sabato, maggio 30, 2020

A Kid's Guide to Coronavirus Rebecca Growe, MSW, LCSW and Julia Martin Burch, PhD illustrated by Viviana Garofoli

Today I received a newsletter from Magination Press. This one is a publishing house specialized on children. There was a free ebook we could download and that I would want to share with all of you.The title is: A Kid's Guide

to Coronavirus  Rebecca Growe, MSW, LCSW and Julia Martin Burch, PhD illustrated by Viviana Garofoli-

That these ones are complicated moments is vivible everywhere. My mother after two months of confinement today and yesterday enjoyed some time in a city close to us, discovering the same old world but pretty...altered. Shopping is more lazy! people are wearing masks and gloves like many super-heroes fighting against a shadow, a little enemy that we don't see but that we surely don't want to enter in contact with.

If adults are strained, if we suffer of lack of sleeping, if we are worried, if we check our newsmagazines with constant updates and sometimes certainties that we developed for a reason or another, children are also living a stressing existential moment. Life also in their case, turned upside down exactly like our ones.

Why can't they play anymore with their best mates? Why is there no school, so hated but, being a dream, so loved?

What is this coronavirus, that thing that changed their life and the ones of their parents, sometimes affecting heavily also the daily-routines of the parents?

With simplicicy, with kidness and with all the possible diplomacy, without hurting too much their psychological system (it depends by their age) you can find here the history of Covid-19 and the proper actions that need to be taken for fighting against it: from washing hands often repeating the alfabet 'til the end, passing through wearing masks as if we would be all super heroes busy to save the world and our existences.

It's also important to specify to children, that anyway (they have simplicity of adaptantion to new situations if compared to adult ones,) this sort of game against an evil, invisible creature soon or late will end and everyone will return to be free, hugging, kissing, shaking hands and enjoying the company of all our friends and relatives!

Just, we are at the beginning of this war.

Anna Maria Polidori 

giovedì, maggio 28, 2020

The Extinct Scene Late Modernism and Everyday Life by Thomas S. Davis

The Extinct

Scene Late Modernism and Everyday Life by Thomas S.Davis is a new and intense book by Columbia University Press.

What was the late Modernism? 

Substantially a historical moment perceived as a suspended time. Suspended time because of the uncertainty of the moment; suspended time because it could not permit to imagining  anything good for the close future, putting at the same time in constant emotional fear, people.

That was why, maybe, that "late Modernists" focused particularly, in their

writings, in the daily activities of people: the only certainty

 that there was, was that one: reality seen, reality experienced; at least, the wanted and searched reality, in opposition to the irrationality of the world. 


Not only: the existence of individuals started to be perceived always more as a mutant attribute of a situation still too precarious.

Modernists experienced the First World War and the Spanish Pandemic Flu. Once recovered from these two big traumas, the arrival of a lot of dictators in the entire Old Continent. Italy knew Mussolini, Spain lived a Civil War; Germany knew Hitler; then the Second World War.

History failed to be a rational place where to cuddle mind, body and expectations. It is correct to write that reality and everyday existence meant suspicion and anxiety. . 

Reality was so ugly that painters, writers tried to sublimate in a way or in another; the current of surrealism put on canvas abnormality of the reality, while literature tried to give different answers. 

Isherwood and Woolf tried their best for representing the present.

In particular Isherwood in a line described his modality of working: "I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking." 

Not thinking: thinking became too devastating. Passivity helped to going on.

The description offered in his book Goodbye to Berlin the one of a decadent Germany, the Germany of Weimar affected by heavy economical problems.

Modernists tried to capture the instant in all intensity and so these fragmentations in their modernists way of writing mean and pretend a re-reading for trying to understand space, time and for 

establishing a more complete connection with every single moment described by the authors.

The big collapsed certainties for these writers were two: first of all the decline of a british centered world where rotated  the rest of the universe; it created a crisis of historical consciousness and the end as also said before of history as previously known: a rational, but more than rational I would add reassuring part of the existence: normality. 

The second: Capitalism. It had brought to most people wealth but at the moment, present and future appeared uncertain; and not only: the past was seen  like a wonderful dream disappeared too soon. In this mental condition, plenty of melancholy for the past, fear and panic for the present and future these writers told every aspect of the daily existence of the protagonists of their books: houses, but also interior spaces  like hobbies, sport, dance and other happy activities. 

In one of her books Woolf will portray in the character of Rose, 

interior sickness.

Just this portion of the book says a lot to my point of view about feelings and sensations felt by the same author and a way of escapism after all. It was a sick world and that  world lived  in a systemic disorder; 

itellectuals understood it. 

Because of it, and for giving voice opening a discussion more frank  to the best genial and beautiful minds, Henry Bergson created in 1922 the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.

Participants were big international names like Paul Valery, Madame Marie Curie, Sigmund Freud, Tagore, Aldous Huxley, H.G.Wells. 

Particularly important was the correspondence of Albert Einstein with Sigmund Freud On War in 1932.

Henry Moore was Mr. Gothic Sketches. Grown up in a gothic world after all he has been the main exponent of this current; one of his sketch is the cover of this book.

Gothic sketches created during the Second World War. Elizabeth Bowen synthetized that historical moment as "Lucid abnormality of everyday life in a wartime city".

The arrival of Gothic, in a time so uncertain and terrifying under many ways was more precious and comforting, after all because permitted to put in sketches, words, etc, the horror, that, in opposite case would have remained repressed and confined in the most hidden part of the existence of people. 

Gothic means the research in the soul, mind of people of pulsions, fears, dissatisfactions; the Gothic enter in the most  intimate fears of 

men, women  passing through scaring new characters born by the fantasies of various authors and irrational worlds that these artists experienced, lived and had close to them. Gothic in fact is inspired by  reality, feelings of the moment: Gothic is unintersted at  the past or at the future. Gothic lives the moment, suck the moment and elaborate the moment with its hallucinations, contortions and horrors.

So, if in the past Gothic tried to give voice to dead people still speaking and active in our world, the chaos created by the advent of the Second World War captured the daily existence of people with bombs

 that destroyed palaces, animals, men giving an idea of a mass grave.

There was in Moore a recurrent theme: the one of the fear of being buried when a person still alive. And it happened! 

A comment in the Spectator regarding Moore said that he looked as 

"if he has been excavating in early tombs."

What did Moore was not to separate death and life but reading these states putting them in connection using an invisible wire that kept

the two conditions less identifiable.

Our time after all is  similar to the Modernist one and that's also why I warmly suggest to all of this reading.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

mercoledì, maggio 27, 2020

Just Like Us The American Struggle to Understand Foreigners by Thomas Borstelmann

This book Just Like Us The Am

erican Struggle to Understand Foreigners by Thomas Borstelmann by Columbia University Press immediately captured my attention. Intriguing, this one is the reconstruction of the birth of the USA and its following steps for affirming without any doubt the model of a State, a Nation in the entire world; this, thanks to the strong American values perpetuated during the centuries; very ethical ones.

Every American you will meet along the way, he could be a fresh immigrant or a citizen of the USA from several generations once you will enter in confidence with you, at a certain point will tell you: "I am American!" and this phrase, if, at first will surprise you, say a lot about the strong identity felt by the American citizens.

So, being a model, Americans see with curiosity, sometimes skepticism people of other countries. Their model has been exported in most countries, so other countries and folks should learn by them.

The author then traces a reconstruction of the history of the USA and why we are at this point.

At first it was a colony, a ship of Pilgrims; in 1621 reached  the East Coast. Protestants, they colonized the place with their strong ethicity; at first the USA was a Protestant place, but later the arrival of people from other very diversified places posed a lot of questions. Black, Italians, Irish, Jewish, Russians, Hispanic all seen with great skepticism slowly slowly started to be appreciated and five kind of groups were introduced for classifying the large population of the USA. 

Italian Food entered prepotently in the collective imaginery of everyone as one of the best and healthy one of the world; Germans contributed largely at the expansion of the American cuisine as we know that.

Although with the time Jewish became million superating the number of people who raise in Israel and marriages with catholic or protestants became the 50% in the country, at long the USA has thought with a British touch, considering itself originally a british rib.

That's why at first UK's trips were, for the wealthiest classes reasons of priviledge, like studying in UK, or living in UK.

Of course, time, people, diversification meant a different change of perspective. 

Immigration was always very welcomed but there were bans in the remote past, for example, in 1880 there was the ban at chinese immigration; I found extremely interesting also the approach of the USA during rhe First and Second World War; Americans tried to convince common people with propaganda that they were fighting against Nazis and that there wasn't anything personal. In fact there is to say that after the war a lot of soldiers returned to the USA with german girls.

Living at the same time in the other part of the world no one of the Americans understood the abyss of the Nazi system and the final stermination of all Jewish and/or people with disabilities or problems.

So, it was after the end of the World War II that Americans read very differently all that mess, giving large space to all the survivors of the Holocaust and their witnesses in books, magazines, newsmagazines and these atrocities started to be known everywhere.

Dwight Ike Eisenhower maybe one of the best President of the USA in terms of inclusion of all individuals existing in the USA and the Planet (he also found People to People International) encouraged American's religious faith and instituted some prayers everyday to open  Cabinet meetings. Once they forgot to pray and once out Eisenhower told to the secretary: "Jesus Christ, we forgot the prayer!"

The horrible problems of the past, racism, anti-semitism sounded to be archieved by history; we all know that history repeat itself and we should repeat it often to ourselves but the period after the Second World War sounded great. Recently President Obama was elected as President and his main distinctive fact was that he has been the first black American President.

The era of the years of Barack Obama were happy, cheerful; apparently the world was going on well, although there was who started to plant the seed of hate; an hate that exploded once the President Trump, a populistic candidate at the Presidency, (as it happened in the entire world elections were won by populistic leaders), went in office.

A character completely different from the one of Barack Obama, it was not just a story of character, President Trump changed completely the immigration policy with a ban involving various countries, and policies in grade of permit to the anti-semitism, racism, xenofobia at home, etc to re-discover a new youthness.

Interesting book if you want to discover who Americans are, what they think of themselves and other people and countries, but also if you want a good, not too long book in grade of giving to you a fresh look and perspective of the intricated history and internal conflicts of a nation in grade to make the difference for the entire world.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

lunedì, maggio 25, 2020

Nigel My Family and Other Dogs by Monty Don

I picked up this book just before the quarantine in the emporium created by the charity Books for Dogs in Umbertide. 

Nigel My Family
and Other Dogs by Monty Don is not just a wonderful book but it tells the life essence of the author, that, gardens apart, are dogs. As Monty Don confesses in his book, his family has always had dogs around: sometimes troublemakers, as you will read, but undoubitedly his family has never lived without dogs for a second.
When he went to the university he had Gretel; a symbiotic relationship. When he studied, read, when he went to a pub, wherever he went, Gretel was with him. When he started the relationship with Sarah, once he called her Gretel, the name of his dog. 

Nigel arrived when Monty Don a mature man. Nigel is a solid dog, a golden retriever, so the perfect dog for having company and affection. Nigel was and is more than this because he will be part of his documentaries enjoying to be on screen, and as Don confesses, he became with the time a real star, receiving for Christmas's time more Christmas's greetings than the rest of his family. He is appreciated and often people asks to mr Don: How's Nigel? 

This friendly and captivating book is precious also because will let you understand the most common errors committed by dog owners, and how to treat our dogs.
Don remembers breakfast. He trained Nigel in a way that he hadn't to pretend anything from him in terms of food while he was having breakfast. Nigel learnt that; simply, he had to wait for his turn.

The gardens created with the time by Monty Don in his big house have been the most diversified ones and the most creative ones. I was impressed by the Lime Walk. Monty Don planted wagons of lime trees, creating a corner of Paradise; although as you will see his gardens and so favorite spots of Nigel are so many.

When Monty Don wrote this book Nigel was 8 years old; at the moment he should be 11. Don has also treated the thematic of the departure of Nigel and where he will be buried.
Don lost many dogs, and Gretel maybe the most significat one, maybe, considered the end of his past and the arrival of a new existence.

With the time, and with Nigel starting to ageing the idea of another golden retriever, this time a girl called Nellie. Character completely different from the one of Nigel, it sounds an adventure.

The beauty of Monty Don is that he is in grade to understand dogs very well and with him there is the certainty that these pets will be well trained and will become disciplined creatures. As Don admits he doesn't love when people imagine these pets like children of humans. They are dogs, with their own desires and with their own character. Each of them is different.
I found interesting the reconstruction of the arrival of dogs in our society as pet companions and the creation of the golden retriever breed but also how dogs think in the immediate and in the past.

The book is plenty of pictures, imagines of Nigel, and all the rest of dogs owned by Monty Don new and old.

The cover is absolutely beautiful, a sign of extreme happiness between a dog and a human being.

Beautiful, great reading! 

Anna Maria Polidori 

sabato, maggio 23, 2020

Gettiamo il Nostro Corpo nella Lotta Il Giornalismo di Pier Paolo Pasolini edited by Luciano De Giusti and Angela Felice

In this new book by Marsilio Editori Gettiamo il Nostro
Corpo nella Lotta Il Giornalismo di Pier Paolo Pasolini edited by Luciano De Giusti and Angela Felice the complete portrait of a reporter, writer, filmakers who tried with his words to fight for his own ideas. Collaborator of Il Corriere della Sera, and many other prestigious realities, Pasolini started his journalistic career at the age of 20 and substantially till at the moment of his departure.
In these essays you will find covered his entire existence, from the beginning to the Pasolini "politician"; the essaysts  analyze his sides, sometimes contradictories passing through the various thematic he loved to expand in the community. 
His relationship with the PCI for example. Pasolini was expulse by the political party when the dirigents discovered that he had had some sexual intercourse during a sagra with some male teenagers in 1949 but the wire with the PCI won't never disappear, although it will be tormented. Scrutinized the Paolini reporter, his relationship with cinema, poetry, chaos, magazines and newsmagazines, this book is great if you search to understand better the existence and work of one of the biggest italian journalists, passed to the legend because of his tragical end.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

venerdì, maggio 22, 2020

Intellectuals and World War I A Central European Perspective Edited by Tomasz Pudtoki and Kamil Ruszala

It was a heavy, sometimes devastating impact, the one of the First World War and inye
If you want to discover much more, there is a new book Intellectuals
and World War I A Central European Perspective Edited by Tomasz Pudtoki and Kamil Ruszala tome published by Jagiellonian University Press.

This book offers a vision or historians and scholars and what meant the First World War in the world of letters, in the minds of intellectuals, in their thoughts, in their habits, and if they survived, seeing and analyzing also how the World War changed their world and more than this, their way of thinking.

A war is not simple and the First World War interested the entire humanity. The creatives ones taken in consideration the one  of East and Central Europe. I admit that I didn't know most of them but this trip was great for this reason.

Some examples of the ones you will meet? I picked up some examples.

Béla Balazs. He was a  close friend of philosophers and future librettist of Bluebird's Castle of Béla Bartòk; when sent to war, fell wounded and hospitalized. In that occasion of forced seclusion, Balazs started to write his essays about his long hospitalization. 

Sad and shocked because his battalion composed by 960 people was gone, he felt the body as a metaphor of death and passage to another existence, sometimes pretty abruptly thanks to the war. 

While Balazs joined the war he attacked all that intellectuals who preferred to look out of the window what it was going on in the world, without to do nothing and without to fight in the front.

He felt, considering that he was much more than a simple soldier, the time spent at the front precious. And in this sense in his composition "Princess" the woman is seen like the "feminization of non combat" while the man like the militarism on the front.

Another intellectual who joined the war and lost the existence in the battlefield was the hungharian reporter and writer Elémer Banyai. Thanks to his heroism this intellectual became a hero for his nation.

Jozsed Nadass not just joned the war but later they amputated one of his legs. A man, during a war, said the writer, sees just the brutalization of the world, becoming at the same time, brutal. 
He "abhorred war". He was young, explained in his writings, and he did not know exactly what it meant the word war, as later would have sadly understood.
Not just this, Nadass suffered also of the close, too much close contact with the rest of soldiers; his nudity, his sharing everything with the rest of them.

The story of Hugo Zuckermman is so sad. He was a man of letters and a poet. Part of the 275.000-400.000 Jewish Hasburg's soldiers, he tragically died in the front. He wrote a poem Reiterlied that became immensely famous. Published when he was still alive, after his tragic departure, followed by the horrible and devastating suicide of his wife the year later in 1915, it gave a perspective of who Hugo was obtaining a big success.

Beautiful book, erudite but accessible to everyone, you can jump here and there, for reading profiles, stories of intellectuals who made the difference leaving important messages to the humanity.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori  

giovedì, maggio 21, 2020

Lust, Lies and Monarchy The Secrets Behind Britain's Royal Paintings by Stephen Millar

Lust, Lies and Monarchy
The Secrets Behind Britain's Royal Paintings by Stephen Millar is a wonderful, captivating new travel, cultural guide of UK, its glorious past and present.
Each chapter treated by the author, offer to the reader a large explanation of what that monarch meant for that time to England or Scotland including his/her private life with her/his sufferances, doubts, joys and scandals, accompanying it with the explanation of paintings, scultpure realized for him/her by very important painters and sculptures, I want to remember for them all Bernini.

In terms of scandals this book is pretty intriguing and some stories are absolutely funny!

For example we will see that King Charles II had a favorite, and we will learn he asked to his wife of accepting her. The wife, frustrated, depressed, sent him to hell and living many other frustrations because the king spent most time with his favorite and they had together five children while the queen seemed that could not procreate at all.

George IV was absolutely a womanizer. He loved women and so he ended up to marrying two women. When one of them said him she wasn't interested in a story like that one the king tried to kill himself and so the poor lady accepted to marry him. 
They found a disgraceful priest who celebrated this second marriage, Rev. Robert Burt his name, although maybe the happiest creature of all these stories was Princess Louise, the daughter of Queen Victoria. 
Eccentric and exuberant girl, she was a creative and loved to surround herself with painters and sculpturs; she started an affair when 18 years with a member of the royal housold. Impregnated, the baby once born was given up to a family close to the royal family. 

Immediately after that, Louise felt the influence of the sculptur Joseph Edgar Boehm becoming her lover although he was much more old than her. He was a married man and this relationship continued per many years. At a certain point, searching for some stabilization she married a man who later resulted gay; Louise tried all her best for not let go her spouse outside during the night, searching for young workers. Louise, considering the demostic private problems she had with her husband, guessed that she had to continue her relationship with Boehm. Pity that the poor man died once tragically in his studio, but oh, there are two versions: the first one that Louise discovered the body once that she went to his studio; the second that the poor man died while having a sexual intercourse with Louise. 
Anyway, Louise spent a very long age and she peacefully died at the age of 91.
It would be possible thanks to the DNA to see if the child Louise had had was his one as everyone said but investigation was blocked as you will read. Pity. 

Much more tragic the past of the monarchy plenty of devastating facts. Poison, murderers. 
An episodes I felt horribly was the murder  of Edward and Richard, sons of Edward IV. They have been brutally killed for a story of power and succession to the throne. 
They were beautiful!
Same story occurred to Lady Jane Grey, executed cutting her head after just few days of reign. 
The book arrives 'til Elizabeth II.
At the end of the book four Royal London Tours for admiring these paintings, real masterpieces.

Beautiful, highly recommended!

I thank Museyon Books for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

martedì, maggio 19, 2020

New Grub Street by George Gissing

If you want to understand how worked the so-called market for writers, journalists, people interested in writing in the Victorian age New Grub Street
by George Gissing will be extremely helpful. And telling to you the truth, I don't think that the market is changed a lot.

We will always find people like Jasper Milvain, reporter, writer, interested to write for money. His reasons after all, are nobles under many ways. If a person thinks all the time to write a masterpiece, she/he could be wrong, wasting time. Better is, the main philosophy of Jasper, to follow trends, what people and editors are searching for. After all, what Jasper remarks, is that this one is a market like another one. 

Jasper tries to surround himself with people of letters and in general everyone in grade to better his position, encouraging the sisters at writing short fictions. He calculates strategies for obtain the most by the existence. Jasper remains funny under many ways. 

His friend Reardon is completely different. He lives with the idea that a good book is written being inspired  by some Muse, and he can't accept that, cinically he can writes without "feeling" what he writes. Reardon is a character pretty interesting, tragic and romantic. 

He studied in a good school, at the age of 18 or so left for London in search of fortune as a man of letters, journalist, writer, but his pieces didn't meet the interest of any audience. He found in the while another job for going on. He started to publish during this moment of relaxation various books and everything sounded to return to the normality. He met a girl, Amy, soon his wife.
The existence of a poor writer, is dominated by financial problems and different struggles. 
Money, being assaulted by the block of writer two conditions absolutely devastating. 
Plus with the time, speaking with his wife Amy, Reardon starts to develop, being depressed, a big fear regarding possible bad reviews of his books. He doesn't have a great consideration of his latest works.

When a writer is a writer, is impossible also in condition of depression to relax the mind; it will always goes here and there, and it is what happen to Reardon. Restless, Amy, the wife has always lived an existence pretty sacrified, because the husband hadn't reached a good status with his job and so she has been constricted at staying at home most of the time living a modest, frugal existence. 

When she married Reardon her idea was to marry an important man she could go proud of, but later she understood that her husband wouldn't never been who she thought he could become with the time.. Tensions increases when money became a necessity. Amy appears desperate. The man she married once was unable to provide to them all, kid included and Amy will decides to start a new existence. Reardon, left alone, will become more desperate continuing to live pretty poorly, in a house very cold, falling sick. The family completely destroyed, Amy returned to help him in the moment of greatest and final necessity.
This book is not simple at all. I felt a great compassion for Reardon, his problems, his character, too weak, maybe for a world like the Literary one can be.
Why the title New Grub Street? Because Grub Street was the headquarter of printing houses more than two centuries ago in London.
Here many writers and reporters tried to become, in most cases without any hope, affirmed pens.
So sad, but beautiful. 

Highly recommended.

I thank Fazi Editori for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

sabato, maggio 16, 2020

Newsmakers Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Journalism by Francesco Marconi

Newsmakers Artificial
Intelligence and the Future of Journalism by Francesco Marconi offers a more vivid portrait of what will become and it is becoming the journalistic field, interconnected and implemented with Artificial Intelligence or AI as we will call it, for brevity.

I was skeptical months ago about the power, potentialities of AI and its use, although reading this book I discovered wagons of attracting potentialities in grade to make the difference and in grade to amplify a work constantly under pressure because of the internet and the advent of social medias and other channels of communication. 

A blog, a reality created in the net can't be understimated by newsmagazines and magazines as in the past, and it is necessary a rearrangement of the entire way of working for giving the best to the readers and for capturing their attention considering that now news are mainly searched on social medias and in particular a large amount of people tend to go online for reading the latest news.

This fact means just one thing: staying in the news. But...Which news?  The ones searched and wanted mainly by social medias fruitors.

In the past there was a methodology of work pretty simple: interviews via phone, written pieces. In general news followed the events of the week, so common appointments, and yes, latest news, but read without any kind of expansion in the outside world. 

This expansion is becoming a priorities for all newsroom, little or big that they are. 

That's why AI is crucially important, because it can be the most powerful tool for discovering what it is trendy, what it is in particular read and seen on social medias, or interest social medias people; AI can be used for increasing subscribers of a newsmagazine, for deleting that comments considered nasty; for searching for automatically produce content, for integrating, for discovering much more about a potential election of a candidate in proximity of an  election simplifying our work in a newsroom. What Artificial Intelligence can do is a vastity of diversified works and should be lived and seen exactly like the invention of the telephone or the PC and the Internet.

Beautifully stimulating, this new book by Columbia University Press, written brillantly well by Marconi offers a scenario adopted by the major Americans newsmagazines like the NYT, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, but also Associated Press and many more  for letting us discover a new reality and the possibility of a different and more efficient productivity in a newsroom.

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

venerdì, maggio 15, 2020

Woe from Wit A Verse Comedy in Four Acts by Alexander Griboedov Translated by Betsy Hulick

Light, deliciously funny, this play
Woe from Wit A Verse Comedy in Four Acts by Alexander Griboedov Translated by Betsy Hulick will keep you of good mood for sure.

The plot of the story is particularly intriguing and simple at the same time: Chatsky, a young boy return to Moscow thinking to win the heart of Sophie, with which, when little he had had a love-story. 

The girl doesn't want to have anything to do with Chatsky; and there is another man around: Molchalin. 

The structure of the play is absolutely funny: apart the dialogues between the various protagonists. all funny, hilarious, elaborated, classy, there are inserted many various long dialogues, in some moment we could call them monologues, moments of reflection of the protagonist taken in consideration in that moment, explaining his/her perplexities, fear, hopes and so on. 

Of course Molchalin will be cause for Chatsky of additional jealousy. Sophie prefers Molchalin to him: how could it be possible? But an explanation can be found at the beginning of the first act, when Sophie will admit that she is shocked by the new arrival of Chatsky in Moscow, in her life and his pretence of flirting with her. The end of the four acts will be a revelation for the protagonist...

Sophie under many ways is hilarious because in every possible way, she will be pretty direct, she will try all her best to dissuade Chatsky by the proposal. A good hand will be given also by the father of Sophie. He didn't consider Chatsky a good man for his daughter. 

Chatsky is seen by Griboedov like a man who could not find a place in the world maybe also because of the contradictions lived by Russia. 

The author of this play Alexander Griboedov was born immediately after the departure of Catherine the Great, the arrival of her son to power killed pretty soon and the installation of another zar in Russia. Although it is not possible to imagine the year of birth of the author, maybe it was in 1794, we can say that he was born in a rich family, and although in love for music, literature, theather, he became a diplomat. Writing to him was his main passion. He was brutally murdered when not yet 40.

Highly recommended if you want to spend two-three hours lightly.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

martedì, maggio 12, 2020

Sweet and Lowdown Woddy Allen's Cinema of Regret by Lloyd Michaels

Sweet and Lowdown Woddy Allen's Cinema of Regret by Lloyd Michaels is a great book on Wod
dy Allen if you love his movies or if you want to discover much more of this filmaker.

One of my favorite ones, personally I admire a lot of characteristic of his movies that I consider unique in the genre. 

First of all, lightness: protagonists in general are people who will be in grade to sorting out their problems; they tend to live the existence as if this one would be a continuous dance, so with rapidity, without thinking too much about the consequences of their actions, because, simply, life is in motion and it is indispendible not to lose any beat because is short.

Plus: there is always a high psychological component in Allen's movies. I had nightmares after that I watched Match Point, because, you simply know that the crime committed by Chris, the protagonist has been created with immense dishumanity for not lose the social status reached thanks to a wealthy marriage.

As you will remember the protagonist, Chris is just a tennis instructor at first then, thanks to a wealthy boy and friend attending his tennis lessons, is introduced in his family. There, Chris meet the sister of his friend, starting a relationship with her and later marrying her. He isn't exactly in love with her, but the wealthy position of the girl convince him without too many regrets. 

Not only: along the way he meet the girlfriend of the brother of his wife; his girlfriend was simply attractive and they feel immediately a profound attraction; Nola at a certain point goes away, she break-up with the brother of Chris's wife, but later Chris will re-meet her and there they will start a relationship: in Chris's family problem is a pregnancy. The wife of Chris would want a baby, but it doesn't seem possible; Nola remains pregnant and that's the point! and reason why later Chris killed her without any kind of pietas. The amorality of this character can't be forgotten with simplicity. I don't think he felt any regret. He saved his apparently beautiful existence, hiding an extra-coniugal affair with various complications, but Chris remain a killer.

Sure, regret, the main thematic of this book doesn't seem to interest heavily his work. Not greatly.

Woody Allen during the six decades of his permanence in Hollywood has always been in grade of keeping more than fresh his movies, thanks to what was/is happening in the society and the mutations of love and its shades with the time. 
There is no repetition in his movies but a lucid analysis of the existence of people and their personal turnmoil. Love stories born but die everyday as well, because simply happens, without complain too much but setting free under many ways the protagonist, moving on in a perennial state of beatitude, because the existence is wonderful and rich of opportunities. 

In this sense it is wonderful Everyone Says I Love You, where the various protagonists will discover various kind of love, for later sorting out their heart's problems; they are also left alone; it is not a loss being abandoned by someone, because the protagonist return to perpetuate again his feelings for someone else.

Journalists, creative, thinkers, these ones the protagonists of Allen's movie, in Midnight in Paris the protagonist, Gil, a writer, with his fiancee Inez to Paris for a vacation will end up every midnight temporally in the Paris and The Left Bank of the 1920s, where he will meet Francis Scott Fitzgerals, Ernest Hemingway, Ella Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and many more intellectuals of that time understanding that his life was anyway acceptably good in the present as well. Not only: also in this movie the couple won't survive, because Inez will cheat Gil with a lecturer at La Sorbonne but later the protagonist will meet a new girl, Parisian this time, with which, hopefully in grade to build a good existence. Sure, as he adds Michaels Midnight in Paris concludes affirming "Both the futility of looking back and the impossibility of not looking back."

Woody Allen's characters have a plenty life; they are in most cases intellectuals, they are rich, they don't have time for analyzing problems of the existence in profoundity; their erudition is important because it is part of the answer to all their problems; they have the certainty that they will always enjoy their existence; that's why they tend to live the moment, enjoying it, and when it is over, simply it is over, and they re-start to search for other new stories, novalties.

There is not any regret in living for example in Woody Allen's movies relationships with girls of 17 years. "His father is more young than me" will tell Allen in a line of his movie. But also in Vicky Christina Barcelona, we will see a sort of menage a trois, assisting also at the irrationality, instability of one of the characters. 

Beautiful book, if you are a movie-lover, a fan of Woody Allen's movies, if you like introspection, if you search for movies that will let you think. 

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori 

domenica, maggio 10, 2020

Contre Amazon 1 Manifest 7 Reasons by Jose Carrion

I previously reviewed Jorge Carrion's Bookshops a fascinating trip in the most known, famous, little, characteristics, bookshops across the world. An amazing cultural trip in grade to leave in the reader a bigger knowledge of bookshops to visit when in a certain city, with the certainty to find great readings. After all what are bookshops if not places where to spend all the possible time in? No sure you, but I could enter in a bookshop and with tranquillity I could stay there also for a long time, because it just takes time to choose some readings.A bookshop is a continuous discovery, and it's a pick up, put down, reading plots, considering the moment, the author and the current desire of what to read. In most cases when you enter in a bookshop with some ideas you return home with books completely differents from the ones you would have wanted to pick up. And happier because that books are the answer for your present existential moment.

This little pamphlet written by Carrion Contre Amazon 1 Manifest 7 Reasons is a little book published in France by  La Nouvel Attila against Amazon and his owner, Jeff Bezos. 

Carrion analyzes the begin of everything. Bezos decided to give up his work in Wall Street. He started to live in Seattle, selling books, online. It sounded the new frontier.

Why this hate for Amazon? Because Amazon was born as an online bookstore, but the fact is, it hasn't never been, adds Carrion. Electric books and the birth of Kindle meant to all of us also a new existential conditiond: being spied by Amazon. 

What we read, how quickly we read; and much much more.These informations, plus of course our list of ebooks create a strong profile of who a person is in terms of tastes. But, substancially, we are different from robots. We are humans.

Plus, as Carrion affirms firmly: there is nothing more positive and refreshing than to stop by in a bookstore, staying there peacefully for a lot of time searching for new books.

Carrion will also explain how Amazon works, and the plan for implementing its power in the world in every possible ways, also with a program called Kindle Reading Fund. Another criticity of Amazon is that in that online retailer you can find every possible book including the manifesto of Hitler and dangerous books for the humanity. A criteria this one without too much ethicity. Not only,  but Carrion specify that more than been an online bookstore, at the moment Amazon is an online hypermarket where you can buy this world and the other.

Very interesting! Highly recommended.

I received this ebook via Elodie, during the days of french confimenent.

Merci beaucoup! ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ 

Anna Maria Polidori 

The Bedford Diary of Leah Aynsley 1943-1946 Edited by Patricia and Robert Malcolmson

The Bedford Diary of
Leah Aynsley 1943-1946 Edited by Patricia and  Robert Malcolmson is a tribute to all the people of the working class and middle-class and the difficult years they spent during the last World War. Leah Aynsley, unmarried, vivacious, interested in various activities, kept diaries for many decades. This one has been chosen by the editors of this book because written during the Second World War.

It is important because thanks to the word of Leah, this book let us show the society of the time and how a person lived, loved, interacted with people, and much more.

Leah was an interesting lady. When I watched her pictures I noticed an open smile, and two brilliant eyes. Leah stayed in the house where her parents moved, in Bedford, till close to her end.

She interrupted to write journals for several years, re-starting to write a journal when the war began. She added she was writing this diary because later she would have presented it to one of her relatives, for giving an idea of the years of war. 

Difficult ones, milk and other food rationed, there were often bombs heard by the entire population and of course no one could not stay too tranquil. 

Leah coped during these years with rheumatisms and this one will be one of the main, private thematic that afflicted the most our protagonist. 

She loved to take good care of her teeth and frequently Leah visited the dentist of the town; she enjoyed to go to several concerts of classical music. She was an avid reader, she enjoyed reading biographies and yankee books, as she classified certain readings; at the same time being an active, and great passionate gardener, she enjoyed reading books about gardening. She also loved to reading newsmagazines; she was a subscriber and one day, not receiving her copy, she called for an explanations:  enemies bombarded the road and it was not possible to distribute newsmagazines.

I found a page extraordinary poetic. Leah told she loved to go in a place close to her house for admiring a certain kind of flowers, plants. Then once the war started they bombarded that place and poetry, calm, the relaxation donated by nature at Leah, was over. That relaxing corner of the world for a certain time destroyed.

Leah loved to writing and receiving wagons of letters from Lilly, the wife of her brother, her brother and many other people as well. She regularly sent lot of parcels, ad she enjoyed to stay busy in many different ways.

There is, without too many doubts, the history not just of Leah but of a city, Bedford, in these pages.
There is Italy as well because some prisoners spent time in Bedford; then an italian one cut the head of an American soldier. He was later killed. People had good consideration of Italians. Just: this one became mad and killed a person. 

I personally enjoyed reading this diary. The writer maintained her thoughts on the surface preferring to report practical things and the facts of the day; nothing has been written for case. There was censorship; Leah wrote how, sometimes, when she received letters, these ones were opened for reading the content, so substantially most of the entries of the diary are articulated for not discontent anyone.

She was proud of what she was doing and writing.

Leah searched spasmodically to perpetuate herself thanks to her diaries; to be remembered; a witness of her time; her life, spent in the garden, but also reading, writing letters and diaries, meeting people, working, sipping good tea in the garden, or with friends, smiling, enjoying her existence, as one day wrote in an entry of a journal written in 1935. That day she complained; she did not see a sense in her existence but at the same time, she added, she was grateful and happy for what she had, and for her existence, for being, after all, too sad.

Oh, you must read this book. I know that you'll love it!

Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori