CHRISTMAS REQUIRED READINGS

THIS YEAR AND THE NEXTS TO COME, GIVE BOOKS AS GIFTS! WITH BOOKS YOU CAN’T GO WRONG! ALSO THE PERFECT FELLOW TRAVELLERS TO TAKE ALONG WHEREVER YOU’RE HEADING THIS CHRISTMAS BREAK! FROM ESSAYS TO MEMOIRS OR CLASSIC NOVELS, HERE IS SOME ESSENTIAL READING RECOMMENDED BY REDMILK!

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PAUL AUSTER – “MR. VERTIGO”

Walt is a poor orphan in St. Louis with no hopes for his future, but he also possess a natural gift, that someone decided to exploit. Master Yehudi, half wizard and half charlatan, in three years of hard training will teach him the art of fly, making a circus attraction out of him. From here the events run faster, between Ku Klux Klan raids, gangsters, baseball players, and nightclubs. Mr. Auster’s novel hovers gracefully between “once upon a time” and the exact dates of realism, taking in a fair amount of the century’s story.

JULIAN BARNES “THE SENSE OF AN ENDING”

“It strikes me that this may be one of the differences between youth and age: when we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves; when we are old, we invent different pasts for others.” One day Tony receives a letter: the mother of an old girlfriend, Veronica, has left him the diary of Adrian Finn, the college friend who had stolen his girlfriend. And so it is that the protagonist abandons his security and embarks on a journey backwards into his youth, amongst “sex-hungry and book-hungry” friends, betrayals and lies, as far as opening up a wound that had never healed: the truth about Adrian. If it is true that the truth makes us free, it is just as true that it does so only after taking everything away, in particular the certainties with which we shore up our identities.

ORHAN PAMUK – “THE MUSEUM OF INNOCENCE”

Kamal, descendant of a rich family from Istanbul, is about to become engaged to high-ranking Sibel. Everything seems to be going well, but Kamal falls hopelessly in love with Füsun, a beautiful young cousin from a poor branch of the family. They begin an intense love affair which violates the moral codes of Turkey in the 1970s. In his first novel, after winning the Nobel prize in 2006, Pamuk gives us a moving portrait of a meeting, and the unforgettable story of an era and of a city: his Istanbul.

JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER – “EATING ANIMALS”

The author, as a child, used to spend Saturdays and Sundays with his grandmother, who was constantly worried that her grandson did not eat enough. It was the preoccupation of someone who had almost died of hunger during the war, but who was able to refuse the pork meat that would have kept her alive, because it was not kosher food; because “If nothing matters, there’s nothing to save”. When he becomes a father, Foer is reminded of this teaching and begins to ask himself what meat is, because feeding his son is not like feeding himself; it is more important. This book is the fruit of an investigation which took almost three years and which took him into factory farms. This drove him to recount the violence animals suffer, the poisonous, hormone-based treatments they have to endure, and to describe how they are killed in order to become our daily food.

PETER CAMERON –  “SOMEDAY THIS PAIN WILL BE USEFUL TO YOU”

James is 18 and lives in New York. Having finished school, he works in his mother’s art gallery, where no-one ever enters. To pass the time, and in the hope of finding an alternative to university, James looks on-line for a house in the Midwest where he can cultivate in peace his favourite activities – literature and solitude. But, luckily for him, the estate agents reveal some alarming drawbacks to provincial life. Anticipate any further James’ story might overshadow the singular grace that permeates this book, and by which the reader is enveloped, long before recognising, in James’s restless and melancholy irony, something that very few know how to recount: the atmosphere of time.

PATTI SMITH – “JUST KIDS”

New York in the sixties: Patti Smith retraces the paths that led from her childhood in Chicago to New York, where she meets Robert Mapplethorpe. A rare, pure and precious friendship. A pact of mutual support, based on the sharing of dreams, visions, ideas and art. Patti Smith knows how to  look back, and she does it without sparing herself. “Just Kids” is the confessions of one of the greatest protagonists of American rock, of an original poet, of a muse, and of a woman who has known how to live on the margins of convention without plummeting into damnation.

CLAUDIA DURASTANTI – “ONE DAY I’LL COME TO THROW STONES AT YOUR WINDOW”

Claudia Durastanti’s “One day I’ll come to throw stones at your window” is the epic, raw, fantastic and very human story of eight different youth, eight point of view on life in all her painful steps. Stories of encounters and separations, of forced loneliness, from the seventies in New Jersey to the dirty pureness of Manhattan in the nineties. The characters are bonded by anger and deep loneliness, which drops them into an uncommunicative reality. Each of them, in their own way, reacts unhinging the future already “packed” that awaits them, refusing to fit in, throwing himself into those worlds discarded by society.

DIANA VREELAND – “D.V.”

Diana Vreeland, with extraordinary verve and scorching irony, recounts her incredible affair both human and professional: from the London’s retreats passing by Paris in the thirties and New York jet-set to the world’s most exclusive stages. Diana has always reinvented herself, and so she does in her autobiography, boldly balancing between reality and fiction. In these pages juicy anecdotes follow incredible situations, always shared with her eclectic circle of friends, made of artists and princes, movie stars and pop icons.

ENNIO CAPASA – “UN MONDO NUOVO”

Signature of Italian fashion, founder of Costume National, Ennio Capasa unveils the origins of his training in Japan, as he promised to Fumi Yamamoto, Yohji’s mother. A collection of the most memorable episodes of his life in Tokyo, a tale that reveals how the style and avant-garde approach that have always characterised his polyhedral work were also inspired by that experience, that real and surreal journey in space and time.

DAVID SHIELDS AND SHANE SALERNO – “SALINGER – THE PRIVATE WAR OF A WRITER”

This volume is the result of eight years’ research and of interviews with over two hundred people all over the world, who are linked to Salinger by every kind of relationship. Journalist David Shields, and director and screenwriter Shane Salerno (who has made a documentary from this research work) have combined this massive archive of testimonies with a collection of previously unpublished photographs, letters, diaries and documents. They have given life to an oral biography that, for the first time, demolishes the wall of mystery that Salinger had painstakingly built around himself.

Text by Irene Pazzanese

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