lunedì, giugno 29, 2020

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

What an interesting book Il Prigioniero degli

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

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


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


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


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


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


Napoleon adored Franz.

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


I suggest this book to everyone. 


I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.


Anna Maria Polidori 






sabato, giugno 27, 2020

Coming Home to Greenleigh by Maya Rushing Walker

Coming Home to

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

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

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

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


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

What will happen?



This one is a  book written with love, sentiment,

that I warmly suggest for spending some relaxing time.


I thank the author for the copy of the book.


Anna Maria Polidori 

 

lunedì, giugno 22, 2020

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

The Art of Making Magazines On Being an Editor

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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


A beautiful, fresh book for everyone!


Highly recommended.



Anna Maria Polidori 


 

venerdì, giugno 19, 2020

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Beautiful book, informative and extremely interesting.


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


Highly recommended.


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


Anna Maria Polidori 

giovedì, giugno 18, 2020

Women of Courage Florence Nightingale by Sam Wellman

Beautiful book Women of Courage

Florence Nightingale by Sam Wellman. This one is a homage, a tribute at Nightingale.The existence of Florence, born in Florence! was an exclusive one. Her family was part of that elite who made the difference in the UK. Her education, and knowledge of many foreign languages, from French to Italian, including old greek and latin, philosophy, art,  had to prepare her at a radiant future. Florence established a best connection with her father, with which she discussed of philosophy, politics. Not only: since she was a kid, she became an avid letter writer, and started to write short compositions.

She was educated by people who remained in her heart.


Although Florence loved her environment she was also a big christian. 


She understood  that she had received a call and that her path had to be different from the one decided by the society where she lived in. 


Still young, once in Paris at the house of a more adult friend, not yet married, she understood the freedom and acceptance that that lady was experiencing although she could not be classified as a common lady.


Departures and lessons learned from her domestics or tutors let her understand that there is always a tomorrow, also when many disgraces touches the existence of a person; she later decided for a drastic choice that would have put down a lot the entire family: she wanted to become a nurse. Her existence has been absolutely a complete adventure.


She passed to the history because she was the one who, firstly, introduced statistics.


This book is written dreamingly. You will be introduced in the existence of Nightingale under many aspects; poems, written stuff of the author or poets and writers she entered in contact with, and that made the difference to her or she appreciated and it is pretty colloquial.

Trips, relatives, parents, houses, her sister, holidays, work, social conditions, history, nothing is hidden. 


Beautiful.


Highly recommended.


I thank NetGalley and Barbour for this ebook.


Anna Maria Polidori 



lunedì, giugno 15, 2020

Un Viaggio Italiano by Philipp Blom

Amazing book

Un Viaggio Italiano by Philipp Blom published by Marsilio. I didn't know the story of musical instruments and their creation and I didn't know anything of the history of this art through centuries; for this reason, if you are like me, in love with music, history, this one will be an unusual trip through centuries, absolutely satisfying and wonderful.


One Day mr. Blom, son of musicians - he studied classic music when little although later preferred other fields of knowledge - once at the studio of a lutist he was friend with, "met" a violin that would have made the difference. This violin,  brought home and played, if at first appeared rigid, later introduced him to distant lands, and beautiful sounds. 


What is  a musical instrument if not the extension of a body's part for a musician? 


Blom had another violin he loved to play everyday (and you will read what will happen when the couple is to Paris) but this one...Blom started to fall in love for this old violin, with an important age, restored several times during the centuries!


The lutist sold the violin to Blom added also that the violin had been created by someone in Fussen, Germany: this part of the conversation meant to Blom curiosity and the beginning of a trip through history, little places, people, events, searching for the creator of his violin. 


Lutherie was an important voice in Germany and for people in search of a good work meant a lot thanks to numerous theaters, the importance of classic music; plus wood in the little city of Fussen known for the beautiful castles built by Ludwig the cousin of Sisi, abundant and of good quality; for this reason the market was interesting.


The richest lutists once dead, left wagons of instruments and wood, and other parts for new musical instruments. It was a real business. 


Violins, as explains Blom, hasn't always had a great consideration: in a painting, the Macabre dance with Death, violin is portrayed as a seductive instrument, in general in possession of people not too clear, someone who want to cheat other people.


In this painting people will understand that, after all, life is just a..dance and when they will leave this world because death ask their presence in the other dimension, they won't bring anything with them, if not their passage, their witness in this world, leaving to the ones still alive, certain gestures, dances, typicities, shadows, shames, signs of appartenence. 


This painting can also be read as a dancer perpetually playing. Till he plays, he is alive. 


Death is particularly close to life changes, visiting perennially tiny narrow strees, but not only; she loves songs sang in taverns plenty of people and joy; she walks in roads, streets, populated by poor singers; these ones the best places and people where to find death.


No one knows the name of the lutist for sure, but Blom will call him Hanns for starting, one of the most common names given to a baby in Germany in 1660-1700 when this baby, future lutist was born.


When you must research for detailed informations about the remote past of a violin or another musical instrument, you see in this work the unification of the entire Europe; an Europe that meant North of Italy where germans lutists afforded for learning this art, Germany, Cremona, Venice, Wien, Paris. 

Italy was still divided but united thanks to music and its importance.


This book is not just the story of this violin but also the story of the most known European lutists and their approach with this art, putting them in connection with social and political situations of the places where they lived in without forgetting the new ones, plenty of privacy but also incredibly helpful.



Highly recommended.


I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.


Anna Maria Polidori 







sabato, giugno 13, 2020

Fresh Kills A History of Consuming and Discarding in New York City by Martin V. Melosi

There are iconics places in every city; places that we remember because beautiful, places that we remember because useful. 


Fresh Kills was this: a useful place: in a few words, the landfill of New York City. 


It's amazing Fresh Kills

A History of Consuming and Discarding in New York City by Martin V. Melosi published by Columbia University Press. An accessible friendly book, intriguing, plenty of curiosities and if you love the story of New York City, I am more than sure that you'll fall in love for it.


Nothing is left out. At first Melosi describes the birth of New York City, what it became of the city and why they decided to choose as a landfill this place located in  Staten Island. 


The story of Fresh Kills follows in this book the progression of New York City, at first a little reality, then always more big; New York  brought in the city more than 10 million of people with the problematics, also in terms of consumption, that it meant.


Fresh Kills was big something like 2.200 acres and was operated 'till at the arrival of Rudy Giuliani mayor of New York. Fresh Kills was later re-opened after the terrorist attack of 9/11 because served as cemetery for the remainings of people and more.


Fresh Kills's and its future? It should become a big park, three times more big  than Central Park for giving to you an idea. 


This book is historical, portraying people, facts, moments of the city with clarity but at the same time great research. For this reason this book, absolutely readable by everyone, should be kept in every house! It will clarify in fact aspects of New York City not yet known and it is a great tool for students or people in search of curiosities and anecdots about the city.


Highly recommended.


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


Anna Maria Polidori 



I will Never Forget You by TATSUYA MIYANISHI

I will Never Forget You  by TATSUYA MIYANISHI

is another great, moving,  engaging children's book published by Museyon Books. As always, the protagonist is the Tyrannosaurus 🦖 that we learnt to appreciate during his past adventures. 


It seems that his destiny is the one of meeting little creatures, in a sort of karma.


This time a little Spinosaurus, Wimpy; Wimpy went to the shore for picking up some red berries because her mother was sick. 


Unfortunately he met along his way the Tyrannosaurus and you know that: the chap is constantly starved. 


He started to appreciate the idea of eating Wimpy when, approaching him, a big and terrible quake "broke" the land and his desire and the two remained in a little tiny island, surrounded just by a berry tree. 


Thanks to the ability of Wimpy of finding fish, the Tyrannosaurus didn't kill him; the two, constricted, forced at staying so close became friends discovering something more of each other. 


Sure, the Tyrannosaurus didn't have a name, no one told him pleasant words. It sounded a surreal world the one created by the quake and the arrival of this new friend, so kind, so able to let him feel good. The Tyrannosaurus thought that after all he could express some humanity, that, simply he was human.


Slowly the Tyrannosaurus started to appreciate fruits, and lately he learnt the meaning of being generous with other animals.

For this reason, and this one is the moving part of the story, for helping the mother of Wimpy he will lose his existence. In doing it, he donated what he could,for saving Wimpy's mother.

Wimpy won't never forget this unusual, big, enourmous animal; he also saved his existence, healed his mother and his sacrifice meant new fruit trees born thanks to him.


I loved this fairy-tale and I found it moving, maybe because there is involved an ugly animal and you can't never think that a horrible animal like that one can be in grade of act of kindness and generosity. 


For this reason we can wish that always more often, speaking about human beings, there will be ugly people in grade to change their path for good, becoming decent people. 


This children's book opens a miriad of dialogues, suggestions, with your children.


Highly recommended.


Published by Museyon Books I thank the publishing house for the copy of this book.


Anna Maria Polidori 

mercoledì, giugno 10, 2020

Swan Bay by Rod Jones

I personally met Roday Jones two decades ago when he was searching for some material regarding Mediterranean Women. He stayed in our area for 12 days and later Rod would have been published in the most read Australian newsmagazine The Age a piece about his visit. Many things changed from that visit: Irene died, she was the official guide of Rod, during that 12 days and they spent wagons of time together; Assunta and Ubaldo closed the bar, keeping opened only the tabaccheria for the affectionated fans of cigarettes, Chicco became a pizzaiolo, Nicola works in a  factory, Chicca is married, Don Marino died. Ambulants diminished in numbers: the bakery store of the town interrupted the service of bringing bread in rural areas; Mileno the fruit-veggie ambulant vendor, one of the most serious person I have ever met on the face of this Earth went in pension dying too soon.

The only vendor passing every week remains Federico, the son of Remo, dead now, with its  articles for the home. People in the area diminished pretty strongly.  


I was so surprised when I found this book by Rod Jones, Swan Bay

A Novel of Destiny, Desire, Death in the emporium of the ladies of Books for Dogs.


I found that this book after this period of lockdown and this "normality" was a beauty sign.

I brought home last saturday for the cheap price of one euro each, several books, eight in total, for helping the ladies and their charity.


It's a strong book this one written by Rod. I have read his first book Julia Paradise. I asked for that one because Rod catched me through a website of correspondence but we were at the beginning of the internet and I wanted to be assured that this man was seriously a writer.


I still hadn't read this one. His novels are populated by complicated ladies, strange relationships.


Swan Bay is the perfect place chosen by a lot of creatives in Australia; musicians, movie-makers, writers, reporters, when one day the arrival of a lady called Virgil in a house still "abandoned". Apparently she is alone, she spends her time always alone; she loves to sing piano, reading, smoking marijuana;  she has a couple of friends who spend with her some time once per weekand firstly she is sick.

The writer starts a friendship with her, and he will be violently introduced in her world: a world populated by illness, hospitals, seizures, failures, betrayel, death; she had a pregnancy but she lost the baby; her companion left her for another girl.

The book ends with the departure of Virgil.


The book is dense of considerations, in particular complications created by relationships,  that monogamy spasmodically searched by men but, simply, not existing. That's why there are betrayals, sufferances, new people in grade to re-generate a lost soul passing through the sufferance of the betrayed one.

Pretty short book, 162 pages, it seems more long because of the sufferance emanating through the book by  the various characters.


Highly recommended.


Anna Maria Polidori 






lunedì, giugno 08, 2020

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg

One of the best news I could have received: Random House via NetGalley asked me days ago if I wanted to read and review the latest book by Fannie Flagg: The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop. This book will be published on October 27th in the USA. 


Oh: I absolutely return with joy, enthusiasm at

Whistle Stop, the imaginery little town in Alabama created by Fannie. 


Her characters, Idgie Threadgood, Ruth Jamison, Sipsey, Big George, Buddy Threadgood, Ninny Threadgood, Evelyn Couch, are all unforgettable characters. Magnificient plot the one of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, I remember that I also cooked the fried green tomatoes. It was the first time that I ate them in that way and they were simply delicious! 

 

As you remember, in that first book there is the essence of the South of the USA: religion, rebel spirit, violence perpetrated to a lady, a murder, racism, great food, friendship, love, departures, shocking events in grade to change the existence of people; it is a book plenty of humanity and real life in motion.


So, what about The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop, you'll ask?


I imagined at first only the isolated story of Stump, Buddy Threadgood's Jr. the son of Ruth Jamison and her disgraceful husband Frank Bennett: there is much more.


The community of Whistle Stop, Alabama, with its hairdresser, the café and many more activities was in fact, very united; when the town slowly slowly died, no one lost definitively connections with the rest of the community. 


OK, life continued in other States for all the protagonists, sometimes distantly from Alabama, but persisted the curiosity of being updated, because roots are something that no one can remove or delete. Plus, the adventures experienced in the little town of Whistle Stop by all these characters were too unforgettable and fascinating.


The town had had also a potential journalist, Dot, who kept connected the entire community with a newsletter when she lived in Whistle Stop and later when she abandoned the area for another State thanks to a frenetic exchange of  letters with the rest of the Whistle Stop community here and there, reported the most relevant news regarding everyone with a long letter sent during the Christmas Time every year. A tradition I know very well; some American correspondents of the South love to write a long letter every Christmas for telling what it is going on in their corner of the world keeping us updated. 


This book, more modern and "mundane" under many aspects, is the reflections of our times; the various protagonists of these new stories are pretty old, some of them gone; who is alive is coping with ageing; this book is also a dream; the possibility of new beginnings for everyone.


The story of Buddy Threadgood is relevant in this sense; with the time he became a vet, he married a lady and has had Ruthie. Ruthie, once grown up, and, beautiful as her grand-mother Ruth was, married a boy, Brooks absolutely in love with her, althought persisted the skepticism of Brooks's mother, a pretty snob lady, desidering for her son someone else, much more rich, and more close to their social status.


Anyway, the marriage of Brooks and Ruthie was absolutely happy with the arrival of two children. Brooks had many dreams but unfortunately he won't realize most of them.


Buddy Threadgood Jr, old now, and with a sort of little dementia going on, before to fall too sick and not remembering anything, decided to run away from the Home where he was living in, searching for Whistle Stop and hoping to see another time his old native village.


Unfortunately his trip was deludent; the old places he knew so well, were, simply, unrecognizables.


Ruthie fell desperate when she understood that her dad escaped away, and at first she thought that he was dead. But he wasn't; thanks to this disappearance Evelyn Couch read the message published in a newsmagazine regarding the disappearance of Buddy Jr. 


She immediately recognized Buddy Threadgood Jr. 


Oh; Ninny had told her wagons of facts of Buddy. He lost his left arm at the age of 7; he was called Stump by Idgie. 


Evelyn was grateful to Ninny for what she did for her. 


Ninny was the best guidance she could have had; a help arrived directly from God. 


Evelyn, met Ninny in a home where stayed also her husband's mother, another disgusting lady; the one of Evelyn was a sad, absolutely depressing existence, with a man uninterested to let her show manifestations of any sort of affection. Thanks to Ninny, Evelyn, the unsecure creature who cried most of the time eating chocolate for forgetting the ugliest part of the world became a successful seller of Mary Kay Cosmetics and much much more, becoming a multi-millionaire lady. 


Evelyn called so Ruthie, asking to see her. Evelyn had a box of pictures and other items presented her by Ninny; a big gift containing the memories of her existence; many pictures of Buddy, Idgie, Buddy's mother.

Evelyn would have wanted to give this material to Buddy Jr.


Gratitude was so big in Evelyn, that she decided with Ruthie to restoring the old town of Whistle Stop! presenting to Buddy the old house where he lived in when little, modernized, restored, re-built.

 

As you will see there will be problems at first...


The book returns continuously in the remote past, and then in more recent years in a fluidity of space and time, in grade to motivate choices made by the various protagonists, reporting stories of people, anecdots of a little community who made the difference.


The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop is a pleasant return home; in a home, Whistle Stop that crossed the destinies of many people forever connected thanks to solidariety, love, friendship, help, preserved memories, good tales, great recipes, solidity.

It's a beautiful portrait of the South of the USA, its generosity, amiability and hospitality, the ingredients for a great reading, with the positive, optimistic touch of Fannie Flagg that it is one of the best distinctive part of her writing.


Highly recommended.


I thank NetGalley and Random House for this ebook.


Anna Maria Polidori  







sabato, giugno 06, 2020

Quite Moments for Busy Days by Donna K. Maltese

Quite Moments for Busy Days by Donna K. Maltese

is a new book by Barbour Publishing.


Everyday we produce wagons of thoughts; someone tried to count them; and eeek the number is impressively big: 50.000!!


These thoughts elaborated everyday by women sometimes are incredibly pessimistics and negative. 


Seeing life in a  pessimistic view, is sometimes pretty simple considering also the times that we are living in, not just plenty of uncertainty, but also surrounded by invisible enemies, as a virus can be, racial problems and more.


We musn't think our existence negatively: but...How can we change this perspective? Who can help us? There is no doubt: the word of God and... Barbour! With this new guide, that you can bring everywhere! Thanks to this book you will surely receive the best help.


In this book, you will find the most beautiful and suggestive Bible Verses; you can meditate the Word; then, there is a little explanation and more uplifting words. They're for all necessities and occasions. For our creativity, for our success, for our personal goodness, for truth, strenght, love, Peace, Joy...


Absolutely for every woman! for staying positive and for bettering ourselves! with God's presence in our existence. 


Highly recommended.


I thank NetGalley and Barbour Pulishing for this ebook.


Anna Maria Polidori 


giovedì, giugno 04, 2020

Sulle Ali degli Amici Una Filosofia dell'Incontro by Pietro Del Soldà

Sulle Ali degli Amici

Una Filosofia dell'Incontro by Pietro Del Soldà is a wonderful book about friendship and the meaning of it.


Starting with considerations of our times, populated by a fragmentation of friendship because of social medias, and so a lot of contacts with which we interact in a daily base but that we can't call friends in the most profound meaning of it, we are re-directed thanks to the author in the old Greek world and the meaning of friendship for Socrates, who lived a lot of time before Christ. 


As maybe you will remember the philosopher was killed in Athen for various reasons. 


Socrates didn't avoid his end; he embraced death with joy and enthusiasm. 


While his disciples tried all their best for saving his existence, Socrates was upset, because although the profound friendship that he had with these young men, they didn't understand his point of view, the desire of dying in his city, and they were not grade to see that departure in this way; after all, for Socrates, the best thing to do. 


Leaving Athen would have meant in fact to him an outrageous gesture; Athens was his city and there, he would have lost his existence. Socrates asked to his friends to enter more deeply in connection with him, his soul, for accepting and maybe admiring his choice.


Why friendship is so important? 


Because it put in connection the most diversified souls. Yes: it is not important who we are, where we live, if we are rich or poor, tall of short, beauty or ugly, a friend won't see that treats, but the missing part of his/her character and so a sparkle of that part still lacking in his/her soul and this attraction means that the person is ready to discover a new soul and wants to create a relationship of friendship. 


That's why friendship and friends are so important for the existence of an individual.


Oh: real friendship of course can also live moments of interruptions, because each of the individuals involved in the relationship can know moments of standby, but wherever there will be a friend, this friend will remain devoted to the other soul that he/she is not hearing or seeing at the moment.


Socrates once met in a gymnasium some teengars and they started to ask him who a friend is and how to define the word of friendship. 


Socrates doesn't think that a friend should be so close to the personality of the other one (I agree!) because it's in the differentiations that we create a solid friendship, not in being similars. 

Of course similarities can be important and sharing the past, sharing common experiences, scholastic ones etc is absolutely important and remarkable but it doesn't mean at all that these experiences can help to build a solid friendship. Friendship is a territory completely different; an exploration of the other one.


Friends are priorities, joys, differentiations, sometimes they change our perspective of seeing the reality and vice versa. 


I hadn't never understood the theory of beauty told by Socrates. I admit that to me remained a mystery per decades and also when I went to my ex institute as a reporter for interviewing students at the end of their course, they always told me of the "Idea of Beauty transmitted by the school." Honestly to me it didn't say anything, but to them it was central.


For once, in this book, I received a beautiful explanation of this word.


Friend is synonime of beauty, tells Socrates. 


Classifying friendship or beauty is impossible because there are no parameters. 


The author compares beauty to light.


Beauty is in grade, being not reachable, to escape away, but at the same time it illuminates the world and our existence. 


When we see a beautiful painting, a landscape, a sunset particularly attractive, we say that it is beauty isn't it true?  


The beauty is a characteristic, of course untouchable and not physical, typical of the world and things that surround our daily existence; but wait: to Socrates beauty is lived differently, in a more physical way: it's indispensible to give humanity and shape to beauty, thanks to our connections, building beautiful relationships and friendships.


It could happen also when we impact tremendously with a city rich of culture. I remember that when I visited the last time Florence, I cried several times for the joy of being there and seeing and visiting all that beauty, immense treasure of culture, sculptures, paintings, and the immensity value given at the city by people from all over the world and the meaning that all of it meant: immortality. 

Generations after generations I read wagons of tales of known and unknown people in our beautiful Italy.


For the author, Fiesta by Ernest Hemingway mean the beauty and richness of Spain in the 1920s and the personal probems of the protagonist Jake Barnes in love with Brett Ashley.


Michel de Montaigne said once: "I don't know best school for the existence than presenting to people the diversifications of other many existences, opinions, customs..." It's indispensible to open the horizons, to look not just our little garden, but at the immensity, complexity of the world surrounding us.


This book at the moment has a crucial importance considering the ugliness of the world where we live in.


A black man was killed in the USA, and turmoils and manifestations for a different world, for a world of peace, for a world without any other discrimination, started to take place in the entire country. It also meant destructions, it also meant disorders. It's...ugly. Violence is ugly.


Beauty in this sense is seeing like the possibility of building a new world, a peaceful world, a world where dialogue will be the priority, and where serenity, joy, and cooperation for a better life of the various individuals, a priority. 


Beautiful things are re-connected with our friends. It's a return, writes the author, like it was for Ulysses his return to Itaca once completed his trip. 


Friendship means setting us free from the logic of opportunism tells Aristotle; and acting in this way, continues Aristotle means also to be best citizens.


Aristotle interconnected policy with friendship. To him acting pressed by a friend in the society means bettering the world in a beautiful modality where opportunism doesn't exist.


Utility: Aristotle thinks that who act well doesn't think opportunistically and this one is the first step for building happy people and a happy society.


Aristotle divided the various friendships: the useful one, the edonistic one, but friendship is never divided by the polis, and it is its cement. For polis, old greek imagined the social tissue of the city.


Michel de Montaigne, in 1550s met Etienne de La Boétie, and they became pretty great friends. In common they shared their love for classic studies.


Montaigne would have written later that to his point of view, there is not a sentiment more profound than the one of friendship and that there is no comparison with other feelings. Plus, he added that relatives can't never be lived as friends. So the relationship between a mother and a child, a father and a child or also the love-story of a couple can't be absolutely  compared to the beauty, intense relationship of a friendship.

Friends are free and they act freely. 


Then, said once Socrates, there are special people: people with the sparkle of freedom and immensity once tasted when they danced in the sky with some Gods. These souls are special ones because their corporeity won't never permit them in this phase of flying away but they can do that in many different ways. They are special individuals still in grade to see the immensity discovered before.


A book this one important for our times, so tribulated. It permit to read our reality pretty well. It is clear and explicative.


I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.


Anna Maria Polidori