mercoledì, luglio 26, 2017

The Letter Writer by Dan Fesperman

The Letter Writer by Dan Fesperman is an intense, historical, sophisticated crime novel.
Imagine: NYC, a day like another....
Who was this man and why was killed? This one the first questions pooped up in the mind of detective Woodrow Cain, from the South of the USA to the Hudson River, NYC with his first case in his first work-day in the city. A homicide pretty difficult to decipher. A great luck, he knows it.
Thinking also that the smell of this corpse, considering his conditions, will follow him  home, clothes included, the cop is in trouble for other reasons.
His colleagues discovered that he was recommended for this place in NYC so he started to be "hated" immediately.
His private ex-life left in the South is a discouraging mess, with an ex-wife in love for alcohol and for his ex best friend, let's put things like this, now not anymore in this world,  and with a cute daughter with which he corresponds in a daily base via letter, a terrible father-in-law, and in general cold relatives, just able to put him down because of the shadows of his past.
We are in 1942, the city of New York is a fertile place rich of busy people of all the possible ethnicities.
In this contest, a man pretty secluded and private, living in a fascinating corner of the city, a letter writer, Jewish from Prussia, with great knowledge of five languages, Yiddish, German, Italian for telling you some, discovers that maybe the case of homicide he reads in the newspaper is connected with him.
He knows the dead man.
He knows him and he has copies of the letters written by him. And, if his conjectures true, maybe the story is more complicated than what it can appears.

This man is Danzinger. The chapters dedicated to him written in first person are fascinating, intense, powerful moments; Danziger in fact filters with the power of his mind people and events.
Important past, he will contact soon Cain and together will visit the city morgue  where the corpses of the various John Does have been put, close to the public and historical hospital Bellevue.
They won't just discover the identity of this first person Herr Hansc as Danziger will call him but also that he is in good company. Another corpse, the one of Schaller will be discovered moments later and each of these corpses have a special mark: the one of people close to a Nazis group called Bundits.
Although illiterate, the two, Germans, sympathized for this dangerous Nazis group maybe because someone promised them a good work.

The story is more complicated when Danzinger will discover that   crime will continue at a different level and the game more dangerous for obvious reasons...
At the same time, we will also follow the private adventures by Cain in love for a girl close to Danziger, the arrival of his daughter from the South, the discovery of the real identity of this fascinating letter-writer and his complicated past...

The Letter Writer is not just a beautiful historical crime book novel but also a wonderful and stunning portrait of the private  lives of all the protagonists and the one of NYC the city that never sleeps.

Highly recommended!

I thank so much! Dan Fesperman :-) and Penguin Random House for the physical copy of this book!

Anna Maria Polidori

Emerald Coast by Anita Hughes

The first book I reviewed by Anita Hughes was Christmas in Paris. Luxury, only the richest, snob places of the beloved french capital portrayed in her book, with rich, superficial characters. 
What upset me the most maybe was the lost chance for this writer of writing a beautiful love-story able to make the difference. Paris is Paris.

Surely Christmas in Paris a chick-lit book so maybe a reader  of a chick-lit book doesn't want to think too much and wants to spend some relaxing time. I am there, but...Sadly I like chick-lit literature as well and honestly I found that Christmas in Paris was extremely superficial like the characters for being remembered or loved or appreciated at all.

There was more.
The potentialities of this writer.
Her writing-style captivating, you read her books quickly.
If her characters real, humans, with good and defined personalities, places not just for princes or princesses, but normal also in beautiful locations, considering the crisis or poverty we are living in, I couldn't exclude a biggest appreciation.
Not only.
Anita Hughes is able to see the brightest side of life from food, to drinks, from landscapes to exotic trips. Her descriptions are warm, she really enjoys life. It helps in a book, you know.
And so, I thought: why did she lose a big occasion like Christmas in Paris?
Why did she portray a Christmas in Paris so nasty, cold, distant, without presenting to the reader any kind of real dream? It was the first book about Paris I disliked so badly.
I wrote my review remarking all of it.

In the while I read and reviewed many more books.

One day I received an e-mail from a publicist by St.Martin's Press.
Yes, thanks what a joy I will read the new book by Hughes with enthusiasm. A new one. Yes, more or less like Christmas in Paris.

But this one, Emerald Coast   published by St.Martin's Press this August 1 is able to make the difference and to change the cards on the table for this writer.

Because rich people are still existing but they're not serialized as in the past with superficiality and they have...sense.

Real old values are back. Love is love and is not connected with the value of money able to ruin everything and everyone and it is a sentiment treated with respect and not with superficiality.
Rich people are not anymore light people without any kind of ethic or problem or brain.
Rich people have a brain, a heart, feelings, culture, a life and problems as well. A comforting change this one.
The story is not just interesting.
It is written very well and this time there are portrayed real characters with their sufferances,  joys, happiness. They live their life in the entire intensity of it. In a word: they are alive.
It was what I wanted to read.
I have loved also the interconnection, fusion in the various chapters between the "now" and "past", present and memories.

Anita Hughes is "a succulent describer."
She describes a beautiful vacation, passing through cocktails to fabulous dinners, stunning views, as no other ones can do better than her with a vision of life that it is incredibly beauty.

Of course, life is also something else and this time Anita added also the "something else" able to make the difference in a story kept away from her other books: feelings, sentiments, real life, real love, real sufferance, avoiding superficiality.

Yes: we can find here and there the old Anita, but this book is not like Christmas in Paris, trust me.

Sardinian's location chosen by Hughes for her characters is Porto Cervo.

What I loved the most was the  historic reconstruction of Sardinia as a touristic exclusive locality. I didn't know this story.
The Aga Khan, his arrival to this island, his love for the island and the decision of inviting a lot of people, VIPS, like Grace Kelly and so on in this corner of italian Paradise. I guess that these bits can interest a lot the reader, because the life of the jet-set is interesting and because every locality speaks of us, our past, our traditions.

The love-story is set up in various parts of the world but mainly in Italy and it pays a lot because the Bel Paese presents a different dimension, also when we speak of "exclusive places."

The beginning is this one: Lily is 35 and she is divorcing from her biggest love of her life: Oliver, after 10 years of marriage, and a daughter, Louisa of 6 years.
Their love starts when Oliver works in Naples, Italia. Both in their 20's, their love bloomed in Spello a medieval locality  of Umbria, and continues to Florence where Lily arrives thanks to Oliver for later, leaving for the USA.
This love-story continues through letters, when Oliver decides to afford to San Francisco where Lily lives for trying to see if a real love can be possible.
The answer is yes.
There is another man, Roger, very appreciated by the parents of Lily, in particular by Lily's mother, but Lily is uninterested to him declaring to her mom: "I am sorry I am engaged with Oliver."
Oliver thinks that this is perfect.
They love each other, they want to spend the rest of their life together and so what should they wait for?

Oliver doesn't still have a house and a good work and stability, but love is love and money is not anymore the priority for this couple, but starting their life together seeing what will happen later.
I found this part very fresh and realistic.

Being Hughes a positive writer there is a good happy end for everyone, of course.

Thanks to Lily's good advice, in fact, Oliver will become a great food critic, for the Chronicle of San Francisco at first and later for the NYT. Not bad: at least it's great to bring food on the table with writing.

Lily arrives in Sardinia for launching her new store. She has stores in Milan, and USA. Oliver is there as well because of a restaurant's review for the Times with his new flame, Angela a florist from New York.

Can ten years spent together being deleted for a couple maybe still in love? How much important  memories are for us?

If for some people simple to move on because they lived terrible experiences with their partners, for Lily is pretty difficult. She still loves Oliver and she feels shame declaring that she is a young to-be-soon divorced woman although she wants this divorce, and she asks to her personal butler to find for her a sort of companion for let think at her husband that she is not alone.
At the same time they both remember. The beauty of the beginning, their marriage, their years spent together, their living together.
And: will their love-story survive at a divorce?

I would have chosen another kind of cover, because this one gives a sense of lightness at a story that it is not after all so light with a lot of thematic on the table.
I don't know: maybe a smiling woman with behind her a sunny man,  a  daughter or the profile of a lady with behind her the soon ex husband, the daughter and our sunny Italy.

But, this book is intelligent and it's the most important thing. I suggest it to everyone. I know that it will be appreciated.

I thank NetGalley and St.Martin's Press for this eBook.

Anna Maria Polidori

domenica, luglio 23, 2017

The Ring of Truth and other myths of sex and jewelry by Wendy Doniger

Why rings are so special for men and women? What do they represent in our imaginary and in our subconscious?
A ring: the never-ending love, the infinite relationship with the other one. The shape of the ring, round, in general gold, gives a sense of precious love and an endless love-story.
But how much important is the ring as distinctive element in our society passing through the history of jewelry?

It's what will explain to us in this wonderful, captivating, fascinating, sexy and sensual trip Wendy Doniger in her latest book:  The Ring of Truth and other myths of sex and jewelry published by Oxford University Press.
A ring is not just a ring. A ring is sensuality, sexuality, a strong symbolism of loyalty or infidelity, a mask for infidelities, a passionate sensual game for obtaining what we want to obtain, a horrible object hiding a terrible past.

A ring has a great power: the power of love, hate, destruction, memory, loss of memory, and in the past, rings were also associated to abandoned children.
In general these poor moms put in the basket close to their babies a little jewel.
In some case this object was a ring. In most cases these moms being illiterate couldn't add anything else, not a message to the posterity for their beloved children for explaining why, with the death in their heart constricted to abandon them. A ring was a gift for remembering them the family where they were from.

When a man declares his love to a girl presents her a ring.
Symbolically it's like to close a circle in term of affectivity, sensuality and sexuality as you will discover. The choice has been done and the ring means that the girl is under the man's power.

The story of Cinderella will "shock" you because revisited under a sexual "vision", the story of King Solomon the wise man able to speak with every creature is treated for remarking the importance of a lost object like a ring later found again in his case while he was eating a fish. There are several versions of this story in the book.

We find Boccaccio with the tale from the Decameron of the clever wife, but also the love-story of Tristan and Isolde, the ones by Shakespeare where rings are centrals for sorting out stories, passing through the big scandal that would have brought Marie Antoinette Queen of France in a difficult position and would have increased the big hate felt by french folk for monarchy, Louis XVI and this Queen in particular with also tales written by Dumas and other french writers, who with their fertile imagination tried to guess or imagining the real version of the facts.
The most painful chapter the one of incestuous love with examples taken also by Indian literature. Suggestive the chapter all dedicated to Indians and their relationship with jewels and rings.

Thanks to modern literature, let's remember Henry James, Somerset Maugham, we will explore another side of the story of ring and jewelry after the painful chapter dedicated to Marie Antoinette Queen of France: the one of the slut assumption. Jewelry are pretty expensive and of course if they can't be presented or bought there are some ethical problems: where these jewels come from? Is this fruit of a honest relationship?
No, of course.

It's not forgotten Hollywood with Marylin Monroe iconic symbol of that phrase passed at the History: "Diamonds are girls's best friends,"

and with many anecdotes from movies and stars and ads remembering that diamonds are indestructible and that's why they are picked up for cementing with a good ring a solid union.

The book is clear, written with great warm, love, passion, continuously stimulating, the example taking in consideration for explaining the story of the ring through myth, legends, literature very interesting.

I know for sure that this book will be loved by everyone!

I thank Oxford University Press for this beautiful book!

Anna Maria Polidori

venerdì, luglio 21, 2017

The Imperfect Disciple Grace for People who can't get their act together by Jared C.Wilson

Who is the imperfect disciple for Jared C.Wilson author of The Imperfect Disciple  Grace for People who can't get their act together published by Baker Books?
Substantially someone who is growing up with Jesus although he/she is not perfect, although he/she can be messy or his/her life can be messy. He/she is also someone who believes that after all God has a plan for him/her although he/she can't believe anymore to it.

Mr.Jared doesn't search for perfection and he knows how living this life can means imperfection.
We search for good actions but sometimes we are not ethical, and attracted by badness. In synthesis we are not good people. It's like if we would be dual. But Jesus asks and wants for these people: sinners.
People who perennially fight against the badness and evil temptations in a daily base. I's simple to fall. Evil is hidden behind a beautiful angel adds Wilson.

Some indications were left by Jesus for all of us. Who are the most Blessed people?

Well, Jesus explains everything in the Sermon of the Mount, where he clarifies to everyone what it means to live a good and complete blessed life.
He says:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed at the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness'sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account."

It was another Scripture this one truly loved by my beloved priest Marino. He stayed with us for 63 years and every morning he picked up this scripture for the daily mass dedicated at the Dead ones.

These people portrayed here are the luckiest ones of this world for Jesus.
They are persecuted, after all they're not successful people but Jesus, first of all search for them.
Maybe He also search for them for trying to let show to the rest of people the world with the eyes of these people. Seeing the world with the glasses of these people is wonderful.
Sure no one wants to see around people like these ones assures the author making various example. We don't search for them in press conferences, we don't want to hear their opinion because they're border-line, they're losers.

But...This world needs the real Jesus so badly affirms the author and so each of us should follow these Beatitudes.
Jesus promised to help the most stressed people in this world.
But where to start?
First of all we could start to be similar to Him.
Jesus was a revolutionary for his time and his thoughts immensely important and young also for our culture.
And then...
Go out observing the world.
The author speaks of his daughter.
Once she found him peacefully sat. He enjoyed to seeing people and observing the world in a public space.
He wasn't reading anything on his smartphone. The smart phone wasn't around.
What it was important in that moment was enjoying the moment, being there, looking at people, looking at the life close to him and that was what it mattered the most.
The author thinks that we are too occupied with little things.
Jobs will make people holy but we must also remember that we are not holy for what we have done but because of what Jesus has done remarks Wilson.

Jesus is not distant from us. We are not his servants, but substantially men and women who follow His word and his example being sinners  trying to do the best.

The author then analyzes his readers. Most of these people live in a big city.
Sure: where we live and how we live it says a lot about us, our way of living our life-style, work, friendships and so on.

Living in a city in general let us introduce another word: "Self." We work and we establish first of all a big connection with ourselves, and it becomes like if we would be trapped by society and its values and standards of living.
Reading what it writes Mr Wilson is like to listening the Sunday sermon of my priest Bruno: we give to Lord and Jesus the time we think we should give Him but priorities are others. Cars, work, family, friends, hobbies.
It's a story of society and of course our addiction to all the things it offers us for making us happy.
Reading the Bible in a daily base will be helpful for keeping Christ and not us at the center of the Universe.
It's important to give voice to God and to hearing His voice and so to trying to find some places where for some minutes we can rest and meditate about the Scripture or just for praying establishing a contact with Him.
It is also true that at the end praying everyday is seeing like a sort of obligation but as also adds the author what it is important to do is to speak clearly to God trying to understand thanks to Him what it is going on in our life.
The author suggests various prayers.
Mr.Wilson suggests also the importance of being part of the Church's community where we live in revealing us at some point the nine irrefutable laws of Followship adding also to becoming who you are.

Highly recommended.

I thank Baker Books Bloggers for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori

The California Garden Tour by Donald Olson

The California Garden Tour by Donald Olson will be published soon by Timber Press a specialized American publishing house about gardens, plants and flowers. This one is an interesting book about the most iconic, important gardens of this superb and diversified State of the West American Coast that it is: California. 

A dream for many thanks in general at the good weather,California offers spectacular views, thanks to the extension of this State, but also wonderful landscapes, beautiful corners.
We will also find different kind of weather and so diversified  plants, and flowers.

The book is divided in sections: Northern California, East Bay, Sonoma & Vicinity, Central and North Coast, Southern California starting with Los Angeles & Vicinity, Pasadena & Vicinity, South Coast, Santa Barbara & Vicinity, Palm Springs & Vicinity, San Diego & Vicinity.

In each section you will find the various private mansions, parks or universities gardens of the area where you live in or where maybe you are in vacation in at the moment and a visit in some of these places don't appear to be bad considering that it is summer-time.
From the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden with its carnivorous plants, to the Getty Center and Getty Villa in which they incorporated diversified genre of plants including beautiful superb succulents but also romantic flowers, passing through The Secret Garden of Monterey located in the heart of the old part of the city,  to the beautiful Californian vineyards seen in all their beauty thanks to the chapter dedicated at the Ferrary-Carano vineyards and winery,  Alcatraz won't disappoint you as well. You can't believe it, but they created a stunning and remarkable garden in the island and considering the weather, plants and flowers are pretty interesting.

I thank NetGalley and Timber Press for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

mercoledì, luglio 19, 2017

Danish Fairy-Tales

Danish Fairy-Tales  in italian Fiabe Danesi is a book published by the italian publishing house Iperborea specialized in North European literature.  Let me add, I loved to read it so badly.
When I was little I was a voracious readers of fables and fairy-tales.
I remain of the idea that the mental structure of a good kid, his/her character, the good brain and the ethicity he/she will develop is a work done by parents thanks to imagination, dream, reality, and good fairy-tales and books as well.

Fables and fairy-tales are crucial for children because  they speak to the heart going deep in the soul and working in the morality and conscience of any individual little or adult.
A fairy-tale won't pass once it is told but will remain impressed as a tattoo in the soul of any person and with the time, when the kid will be adult in grade to let him show, in less creative ways, reality, ethical behaviors, the paradoxical side of life, constricting him to confront his life with our modern ogres, witches, terrible creatures in general. It's possible to be these characters as well because life is long and situations change of course and we are not angels all the times. At the same time, if during the childhood the kid has discovered the world of fairy-tales he will be in grade to sort out problems with more creativity. In moment of desperation fairy-tales will be helpful to find a good solution to the problems.
What it is sure is that a strong morality is waiting the kid or the adult behind each fairy-tale.

In this book created by Iperborea the attention is focused on the various most known Danish fairy-tales.
First of all I want to re-assure everyone. They have all a wonderful happy-end!

What I noticed is that they're all very ethical and the scheme is similar: good people will win against sly, dishonest, cruel men or creatures that they meet along their way.

Not only: there is great respect for old ones. Sometimes old people are seen as people in grade to sort out the problems of the youngest ones, because wise.

In general it's a fairy "buried, hidden" in a body of an old woman for seeing if the person in front of her is someone in grade to prove respect, decency for the old person. In this case, only in this case they will present him joy and happiness in this life, but the message is clear: being compassionate and educated pay always.

Sometimes we speak of a little elf in grade to being helpful.

What I found extremely interesting has been the connection of two beautiful fairy-tales connected with St. John's day a very important pagan feast as well. It's a very famous feast in our little corner of the world where we love to celebrate as well. On St.John's Day's Eve we pick up perfumed wild flowers, some walnuts leaves, three kind of waters, leaving the perfumed water outside for being blessed by St.John. The day of St.John we love to wash our body with this blessed perfumed water.

Said that, in these two fairy-tales St.John's day is lived as a day in which a field destructed by someone every year. A boy will discover that substantially three girls danced all the time in the field because once they lived there...It's a wonderful fairy-tale, you will see. The boy will break the curse.
Then there is the story of a gold flower captured by a bird with beautiful gold feathers...

There is blessed money ended in good hands, but also money ended in bad hands like in the fairy-tale of the little coin of luck. You know: sometimes you must preserve the littlest and most "insignificant" coin that you keep in your pocket, because that one could make the difference.

I found absolutely hilarious the fairy-tale of the wife, the cow and the husband. This cow was sold at the market. Three people paid the cow like if it would have been a goat. Everyone repeated to that poor lady that her cow was a goat and after all she started to believe it.
The husband of this wife not happy for the pay, but he will be in grade to recuperate all his money and much more. I laughed a lot reading it.
The box of desires is suggestive, like also the two tales of the sheet, and in the second fairy-tale the knapsack is included.

What also I loved so badly is that people portrayed in these fairy-tales are very good. Good people live a good life, bad people live a bad life.
If a treasure is discovered there is loyalty and people will divide money or will tell them that there is this money.
No one will do anything if not ethical and nothing against other people for damaging them apart witches, evil spirits etc. It's a very important message. Just for this reason these fairy-tales should be read and re-read considering the historical moment we are living in.

I found so sweet and beauty the tale of the three little pink pigs. The nephew was instructed by his old granny of selling the cow, but he returned home with three little pink pigs. He met in fact along his way an old lady and he "sold" her the cow for these three little pink pigs.
Although his granny at first very upset and desperate, she will discover that these three little pink pigs could make their fortune!

Go for this book if you have a kid and you want to tell him/her wonderful, serious, beautiful, sometimes scaring fairy-tales. And go for that ones as well. They won't sleep once, but then they will be fearless. Go for this book if, adult, you search for a beautiful world where at the end good people will win against bad people, for once :-)

Highly recommended.

I surely thank Iperborea for this wonderful fairy-tale book! I returned a little kid for some while! Thanks a lot!

Anna Maria Polidori

martedì, luglio 18, 2017

Cages by Sylvia Torti

Cages is an interesting book written by Sylvia Torti.  This one is the first book I read about the life spent by scientists in laboratory. 

Songbirds is the song of God thinks more than sure David one of the scientists in the lab studying the birdsong of many and beautiful diversified birds and trying, with the help of Anton to discover the interactions and implications that there are between these animals with us and our illnesses. The two scientists work well until the arrival of Rebecca. 
Rebecca lost her previous work as a photographer and so now she thinks that working in a laboratory is another great chance. She loves birds and plus she can put some food on her table and paying her bills. It helps.
Anton's origins are italian and he starts to make friendship with Rebecca. He tells her about San Gimignano. He is a good cook and he starts to taking care a lot about Rebecca and the two thanks also to a trip to Miami of their colleague David lives the perfect  moment for falling in love as later David will discover with a certain disappointment and.. a sabotage and someone fired as well...

Culturally great. Highly recommended.

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

Anna Maria Polidori