Second Chances An Inspiring Collection of Do-Overs That Have Made People's Lives Brighter by Erin McHugh, published by ABRAMS on April 7th, is a self-help book for whoever wants to try again for something. A big or small dream.
Projects not anymore taken in consideration, or a dream that, for a certain reason at some point become reality.
It can be a big or a little dream.
In the book you will find wagons of people with their life and their direct evidence, that in this life our dreams must be cultivated. At first broken dreams. Each of these people, women, men, will tell you their second chances in their life and that, yes, second chances are possible.
They will let you show how, when and why to them a real second chance became reality.
So, what are you waiting for? Find your second chance, capture it and realize it thanks to this book very interesting, energetic and optimistic.
I thank NetGalley and ABRAMS for this book.
Anna Maria Polidori
I went last Wednesday at the local second-hand charity bookstore Books for Dogs
I stayed there at long for trying to see which books I could bring and read at home.
I don't pick up anymore a lot of books because I have plenty of great reads, but every bookworm can understand the feeling ;-) of compulsion.
Here it's what I found last months.
Not bad ;-)
I noticed Stoner by Williams close to a book by Huxley, remarkable authors like Dickens and Thomas Hardy, in the section classics and the best literature for everyone and every taste.
Satisfied of my choices I was ready to go, when I though it would have been great to give another last look.
Sometimes we don't see the most important books, sometimes we rush and we abandon the most precious gems alone.
It was there, pretty shy, hidden, it didn't want to be found to me.
Or yes, who knows? Little, hardcover, new in the aspect and it is a genre I love a lot. The diary of Miss Idilia
edited by Genevieve Hill published by Short Books after 145 years.
An incredible story.
There is in the cover a girl, writing on her desk a diary.
I found it intriguing.
I read the back cover's first lines and then the first pages. I was shocked.
As a reporter I followed a case years ago of a missing elderly woman and I can tell you that when someone is missing the family falls in a terrible spiral and the world turn upside down.
They fall in a condition of unknown because any certainty is gone.
A homicide is different. There is a body, a cause of death and a reason why that man was killed. Soon or late the responsible will be found. There is logic in the illogical criminal act, but you can explain. You can bury the person killed. You can cry in a grave the departure of your beloved one. You can start to mourn, you can start to heal.
When a person disappear you don't have these "psychological supports", no.
The family understand something: that the missing person is like vanished.
The missing person become a phantom without anymore corporeality. The common compass of normality is gone for a long time (since the person is hopefully found dead or alive) and it starts a long process of nervous exhaustion.
When a person disappear it's a mental work of conjectures. All the time.
I brought the book home decided to read and review it. I read it yesterday.
It is touching, sad, unbelievable but believable at the same time because the obvious sometimes is never taken in consideration and I thought while I was reading The Diary of Miss Idilia at the potential destiny that this girl would have had in case her fate, her destiny not so cruel.
Idilia was in fact a bright, intelligent girl.
It's tender the beginning of this diary.
Idilia was sad and started this diary in fact dedicating it to her friend Gwendolyn emigrated in the USA.
"My dearest Gwendolyn..."
she starts to tell her.
Idilia wants to tell to Gwendolyn all her days and her life, sharing although it is no possible at the moment to discover where Gwendolyn is, all her thoughts with her.
The two girls promised to each other of not sending any letters but sharing a diary once per year for reading the adventures lived by each of them in a year but Gwendolyn didn't send her in 9 months any news, any address apart for a postcard sent from New York.
It was common in the past to sharing journals with family members, or diaries also in the immense land of the USA.
People shared thoughts but also pictures, recipes, articles and so on.
It wasn't an uncommon way to do. It wasn't an eccentricity of these two girls.
Although Idilia thought that the behavior of her friend irritating all her thoughts were with her, imagining that she was still close to her.
Gwendolyn, Genevieve and Idilia are all Scottish and very united.
They have their life to realize and each of them hope to be successful in some field.
Life is still in the dreaming phase of the existence.
The future, although didn't give to any of them great success in life brought a posterity success, because involuntarily Gwendolyn the protagonist of the diary of Idilia for example.
I love to think that maybe if Idilia wouldn't have had the purpose to write to her distant friend, she wouldn't never have written such a detailed diary; and her death although the remains of her body found, maybe would have remained still a mystery without bringing some peace to the family.
Thanks to this diary it was all clear.
The diary later passed at the closest friend of Idilia, Genevieve.
The main protagonist of this story: Idilia.
Unfortunately the diary couldn't be published by Genevieve because of the opposition of Idilia's parents.
Idilia at 17 years was in a rebel moment and yes the portrait of her parents not great at all but it's a classic between parents and teenagers.
The story of Idilia this one: the entire family, Idilia had other two siblings decided to afford to Rhineland in 1851 for a vacation.
Rhine located in Germany was in the past visited, explored and great inspiration for many writers and creative people including Lord Byron.
Nobles appreciated the stunning places, peace and possibility of developing new projects thanks to these wonderful peaceful, enchanting lands.
With the time Rhineland became also the favorite trips of the so-called new riches, merchants etc. The family of Idilia, the Dubb from Edinburgh part of these new rich.
The diary of Idilia is very beauty, very well written. Idilia had a real gift for describing, telling, giving out what she had in her mind and what she was observing around her, never forgetting a great class and research in writing. Idilia is impressive for profundity of analysis and research of particulars and like every 17 years old girls she had problems with her mother at first because she broke up with Henry, a boy her mom was seeing with pleasure close to her and later with her dad because of her rebellion.
Like all the 17 years daughters of this world Idilia was discovering life.
Idilia in this diary tells the story of the trip of her family to Rhineland and how she fell in love for this boy Christian Bach.
The romantic meeting in the ship, the discovery of passion later, the visit at a wonderful castle in ruin the Lahnec castle once in Rhine.
Maybe a premonition but after an afternoon Idilia spent with Christian and Christian told her a certain tremendous legend, Idilia wanted to return home as soon as possible.
But that one will be her end and no one, no one once the girl started to be missed searched for her in this castle.
Just several years after in 1860 years, when it was decided to renovate the castle some human rests found with rings and other personal objects and a diary: Idilia after all that time was found.
This journal, this diary wants to give a last voice, a last justice to Idilia and her horrible death and she wants to let you discover a beautiful soul.
Unheard, the poor girl tried all her best, but the old stairs connected with the tower collapsed and Idilia remained blocked in the castle's tower.
She couldn't abandon the tower anymore dying starved but first of all dehydrated.
Christian was serious in his intentions, reading the diary you will discover it.
Once he discovered what happened to Idilia, his presence will be constant during the mourning time.
Enjoy this book.
It's a real gem in the panorama of diaries and it's the best legacy left by Idilia Dubb at this world.
A life not lived in vain but read thanks to this diary by a lot of people in the world.
Her words will resonate forever and she can now smiles at this world, in peace,
wherever she is.
Anna Maria Polidori
The Blue Hour by Isabelle Simler will be released this Febr 20th by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Stunning, beautiful, dreaming paintings of all the nature of the Globe.
Passing through the Artic's nature, frogs, birds, wolves, this one is a book dedicated to children but I would want to enlarge the public/readers at adult ones, nature-lovers because too beauty for not being on the shelf of the house of everyone.
The book with its spectacular, relaxing painting of nature portrayed during the blue hour a special moment, when day and night are fused and in unison they speak an only voice and language that it still is not the one of the night and can't be anymore the one, bright and colored of the day.
Colors are beautiful, from cobalt to blue, white/ice, but never sad or cold for a fascinating and suggestive natural trip. Magical and impressive.
I loved tremendously, loved the painting of bluebirds, like also the one of the serpent and the landscape with a hill, sweet trees, a owl in the tree and an eagle flying somewhere.
I thank NetGalley and Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Anna Maria Polidori
If you want to touch Heaven thanks to an overdose of chocolate you can't lose to opportunity of buying The Forbidden Chocolate Guide: Tasty Chocolate, Desserts, Cakes and Cookies for Celebrations, Birthdays and special events by Chris Cooper.
If you love the chocolate world and I guess each of us love it, you will find wagons of recipes for making happy your children, your friends, your family with great and delicious, warm warm recipes.
Chris will let us discover the world of chocolate cakes, I think that dessert clay a mixture of chocolate, strawberry and golden syrup that must be surely very interesting, like also little cookies for every occasion.
If you want to surprise during a Sunday morning all your loved ones, voilà! also a choco pancakes recipe.
There are recipes to be tasted with coffee, as the chocolate ginger treats is, while if you are a tea lover why not to try the rusty loaf? Golden crust, light and creamy inside for a great and energetic start and...breakfast!
If you love cinnamon, there are the chocolate cinnamon crumbs waiting for you! But do you know what? It's not important which chocolate dessert you'll choose, because what I can tell you is that this book has been written and baked with great love and passion.
You will find for very recipe the picture and the instructions for a perfect dessert, and so, don't wait another second! and start to be a chocoholic! for the joy of all your dear ones.
I thank Library Thing and the author for this advanced copy of the book.
Anna Maria Polidori
The Best We Could Do An Illustrated Memoir is the first book by Thi Bui, the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants.
Abrams Book will publish this wonderful, touching and very sad at treats graphic novel next March 7th.
Of course this book will let us reflect.
Thi Bui writes: "Our family is a boat family", because exactly as it happens now in various parts of the world, her family afforded to the USA with a boat and exactly as it happens now with immigration, the family of Thi left Vietnam because of very difficult social conditions.
Social conditions that couldn't permit anymore to live in the country in which her family was born.
I admit that I didn't know all the political story of Vietnam and the book is also in this sense very interesting and sad because this graphic novel through the personal stories of the various members of Thi Bui will live parallelally also the political story of the country with all its wars and divisions during the decades .
Emigration: what is this word? And why a person or a family decides to leave his/her country for searching for something better in another place? Surely it is not a choice that it is done with light heart, I can tell you that.
Our land has been a land of emigration during the 1950s and it still is. It means to re-start from the beginning in a place where maybe you need to learn everything, including a new language.
There will be other people and these people maybe will live you with hostility or with at first with a certain diffidence. You will bring new customs and traditions and at the same time you must respect the laws of the country where you decide to go for a new living. It's a sufferance.
A sufferance and an adventure. Plenty of optimism, but surely if you leave a world devastated by war as it happened at the family of Thi Bui, your problems will be many, your heart will be hardest and heaviest than not the one of an individual who just wanted to try to better the life, without having experienced the tribulations and horrors seen and lived by the family of Thi Bui.
The separation of a person from his own land a sufferance that will remain for the first generations of emigrated as explain also Thi Bui in a passage that we will see later because you decide to break your root and to re-start, but you know for sure that your country, the life-style, the lessons you have learned and who you are and why you are as you are will follow you. There is a moment in the book I love a lot.
Thi explains many family tends to accumulate objects while they tend to live in a minimalism way. Once, while she was still little, the family was arrived from a while in the USA, close to their house there was a fire and Thi Bui run upstairs for saving an envelope. Just in case...In this envelope the most important and precious documents of her family:the green cards, social security cards.
Their being Americans.
In 2005 Thi Bui has had a son and she asks in the book: "Do we live on in what we leave to our children?"
I think so. Children are our extensions once we won't be anymore alive.
Our mirror, our reflection.
Thi Bui asks in another passage at the end of the book: "How much of ME is my own, and how much is stamped into my blood and bone, predestined?"
The author thinks that being the children of parents who have seen the horror of war will always mean to feel in part the "weight of their past" although surely Thi Bui knows that she won't search anymore for another homeland because she is American and that Vietnam will always be genetically a part of her, but in a little little measure.
In the USA she has found the stability her parents were searching for them and their family.
Thi Bui is also worried for her son because she thinks maybe she can transmits him her sometimes pains and sufferance but when she looks at her son she sees a boy that is free.
Free to claim his future, free to become who wants to become, in a land of peace and in a land marked by that American Dream wanted so badly because real by all the immigrants who, for a reasons or another escaped from their lands, searching and dreaming for a better future and for peace and stability in the Land of Freedom and Opportunity.
Beautiful, truly moving, plenty of flashback, memories and intense. Highly recommended for understand and never forget the profound connection existing between past and present.
I thank NetGalley and ABRAMS Books for this book.
Anna Maria Polidori
The String of Pearls by Thomas Preskett Prest is a dark book you'll love so badly.
It is in fact the story of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Strange street Fleet Street.
Once, as also written in the London's biography by Peter Ackroyd Fleet Street was an insane little river, but because of sanitary problems and illness that the river brought to the people, during the time the administration transformed it in a street, although a touch if insanity it is still going on.
No one knows if this one is a legend or not.
Surely London is not just the capital of UK but also a city avid for blood and so it seems that once upon a time there was a weird weird strange barber called Sweeney Todd in Fleet Street.
This book, The String of Pearls inspired the legendary musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler created and launched in 1979 and winners of eight Tony Awards.
Later Johnny Depp would have created, based on the musical by Sondheim with Tim Burton as director Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street . It was 2007. The story of Sweeney Todd told in this book, is pretty different from the musical and the movie.
The horror, I wouldn't never read it differently, in different ways is left to the imagination of us, readers, but the book is written with great linguistic property and class.
The writing style of 1800 is adorable because punctual, precise, can I add: perfect?
Anyway the lovely partner of Sweeney Todd, a barber of Fleet Street has a store with mr Jarvis Williams and there they sell wonderful delicious sweet meat pies and trests.
They are loved by everyone. They're the sweetest ones you can find around and who knows if attracted by mrs. Lovett or simply because the meat is so delicious, the store is always plenty of people.
Mrs. Lovett in love with Sweeney Todd, a good criminal pair this one.
Sweeney Todd has a good work as barber, although strangely not all the men who enter in his shop for making their beard go out after the work.
Who knows why. A dog is still waiting for his owner...
Through a trap door Sweeney after the service, in general he cut the throat at his victims, would send them to Mrs Lovett for being "prepared" to becoming delicious meat for the customers of her delicious reality... Sure something starts to go bad for Sweeney Todd. Killing means also someone who start to search for some missing people. Johanna is searching for her fiance, and at the same time also Colonel Jeffrey is searching for his friend Thornhill strangely missing. Where are them all?
Maybe in the stomach of some very satisfied people, who knows? but no one still know this horrific reality.
Surely all of them spotted the last time close to Sweeney Todd's barber's shop.
So later, where did they go? Great relevance in the story also at the poor boy Tobias Ragg, one of the most interesting characters of the book, the young apprentice of Sweeney Todd...
Go for this book if you search for pure horror but also a horror told with great respect and without to go into details that could scare people.
It's a classic, It says all the word: classics.The String of Pearls like all the classics has the characteristic of eternity and immortality.
I thank Endeavour Press for this book.
Anna Maria Polidori
Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living by Manjula Martin was published these days by Simon & Schuster.
So: what a messy world the one of writing. I am a freelance reporter and so I feel the problem so badly.
While I was reading the preface of the author, Manjula Martin I was also thinking at my condition.
I don't remember anymore when it was the last time I have been paid for my work.
Yes it is sadly true what written by the author: if we write for love and passion why other people should pay us? It's scaring more than sadly true, thinking better.
It's what it is happening with some contracts in fact in which it is specified that people are in love for writing (and so there is not the necessity to paying them for intellectual work - implied -)
And I ask to myself: but if I pay my mechanistic, if I pay the baker for the bread, if I pay the hydraulic, electrician, all people who read newsmagazines after all, in too many cases they will read our words for free? Why no one should pay all of us for our daily, weekly, monthly articles?
What the hell is wrong?
But I know: of course these thoughts won't bring us too far.
In part because of the net, a real devastation for communication and common media.
If you think that some newsmagazine are thinking of using Facebook as their main resources cutting out collaborators, it gives to you the idea of the real danger of the power of the net and the problems connected with it. Collaborators are the salt of a newsmagazines. We know how to work; a news posted by someone else can be wrong and anyway should always be verified by a reporter in the place before to be printed.
Of course maybe at a certain point the profession of reporter opened at too many people when places for giving dignity to everyone there weren't at all.
Simple but true.
And now we are in the sh...
Ahem: I meant, in miserable conditions.
Luck is another important factor in this profession. If you meet people of quality along your way, who believe in you, you will obtain a great guidance and of course you can develop your ambitions much better arriving at destination. Realities where you are treated with dignity, where your work is recognized. It says a lot to a person. It says all because she/he will be feel he/she is treated as every human being should be treated.
I found beautiful stories in this book and I cried a lot as well. I loved the one of the first author's essay who said she was a book addicted because in her family she was the only one who read.
In our family my dad, my dad's aunts read a lot.
My granny Marietta in fact was the only lady in our rural community to have completed all elementary studies because she lived previously in another rural area when still a girl where there was a great dignity: there were all elementary classes.
In our rural community all elementary classes arrived later.
She read, she wrote and during the Second World War when people received letters of their dear beloved dear ones from the various wars' places the person who replied to all these letters was granny Marietta. Our house for what they told me was very crowded during the last Second World War Conflict..
Dad loved to read my articles. He was so proud of me. Aunt Dina read 'til the day she died. They all transmitted me this great passion and desire for knowledge. Reading is a passion that, thanks also to my British and American friends I enlarged with a lot of books and author in most recent decades.
A friend of mine, American, Connie presented me wagons of books when she returned to the USA and before as well! She knows I love reading and she knew I would have loved to read that books :-)
Anyway she helped me to create a good library not just of italian books and to start to read in English in a daily base. It's important.
Other British ladies founded a dog association in a close city, Umbertide where they sell Books for Dogs (the name of the charity) and so I could discover every week new authors still unknown to me or known but still unread. In general I return home with 15-20 books per time. At the end I had some little problem of...space.
I buy used books online, I didn't want to forget to tell this.
I thought I wouldn't never have read a fresh printed book in all my life but then I discovered NetGalley and I consider a privilege to read books with anticipation. It's stimulating, wonderful, seriously funny.
What it is remarked in this book is that not all of us have had a wonderful rich life plenty of books from the beginning and so we suffered more.
Let's also say that you can be the son or the daughter of the richest man of this world and you don't love to read and write or you do that pretty painfully.
Reading and writing are at first beautiful hobbies and passions.Sure, in a house in which everyone read it's more simple and less complicated to transmit this passion. You will read the newsmagazine at the beginning of the day and then various books during the day, but it's not said.
Money can be very very helpful for buying new books and magazines and newsmagazines. This is true.
Not everyone at 10 years read this world and the others thanks to the big libraries of their parents, very acculturated but really: it's not a fault to be born rich and it's not a fault to be born less rich and sometimes poor and to climb the mountain and to do the hard work on the road. Maybe at the end it will be more satisfying.
In my case every magazine bought and every book bought has meant a sacrifice in terms of costs. They still are a sacrifice!
Culture cost money and renounces and sometimes I prefer to buying culture than not a clothe, or a pair of jeans.
Something mom can't understand (she is a tailor) but I understand what I am doing. In the first case I give oxygen to my brain in the second case I would feed my vanity. Oh: I would also want to feed my vanity so badly of course, but...
Please read this book because in the diversified situations you will meet, in the different authors' essays and their different approach with the written words maybe you will find the best inspiration for going on in this sector.
I started to cry when I read the story of a writer who said: although no one paid me I wrote for free for a long time. Book reviews etc.
Her boyfriend said her that of course this behavior wouldn't have brought her bread to their table and she was very offended but you can't never know, she add. Writing mean also to keep our brain working and focused and active. If we should wait always for a paid occasion...
Now she is a published author.
You can't never know.
The net is not negative, it can also give the possibility to come out.
Very interesting book! The various essays include also Cheryl Strayed Roxane Gay, Jennifer Weiner, Alexander Chee, Nick Hornby, and Jonathan Franzen.
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster.
Anna Maria Polidori