[ARC] Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green

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The book is the graphic autobiography of the childhood and young adulthood of Katie, and her problem related to alimentary disorder.  The protagonist is a creative girl, extremely picky about what to eat and when; the comparison with other school friends slowly enhances the issue, till getting to anorexia episodes.

The author shows with this book her life to the reader: her issues and how slowly she fought them, even with the negative influence of a guru who, bragging about helping her, sexually abused the girl.

An extremely touching and engaging book, graphically well structured and detailed.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.


* Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green ★★★★☆

*I read this book in english

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

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23202647 Burial Rites, Hannah Kent‘s debut novel, takes inspiration from the true story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, accused of murder and last publically executed in Island.

The author takes from the reality to describe the role fo women in the 1800 Island society. Agnes is an illegitimate child, poor, and her only role in society is the one of maidservant in the households and farms. Her last employee is Natan Ketilsson, herbalist, healer, lover of married women and – someone says – friend of the devil.

And its the murder of Natan and of another man Agnes is accused of, with the help of the other household maid, Sigga, and of Friedrik Sigurdsson, from a nearby farm.

In the months before the execution, Agnes is assigned to a family in her valley of birth. The family is at the beginning unfriendly and scared, but day after day they grow fond of Agnes, who tells her story to them and to a young priest who is to help her till the moment of death.

This way the portrait of this young woman grows page after page, her thought aware of the incumbency of death, and we can also appreciate the portrait of the society around her, people willing to judge, to accuse, but also to understand and to comfort.


* Burial Rites by Hannah Kent ★★★★☆

*I read this book in english

[ARC] Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa

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Seattle, 1999. The Washington State Convention and Trade Center should host the WTO meeting (World Trade Organization), but the convention is blocked by the protesters who occupy the streets of the city, and in particular the relevant intersections to prevent the delegates to get to the Convention centre.

The novel is set during the protest day, and it involves the reader by interchanging different points of view belonging to both the protesters and the policemen busy clearing the streets.

The protagonists do not share only the events during the day (negotiations, a pacific protest, the clearing by policemen) but their lives, too.

The police chief keeps thinking about his son, Victor, who run away from home to see the world, in search of an answer about the relation between countries and between people. Victor who is involved with the protesters, and will maybe be able to get an answer among them. John Henry and King, trained in pacific protest, the former devoted to his ideals, the latter – returned illegally from Mexico to attend the protest – troubled by guilt for something she did in the past, and full of rage she barely keeps under control.

Among these stories – that smoothly fit one into the other – sometimes appear the intermission of the Sri Lanka delegate, determined in participating the meeting.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book that tells a true story and describes in a credible and involving way the people involved on both sides of the protest.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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* Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa ★★★☆

*I read this book in English

Il pugile: La vera storia di Hertzko Haft by Reinhard Kleist

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Questa graphic novel fornisce un nuovo punto di vista sulla seconda guerra mondiale e sulla deportazione degli ebrei nei campi di sterminio, diverso da quelli di Maus o di La seconda generazione. Quello che non ho detto a mio padre.

La storia, tratta dal romanzo di Alan Haft, racconta la storia di Hertzko Haft, sopravvissuto ai campi di sterminio anche perchè combatteva come pugile in incontri organizzati per intrattenere i nazisti.

Hertzko viene strappato giovanissimo dalla famiglia e dalla ragazza che ama e che era in procinto di sposare, e solo grazie a un indomabile desiderio di sopravvivere riesce a superare la guerra e emigrare negli Stati Uniti, dove avrà una breve carriera da pugile.

La graphic novel racconta la vita di Hertzko senza censurarne il dramma e la violenza, lo stesso protagonista è spesso autore di azioni tremende, ma motivate dal desiderio di sopravvivere.

Il pugile è un racconto interessante che fa luce su aspetti meno noti di un periodo storico drammatico.

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This graphic novel provides a new point of view on the WWII and on the deportation in the holocaust, a different one from Maus from example.

The story, from Alan Haft novel, tells the story of Hertzko Haft, who survived the extermination camps also because he used to fight boxing games to entertain the nazi.

Hertzko loses his family and the girl he loved and he was going to marry, and survives the war only thanks to an indomitable obstinacy, ending as an emigrant to USA, where he will have a brief boxing career.

The graphic novel tells Hertzko’s life without taking away the drama and the violence, the same protagonist sometimes does tremendous things, impossible to forgive but done for surviving.

The boxer is and interesting story that provides hints about less known facts of that dramatic historical period.

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Il pugile: La vera storia di Hertzko Haft by Reinhard Kleist ★★★★☆

[ARC] The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson

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The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo parte con due plus: la bella copertina e l’intrigante storia (vera) di Mary Willcox e del suo inganno nei confronti della famiglia Worrall, purtroppo questi lati positivi sono vanificati da una trama noiosa e da una marea di personaggi stereotipati.

Mi pare incredibile come dalla storia di Mary che si è finta una principessa orientale (Principessa Caraboo), inventando lingua, costumi, religione, … ed è riuscita a ingannare la rispettabile famiglia Worrall e una serie di esperti e linguisti sia stato ricavato un romanzo.

I personaggi rispecchiano i peggiori cliché (la vanesia, il baldo locandiere, il dandy senza cuore – cit. Tintaglia) e ho trovato la narrazione estremamente lenta, nel complesso un vero peccato e un’occasione sprecata.

Ringrazio l’editore per avermi fornito la copia necessaria per stendere questa recensione.

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The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo begins with two plus: the beautiful cover and the intriguing story (a true one) of Mary Willcox and his deception against the Worrall family, unfortunately these pros are nullified by a boring plot and stereotyped characters.

I honestly do not know how from the story of Mary, who faked to be an oriental princess (Principess Caraboo), making up language, behaviour, religion,… and succeeded into deceiving the respectable Worrall family and a series of experts and linguists, was possible to put out this novel.

The characters are the worst cliché (the vain one, the handsome innkeeper, the heartless dandy) and I think the narration is extremely slow-paced, overall a wasted opportunity.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson ★★☆☆☆

L’Avversario by Emmanuel Carrère

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L’avversario è uno di quei casi in cui la realtà si impegna e supera la fantasia.

Emmanuel Carrère ci accompagna nella ricostruzione della vita di Jean-Claude Romand, francese realmente vissuto, che ha fatto della menzogna la sua personale arte e ci ha costruito sopra la sua vita.

Romand ha mentito su tutto e a tutti per 18 anni: non era medico, non era laureato, non lavorava, non era malato. Una delle cose sconvolgenti è che nessuno ha mai dubitato di Romand, e così l’uomo ha costruito famiglia, amicizie e relazioni sul nulla. E quando il nulla si stava iniziando a sgretolare, Romand ha ucciso la famiglia e cercato di suicidarsi.

Nel romanzo viene ricostruita la storia e, per quanto possibile, la personalità folle di Jean-Claude Romand; un libro interessante ma piuttosto agghiacciante.

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The adversary is when reality takes everything to surpass fiction.

Emmanuel Carrère tells the story of Jean-Claude Romand, who made lying his personal art and built upon it his entire life.

Romand lied about everything and to everyone for 18 years: he was not a doctor, he did not get a degree, he did not work, he was not ill. One of the most disturbing thing about the whole story is how nobody never questioned Romand, and he was able to create a family, friendships and relations on nothing. The drawback was when the nothing began to fade, then Romand killed his family and tried to kill himself.

The book is about the story and as much as possible the crazy personality of Jean-Claude Romand; an interesting book but a terrible story.

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L’Avversario by Emmanuel Carrère ★★★★☆

[ARC] Soppy: A Love Story by Philippa Rice

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In questa graphic novel l’autrice, Philippa Rice, decide di condividere con i lettori alcune scene della sua vita quotidiana e di quella del suo fidanzato, Luke Pearson (autore della serie di graphic novel Hildafolk).

In Soppy seguiamo i due personaggi nei momenti di condivisione, di affetto ma anche nei litigi, in un vero e proprio quadro di vita di coppia.

Soppy è un insieme di vignette in rosso e nero che parlano di una storia particolare, ma in cui ogni coppia può immedesimarsi, perchè ogni coppia che funziona si litiga le coperte, condivide il divano e fa pace dopo aver litigato.

Ringrazio l’editore per avermi fornito la copia necessaria per stendere questa recensione.

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In this graphic novel the author, Philippa Rice, chooses to share with the readers her day by day life with her boyfriend, Luke Pearson (author of the  Hildafolk series).

In Soppy we follow the two character in moments of sharing, of love but also during fights, their life as a couple.

Soppy is a collection of red and black frames talking about a particular story, but every person belonging to loving couple can identify him/herself in the story, since every loving couple competes for the blanket, shares a couch and makes it up after a fight.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

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Soppy: A Love Story by Philippa Rice ★★★☆

If one is not enough

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The idea of this post is from a couple of years ago and from an italian podcast (Dee Giallo by Carlo Lucarelli) suggested by my husband-to-be about Billy Milligan.

Lucarelli speaks about Billy and his numerous personalities; it’s a true story told also in a book by Daniel Keyes who met Billy himself.

The multiple personality theme is quite interesting for fictional novels, and in fact some notable examples do exist (Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, The cloven viscount by Italo Calvino for example): in these cases the personality are two and the story has a more or less evident moral intent.

What if the personalities are more numerous?

Below there are two review: the one of Daniel Keyes book (he is the author of the story and then novel “Flowers for Algernon”), The minds of Billy Milligan that is about Billy and how it was discovered his disorder, and the one of a novelette by Brandon Sanderson, Legion, this one a true work of fiction that takes the multiple personality theme to create a complex and very skillful main character.

I suggest to read both: the former, a more slow read, to understand how few we know about human mind and it’s tricks, the latter, more entertaining, to enjoy the work of a good writer whose work I like very much.

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Into the wild by Jon Krakauer

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As said in another post, “Into the wild” is one of the suggestions I made for the november reading group.

“Into the wild” is a movie, a book, but mostly the true story of a guy wanting to find freedom and an enhanced contact with the natural world; not the first to try, not the least one.

I saw also the movie, beautiful, but unable, to me, to provide the same perspective from the novel (that is not quite a novel, but a biographical reconstruction).

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