Letture del mese #16 — Gennaio 2016

January 27, 2016 • Letture del mese

Scrivo questo post da Parigi, dove sto cercando di trasferirmi. Ho chiuso la partita iva, e sto cercando una casa. Finora mi ha ospitato il mio amico Roberto, da domani continuerò la mia ricerca sperimentando per la prima volta il Couchsurfing.
Che lavoro farò? Boh. Dove abiterò? Boh. Quanto starò? Boh.
On verra.
Per ragioni fiscali eccetera eccetera ho chiuso la partita iva, perciò per un po’ non farò più servizi su richiesta, e mi dedicherò solo a quello che pare a me. Credo sia un arrivederci, non un addio.

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Tutte le letture del mese.


The Fountainhead
Ayn Rand
1943

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“A house can have integrity, just like a person,” said Roark, “and just as seldom.”
“In what way?”
“Well, look at it. Every piece of it is there because the house needs it–and for no other reason.

It was a volume of Herbert Spencer. He went through a quiet agony trying to read it to the end. He read it to the end. He understood one quarter of what he had read. But this started him on a process which he pursued with a systematic, fist-clenched determination. Without advice, assistance or plan, he began reading an incongruous assortment of books; he would find some passage which he could not understand in one book, and he would get another on that subject. He branched out erratically in all directions; he read volumes of specialized erudition first, and high-school primers afterward. There was no order in his reading; but there was order in what remained of it in his mind.

“I’m not running away from my work, if that’s what surprises you. I know when to stop–and I can’t stop, unless it’s completely. I know I’ve overdone it. I’ve been wasting too much paper lately and doing awful stuff.”
“Do you ever do awful stuff?”
“Probably more of it than any other architect and with less excuse. The only distinction I can claim is that my botches end up in my own wastebasket.”

The pressure disappeared with the first word he put on paper. He thought–while his hand moved rapidly–what a power there was in words; later, for those who heard them, but first for the one who found them; a healing power, a solution, like the breaking of a barrier. He thought, perhaps the basic secret the scientists have never discovered, the first fount of life, is that which happens when a thought takes shape in words.

He worked in a poolroom. He cleaned spittoons and washed up after drunks. He heard and saw things that gave him immunity from astonishment for the rest of his life. He made his greatest effort and learned to keep silent, to keep the place others described as his place, to accept ineptitude as his master–and to wait. No one had ever heard him speak of what he felt. He felt many emotions toward his fellow men, but respect was not one of them.

Every system of ethics that preached sacrifice grew into a world power and ruled millions of men. Of course, you must dress it up. You must tell people that they’ll achieve a superior kind of happiness by giving up everything that makes them happy. You don’t have to be too clear about it. Use big vague words. ‘Universal Harmony’–‘Eternal Spirit’–‘Divine Purpose’–‘Nirvana’–‘Paradise’–‘Racial Supremacy’–‘The Dictatorship of the Proletariat.’ Internal corruption, Peter. That’s the oldest one of all. The farce has been going on for centuries and men still fall for it. Yet the test should be so simple: just listen to any prophet and if you hear him speak of sacrifice–run. (…) Don’t say reason is evil–though some have gone that far and with astonishing success. Just say that reason is limited. That there’s something above it. What? You don’t have to be too clear about it either. The field’s inexhaustible. ‘Instinct’–‘Feeling’–‘Revelation’–‘Divine Intuition’–‘Dialectic Materialism.’ If you get caught at some crucial point and somebody tells you that your doctrine doesn’t make sense–you’re ready for him. You tell him that there’s something above sense. That here he must not try to think, he must feel. He must believe.

Come Atlas Shrugged, anche questo libro di Ayn Rand mi ha colpito molto ed è stato un buon modo di iniziare il 2016.

Non è un romanzo realistico, i personaggi sono utopistici, ma probabilmente è questo il bello. Fa vedere come dovrebbero essere le persone, noi stessi compresi, e ogni tanto è bello immaginare di essere meglio di quello che siamo. Lungo (più di 800 pagine sul mio e-reader) ma consigliato.


The Democratic Forest
William Egglestone
1989

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The photographs range widely, they are highly differing, richly varying. In landscapes, cityscapes, street scenes, at every sort of public converging-point, in dreaming long view and arresting close-up, through hours of dark and light, he sets forth what makes up our ordinary world. What is there, however strange, can be accepted without question; familiarity will be what overwhelmes us.
The extraordinary thing is that in all these photographs, wonderfully inclusive and purposefully chosen as they are, you will look in vain for the presence of a human being. This isn’t to say that the photographs deny man’s existence. That is exactly what they don’t do. Everywhere you find the vividness of his presence:

Un classico della fotografia, prestatomi da un’amica. Mostro sacro, ma non uno dei miei autori preferiti. Da conoscere, comunque.


Au Contraire! Figuring out the French (second edition)
Gilles Asselin, Ruth Mastron
2010

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When speaking about cultures in a general way, it is important to remember the phrase tend to.
Church and state are separated in France to the extent that the state does not even recognize religious ceremonies as legal marriages. A priest or other clergy can marry only in the name of the Lord, not of the state.
The sight of Muslim crowds praying in the streets on Friday afternoons does not sit well with many French people, for whom public religious expression represents a social disturbance and a refusal to fit into the French public mold.

Libro fantastico per chi ha deve o vuole vivere in Francia / conoscere la Francia / avere a che fare con francesi per lavoro o vita privata.
È una sorta di confronto tra la cultura americana e quella francese, che abbraccia più o meno tutti i campi della vita, quotidiana e non (dall’alimentazione all’istruzione, dalla politica alla geografia, dallo stile di conversazione alle pratiche sul lavoro, e chi più ne ha più ne metta).
A volte sembra scadere un pelo troppo nei luoghi comuni, e ogni tanto si ha come l’impressione che gli autori vogliano difendere per forza gli americani, ma sono peccati veniali: il libro è imperdibile, per chi interessato all’argomento.

Questo l’elenco dei capitoli: Welcome to France / What makes the French so French / The weight of the past / They drive me crazy! Ils me rendent dingue / With the self / With the family / With the school / With friends / With romance / With work / With Politics / With religion / French regions / With society / Dialogue betweem two worlds / Rhône-Poulenc Rorer: case study of a successful French-American merger / Working across cultures / Professional guidelines / How to succeed in an expatriate assignment: insights and guidelines

***

POST VARI

Breve storia del fumo di tabacco

Un pdf di una ventina di pagine (download gratis qui) che racconta come nasce e si evolve l’usanza di fumare il tabacco, dai Maya ai giorni d’oggi.
Molto interessante e pieno di aneddoti.

Una pubblicità leggermente ingannevole

Una pubblicità leggermente ingannevole


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Post per tutti i fan di Mad Men che mostra i dietro le quinte delle ambientazioni di quella che per me è la miglior serie tv.


Antonio Cassano vs Genoa Individual Highlights (YouTube)

Niente di meglio che ammirare Cassano che gioca a calcio come sa fare: piaccia o meno, è un artista.


http://genius.com/eminem

Raccoglie alcune annotazioni di Eminem sui suoi testi. Pagina fantastica.


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Matteo

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