.

What attracted the most Vigdis regarding the Jewish religion was the profoundity of culture, and traditions anchored in the centuries.

What it is so sad is that two young people could not live well their love because of their different religions. It sounds not just sad but horrible and anacronistic.

The history of Vigdis/Hamoutal could be tell by Hertmans with precision and accuracy, because letters and documents old something like 1000 years are still known and preserved, because for jewish memory is important and crucial.

Highly recommended.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

martedì, febbraio 04, 2020

Des Américaines à Paris 1850-1920 by Gérard Bonal

Des Américaines
à Paris 1850-1920 by Gérard Bonal is another intriguing book by Editions Tallandier.
A big impact in french culture and vice-versa has had the American community in France and in particular in Paris. 
Why choosing first of all Paris during that decades and century? 
When, at first, the first and wealthy Americans afforded to Paris it was mainly because the capital of France could give them the best in terms of universities, in particular medicine, or school of arts, still not yet too defined in the young USA.
Not only: in the USA people breathed a lot of puritan spirit and sometimes it was not so accepted when people were creatives and when they desired to breath a different kind of freedom without to being judged; just the idea of express themselves helped the American community to embrace Paris.
As the author remarks, these people found freedom, every kind of freedom in Paris. Artistic, individual, sexual, developing also a best identity of the self. Yes, Paris was also choosen by all that homosexuals that in their land could not express their identity. In Paris in this sense l'amour was intended in the largest meaning and lesbians and gays were largely appreciated. Not only: Paris was also the cultural center of the world, thanks also to the arrival of so many other brains of a completely different continent.

The same William Butler Yeats remarked the concept  writing that "From Paris we have seen all the biggest artistic and literaries influences." In Paris during that period you could meet wonderful painters, dancers, writers, and many more creatives all excited by the idea of demonstrating their talent, and the idea of a best future thanks also to the good influence of Paris in their existence. 

Paris sometimes was a phase in the existence of these people; sometimes a place where they spent their entire existence or most of it. Let's think at Gertrude Stein and her companion Toklas. The book will give a large coverage at this influential woman. Substantially Stein created several important creatives like Pablo Picasso, a sort of obsession to her, but also Ernest Hemingway. Let's remember that the idea of giving up his activity of journalism was mainly dictated by Stein and her ideas regarding the future of the beloved writer.

Augusta Klumpke will be one of the main character analyzed in the book and it will be the first female of working in an hospital. The first women, you will see also other portraits of American girls studying medicines were mainly bullied by their young boys, colleagues of faculty. A prestigious Boston's journal, the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal remarked that women had not to study medicine, because « nerveux ou excitable », les femmes ne sont « pas taillées » pour ce métier.  This topic, this work needed a mind and a body completelu different. The one of a man. 
Women were still seen as pretty moody creatures.
Dorothea the sister of Augusta later became at La Sorbonne the first female Astronomer. 

Various chapters will be dedicated at Edith Wharton in Paris when the first World War started and the idea of an American Hostels for people in need. These destinies, as writes Bonal created a new energy at the cultural way of Paris during the XX century.

The first ones, long biographies, plenty of anedocts, of affording to Paris were Emma Hart Willard and Elizabeth Blackwell. The first one was a teacher with clear ideas regarding education. She founded a school only for females in the USA. At the age of 43, paying a pretty expensive ticket, thanks to a ship and a long trip, a voyage long more than 40 days, she afforded to Paris. Oh: it was a shocking, wonderful discovery. She described the Cathedral of Rouen as a "Feeling so sublime, too much intense for a human soul."
Elizabeth Blackwell was born in Cincinnati and was searching for good schools. Miss Blackwell thought that predjoudices regarding a work were too silly and she became a doctor. You will read her history: she made a lot of sacrifices but she became one of the most known obstetrician of the time, keeping proud her adoptive country, France and the USA. 

Another story was created by painters. Mary Cassat was 7 years when at first arrived in Paris. Although studied later in the USA arts she thought that visiting Europe was indispensible (I agree), and she left the USA for Paris although she left behind angry parents.
Mary spent most of her time in the Louvre, she joined  Paul-Constant Soyer at the Atelier de formation artistique. She discovered most of Europe, Italy, Spain appreciating Nipponic art. Anne Gould was a very rich lady and her story I am sure will intrigue you a lot like also the one of Mary Plummer. In particular the second history is symbolic of the end of a marriage. Georges Clemenceau and Mary Plummer started their wedding very well. Just... As often happens Clemenceau had a wonderful career and Mary was kept in a beautiful place, taking good care of her babies, all alone and profoundly unsatisfied. The involvement of children in this story remains pretty shocking.
When Mary died this one an extract of the letter sent to the brother of Mary by Clemenceau: "« Ton ex-belle-sœur a fini de souffrir. Aucun de ses enfants n’était là... » "Your beautiful-once sister ended her sufferances. No one of her children are with her..."

Anna Klumpke, in Paris for serious reasons, painter of portraits and Rosa Bonheur is absorbing like also the one of other wealthy ladies. Beautiful the biography of Winnaretta Singer, daughter of mr Singer and later a french Princess, precisely a Polignac.

Absolutely stunning is the portrait of Romaine Brooks, born Béatrice Romaine Goddard; this lady will marry mr Brooks intending to keep their wedding unconsumed. After a while they divorced and at the end she discovered a different freedom with a different last name. Mrs. Brooks appreciated Paris but also Italy, Capri, where stayed various times feeling all the times she was there a profound change into herself and her feelings for this sunny place. Sometimes she researched places where to stay where there was less happiness, more grey, like London exactly as her soul was, but Capri remained in her heart as one of the best place visited and where she stayed with more joy.

One of her most important and profound friendship was with D'Annunzio when the so-called Vate was in London. To everyone Brooks became Cinerina.

These ones some of the names of people afforded to Paris in the early XX to Barney and his book Memoirs of a European American.

Lucie Delarue-Mardrus, Colette et son deuxième mari,Henry de Jouvenel, Élisabeth de Clermont-Tonnerre, Jeanne Galzy, Guillaume Apollinaire, Jean Denoël, Germaine Beaumont, André Rouveyre, Aman-Jean, Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Valéry, Joseph-Charles Mardrus, le traducteur des Mille et Une Nuits, Dolly Wilde, the nephew of Oscar, Milosz, Ezra Pound, Jean Cocteau, René Crevel, Francis de Miomandre, Robert d’Humières, translator of Ryduard Kipling, Édouard de Max, Berthe Bady, Raymond Duncan, Pierre Benoît, Marie-Laure de Noailles, Mme Catulle Mendès, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, André Gide, Sylvia Beach, Adrienne Monnier…

Beautifully attracting, I highly recommend to everyone this book. 

I thank Editions Tallandier for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

domenica, febbraio 02, 2020

Write Better A Lifelong Editor on Craft, Art, and Spirituality by Andrew T.Le Peau

Write Better A Lifelong Editor on Craft, Art, and Spirituality by Andrew T.Le
Peau is a book born for and with a necessity: divulging the lessons learned by mr. Le Peau during these past 40 years of writing, teaching to other Christian writers: the best modality for a good approach in Christian non-fiction and the best way of writing it.
Le Peau confesses that when he was little he didn't love to read at all, but he must thanks his two siblings and teachers if he became an avid reader as well.
The book is divided in Three Parts: the first one, the art of crafting will immerse the potential christian writer of non-fiction in the art of creation of a book. The second part involves The Art of Writing while the Third One The Spirituality of Writing.

It's a quick reading, but plenty of suggestions, tips, quotes about writers of fiction for let you give you an idea of what, other famous writers of the past or present thinks about writing. I loved the test for thinking divergently but also all that advice in grade to create a new shape of creativity in the daily stressing life of a writer.
I found reassuring the chapter about grammar and how to use it, like also how to use a good metaphor to give a more powerful structure at the lines. 
Most important adds Andrew is to find "your own distinct way of writing."
Why this? Because sometimes searching to imitate a famous writer doesn't pay and it's better to search for your own writing-style. Let's remember that the way of writing represents also a sparkle of our personality and character. Why hiding it putting a mask?
A chapter I guess you'll find intriguing as I did, is the one of autobiography.
"We write. People choose to listen to us, follow us, maybe even pay money to support us, to hear us speak, or to buy our books. They give us the gift of the measure of authority in their lives. That is a trust we need to handle with care" adds the author.

Written with simplicity and with the idea of being helpful to everyone, I suggest this book to everyone and in particular of course to all that potential writers still confused about what to write, how to write, where publishing etc.

I thank NetGalley for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori