It is a worldwide day of celebration of  books,  literature and  above all an invitation to share the pleasure of reading.

The 23rd April is recognised as being the date of the death of  William Shakespeare  and Cervantes.  April 23rd was designated World Book and Copyright Day by Unesco because it was seen as a symbolic date for world literature.   It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, K. Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.

The idea for World Book Day originated in Catalonia where, on 23rd April – Saint George’s Day (St Jordi) – a rose is traditionally given as a gift for each book sold.

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away (E.Dickinson)




23rd of April 2013

I do appreciate the special section the Spanish newspaper El Pais  is dedicating to the World Book Day on 23rd of april.

It is going to reserve a special supplement to the event – “Día del libro 2013” – till the 24th of april: articles, interviews and suggestions by literary bloggers and writers. An invitation to share the pleasure of reading and also an opportunity to know new authors.

I found it particularly interesting the article by WINSTON MANRIQUE SABOGAL  on the contemporary Norwegian literature. Honestly,  I read Ibsen and Gaarder only  and I have known about a new generation of thriller writers, but it is not my favourite genre. The aim of the article is to make the reader informed about contemporary Norwegian narrative, which has a high literary and thametic quality :

“un grupo de escritores noruegos que siguen sorprendiendo al mundo por su alta calidad literaria y temática, acompañada de una crítica reflexiva.” (El Pais)

A useful list of the main important Norwegian authors to be known was provided too: Flogstad , Akjell Askildsen ,Dag Solstad, Herborg Wassmo, Per Petterson ,Karl Ove Knausgaard, Linn Ullmann, Roy Jacobssen, Lars Saabye Christensen.

The program of the “Día del libro 2013” will also include other subjects related to the world of book and literature: self-publishing, bookcrossing, literary blogging and reading suggestions by important writers.

I cannot but follow this special issues by El País and, of course, I will keep you informed about something interesting I have read.

And you, Have you read any Norwegian writer?



Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855)

An unpublished poem by a very young Charlotte Brontë was put up for auction in London last week, as reported by the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) wrote it when she was only 13. The title of the poem is  “I’ve been wandering in the greenwoods” and is dated 14  December 1829. It was written in a small sheet of paper and it is so hard to read that a magnifying lens was required.

Charlotte Brontë’s manuscripts are extremely rare, for this reason the estimated value of the whole collection of Charlotte Brontë’s manuscripts is about 800.000 pounds.

Charlotte Brontë is mainly famous as a novelist:  Jane Eyre (1847), Shirley (1849), Villette (1853). Brontë gave up writing poetry at the beginning of her professional career, when she became identified in the public mind as the author of the popular novel Jane Eyre (1847).

VINITALY: The International Wine and Spirits Exhibition in VERONA




From 7 th to 10 th of April the 47th Vinitaly – the international wine and spirits exhibition – will open in Verona. As the world’s oldest wine Exhibition (having been founded in 1967), it is today also the most distinctively innovative, even in terms of information technology.

The 2012 edition welcomed more than 4 thousand exhibitors over a show area of 95 thousand square metres, with 140 thousand visitors (more than 48,000 international from more than 110 countries). But it is not only about wine. It will be a great opportunity to discover  Verona and its surroundings as well as to take parts to various cultural events:  meetings, tastings and targeted workshops to encourage contacts between exhibiting cellars and trade operators, together with an impressive convention programme discussing and analysing topics associated with supply and demand in Italy, Europe and the rest of the world.

Verona -Italy

The theme of the off-show Vinitaly is  the “cultural  testing of excellent wines “ in the wonderful places of Verona.  There will also be “Vinitaly & the City“, a lively format offering an impressive programme specifically for lovers of good food and fine wine and dedicated to the large public. Continue reading



William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

I can’t believe what I read on the newspaper La Repubblica on 31-03-2013 about William Shakespeare. Maybe, it’s my admiration for his works that makes it difficult to accept what some researches of Aberystwyth University in Wales have found out in the  historical archives.  According to this study, William Shakespeare led a double life: besides being a great dramatist, he is supposed to have been a merchant whose business was  not properly within the law.  The researches found that Shakespeare was  also a money lender as well as a tax evader whose economic  fortune increased in a period of femine. The article also explains that Shakespeare was charged with tax evasion in 1598 and with hoarding a considerable amount of grain while the population was suffering severe privation because of the plague.

The research of Aberystwyth University has revealed an unpleasant and unknown profile of this artist that seems to me so incompatible with the great monologues, sonnets, comedies and tragedies he wrote. So,  I still  want to remain sceptical about the result of this study and I prefer keeping the image of  Shakespeare I love and studied .

And you,  have you been disappointed by this “discovery”?

Where does the word Easter come from?


In most European languages, the word for Easter comes from the Hebrew Pesach.We can see the connection easily in the  Italian Pasqua and  Spanish Pascua.  All of these words refer to the Jewish feast of Passover, which was the setting for the Easter events recounted in the Christian Gospels.

So why is the English word for this feast so different?  Where does the word Easter come from? I found one of  the most popular theory in the entry for Easter in the  Oxford New Dictionary of English: the English word eastre came “apparently from Eostre, a goddess associated with spring and sunrise. The direction of the sunrise, East, is named for her. “The basis for this theory is found in a work written in AD 725 by Saint Bede, an English monk and historian.

Another theory is that Eostre was simply the Anglo-Saxon word for spring festivals. Linguists trace this word to roots thousands of years old meaning “shine” and “dawn.” Spring is a season of lengthening days and increased light. It would make sense for early peoples to give their spring festivals a name that celebrated the rising sun.

Anyway, Let’s appreciate the novelty and change this season is going to bring! though the weather is not so fine,  “… can Spring be far behind” (Shelly)?

Federico García Lorca, a poet in New York


Federico García Lorca (1898-1936)

Federico García Lorca is one  of the Spanish authors I prefer. What has always struck me is his particular sensitivity  and innovative power. Though he died at  38 only, he was able to be a good pianist, an illustrator and above all a great poet and dramatist.

As The Independent reported on 26th of March:

On 12 July 12, 1936, Spain’s most translated poet and playwright, Federico García Lorca, left the manuscript of one of his key works, Poet In New York, on the desk of his editor José Bergamín in Madrid with a handwritten note on top: “Back Tomorrow”.

But tomorrow never came. Instead of returning Lorca – part of the ‘Generation of ’27’, an avant-garde artists collective that included his friends Salvador Dali and film-maker Luis Bunuel – went home to Granada, where he was murdered five weeks later by General Franco’s death-squads as Spain tore itself apart in its three-year Civil War

On 5th of April  at the Public Library in New York an important exhibition dedicated to Lorca will open. Continue reading




World Poetry Day

Today is the World Poetry Day! Perhaps not so many people know that the World Poetry Academy creation took place in 2001 in Verona.  As explained in the official site: “Actually in this city which gave birth to the Latin poet Catullus, which welcomed Dante and let him finish his “Divina Commedia”, which inspired Shakespeare and which received Goethe, Dickens, Lord Byron and many other writers and artists, it was held the constitutive assembly of the World Poetry Academy” (http://www.accademiamondialepoesia.com).

Juan Ramón Jiménez

As a personal tribute to poetry, I would like post here two poems. The first is by the Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958) who was awarded the Nobel Prize of Literature  in 1956 for his “poesia desnuda” (naked poetry):

 Yo no soy yo   Yo no soy yo
I am not I.
I am the one
Walking beside me whom I do not see.
Whom at times I visit,
And at times I forget.
The one who remains silent, calmly, when I talk,
The one who forgives, serenely, when I hate,
The one who goes where I do not come
The one who will remain upright when I die.
Yo no soy yo. 
Soy este 
que va a mi lado sin yo verlo, 
que, a veces, voy a ver, 
y que, a veces olvido. 
El que calla, sereno, cuando hablo, 
el que perdona, dulce, cuando odio, 
el que pasea por donde no estoy, 
el que quedará en pie cuando yo muera.

Alda Merini

The other tribute is to a famous Italian poet Alda Merini (1931-2009) who was born exactly on 21 th of March 1931

Alda Merini

Amai teneramente dei dolcissimi amanti

senza che essi sapessero mai nulla.

E su questi intessei tele di ragno

e fui preda della mia stessa materia.

In me l’anima c’era della meretrice

della santa della sanguinaria e dell’ipocrita.

Molti diedero al mio modo di vivere un nome

e fui soltanto una isterica


Alda Merini

I tenderly loved some very sweet lovers

without them knowing anything about it.

And I wove spider webs from this and I always fell prey to my own creation.

In me there was the soul of the prostitute

of the saint of the one who lusts for blood and of the hypocrite.

Many people gave a label to my way of life

and all that while I was only an hysteric.



Clarín- Argentina

After the election of the new Pope, I’ve often heard on radio and TV some incorrect pronunciations of his name, Jorge. I would like to help you here and make clear some phonetics aspects of Spanish language.

The Spanish alphabet is much more similar to  Italian alphabet than English alphabet, though there are some sounds that are written in different ways in the two languages or some sounds that exist only in Italian , but not in Spanish and vice versa. Continue reading



On today’s edition of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica there was a top sellers’ list of books in Italy in this week, and what a surprise, Seneca, (c. 4 B.C – A.D 65) the Roman philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and humorist is top. What’s happened? There has been a new series, called Live by Newton Campton, which is offering a number of titles of classics at 0,99 euro only! As a result, authors like Seneca, Freud, E.A. Poe Dostoevskij have entered the top list too.

Anyway, if not considering these 0,99€ titles, the top ten list would present at the top a new entry: A. Camilleri’s new book: “La rivoluzione della luna”.

I have been pleased to see the name of Seneca, an author who has marked my classical studies. I like Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium (Moral Letters to Lucilius) especially . In those 124 brilliant essays Seneca treats a range of moral problems and he speaks very directly to his readers, his examples grip us modern readers as much as they gripped his contemporaries. They are addressed to Lucilius , the then procurator of Sicily – although he is known only through Seneca’s writings – to whom the philosopher gives advice.

The letters I ‘ve read again recently were related to the theme of time and true friendship.  I’m just leaving  you here some quotations to induce you to read these special letters by Seneca:

Withdraw into yourself, as far as you can. Associate with those who will make a better man of you. Welcome those whom you yourself can improve. The process is mutual; for men learn while they teach.

Men do not care how nobly they live, but only how long, although it is within the reach of every man to live nobly, but within no man’s power to live long.

Everywhere means nowhere.  When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends. And the same thing must hold true of men who seek intimate acquaintance with no single author, but visit them all in a hasty and hurried manner.

About Seneca’s life:

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 1 BCE – CE 65) was born in Corduba (Spain) and educated—in rhetoric and philosophy—in Rome. Seneca had a highly successful, and quite dramatic, political career. He was accused of adultery with the Emperor Caligula’s sister and therefore exiled to Corsica in 41; having been Nero’s “tutor” in his adolescent years, he was among Nero’s advisors after his accession in 54; Seneca continued to be an advisor in times that became increasingly difficult for anyone in the close proximity of Nero. He was charged with complicity in the Pisonian conspiracy to murder Nero, and compelled to commit suicide in 65.