Wednesday, October 27, 2021

School blues - Daniel Pennac

Maybe not everyone knows that Mr. Pennacchioni, AKA Daniel Pennac, the world renowned French novelist, is also a school teacher.
In this book Pennac writes about his days as a school dunce. How frustrated this made him (and how upset his well educated parents were about it), how he finally managed to find motivation, become an educator himself and even achieve success as a writer. Four teachers actually “saved” him. One of them by asking him to write a novel, secretly, a chapter at a time, for the whole duration of the school year.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

A man (Un uomo) - Oriana Fallaci

At the time of publishing this book was categorized as a novel. Well, it’s not: it is the real story of Aleksandros (Alekos) Panagulis, the Greek poet, revolutionary and politician who opposed the military junta that ruled the Hellenic country from 1967 to 1974.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

The uninhabitable earth - David Wallace-Wells

This book about climate change - global warming in particular - is a tough one. Both because it’s not an easy read - especially the first part, so full of technical details, facts and figures, many, many of them - and because it’s a very alarmist text: the worst case scenario that it depicts is a grim one. And even if you take into account the base case scenario, well, it’s not a merry one either. Basically, we might be doomed. Damage has already been done, and that will hardly be fixed in the near future. Even worse, more damage is being added by the year, at a considerable speed. We might just have a few decades to reverse the tide before it’s too late, and judging by the global level of commitment and coordination, that could turn out to be an extremely long shot.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The man who mistook his wife for a hat - Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks is not just a physician who writes book: he’s a literary talent who happens to be a brilliant neuroscientist. The set of clinical cases he deals with are told with academic accuracy and a style worth of a talented short story author. Patient after patient, syndrome after syndrome, the reader learns how evolved and sophisticated the human nervous system is, and how catastrophic a minor glitch in one of its numerous components can be. We also learn how (fortunately) rare those glitches are, and how science can help cure the corresponding illnesses.