sabato, agosto 29, 2020

Tuesdays with Morrie An old Man, A Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom

 I was putting in order some books days ago, bringing some of them to the charity shop when I re-discovered Tuesdays with Morri


e An old Man, A Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom. I bought Tuesdays with Morrie at the empirium located in Umbertide, Books for Dogs, some months ago and I remember the sensation when I firstly touched it: that Mark 8/03, the previous owner of this book was a wonderful person and that he loved this book, exactly as I do and I will keep here forever!


I always buy a large amount of books everytime I go to the emporium and most of them are then put in the immense list to-be-read-later.


It's what happened with this magical self-help book.


Words for describing it? 

It's amazing. 

This story is amazing. 


Morrie Schwartz beloved universitarian teacher fell sick with ASL in 1994. He was surprised to discover that he was affected by this horrible illness still degenerative, still incredibly mortal, still without a definitive cure. 

He was surprised, Morrie, although some things were not anymore going on well; he loved dancing and he stopped dancing and he wasn't exactly fine when he decided to discover what was wrong in him. 


But this...


Morrie was the most generous, kind, compassionate spirit you could meet, always available for everyone. 

Who talked with him received immediately his generous, genuine attention. Morrie was a person in love with people and appreciated the discovery of new souls with which interacting with. 

Everyone who spent some time with him was lucky, because Morrie had wonderful advices to share, good and wise words were pronounced by him and was a great listener and...answerer. 


He understood the real meaning of the existence when he was fine and he really enjoyed the ride: when, unfortunately, fell sick  and he needed to wait for the arrival of death he decided to fight: he didn't want to arrive unprepared to death, a step common to all men;  he didn't want to leave this life with the desperation of someone scared of his condition and at the same time, scared of passing away. He wanted with all himself to present to the rest of humanity his joy of living, telling them the real meaning of the existence; according to him and according to what learned day by day on this Earth.


It is not just the story of Morrie this one, wonderfully told in the Boston Globe in an article called: A Professor's Final Course: His Own Death that launched the story of this teacher in a moving article, but also the beautiful tale of a friendship: the one of Mitch, ex Morrie's student, reporter and writer of this book with mr. Schwartz.


Morrie, as writes Mitch was an unforgettable friend and human being; in the final path of his existence Mitch will meet every tuesday his old dear teacher discussing with him about the most profound meanings of life. It is also the story of a professor and a student. I thought at the luck of Albom: at a certain point Mitch asks to the reader if his readers have had teachers who made the difference in their existence; someone who changed their students in better, as Morrie Schwartz did with him. No, unfortunately no. The opposite.


Mitch studied in Massachusetts at Brandeis University and one of his most beloved teacher was Morrie, Morrie Schwartz. Once graduated the idea of staying in connection with his ex-teacher was strong but then life absorbed, tremendously absorbed Mitch Albom and so he simply forgot of staying in touch with his teacher. He thought of him, sometimes, he remembered the nice professor he had introduced to his parents the day of his graduation but, simply, his professor was incapsulated in that portion of his existence, defined by a specific time, classified like past, so he didn't stay in touch.


The interest of Mitch for his old professor returned to be felt and real when he watched Nightline: Mitch re-discovered his teacher again, more old and although still young for the parameters of our society in the final phase of his existence; Albom didn't lose time and contacted his teacher.


Tuesday has always been a magical day for Morrie. Morrie received every tuesday; Morrie taught tuesday; the final lessons about life, death and what there is in the middle, in the between, in the existence of a man, every tuesday. 


And, a casualty? The funeral of Mitch was celebrated in Tuesday. "You'll Talk, I will listen" said Morrie one day to him. They continued a silent dialogue.


Some example of what you will find in the book. 


Morrie thought that it is important to settle down, having a family, because it means company. Morrie said: "If you don't have the support of and love and caring and concern that you have a family you don't have much at all...As our great poet Audern said, "Love each other or perish."

Family means also someone "Whom you know has an eye on you, is watching you the whole time."


Morrie thought that power or a big amount of money couldn't make him more happy or cheerful considering his condition; considering that he was dying.  To him making money was part of the current culture. For fear of losing job. Morrie thought that certain guidelines of the society could be appreciated. No one will go around naked but the big things, "How we think, what we value...You can't let anyone or - or any society - determine those for you."


Morrie thought that everytime we are in company of someone we should be there for him/her: "I believe in being fully present. That means you should be with the person you're with."


Married for 44 years Morrie didn't have a great considerations of newest generations regarding possible relationships, although he remarked that a solid marriage and union is important where not crucial. 

"You ge tested. You found out who you are, who the other person is and how you accomodate or not."


In his gravestone he thought that the best epitaph could be A Teacher to the Last. 


Beautiful! If you haven't read yet, do that!


Anna Maria Polidori 



martedì, agosto 25, 2020

If you're in a Dogfight Become a Cat Strategies for Long-Term Growth by Leonard Sherman

 If you're in a Dogfigth Become a Cat

Strategies for Long-Term Growth by Leonard Sherman is an important book by Columbia Business School if you started a business but you don't see a lot of profit, if you plan to do that, because it will help you a lot. 


Thanks to examples taken by the most important corporate, from Amazon to Johnson & Johnson, for naming two of them, you will discover how to increase your success, keeping energetic your workplace. Not all business are equals. For example Amazon understood something crucial: they needed to capture as many customers as possible but also, these customers had to stay loyal forever.


Sometimes, writes Sherman, market more than producing different things in grade to make the difference, present us a lof of replicas and customers are lost in supermarkets per hours chosing what they need. 


Originality and a different approach to market can means the difference. 

So, Sherman analyzes... socks. They are boring, and people won't never fall in love for an article like this one, but keeping it interesting, colored, stunningly different, offering more than a pair of socks,differently colored, people can fall in love for them buying that article with more joy and satisfaction.


Wine is not a lot consumed by Americans and American brands didn't have a great success. An Australian brand, thanks to an operation of marketing, in grade to keep the product recognizable in the miriads of other wines that could be seen in American stores, won the US market.


But which are the winning strategies for a continuous growth? Surely treating very well all workers of a corporation, from the first to the latest one, but also, when there is sufficient success, reinvesting in new products, delivering superior customer service. "A good corporation provide jobs, tax revenue and philantropic contribution to the communities in which operate" writes Sherman.


Speaking of large numbers Sherman analyzed the situation of Apple and its future, maybe less competitive than not the one created during the past two decades making a comparison with Amazon and seeing the differences of these corporations and their appraches and choices made for going on.


The pyramid for a certain success can be this one: at the top tactics, then strategy, objectives, and goals.


But...Sure there are brands that make the difference in the market. Brands that, although many other ones could appear to the horizon wouldn't in grade to replace the ones loved so badly. 

It's the case of Nutella, Louis Vuitton  and many other brands chosen for the certainty of the product and the goodness of it.

Plus a consumer when sees a strong brand, musn't search anymore for something else; he/she knows he/she can trust it, buying without difficulty or losing too much time.



Sure, who maintain a brand like this one must be creative, innovative, always surprising, so that consumers will always be stimulated where possible, in buying the products they love a lot from a lifetime.


A consumer of Apple would say that the brand help him to express himself as he wants; the one of Nutella would remakrs that he tried a lot of other brands but that he would continue to choose nutella. Why? "I have been eating Nutella since I was a very young child. It has always meant to me both a memory of my childhood and a fundamental component of my breakfast before doing sport activities."


Interesting the fight of Coke versus Pepsi.co. When Pepsi was born, changing the cards on the table started to be appreciated much more, and Coke tried its best for bettering their secret formula...

Another rampant example the one of Samsung versus Apple, absolutely the biggest competitor.


Where do Great Ideas Come From?  takes in consideration the birth of Post-It Notes as a national and later international reality, but also the errors commited by Walmart the biggest supermarket chains of the USA.


This one is an amazing book! if you love business, but also, to my point of view, if you want to discover much more about the corporation that are moving this old world, the ones that, in general we put with more enthusiasm in our tables, like Coke or Nutella, or we do use in a daily base, as smartphones, cars, post-it notes etc.


Highly recommended.


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


Anna Maria Polidori 





domenica, agosto 23, 2020

Le Sorgenti del Sogno by Vittorino Andreoli

 Le Sorgenti del Sogno by Vittorino Andreoli famous italian psychiatrist traces in this book a fascinating trip starting into the dreams. What is a dream, where it starts? Is it different our state of conscience, common for everyone when we are awaken from the one of the sleeping state?

Not much. It is true that there are many differences, remarks the psychiatrist. We won't never try to hug someone if we are dreaming that we are, and if we walk, during a dream, we do that staying in horizontal position. The various phases of sleeping are two the phase REM and non-REM. If the first one is the sleeping without traces of dreams, the non-REM is the phase of eyes movements, where, in particular when it is done an EEG, a patient, awoken can remembers probably the dream that he was making.

Old age means a sort of curiosity for what it is done and it is true. I know people that said me to them what done previously in the other stages of the existence was absolutely surprizing.

If removing bad experience is an action of the mind for trying to avoid that that bad stress can stress too much the person, this memory could return or thanks a psychiatrist, or also seeing similar experiences lived by other people later. 

I read in various books that when we die the first one to go is the brain our computer. No: Vittorino Andreoli disagrees. The end of our pc is not so immediate and not in all the portion of the brain, so that, to Andreoli, a person, although dead, so, technically a corpse can perceives what it is going on around him for a lot of time.


What it reads the brain is the EEG althogh Andreoli tells us that, yes as a tool this one is remarkably important, although the reading is superficial, letting us also discovering the two emispheres and what they are important for.

Desires are another espect of the oniric phase and not only; the final chapter it's about oblivion.


My dreams:  I want to share with you two recent ones.


In the first one I dreamt a cousin disappeared abruptly. She returned as a teacher, wearing the same clothes she had when she was buried, and the classroom was special becaus  located in the cemetery of our countryside. 

Children, happy and cheerful, were sat in desks close to the various graves, some positioned also on graves. I remember that we spotted this cousin. I said her hi! Welcome back, while my mother said her to return where she was living now.

So my cousin infuriated took a tan of gasoline and rushed in the direction of the church with the intention of burning it. We avoided it. 


When I got up, it was a beautiful sunday day and there was the mass. When I arrived I saw the other member of the parish outside looking at something. A little portion of wood fell down from the main door that night! 


In the other one, I desired to go to Paris and electrified to see that city! when my niece asked me if she could join me with the husband. I would have wanted to visit Paris all alone but it was fine. We also brought with us my father, disappeared more than 3 years ago. Once arrived to Paris my desire was to start to visiting the city, but my niece suggested to call a relative living close to Paris. I said her that yes, it could be an idea, but we would have procrastinated our visit, and the day was incredibly sunny. I anyway accepted and well we found an enthusiastic relative. He welcomed us with all honors, offering us eating and drinking and asking to the wife and daughter to prepare us a great lunch. In the while my father fell sick and we called an ambulance. He was brought at a parisianne hospital while the daughter of this relative remarked I consumed too much water. She was also upset because she had to prepare the lunch. I decided to booking for my father a flight that same day; but in doing this I forgot the rest of us; flights would have left Paris in different times: then the relative convinced me: your father is sick he can't leave the hospital for now...


Highly recommended.


I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.


Anna Maria Polidori 





venerdì, agosto 21, 2020

La Verite sur L'Affaire Harry Quebert by Joel Dicker


La Verite sur L'Affaire Harry Quebert is a book by

Joel Dicker, published by Editions Fallois. 


I thought I wanted to return to reading in french but I didn't know where or who to start with. I decided that, having previously read Il Libro dei Baltimore, and having fell in love for that characters, I could sufficiently trust Joel Dicker, because his books are incredibly...moving. Plus, there is respect for all generations; the positive exaltation of old people, in general the central characters, in this one Harry Quebert, in Il Libro dei Baltimore (a masterpiece!)  Saul Goldman, and lessons that they can teach to the youngest ones are remarkably important.

 

This first book is another good surprise for sure. I met along the way this book at the post office, supermarkets, bookshops but for a reason or another I hadn't never bought it although I felt a profound and genuine attraction. At the end I decided for a french copy. So: who want to improve his/her french this one is the best book that you can meet along your way, because the language is plain and terminology not difficult. 


I personally found the reading much more simple than not the ones of my first english books, close to nightmares in some cases lol. But, seven years of french at school was helpful because the brain realistically doesn't forget anything. My idea was writing the review in french but I guess I must wait another bit. The putting together thoughts is still a lazy process. 


Marcus Goldman is a successful writer, ecrivain en francais, but with the block of the writer. If his first book meant mundanity, beautiful girls, success, fame, the second one became soon a torture. Marcus doesn't have any clue regarding what to write next.

Pity that there is a contract signed with heavy penalties in case the writer can't present any result to the publishing house. 


What to do? Once he speaks with his old professor of the University, Harry Quebert, a man who became famous because of a book Marcus adores. Still in touch with him, Harry suggest to Marcus his house and the peace and tranquillity of Aurora, a little city in the East Coast of the USA. 


Marcus accepts with great joy the possibility of relaxing his mind and at the same time searching for inspiration.


Once in the house of Harry, searching in Harry's writings Marcus discovers something...

Returned home, Harry call him one day (as will do Saul Goldman in Il Libro dei Baltimore) telling him that Nola was dead; they had found her tests, bones, in his garden, with another body and a sac where, inside, there was a copy of Harry's masterpiece.


Marcus rush immediately in Aurora decided of helping his old friend. Everyone else think that he is crazy. Someone, worried, will ask if, for case, he is homosexual. Marcus smiles and insists: a friend need my help.


But now: who is Nola?

1975: Nola is the daughter of a priest mr. Kellergan arrived from Alabama. She works in a café where in general goes Harry Quebert; the owner is a certain Tamara. Her daughter is Jenny, at the moment married with Travis...


The arrival of monsieur Quebert in Aurora meant to the people of the little town a lot of expectations: single, handsome man, surely with a good position couples with post teenage girls were attracted by this man.


Harry considered the house and the city absolutely beautiful. Plus, if in New York he was a common citizen, in Aurora became a sort of star.


Two girls fell in love for him: Nola, 15 years and Jenny in her 20s, the second one courted for hiding the love Harry proved for Nola. Nola didn't have a lot of psychological stability, she will try to commit suicide, she suffered of other disturbs...Other people will enter in the book as important pieces of this puzzles. 


But, for sure Nola was the biggest love of Harry Quebert. He continued to live remembering her. 


Police, anyway, without too much romanticism put immediately in jail Harry, because simply, it was too simple, but the story behind this murder has been absolutely more complicated. 


Nothing in this story was real and the same Harry was hiding something crucial to Marcus: he had stolen the book he became famous with, written by another person;  Luther simply wanted to meet the big writer for some advices (sic!)


"Vous n'avez pas écrit le livre qui a fait de vous un ecrivain célébre! ....Vous avez volé un livre! Quel plus grand crime peut commetre un écrivain?" said to Harry Marcus, pretty deluded at a certain point.


The publishing house, desperate for the choices recently made by Marcus, who was abandoning his project of writing the book for investigating this "cold case" will ask him something about "l'affaire Harry Quebert". If, at first, Marcus is skeptical, then his professor will confess him in a dramatic meeting that after all he became famous because he stole something, while Marcus is a genuine writer and will be in grade to produce the truth, and Harry adds that he musn't avoid anything. 

Including his fraud.


It is beauty when, at a certain point there will be a lot of meetings with the various departments of the publishing house, for names that need to be added in the book (and the ones avoided) pictures, cover, etc. It was as in that moment I spied what there is behind the creation of a book and I found it fascinating.


Like in Il Libro dei Baltimore, written later, Harry will ask, as did Saul Goldman to Marcus, of telling the story because truth must be revealed.


Once you read the books by Joel Dicker, that characters, their spirit will remain with you always.


I consider a bit childish the character of Harry Quebert, when he frantically wrote per hours NOLA NOLA NOLA in his journal/notebook at the café. I thought that while everything else thought that he was writing profound thoughts, he was just lost writing continuously a name. I found it hilarious. 


I love the character of Marcus Goldman. He is terrific, simply enchanting, devoted to friends, a boy of good and great heart, with a heart opened and a mind focused in the most important values of the existence. That's what makes this character so superlative. 



Highly recommended.


Anna Maria Polidori 




sabato, agosto 15, 2020

George's Marvellous Medicine written by Roald Dahl and Illustrated by Quentin Blake

 It was very warm last night; I love these very warm nights because I can get up doing something different in the silent night; I went downstairs searching for some fresh air. 

I went to the library located in the living room, the biggest one, searching for a brief book to read in the while. 


Something I had started and maybe left in the middle of reading. 


I spotted George's

Marvellous Medicine written by Roald Dahl and Illustrated by Quentin Blake. I thought that this children's book could be a nice reading for sure. 


I completed it pretty soon. The story the one of George and his disgusting granny. 

That granny was absurdly dispotic and poor little Goerge didn't know anymore how to make her granny happy. She was a real general! complaining for everything. 


Thinking that his existence that days became a sort of nightmare, the only imagine he could picture in his mind was only one: revenge.


Oh; he didn't want, no, to kill his granny, but he wanted to give her a lesson, after all that lady was horrible! 


What to do, so, for realizing his dream? George took a saucepan and then went in the various rooms of his house, picking up and putting into it, everything: they could be lipsticks, lotions for the most diversified problems etc.

Then, Goerge boiled all that things together and when his granny asked for the medicine he was ready to give it to her.


Her granny changed immediately, becoming at the end a real slim giant; but, pity, that, let's put things in this way, her character didn't change at all!


Once returned home, George's parents noticing what was going on were horrified. 


The father of George tried the lotion also in their farm's animals and they became giants. Seeing the opportunity of business behind all of it, (giants eggs, much more milk etc) asked to George of creating a new lotion but nothing will work properly and as wanted by mr Kranky; what happened at the end will be the dissolution of George's granny, with joy and happiness of all the family.


The lady was unbearable, although the book leaves the reader with a big question: is it possible the elimination of a poor granny because not too wanted?


Dahl specifies that no one should repeat the recipe! of course, but who looked more surprised and silent was little George. Something horrible happened, I think that the departure of that nasty granny  could be classified as a homicide, of course not wanted, but the lady de fact disappeared, so...


Plus, George understood that visited just for some while the land of magic. 


Although, maybe there was a pinch of horror in it.


Anna Maria Polidori  


8i

Kamasutra by Vatsyayanana translated by Cinzia Pieruccini

 Kamasutra by Vatsyayanana translated

by Cinzia Pieruccini is a new book published by Marsilio. 


Largely known as the best essay regarding love-making, and an inspiration for writers, essayists of all the times, this book was released in the III century Before Christ. The author Mallanaga Vatsyayanana had taken the best of the literature released regarding sex, putting down a soum of all of it that it is absolutely fascinating and under many ways, old-fashioned. 


The importance of courting properly, gifts and sexual rituals, passing also through the activity of prostitutes and modality for increasing their business, without forgetting the harem and the general guidelines that were imposed to all the women accepted or invited there.


Sex is incredibly important and it is at the third place in that pyramid of values of the indian society; the first one is spirituality in a word, the second, business and practical existence, and the third one the joys of sex.


Although at that time women lived in a perennial sudditance, you will notice that they are an active and crucial part of the process of court, and later, love-making. Indian men didn't search just for a doll but they wanted someone in grade of satisfying their most hidden desires. Not only: they had to guess what a woman would have appreciated sensually and sexually.

Men could court also married ladies, because it was part of the process of personal growth and changement. 

As you will notice each Indian place had its own way of courting or special positions for the love-making and it could be also pretty different from other parts of the country as well, like also ethically some kind of sex needed to be avoided or anyway not practiced with everyone.


Highly recommended.


I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.


Anna Maria Polidori 



The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery The Pei Years, 1901-1911 Edited by Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston

 The Complete Journals of L.M.

Montgomery The Pei Years, 1901-1911 Edited by Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston published by Oxford University Press tell to the reader without any doubt and uncertainty, the complex, suffering, delicate personality of L.M.Montgomery. 


These journals, more than anything else are the real mirror of her character. 


If Anne of Green Gable has been her alter ego, the fictional character where she projected her dreams, fear, desires, imagination, expectations, her desire of being loved, but also her escapism when sufferance was too big,  arriving to feel Anne as a real human being, the same Montgomery and her first phase of the existence, pretty suffered, meant also the formation of a character undoubitly conflictual and plenty, unfortunately of sufferance also when life was smiling pretty generously to her.


Under many ways reading these journals has meant "feeling" her sufferances. I am emphatic and sometimes it was very difficult to going on. Sometimes I felt irritation because Lucy Maud was an estimated writer but she didn't live it withcomplete joy. Her frequent illnesses put me down a lot, like also her inability of appreciating sometimes the existence. She frequently wrote she hated life, for then reassuring the journal that no, after all she loved life. Life upsetted her in many different ways.


The idea, developed, while I was reading the journals is that Montgomery has never been realistically happy wherever she lived in, too.

 

She joined a great reality, Echo in Halifax, one of the few female journalists in that work-place so I guess with brilliant people close to her, intellectuals; I imagine the fertile, pulsating activity of a newsroom, but no, she didn't see it; she regretted she wasn't in Cavendish. She hated Halifax.


She complained about her colleagues: she was extremely selective and in most cases the imagine and idea the reader can see is the one of a distant girl. 


More than that, she was happy to leaving and to return to Cavendish: she told she didn't sleep at all the first night for the excitement.


She complained later because, there is a rigid, strong winter in Cavendish, part of Prince Edwad Island;  the house was cold, she started to suffering of many illnesses more or less importants; her granny being old became deaf and irritated if during the winter-time Lucy Maud, still a girl, wanted to stay awoken at long; all of it because they needed to save money and wood. 


Professionally Lucy Maud has been incredibly lucky, because requested and published in many prestigious realities and paid very well. A year she earned 500 dollar.


Being a sensible girl Lucy Maud admitted in an entry that she was realizing her dreams, but she remarked that she couldn't see the people of Cavendish a lot, although she loved Cavendish so badly, because they were distant from her and her ideals and, most important, no one encouraged her dreams of becoming a writer. Just her father, as she remarks, for the rest, she met a lot of walls, although sadly and with a certain asperity, she writes that now, people, seeing the dollars that were arriving in her wallet stopped to gossiping about her and her ideal work.


She was a brain, a sophisticated brain, pretty modern, a feminist hidden behind a shy, good and uncertain smile.  Her ideas regarding a Church, projected in the condemnation of carnal intercourses and that purity encouraged by priests was seen by her as a big hypocrisy; without our body, the idea of Lucy Maud, we can't express any part of who we are.


She also criticized a church that was continously asking for money; and considered going to the mass more a ritual where to seeing people than not anything else.


Lucy Maud had had an important fiancee, Ed but later they broke up; Lucy Maud broke up and once Ed returned to Cavendish because a priest, she didn't tolerate to see him anymore. She also was altered when Ed wrote him letters later, when she left Cavendish. She suffered a lot because of this boy.


She was attracted by mails, most of the time the only way of communication with the external world and in particular during the winter-time when the post-man sometimes was blocked because of some snow storm. Avid letter-writer, she was for sure a real journal-writer. 


Affectively Lucy Maud was complicated. She wrote that she wouldn't never have wanted to marry a man just because she needed to do that; for a sort of obligation. It was important, to her point of view, "feeling" that person, searching affinities, staying well together. I am no sure she fell completely in love for her future husband, but I am sure she found a lot of affinities. Lucy Maud was incredibly complicated in her thoughts, sometimes discouraged, other densperate, other ones incredibly happy and joyous. These alternations of moods keeps her absolutely interesting.


Her complexity is also expressed when, in Cavendish, she expressed the idea of seeing someone because too alone. When company appeared to the horizon maybe old friends, maybe relatives, she constantly complained, because they irritated her, or she didn't find strong affinities anymore, that people became with the time like strangers, they upsetted her etc and was happy when they left her territory.


Once she had a man interested in her; she lived that month spent in evening walks in the beautiful countryside pretty conflictually because she wouldn't never have wanted to go out every night with this man and after all she was happy when he left, but  later she was also incredibly sad that this man went away forever because, anyway, he represented a distraction for her and her monotonous, sometimes, existence. 


Ewan will become her husband. He proposed to marrying her and although I imagine Lucy Maud didn't feel any butterflies in her stomach, she rationally accepted the proposal although she asked him of waiting, because she couldn't abandon her grand-mother; so only once her granny would have passed away, she would have taken in consideration the marriage proposal. And it happened. The granny died and Lucy Maud married Ewan. These part of her  journals you will see will end with her marriage


Lucy Maud suffered often, very often of headaches or nerves, and reading that entries made me feel sick for her; but she was also a mysterious, weird soul, under many ways.


Once her first book Anne of Green Gables was released someone asked for an interview and she wrote in an entry that she would have sent to that reporter all the necessary, without revealing him her real self as if that man would have stolen her soul. 

She was a private person and she refused many invitations related to the book because, she   wrote, she didn't feel anymore the sensation of wanting to travelling.


Lucy Maud discovered in many ways Anne. First of all, there is to say that she picked up books of great quality, like Keats, Browing, Jack London, Dickens, Jean Ingelow, Barrie, Sir Walter Scott, and many other classics; and it says a lot. 


Once she met along her....reading a book called The House of Seven Gables and later she spotted an article in a newsmagazine where there was reported the news of an orphan girl arrived to the house of a family where, viceversa they would have preffered, because requested, a boy. 

Anne of Green Gables was borning.


The book at first was rejected by MacMillan and many other prestigious publishing houses. It's the destiny of biggest authors. No one of the biggest publishing houses want them. Their destiny is the one of growing up and letting grow the reality that will give them trust and success. 

Montgomery was a sensible person and she cried a lot for all these rejections, putting aside the book. Then, she tried with an unknown Boston's publishing house. They were not just excited for that first book, but they requested her five books. They thought that Anne of Green Gables would have make the difference. And it was as predicted by the publishing house.

 

If the first book, Anne of Green Gables, was written with excitement, (although the idea is that Lucy Maud has never been happy also when she could be not just happy, but much much more), the second one, Anne of Avonlea didn't say anything to her and she told she wasn't excited at all for the release-day, because she just wrote it because she had to write it.


She was a person who analyzed people and situations with great profoundity adding many filters. Substantially the only object she trusted, realistically trusted and loved were her journals. These journals, sometimes I think, have been her best friends because thanks to them Lucy Maud revealed who she realistically was; differently she couldn't because maybe of her diffidence and because she loved to protect herself from the life's assaults. 


In terms of friendship, she was an exclusivist. When she fell in friendship she dedicated to that girlfriend all her time. She was profoundly affectionated but she wasn't a person of great company if put in a gang of friends, I suppose.


She found most of her friends distants; they had grown up differently, some of them were married; she still wasn't; they had had children and she hadn't had still children; regarding children she told to the journal she was pretty cold with children in general and she didn't like children; she could fall affectionate with some of them but it wasn't a general guidelines. She would have wanted children because she added it is senseless an excistence without children and becoming old without children is very sad. 


She analyzed death and departures, making big differences; if a person disappeared very old it was something that was unfortunately inevitable;  she read as a big disgrace the disappearance of a person who left the world too soon.


There are many hints of what would have happened later. In one of the most important ones  she wished to remain in health, writing till the end because in opposite case she wouldn't have been in grade to survive. In fact, one of the reasons why Lucy Maud killed herself was this one: her impossibility, at the end, of writing, exactly as happened to Ernest Hemingway.


Beautiful book for sure! Intense, sometimes disturbing, because you feel for sure the sufferance of Lucy Maud, but at the same time also an important instrument of knowledge if you want to discover more, for study or just for hobby about the creator of Anne of Green Gables. These journals are the strongest witnesses of her passage on this Earth and they give us back the real author hidden also in the always smiling, suffering tribulated, intelligent, sunny troublemaker Anne of Green Gables.


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


Anna Maria Polidori 





lunedì, agosto 10, 2020

Christmas Delights Barbour Staff

Christmas is a crucial and beautiful moment of the year for building memories that later, maybe also after decades, will be shared with the newest components of the family. It's a moment spent all together, where, to making the difference is this being all united, for once, also when we live pretty distantly from the rest of the family. It's a day, maybe two, spent close, singing carols, playing table games, surely telling jokes, anedocts, facts, sharing past and present, exchanging gifts, going to the mass together.


It's this one a moment of aboundance and celebration and pass also through food and beverages. This one is a crucial point of the feast because food eaten means a continuity and a family tradition. Each family in the specific, certainly will have its own traditions in this sense, preffering some dishes to other ones.


Understanding the peculiarity of food and memories connected together of this important and powerful feast, Barbour Press has decided to propose a new, beautiful, fascinating, absolutely yummy! cooking book all dedicated to Christmas called Christmas

Delights. 


It's all about the most delicious Christmas's Meals, starting from beverages, passing through Breakfasts and Brunches and then Dinner, Christmas Eve Celebration, Cookies and Candies, Festive Breads and more. 


Richly illustrated, authors admit that this cooking book is plenty of recipes easy to make and easy to share. 


Everything is magical during the Christmas's Time, and beverages are not an exception; chocolate will be enriched with Cinnamon, eggnog will play the role of the lion, without forgetting french chocolate, spicy tea just for telling you what you will meet along your way in this book.


Some dishes in the section Bountiful Pancakes of various sorta, breakfast casserole, breakfast pizza, Coffe Break Cake, Cornmeal Mush, Doughnuts, Energy Bars.


Christmas Dinner and Main Dishes proposes (just some dishes for tantalizing your appetite) Italian Turkey, Honey Roast Ham, Lasagna, Lemon-Herb Turkey Breast, Traditional Christmas Turkey and many more. 


In the one of Cookies and Candy we see Angel Cookies, Candy Cane Cookies...

 

A yummy cooking book for the most festive, colored and dreaming moment of the year!


Highly recommonded.


I thank NetGalley and Barbour for this ebook.


Anna Maria Polidori 


Listening to the Page by Alan Cheuse

 Listening to the Page

(adventures in reading and writing) by Alan Cheuse is a series of literary columns, essays, lectures.

Passionate of literature and avid reader, stimulated by his first wife and an ads for writers wanted discovered by her, started a new activity, reading and reviewing a book a day per Virginia Kirkus. If you love books and if you are in that field, you know that Kirkus is a prestigious place where many reviewers write their opinions about the most diversified books genre. Reading a book a day is a great exercise for understanding the whole book in its essence.


After this experience, the work in a school; the meeting with Delbanco, his activity as writer, essayist, the joy of being published by the New Yorker and more. 


The book is divided in three part: the first one, Reading is about literary and other kinds of art; Some example? In  Writing it Down for James some Thought on Reading Toward the Millennium the story of this boy who started to read later in his existence; at the same time reminescences of the first times the writer learned to read and the state of literature in the new millennium. In Books in Flames: A view of Latin American Literature is a long cultural trip started when Christian burned in Mayan city a library because of a story of religion and suppression of the current culture. You will notice that, starting from a distant fact, Alan Cheuse will end always to portray vividly something important in literature; in this case the birth of a literature with giant authors, that it is, after all an echos of what someone wanted once in 1500 to destroying.

In Traces of Light the picturalization through words of Marcel Proust's Combray. As adds Alan,  written words have a different and more profound and significant impact for people than not other kind of art, like theather or movies, because in this second case we observe and read reality with our eyes, while reading but also listening to music means a much more intense connection with our fantasy, imagination, possibility of escapism.

The second part Rereading is a series of pieces on modern US literature, published in the sunday newspapers editions.

I loved the piece On Steinbeck and Salinas. I am a great fan of John Steinbeck novels and in this piece will reveal aspects of the writer that I still didn't know. I hadn't read as did Alan Cheuse a biography of the writer and his mysterious lack of creativity, who, reports Cheuse maybe was caused by the departure of an important friend in John Steinbeck's existence.  The Nobel, more than deserved! 

Another article I loved a lot Fitzgerald's Christmas Carol, or the Burden of the "Camel's Back."

As you may know Francis Scott Fitzgerald hasn't never had any problems in being published by big realities. Since he was very young. It was also the case of this short story, written when the writer afforded to New Orleans in 1919. In one night composed the story and later was published in the Saturday Evening Post. You musn't imagine that this story is related to Jesus Christ or some exotic land; no. The scenario is the one of Christmas but, substantially the thematic treated by the author one with his most beloved thematics; the protagonist, in love for a girl is rejected and will end to drinking heavily; in this altered state he will live in a scenario where he will end in a marriage with his beloved girl.


Writing is the third and final section dedicated to writers and their activity, with practical examples, personal anedocts of Alan Cheuse, and a final interview.


If you are a writer or a passionate of reading this book wait just for being picked up by you!


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


Anna Maria Polidori 

 


venerdì, agosto 07, 2020

Behave Yourself! By Allen & Briggs

 Some days ago I received a precious envelope from  the USA. There were three used books that I absolutely appreciated: one of them Behave Yourself

Etiquette for American Youth by Betty Allen and Mitchel Pirie Briggs entered in my heart immediately.


Published by J.B. Lippincott Company (no sure if it still exists but surfing the web I couldn't find it) this book was released in 1937 so 83 years ago. It was read with education, great respect and love by a lot of people; I can feel it; at first remained at long at the Stanley School before to ending in the hands of my new correspondent.


It is a magical book. The one presented and introduced to all of us in this book is the etiquette that the generation of the 1930s so young people born in 1920s had to follow for being  respected and appreciated in the society.

 

I thought at that generation, absolutely my favorite one: they are precious people, educated, socials, in grade of appreciating the real values of life; friendship, love, community; they have sense of humor, they are strong workers; they were born in a moment of great difficulty for and in the world; the first world war was just over when a pandemic flu devastated countries and people and another world war more destructive than the previous one was imminent.


These young people loved to be beauty, but not just in the common sense of the word: to be beauty inside. 


This book is a mirror of the times. Good behavior, after all, represented in this book is not so difficult to be followed; it represents  good sense, good manners and that touch of elegance that shouldn't never abandon us.


Authors tried their best for giving the proper answers to all that teen-agers in search of answers: they could be boys or girls, in this book they would have discovered the best answers to all their questions.

What to do when invited at a lunch or dinner, when out for a date, or at church or for teas? How writing letters properly and when writing them in special occasions? Formality and Informality; jobs, travels, special occasions; there is a chapter all dedicated to the respect for the American flag but I simply remained shocked by something that we repeat everyday that found in the chapter To Whom it May Concern a chapter dedicated to all that nasty things that should be avoided in public. Some examples? Gossiping, cheating, asking personal questions, putting your fingers in your mouth....But one of them is story of these months:


"Coughing or sneezing without covering your mouth and turning your head. More than a rule of etiquette, this is an unforgivable sin against rules of health."



Anna Maria Polidori