All posts tagged book


Published September 19, 2014 by Tony



Italy is worldwide well known for many things, and in a cultural context we can’t forget writers and poets. In a hypothetical list of places to see and things to eat, those who love Italy should not forget to also note some “work” to be read.
Lately, there are some Italian writers who have become famous abroad, apart from high-sounding names with their famous classics, undisputed masterpieces of literature, such as Dante Alighieri, Alessandro Manzoni, Luigi Pirandello, Giovanni Verga, etc.
Among the Italian authors who in recent decades have become known abroad, with millions of copies sold, international awards, translations in many languages and, in some cases, even film adaptations of their books, I can mention:

Umberto Eco. A long list of Italian and foreign honors for him. “The Name of the Rose” (1980), translated into 47 languages and sold over thirty million copies, then transposed to the movies. The satirical novel “Foucault’s Pendulum” (1988).
Alberto Bevilacqua (deceased in 2013). “Caliph” (1964), “This kind of love” (1972).
Oriana Fallaci. Successful author with books of fiction, she sold all over the world more than twenty million copies. “Letter to a Child Never Born” (1975) and “A Man” (1979) are probably her most famous books.
Claudio Magris. “Danube” (1986), is perhaps his masterpiece that established him as one of the greatest contemporary Italian writers.
Roberto Saviano. Author of “Gomorrah” (2006) and “Zerozerozero” (2013), collaborates with the New York Times, Time, Washington Post, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, Times, El Pais.
Giorgio Faletti (deceased in 2014). Author of bestsellers such as “I kill” (2002) and “The Killer In My Eyes” (2004), translated into thirty languages.
Susanna Tamaro.  “Follow your Heart” (2006)

If you want a longer list of recommended international authors, I recommend you the ranking published by Peter Boxall and Peter Acroyd in their book “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.”
But, back to the initial speech, among the most famous Italian authors who have made history (masterpieces of Italian literature that are even academic subjects in schools), cutting down to the bone I can quote:

DIVINE COMEDY  (Dante Alighieri, 1265–1321)
THE BETROTHED (Alessandro Manzoni, 1785–1873)
THE LEOPARD (Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, 1896–1957)

But I also would add others authors like Giovanni Verga, Giovanni Pascolo, Torquato Tasso, Ludovico Ariosto, Ugo Foscolo, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Italo Svevo, Carlo Levi, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Cesare Pavese, Edmondo De Amicis (with his children’s novel “Heart”),  or masterworks like:

The Adventures of Pinocchio (Carlo Collodi, 1826–1890)
One, No one and One Hundred Thousand  (Luigi Pirandello, 1867–1936)
Decameron  (Giovanni Boccaccio, 1313–1375)

Works that, in addition to being undisputed masterpieces, reflect different historical moments and/or areas of our country, giving a meaningful picture.

I hope these books make enjoyable reading.


Published February 11, 2013 by Tony


alessandro siani

Alessandro Siani (Naples, September 17, 1975) is an Italian comedian, actor, voice actor, writer and now also director.

His real name is Alessandro Esposito and he took the stage name of Siani, inspired by the last name of the Neapolitan journalist Giancarlo Siani murdered by the Camorra, whose case had echoed to the news at the national level for many years, though the comedian has no kinship. It is not known the reason of this choice, nor is it due to the content of his comedy, which does not touch the burning issues of organized crime, but only trace sweetened stereotypes of Naples today.
Alessandro Siani made his debut in 1998-99, during a transmission on a Neapolitan broadcast called Telegaribaldi.  In 2003 he became one of the most popular comedians in Campania thanks to the hilarious show “Bulldozer” on one of the national channel and by various sketches performed at theatre, from which some DVD-video sprang.  In 2006 he starred in the film “Ti lascio perché ti amo troppo” (I’m leaving you because I love you too much), by Francesco Ranieri Martinotti, in the same year he was among the actors of the film “Christmas in New York”, with Christian De Sica, Elisabetta Canalis and Sabrina Ferilli. And At Christmas 2007 he returned to cinema together Christian De Sica and Michelle Hunziker with the film “Christmas in cruise”. In 2010 the film “Benvenuti al Sud” (Welcome to the South), sees himself as the protagonist together the comedian and actor Claudio Bisio. The film was a huge success both the public and the critics.
In 2011, Siani published his first book “Un Napoletano come me” (A Neapolitan like me)  that looks like a declaration of love to his city, Naples. But it is also an amusing statement, in the noble tradition of Neapolitan comedy. The success led him to publish another book the following year, “Non si direbbe che sei napoletano” (You would not think that you are Neapolitan), where the Neapolitan comic shows how the life of a Southern going to Northern Italy is a continuous slalom between stereotypes and prejudices. In this book, Siani talk about the novelties that an immigrant encounters when decides to move to the North: a path of continual discoveries and pleasant surprises that the autor deals with wit and humor.
On January 18, 2012 “Benvenuti al Nord” (Welcome to the North),  was the sequel of the prior movie.
This month, his directorial debut with the film “Il principe abusivo” (The Prince abusive), set in Naples where between actors are Christian De Sica and the Neapolitan Serena Autieri.

Eclectic humour, Alessandro Siani is a full-blooded comedian, able to decline his talent in the most different ways: acting in theatre, television and film. Perhaps all this is because of his birthplace, Naples a land of extraordinary comic tradition.
Through Siani’s comic sense comes out his conflicting love towards his fellow citizens. To understand and fully appreciate his comedy, the spectator should (unfortunately) be Neapolitan, even if Alessandro can be understood by any Italian.
Among Neapolitans, many of his jokes have become a
catch phrase and in his first book he recounts the taste of his city and explains what it means to be born and live in Naples. The performer accompanies us in traffic where on a scooter are in five, and when the police stops them, asking why they are three on the scooter, they say, ” Scusateci, gli altri due nun so’ voluti veni’ ” (excuse the other two could not come).  Or on the bus where the controller is heard by a passenger who has a ticket expired the day before: “Azz, e tu mò vieni?” (Darn, and do you come now only?)
Naples is a wonderful city, which reacts always with joy (even the elderly do, like his grandmother who, hearing about ‘wombs for rent’, puts on her stomach the written “Fittasi” (for rent). And when his grandfather did the same thing on his crotch, she then added: “Yes, but to be restored!” Alessandro Siani gives us a unique and exhilarating portrait of this world by its ancient philosophy, made of sun, smiles and… “cazzimma”  (a purely Neapolitan term indicating craftimess + malice).

Naples is a postcard not mailed, crumpled, abandoned in the bottom of the boot that expects one thing, a mayor, a postman who dusts it a bit and mail it all over the world. [A. Siani]

alessandro siani

Here are some Siani gags (in Neapolitan), I will try to translate them into English for you.

<<I went to the grocery store to buy a mozzarella… “how much does a mozzarella cost?”, “€ 20 per kilo!”,  “20 EVEN!”, “ Yes, but if you squeeze it the milk comes out”, “uaaaaaaa for € 20 should come out champagne!”>>

<< My girlfriend told me one day: “My dear, the doctor told me that I need to take a week at sea, one at lake and another in mountain… where do you take me first??” , “to another doctor!” >>

<<The  Neapolitan navigator…. “I have installed it in my car, I typed the road and on the display I got the message: Get  down and Ask!” >>

<< My grandfather is really ignorant. One day he went to a museum and sat down on a chair. The guard approached him and said, “Get up please, this chair is of Louis XIV.” My grandfather said, “and when he comes I will get up!”
One day in the street, a beggar came to the grandfather and said, “look, I’m three days I do not eat.” And my grandfather said, “and you have to force yourself, it is pity to throw food!“>>

<< A woman goes into a sex shop and says to the clerk: “Excuse me, I want that red vibrator hanging there” – The clerk replied, “I am sorry, I can not give it, that’s the fire extinguisher!”>>

I can not even draw a veil over what people say. I finished the clothespins!

Sex Freedom & BDSM

Published May 26, 2012 by Tony

Fifty shades of Grey

While media and social columns report that women, girlfriends and wives are often abused, raped or killed, on the other side, they signal the success of the book “Fifty shades of Grey” in which, on the contrary, it is spoken of female desire to be submissive, where publishers have vied to have the exclusive. “Submission” that, in this case, is synonymous with violence and a couple of steps before the ego killing. The echo of the discussions around this best-selling book came to us, and the Mondadori publishing grabbed this first part of the hot trilogy of the author E. L. James, with the Italian version to be released in a few days. For some, this is a post-pornographic novel that uncovers the hidden desires of American mothers (or mommy-porn, the epithet used in USA), a generation of women now conscious and free to say whatever they want. The Marquis De Sade and the evolution of the female emancipation have even been mentioned, also if the plot of the book simply refers to Anastasia, a young girl who falls into the clutches of Grey, a man in career rich and handsome, who, however, derives sexual pleasure only by strong practices of subjugation and BDSM, where he is the dominant subject. The facto is that the helpless and innocent virgin, initiated to such practices, rather than give up and flee, she plays the game and likes to be submissive, repeatedly and willingly getting in what she calls the “red room of pleasure“, but then the situation reverses. The subordination is reversed and the total submission becomes ransom (?). This has sparked criticism and fantasies of feminist or post-feminist with some who have transposed this story as a demonstration of their emancipation, as saying that the act of submission is a free choice of themselves and therefore an act of freedom, “cogito ergo sum”.  The debate sparked by the book can be summarized by Katie Roiphe’s words, the editorial Newsweek writer: <the submission is a women’s dream because these fantasies give a relief and a moment of escape from the hard work of being equal to men >. Some psychologists and ethologists speak of a return to origins, the longing of a brutal male as it was in prehistory or, instead, a simple choice of an “animal-woman” towards an “animal-male”, in order to ensure what the evolution asks: genetic heritage, protection and sustenance. At this point, we should understand whether this voluntary decision to be sexually “subjected” to man, it is to say, if this submission, which in most cases is only a fantasy or perversion of the imagination, and that from involuntary becomes voluntary and premeditated, is then indeed a moment of emancipation and redemption for women or if, instead, is just a way to release ancestral sexual inhibitions, with the pleasure to infringe the prohibitions. The submissions has a double face, is slippery and can turn into a violence alibi. Furthermore, where there is subordination can be no full freedom. This doesn’t means that, like man, woman can be dissolute, licentious, fond of pleasure without limits and give vent to erotic fantasies, even if this has always been stigmatized by the moralists of turn. Myself, personally, beyond such a fuss, am more favorable to this conclusion because I’ve always been an avid supporter of free sex with no taboos, and in this case even this discussion would have no sense, because we will speak nevermore about dominant or submission, weaker sex or perversion, but simply and solely of SEX, done as anyone likes to do it, and not for this tried and convicted. But I realize that we are very, very far from such a conception.

Hans Suren

Published December 2, 2011 by Tony

Mensch und Sonne

The German thinker Christian Adam examined the books sold during the Third Reich Nazi period and an interesting result came out.
In fact, besides the classic books of that period, such as “Mein Kampf”, the National Socialist book written by Hitler’s, or other novels, in 1924 also became a bestseller “Mensch und Sonne” (The man and the sun) by Hans Suren, one of the pioneers of naturism, which sold more than 80 000 copies.
This is a collection of pictures of naked or half-naked people with instructions how to practice nudism and recreational activities and outdoor gym.
Unexplainable and unexpected event if we consider the strong censure of that period, even if the nudity already was in fashion from the ’30s. Probably, the need to have healthy and perfect bodies to enhance the Aryan race, a Hitler wish, or a way for communicating  the “racial health”, let this book to be around exceptionally, at least in Germany.  The same happened, slyly,  towards such a “sexual freedom” carried out privately.  In fact, after the Second World War, both racism and morality brought the book to be censored.
Suren was appointed as “special commissioner for physical education” during the 1936 Olympics in Germany, but in 1942  then arrested and expelled because it was told he had masturbated in public.
In his work he celebrates the body and masculine attributes such as “God’s creation, wonder of wonders.” The manual also satisfy the voyeuristic desires of readers and brought out prudish and voluptuous atmosphere even if not accepted by the Third Reich, while only in 1942 nude bathing and spa was allowed in secluded places. On the other hand, the search for the perfect body was a topic covered by other artists at that time, as Leni Riefenstahl who in her films celebrate the Nazis deal beauty  and for this she was a Hitler’s favorite filmmaker. Note,  at that time the depiction of naked men wasn’t a hymn to homosexuality, at least officially, since it was strongly persecuted.






Photos have been taken from different sources.