EXAMS - DAY 3 & 4

I've briefly posted about days 3 and 4 of our exams on LEARN ON LINE





I apologize, I don’t want to sound monotonous. I don’t want to bother you but … I must talk about it. I need to share my sadness (SOB!). Do you remember? I wrote about baddies some days ago in one of my posts (HERE) and didn’t hide my fondness for Sir Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood (BBC 1). Why am I writing about this again? Terrible news. Unexpected, at least to me, terrible news. Anybody interested in the show knew from the beginning of series 3, at the end of March, that Jonas Armstrong would leave the show, so that his Robin Hood would die in the last episode. But they tightly kept secret the fact that Richard Armitage too was going to leave the show and that his Guy would meet his fate in the same final fight as Robin. Incredible, this episode 13 was a slaughter: Allan, Guy and finally Robin die. How can they commission a series 4? However, Robin Hood ends with this episode for me. I just started watching it because of Richard Armitage - and once you meet his brilliant portrayal of Gisborne you can’t stop watching it . I couldn’t see the whole series 3, not yet though. But I could see several clips all over the NET , especially Utube. Here are some I’ve chosen for you.
As I told you in my previous post, after killing Marian, Guy started a troubled guilt - ridden life which led him to a change. He and Robin had to accept a difficult truce and started fighting side by side in the last episodes.

ROBIN HOOD 3 DVD will be released on 29th June.
It is possible to buy it on line HERE



I've posted about day 2 of our exams on
If you want to know about my students' and mine



( Paolo and Francesca by Amos Casioli)

My students had their first written examination in Italian this morning. Their half sleepy - half terribly anxious pale faces were waiting outside our school building very early this morning. Once they were all sitting at their desks, at about 9, we handed out the tasks. Nothing special: nor difficult, nor original, nor very interesting: "triviality fair" . After an even too obvious text analysis of an excerpt from Italo Svevo's "La coscienza di Zeno", there were tasks about the Social networks and Internet (32% Italian students wrote about that: not a surprise, indeed) , the Berlin Wall, Creativity and Technology, The history of the Italian State, Youth Culture from 50s to Facebook days and , last but not least, Love in Art and Literature. Did we read anything original? Not much. But poor students, how could they have been original in front of such trivial, obvious proposals? Anyhow, though we tried to appreciate all their efforts and creative achievements , we were quite bored in the end.

By the way, our students didn't mirror the national trend. The most successful task among them was that about love. Most of our students are girls, of course. We reflected on the fact they still have a very romantic, lyrical, "totalitarian" vision of love. To them love is all or nothing, Heaven or Hell, inescapable and essential.

They had to write an article or an essay after reading some poems or excerpts ( all the texts were by Italian writers) but they also had visual suggestions:

1. Magritte LOVERS

2. Chagall, WALK


Which is your favourite love image? Not only among the ones above...there are lots of beautiful ones. Which task would you have chosen? I would have been rather embarassed...but I think I 'd have written about love, too. Tomorrow Mathematics for some of my students and Latin for the others. I don't think I'll have much to write about tomorrow night... HAVE A VERY GOOD EVENING! SWEET DREAMS TO ALL OF YOU.
If you want to read about EXAMS - DAY 2 CLICK HERE



Another Sunday gone, another huge pile ironed. Also this time in very good company.

I watched one of the latest acquisitions in my DVD collection, POSSESSION. It is a 2002 movie I hadn’t had the occasion to see when it was released nor managed to see on Tv. So I decided to buy the DVD after reading about the movie in one of the text-books I use at school. Based on A.S. Byatt's 1990 novel of the same name, and filmed on wonderful locations in the U.K., the romantic mystery tracks a pair of literary scholars who unearth the amorous secret of two Victorian poets - only to find themselves falling under a passionate spell. Maud Bailey( Gwyneth Paltrow), a brilliant English academic given to doing things by the book, is researching the life and work of poet Christabel La Motte (Jennifer Ehle). Roland Michell (Aaron Ekhart) is an upstart American scholar in London on a fellowship to study the great Randolph Henry Ash (Jeremy Northam), now best-known for a collection of rapturous, late-life poems dedicated to his wife. When Maud and Roland discover a cache of love letters that appear to be from Ash to La Motte, they follow a trail of clues across England to the Continent, echoing the journey of the impassioned couple over a century earlier.

In this way Byatt measures the distance between a world in which some notion of absolute value still prevailed and the cultural relativism of today, in which notions of what is profound and what is superficial have become hopelessly entangled. In her ambitious novel Byatt invents an entire body of Victorian poetry in the style of the two poets for her modern academics to interpret, which are like false documents of a simulated history
The story of the two poets, inspired to the love story between Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett, is set in the victorian Age. It was a multifaceted time of transition which in many ways paved the way for the structure of contemporary society, announcing many of the changes (such as the predominance of city life, the decline of religion and traditional morality, the emancipation of women, the prevalence of mechanical production and the advent of consumer society) that have become commonplace features of the modern Western world view.

I'll leave you with the trailer of the film. Pay attention to the final lines ... they are really beautiful and very romantic. Just like the film!



WHERE DO BADDIES COME FROM? I’ve always been convinced that those we consider bullies, evil beings, even criminals were not born like that. If they do not suffer from a psychic pathology then they must be the product of a lack of love or the result of a wrong system (family, society, education). Several important intellectuals and thinkers of all ages shared this idea. Just to name two, Jean Jacques Rousseau, with his “good natural man”, and Mary Shelley, with her terrific story of a murderous creature created by the prejudices of an entire society. This does not mean that I do not think that any individual is responsible of his/her own actions or that we do not have to pay if we commit crimes. What I mean is that while more and more people claim for stricter laws and even death penalty, I go on wondering “Why has Man always been fascinated by evil? Why has he developed and progressed in any material field but not grown up spiritually or morally? Why does he always make the same mistakes?”
I am fond of baddies – well depicted ones, not the stereotyped villains – in fiction, poetry, drama, theatre. I prefer Macbeth and Shylock to Benedick and Bassanio, byronic heroes to Walter Scott’s ones, l’Innominato to Renzo Tramaglino, Wickham and Willoughby to Mr Bingley and Colonel Brandon… Guy of Gisborne to Robin Hood. That’s the point. I always try to justify them, to find the reasons of their evil, malevolent acts. There’s always a reason… and, then , I try to imagine the sufference of bearing their great sense of guilt, their haunted nights, their anxiety and desperation, their solitude and sorrow. They are tragic heroes and they move me more than perfection and goodness.
Where does this reflection come from? Last night, Saturday night, I was terribly tired and wanted to relax watching something entertaining, amusing. You’ve seen (in the right column, down under all the rest of my stuff…) that I like watching BBC Robin Hood, too. (Yes, I know it is meant to be for kids but … I like it and I’ve seen the entire first two series on DVD). They are broadcasting RH 3 on BBC 1 in this period but I have to be satisfied with just some clips I can find in the Net (Youtube, for ex.) which have been enough to realize this season is darker and less “romantic” than the others. Anyhow, I decided I could listen to my new audiobook, inspired to
Robin Hood 3, THE WITCHFINDERS. I did it and it was exciting and entertaining but not relaxing at all. I was so involved in Richard Armitage’s skillful, emotional reading that I started writing as soon as it finished , trying to imagine Guy’s tormented, haunted nights. You know, Guy of Gisborne is a Norman ( a French Norman) descending from a noble family, now the Sheriff of Nottingham’s right-hand man. He challenges the Anglo-Saxon Robin of Locksley, then Hood as an outlaw, in more than one field. For instance, he takes Robin’s lands and manor while he is in the Holy Land, he wooes Lady Marian who was promised to Robin and wants to marry her – this happens in the first two series . Marian pretends she accepts Guy’s friendship and uses him and his influence to her advantage. But, finally, she reveals him she is in love with Robin and is going to marry him. The tragic epilogue of series two was the extreme crime of passion: Guy killed Marian.



He startled in sweat, breathing heavily, his blood rushed in his veins. His eyes stared at the daylight. Guy realized he had been lying in bed after morning. He never used to be this way before…BeforeMarianne’s death his dreams had been untroubled. Now all he saw every night was the expression in her eyes as she died. The accusation in her eyes: it was unbearable. Sometimes he forced himself to stay awake till sunrise, beyond the point of exhaustion, but as soon as he fell asleep the dream came back again, haunting him. She had betrayed him, mocked him, cheated him and all for Hood! ROBIN HOOD! He was the culprit of her death. Why didn’t she go and haunted him , instead?
Oh, no! He, Guy, deserved that! After all, he reflected, that was the only way to still see her, in his dreams. He couldn’t lie to himself: his sword had stubbed her, his offended pride had made him blind and his fury had destroyed her… he had destroyed everything. Life had turned into hell since then, he couldn’t forgive himself and nothing else mattered to him any longer.
He used to dream of glory, power, position, richness and a happy life with Marian at his side but, without her , he lived in darkness and felt definitely lost. She had seen good where there was none. She had made him about a man. What now? Was there anything worth living for?

If there was something he had always lacked, it was love. Then he had lost his family, his land, his position; he had to strive to survive and to achieve his goals. Nonetheless, what he longed for most was love, someone who loved him.
Since he was a boy, Robin had come along and troubled his life. Their parents had died, all of them: his father and mother, as well as Robin’s father, in the same tragic fire. But they were grown up now. Robin had gone to the Crusades with King Richard and, while he was in the Holy Land, Guy had started getting what he had always wished for: position (he was Sir Guy of Gisborne now), power (everybody feared him, the Sheriff ‘s right - hand man ), land (he was the Lord of Robin’s land now, Locksley), Marian (she had accepted his protection and even his marriage proposal). As Robin got back, everything was spoilt, troubles began, Marian died, the Sheriff humiliated him more and more. He was leading a miserable, nightmarish, guilt-ridden life. He was in Hell.





I hope they will appreciate. And now, to all of you ... a music clip and

a very good night!



She was American, he was English. Both very sensitive, both very good poets. But he was lucky, he was a man in the 50s. She, instead, was stuck, entrapped, in the cliché of the female role of the 50s- well it was STILL the long-lasting stereotype inherited from very ancient times. He was a heartthrob, she felt like "a horse in a world without race-tracks". Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes. Two of the greatest poets of the 20th century. The two met at a party in Cambridge in 1956 and got married in the same year. They had two children, Freida and Nicholas. However she was unsatisfied with her life, she desperately wanted to find time for her poetry but her house and her children sucked all her time and her energies. Her life turned into hell one night when she lifted the receiver and overheard a conversation between her husband and his lover, a common acquaintance, Assia. Her turbulent marriage wrecked though their bond of love remained unbreakable.
Sylvia had suffered from depression as a teenager and had even tried to kill herself at 19. She was rescued and treated with electro-shock therapy. A terrible period of her life she wrote about in THE BELL JAR, her splendid, deeply touching autobiographical novel. Her fascination to death ( "blackness and silence") became her favourite subject in her poetry, nearly an obsession, and grew on and on till she decided to try again: she gassed herself, she succeded in committing suicide, on the 11 of February 1963. She was 30. In that last troubled year, she wrote her most beautiful lines, Ted Hughes would later on published.

Sylvia Plath is one of my favourite poets but also a woman whose life has always fascinated me since I first read THE BELL JAR, her only novel. Her poetry, known as confessional poetry, is terribly dark, tragic but so...deeply touching. Here are some lines from "The Moon and the Yew Tree" (Ariel):

This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary.

The trees of the mind are black. The light is blue.

The grasses unload their griefs on my feet as if I were God,

Prickling my ankles and murmuring of their humility.

Fumy, spirituous mists inhabit this place

Separated from my house by a row of headstones.

I simply cannot see where there is to get to. (...)

This is instead the letter Ted Hughes wrote to Sylvia's mother after some time from her suicide. Can you imagine his sense of guilt? How difficult could it be to write such a letter? It's extremely moving... LISTEN TO IT. HERE.

(Has any of you recognised the voice reading the letters? Who guesses will win ... MY CONGRATULATIONS!)

In 2003 Christine Jeffs directed an amazingly powerful beautiful film starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig, SYLVIA (in my DVD collection). I know very few people must have seen it but it is a terribly good portray of the two lovers and poets. Critically acclaimed and very moving, it is a must-see movie.

Ted Hughes: A Talented Murderer
March 2009: Sylvia and Ted's son committed suicide
My video on Utube: Richard Armitage reads Ted Hughes's letter to Sylvia's mother



Poetry is one of my favourite shelters to reflect, meditate, listen carefully to the deep sound of life...

Last night I was working on some of my students' papers: they are preparing their interdisciplinary essays for their final exams, we call them "tesine" or "percorsi". The school leaving examinations will start next week, on 25th June. They are all very anxious ( me too!) because they will be also examined by 4 external teachers and will have to do very difficult tests coming from the Ministery of Education. For their oral examination, they can usually choose a topic and then try to link as many subjects as they can to it. They are writing very interesting essays and choosing very beautiful literary works. So, last night, I bumped into GEORGE GRAY - a very grey person indeed in his life - in one of their essays. I like these lines very much and often read them to my students. They are taken from SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY (I started this blog with a poem from this collection. Do you want to have look? HERE) by Edgar Lee Masters. The poem can be connected to Horace's idea of "seize the day".

In Spoon River all the characters speak after death - but they are so vividly alive! -leaving to all of us their special will: precious teachings to fully appreciate life.

George Gray

I have studied many times

The marble which was chiseled for me—

A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.

In truth it pictures not my destination

But my life.

For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;

Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;

Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.

Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.

And now I know that we must lift the sail

And catch the winds of destiny

Wherever they drive the boat.

To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness,

But life without meaning is the torture

Of restlessness and vague desire—

It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.






As I wrote in my previous post, I'm looking forward to having more free time to go for long relaxing walks. So, just to make you envious and myself even more longing for that time to come, I'll show you some of the pictures I took one of the last times I went for ...my favourite long walk. It usually starts from here: can you see the cars parked down there in the picture above? I park my car there (two-minute drive from home) and start walking up the hill. The road is quite steep and winding but the place is all peace and tranquillity, surrounded by beautiful high mountains. The site above is what remains of Emperor Nero's Villa near the river Aniene.

Did I tell you the place I live is named Subiaco, a small ancient town in the centre of Italy? Maybe I did. But I didn't tell you it is famous for its two Benedictine Monasteries and for being Gina Lollobrigida's native town, did I? Does anybody remember her in the beautiful Italian comedies of the 50s with Vittorio De Sica or with famous American stars like Humphrey Bogart or Rock Hudson? Well, it was long time ago. Let's go back to my favourite route. Walking up the hill after a while, you pass this historical and architectural site, one of the oldest monasteries founded by St Benedict (Ora et Labora was his motto, that is, Pray and Work). It is dedicated to his sister, St Scholastica, and it is also an important section of our national library where the first book printed in Italy is kept. Going along this road, once you pass those arches over there, you find yourself in a small quiet grove and, climbing on a bit more, you turn back and this is what you see ...
Among the trees, you can catch a glimpse of St. Scholastica's monastery and its Romanesque bell-tower. Impressive, isn't it? At this point of the walk, the temptation to sit down on the side wall and watch the breathtaking view is great but it's not yet time to rest. Let's go on then...
What is extraordinary in these winding steep roads among the mountains is their ... silence. Yes, extraordinary, because we are losing the real meaning of this word and to listen to this kind of REAL silence can make you astonished... Anyhow, this is one of the main reasons why I love this walk.
My final destination is another monastery, a peculiar impressive architectural wonder, we know as the Sacro Speco (sacred cave) because the place is said to be built around the original cave where young Benedict - not yet St. - started living as a hermit in the 6th century.It is such a beautiful place, it is worth the effort of walking up there. Here are for you to admire some pictures of it from different points of you ...

What do I do once I'm up here? I sit and rest and enjoy the beautiful view ...

Isn't it like ... FLYING HIGH?






I have been tagged … again … and just when I was complaining about “numbers” I got a meme with lots of 8s! Not a bad number, though. Thank you KATHRYN at LIFE IN ITALY! I’m ready to go.
This is an '8 Tag' meme - the rules being you have to mention who tagged you, you have to complete your lists of 8's and have to tag 8 other bloggers.

8 things I am looking forward to
- having more spare time
- having a new dream
- travelling to England again
-reading more
-watching new good films
-going for long walks
-going to the seaside
-having my flat restored

8 things I did yesterday
- stayed at school from 8.30 a.m. till 7.30 p.m.
- had a good quick lunch in a beautiful place in the countryside with some colleagues
- wrote a lot of papers
-yawned a lot (well, I tried not to)
-gave lots of good final marks to my best students
-gave lots of bad final marks to my worst students
- listened to my headmistress speaking for hours (that’s the reason of my yawning)
- felt guilty ‘cause I was completely neglecting my family

8 things I wish I could do
- improve my Spanish and English
- teach to people who really want to learn
- live in a different age for some time
- live and work abroad for some time
- learn new things each day
- become a superwoman, that is a perfect mum, wife, housewife, teacher
- take life with more …”leggerezza calviniana” (I’ll explain when I improve my English or when I have more time)

8 favourite fruits
- cherries

8 cities I've visited
-New York
-New Orleans

8 places I'd like to travel to
- Australia
-New York again
- Ireland
- Scotland
-Spain again
-Lots of places in Italy I’ve never been to!

Now ... this tagging question can be really hard sometimes! May I just say to anybody dropping by "If you feel like, do the same on your blog. And, well, let me know so that I can have a look!"
Is this cheating? Just for once ... let me do it.



I'm having a break. I've been filling in papers with figures, percentages, final marks all afternoon. Figures, figures, figures...This school-year is finishing and my mental energies too. I need some fresh air. I'm at the back of my flat, in the big -better to say long - balcony, I'm sitting on a bench with my laptop on my knees and a very looong coffee next to me (not really Italian, I know). Above you can see the view I've got in front of me. Few days ago I showed the view from the small balcony at the front of the house to you. Do you remember? This is my native town and the town I still live and work in: Subiaco, 72 km from Rome. Not a big one, only about 9,000 inhabitants, but not so bad for someone who loves peace and tranquillity like me.
As I was telling you, school is finishing: this morning I had my last lessons with this year classes. Three of them, 57 of my students, will be at university next year. From June 25th they will start doing their school - leaving exams and I will be there with them as an internal teacher. It'll be hard for all of us since we will be at school till mid-July. Do you know what? I'm quite sad thinking of what I've been doing this afternoon: all my work and my students' efforts had to be summed up in numbers ... figures...I've always hated numbers, I've always thought words were better. Not only because I'm not a genius at Maths, but because I'm sure they are not ...enough, they are not fit to convey the sense, the meaning, the aim of all our efforts, mine and theirs. Well...it's just a sensation...maybe I'm only sad or melancholic as always when at the end of something.
I need some music. A cheerful song possibly. Let's see ... this will help me. 3 minutes , then soon back to my boring number-writing task! WONDERFUL!!! (It's the title of the song)



Among the films taking part in this year Cannes Festival there was also Jane Campion’s BRIGHT STAR. Do you remember her? She's the director from New Zealand who won the Palme D’Or in 1993 with her wonderful THE PIANO. As I heard about it, I promised myself this film will be part of my DVD collection as soon as it will be released (with YOUNG VICTORIA, another costume film released this year, which I’m eagerly waiting to see).
The movie tells the story of the tragic romance between JOHN KEATS, one othe English Romantic poets of the second generation, and Fanny Brawne. Keats has now become one of the most popular poets in the English language, but in his life, though he managed to publish his works, he wasn't either famous or rich.
Keats, played by Ben Whishaw, met Fanny, Abbie Cornish in the movie, at his friend Charles Brown’s house in 1818 and soon fell in love with her. She was 18 and he was 23. He had already lost his mother for tuberculosis and his brother Tom would soon follow her, just when John himself started showing the first symptoms of the terrible desease.
The screenplay is based on the letters that the poet wrote to his beloved, letters which were published only after Fanny’s death.
Keats had abandoned his studies in Medicine to dedicate his life to poetry but could hardly live on it.So Fanny’s mother, at the beginning, didn’t approve him as her daughter’s wooer. Despite his health troubles, Keats was a cheerful person, full of life, and with the passing of time Fanny started to return his love. The two lovers got engaged, but their happiness was definitely short. In February 1820, on a cold evening, Keats got back home feverish and started coughing blood, an undeniable sign of his next end.
After a while, sure of his approaching death, he wrote to Fanny suggesting to break their engagement but she firmly refused and he couldn’t hide his relief. After seeing his terrible health conditions, Fanny’s mother hosted him in their house where he lived for three months. But his doctor and his friends stirred him to go to Italy where the mild climate might have helped improve his health.
He had seen his mother and his brother die for that illness and, maybe, he didn’t want to give Fanny the same terrible sorrow he had suffered, so he accepted the proposal of leaving England for Italy. She gave him the paper to write to her and a marble oval, used at that time to cool high temperature. He left with his friend, painter John Severn, but he was quarantined for several days at Naples port so when he finally arrived in Rome his health was seriously compromised. He lived at “La Casina Rossa”, next to the Spanish Steps at Piazza di Spagna for about 3 months, dying there on the 23rd of February 1821, at 25. He never wrote to Fanny nor read her letters but wanted them to be buried with him with a curl of her hair. On his grave, at Testaccio Protestant Cemetery in Rome, no name nor date were written, just these words: “Here lies one whose name was writ in water”. From the letters Fanny later wrote to her sister, we know she remained deeply in love with the poet. She accepted to get married only after 9 years from his death and had three children. She kept Keats’s letters till her death - secretly from her husband.

The title of the movie is taken from one of Keats’s poems, a sonnet, dedicated to Fanny:

Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art—

Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,

And watching, with eternal lids apart,

Like Nature’s patient sleepless Eremite,

The moving waters at their priestlike task

Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,

Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask

Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—

No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,

Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,

To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,

Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,

Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,

And so live ever—or else swoon to death.



In my Senecan attempt not to waste my time ("Life, if well lived, is long enough"), I usually watch my favourite movies and DVDs while ... ironing. Due to the fact I live with three sports boys (husband and sons), I have got a huge pile of clothes to be ironed at the end of the week. So I've transformed this time consuming - but boring - house activity in an occasion to improve my English (since I try to watch movies and TV series in the original version) and to entertain myself.
While sweating on my husband's shirts and trousers or my sons T-shirts and jeans, I've recently re-watched BLEAK HOUSE (BBC 2005). I had already seen it as soon as I got the DVDs from Amazon UK, but it is such a complex but exciting mystery story I wanted to see it once more.
The 15-episode series is based on Charles Dickens's mature novel published in 19-20 instalments between 1852-53. His long, well-narrated, exciting stories published in monthly journals substituted , in the Victorian Age, our modern TV drama and made Dickens widely-popular and extremely rich. London theatres were crowded of enthusiastic readers who paid to see and listen to Dickens reading his novels on stage. He was a VIP in the 40s and 50s of the 19th century.

This is - very briefly - the story you find in the book and in the TV series. Bleak House is a mystery story in which its heroine Esther Summerson, discovers the truth about her birth. She is brought up as an orphan by her aunt whom she believes to be her godmother; Mr John Jarndyce, the middle-aged hero of the novel, becomes her guardian and pays for her education. Once she's grown up Mr Jarndyce brings her to his home, Bleak House, as a companion to Ada Clare, his ward and one of the heirs and heiress to the Jarndyces' will.
There are lots of characters and sub-plots in this complicated novel which make it so gripping. But, since it deserves to be read - if you love reading, there are more than 1,000 pages waiting for you - or at least to be watched as a TV series, I don't want to give you too many spoilers. Well, just a hint more...The question of whom Esther will marry contributes to the plot interest and her illness (smallpox) which leaves her face disfigured - but her moral beauty unimpaired - provides one of the story's dramatic and sentimental crises. I MUST STOP NOW, otherwise I'm going to tell you too much!
If you want to know more about Dickens's novel CLICK HERE . If you are interested in the TV series CLICK HERE. If you want to buy the DVDs CLICK HERE.
Now I'll leave you with a nice video made up of the several proposals Esther Summerson receives by different wooers: a funny clerk, Mr Guppy, generous mature Mr John Jarndyce and charming Dr Allan Woodcourt. If you see it till the end, you'll find out who the winner is. Do you agree with Esther's choice?
Warning: Of course, there are spoilers in this video.




Growing up with my lovely, wise grandmother I learnt to appreciate small little things and do you know what? It helps a lot to face life. For example, usually people plan great things for their weekends and long for the end of the working week. I usually hate Saturdays because mine are very often frantic: the housework & the ironing I have very little time to do during the week are there waiting for me! But today I managed to spare some time for me and that's a big conquest. It was only 5.45 p.m., my sons were going out for a pizza with friends, and I had, unexpectedly, some free time! Too early to cook dinner for two, my husband and I. So I sat on my small balcony in the fresh air and just watched the view surrounding me and listened to some music.

This is the view...

And this is the music ...

These two little things already made me happy and relaxed. So I decided to read a little. And I did it for about an hour. I'm reading a novel by Charlotte Bronte , SHIRLEY. I like it but I'm not keeping the pace I would like to 'cause I've been very busy these days. School is going to end, lots of final reposts to write and final tests to mark. But not today.

Then I cooked a quick simple supper for two, we ate salad and meat, cherries, and drank some good wine and now... he is finishing watching a movie (don't know which one) in the living room and I ... again... I'm trying to enjoy the little pleasures life can give... blogging is one of them, why not?

I've found two new blogs I like and in one of them THE BOOK GOBBLER there was a nice tag:

Try to recall in 15 minutes 15 books which will always stick with you. Do it in no more than 15 minutes. Nice isn't it?

Well, here are my 15 in 15:

1. L. May Alcott LITTLE WOMEN



5.C. Bronte JANE EYRE


7. I. Allende PAULA

8. O. Fallaci UN UOMO


10. J. London MARTIN EDEN

11. R. Bradbury FAHRENHEIT 451

12 .S. Plath THE BELL JAR


14. P. Mastrocola LA BARCA NEL BOSCO

15. A. Baricco NOVECENTO

But I've got many more! And it took me much less than 15 minutes!

Now, what are your 15 in 15? You don't have to think too much and must say the first 15 titles that come to your mind. Don't cheat....

Happy weekend... Lots of lovely enjoyable little things to all of you... My husband's movie is over...



It's been, as usual, another very busy day off. I've been studying English with my niece all day through, she's got her first English Language Exam at university tomorrow, so she wanted to be reassured by this old ex-ex student. By the way, good luck, Mari!

Then, after preparing some stuff for my classes - reading some pages from Orwell's "Animal Farm" and Woolf's "Mrs Dalloway" as well as preparing a Reading and Writing Test - here I am to my blog/s and my mates on line.
I've just had a look at some of the blogs I follow and in one of them I've found a short post about Jerome David Salinger fighting back to defend his own "creature", Holden Caufield, from being improperly used in silly sequels. The authoress of the post wondered what might happen if Jane Austen were alive since her characters and plots have been used in sequels, adaptations and similar stuff thousands of times. You can have a look at the post at JANE AUSTEN TODAY.
Well, I'm not going to write about our beloved J.A. tonight but just about young Holden Caulfield, a complicated, sensitive 16-year-old boy I've loved since the first time I met him in the pages of Salinger's cult novel "THE CATCHER IN THE RYE" ( Il Giovane Holden) , several years ago.

Teenagers are not easy to cope with ... and he is no exception. Only, he is so special I could even love being his mother or teacher. Mind, I know it wouldn't be easy at all since he tends to be expelled from schools and collect bad marks, but I'm sure I could get on with him.

What about you?

Read this conversation between he and his sister Phoebe when he comes back home after escaping from the last college he had been expelled from and after wandering around New York City for a few days... "Old Phoebe", 1o years old, wants to know why he escaped from school and disappeared for a few days and if there is anything he likes in his life, because he doesn't seem to like anything...

"You can't even think of one thing"

"Yes, I can, I can"

"Well do it, then"

"I like Allie", I said. "And I like doing what I'm doing right now. Sitting here with you, and talking , and thinking about stuff, and - "

"Allie's dead. You always say that!If somebody's dead and everything and in heaven, then it isn't really -"

"I know he's dead! Don't you think I know that? I can still like him though, can't I? Just because somebody's dead, you don't just stop liking them, for God's sake - especially if they were about a thousand times nicer than the people you know that're alive and all"

Old Phoebe didn't say anything. When she can't think of anything to say, she doesn't say a goddam word.

"Anyway I like it now," I said "I mean right now. Sitting here with you and just chewing the fat and horsing-"

"That isn't anything really!"

"It is so something really! Certainly it is! Why the hell isn't it? People never think anything is anything really. I'm getting goddam sick of it."

"Stop swearing. Alright name something else. Name something you'd like to be. Like a scientist. Or a lawyer or something."

"I couldn't be a scientist. I'm no good in Science."

"Well, a lawyer - like Daddy and all."

"Lawyers are all right, I guess - but it doesn't appeal to me," I said. "I mean they're are all right if they go around saving innocent fuys' lives all the time, and like that, but you don't do that kind of stuff if you're a lawyer. All you do is make a lot of dough and play golf and play bridge, and buy cars and drink martinis and look like a hot-shot. And besides. Even if you did go around saving guys's lives and all, how would you know if you did it because you really wanted to save guys' lives or you did it because what you really wanted to do was to be a terrific lawyer, with everybody slapping you on the back and congratulating you in court when the goddam trial was over, the reporters and everybody, the way it is in the dirty movies? How would you know you weren't being a phoney? The trouble is, you wouldn't."

I'm not too sure Old Phoebe knew what the hell I was talking about. I mean she's only a little child and all. But she was listening, at least. If somebody at least listens, it's not too bad.

"Daddy's going to kill you. He's going to kill you," she said.

I wasn't listening, though. I was thinking about something else - something crazy. "You know what I'd like to be?" I said. "You know what I'd like to be? I mean if I had my goddam choice?"

"What? Stop swearing".

"You know that song ...'if a body catch a body comin' through the rye'? I'd like -"

"It's 'if a body MEET a body coming through the rye'! " Old Phoebe said "It's a poem. By Rpbert Burns."

"I know it's a poem by Robert Burns"

She was right, though. It is 'if a body meet a body coming through the rye'. I didn't know it then, though.

"I thought it was 'if a body catch a body' ", I said."Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the ede of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're goingI have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all.I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy".

I'd love to meet a 16-year-old boy or girl who'd like to be a catcher in the rye or something like that. But more and more of them just want to be "veline" (Italians know!They are sort of not very good, half-naked, female dancers on prime time TV in the evening) or rich footballers. Fortunately, I know lots of teenagers, since I teach them English, and they're not all that bad. Then, I go on reading them this page from Salinger's novel ... Who knows? Maybe few of them might choose to be ... catchers in the rye ... We might need them in this careless world.