Home > Film, Literature, Mangia! Mangia!, Style > On my nightstand/Sept. 2

On my nightstand/Sept. 2

September 2nd, 2009

On my nightstand this week




Happiness is a big stack of books by my bedside!

While waiting for a book from the library to come in I began this book:

When will there be good news? by Kate Atkinson — so far I love it, but because I own it, I set it aside for a library book that came in:

The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq. Those of you in the FC group might be interested in how I came across it. Please forgive my sloppy attribution (and you can be sure if I were publishing a book I would track this fact down) but it was possibly in Entre Nous or French Women Don’t Sleep Alone (or maybe even another book — if you know which one let me know) that it mentioned this French author. So I tracked him down online and then ordered this book from my library. So far it is fantastic. I am concentrating on this exclusively since it it borrowed and has a due date. I have the dictionary by my bed to look up words in this book I am not familiar with. So far I have looked up  the word “hirstute.”

After I run out of library books I am going to start on two books that came in a big box of books from a friend:

Loop Group by Larry McMurtry (the author of Terms of Endearment)


Here Kitty Kitty by Jardine Libaire


Pretty much the only thing I like better than a good book is a good movie!

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago I saw Inglorious Basterds, Tarantino’s new flick and loved it so much I’m going to mention it again!

I also rented Munich last week – an intense film that really illustrates a feeling of ongoing hopelessness surrounding the situation in the middle east and just how sad it really is. It is easy for people who live in the United States to tune it out and not realize how dramatically it impacts so many people.

I also borrowed Breathless from the library yesterday. I has previously rented it on Netflix, but had to return it because the disc was scratched. I’m looking forward to watching this classic. I think I may try to watch it tonight.

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  1. Kristine
    September 3rd, 2009 at 06:36 | #1

    Sounds like some interesting books. Are you sure that word isn’t supposed to be hirsute?

    • Kristi
      September 3rd, 2009 at 07:39 | #2

      Doh! Yes it is hirsute! Thanks for catching that!

  2. September 3rd, 2009 at 07:23 | #3

    I love to see what you are reading. It opens up new ideas for me. Your hair looks good in that photo. I’m trying to grow mine out so I have hair envy 🙂

    • Kristi
      September 3rd, 2009 at 07:41 | #4

      Thanks. I just got it cut, but now I’m thinking I needed a little more off the length …
      Feel free to share any books you come across you love.
      I am also very excited to start a book Cherie sent me called “Immoveable Feast” about Christmas in Paris.

  3. September 3rd, 2009 at 08:08 | #5

    I love these posts because you move through books just as fast as I do, and there is always at least one book you mention that I add to my Read list. 🙂

    I also love that you are thoughtful with your books, you don’t fill the time you have to read with trashy “smut” books (as my mom would call them), but you invest your reading time in books that you can learn from or study a culture or pick up new words or are worth the paper they are printed on. Love that!

    • Kristi
      September 3rd, 2009 at 10:41 | #6

      Nicole, my fellow booklover,
      I wish I could live up to your lofty view of my reading material, but I just can’t go on without admitting that I am also a low-brow reader — I was a sucker for every book in the Twilight series and whipped through them. Also I am a big fan of Jackie Collins’ Lucky series (with the Italian-American heroine, daughter of a mobster) — not high brow literature by any means, but i loved them.
      I think the book you’re referring to is Sarah Turnbull’s book and I have read that, thanks so much for the recommedation.
      My only complaint is I would love to read all of these French genre books but set in Italy. I want the Italian version of Entre Nous, for instance. : )

  4. September 3rd, 2009 at 09:43 | #7

    I’m not sure if you’ve read it, but there is a book called “Almost French” that you might like. It’s about an Australian girl who meets a French guy while working in Europe. It’s her own true story about how she tried to fit in with the culture and customs when she moved to Paris to be with him. It’s a really nice book if you haven’t read it already.

  5. September 3rd, 2009 at 21:12 | #8

    Kristi… I agree with Stephanie, your hair looks really good! I’ve always meant to tell you that! I am jealous of your hair with lots of body as I have stick-straight, limp, fine, boring hair that ends up getting very “flyaway” in the winter. I have always envied anyone with full bodied hair!! I even once got a perm my junior year of college– BIG mistake. Thankfully several years later my hair is grown out and no longer has the perm, but now I am just back to my thin, flat hair. I think of you every morning as on the subway to work I have been reading “La Bella Figura” !

    • Kristi
      September 4th, 2009 at 07:06 | #9

      Tine and Stephanie,
      Thank you. I finally like my hair. I have had it jet black, platinum blonde, red, even burgundy and black both — now I like the color and like the thickness of it. I just hope it doesn’t take my kids 40 years to decide they like their hair (one has curls everywhere, the other silky smooth and straight!) Of course they are jealous of one another’s hair right now!

  6. September 4th, 2009 at 09:03 | #10

    LOL, well Kristi since you confessed to Twilight and Lucky I will confess to Anita Blake novels and Twilight as well. 🙂 Shhhh, let’s not tell anyone.

    So have you read any of Michael Polan’s books, like the Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food? Both are FABULOUS reads about food and culture in our country. Admittedly they are meaty reads, meaning you need to keep your dictionary next to you, but I seriously got excited over a discription of grass fed beef, specifcially HOW the grass is grown.
    I will never forget flying to visit family, I had just read that paragraph, I got my husband’s attention across the isle and read to him the paragraph. The lady in front of him turned around and asked if I really just read to him a paragraph about the quality of cow feed. of course she was stuffing her face with a greasey pizza that she had carried on board. I just smiled and told her yes and that I hope she learned something too! 🙂

    • Kristi
      September 4th, 2009 at 14:08 | #11

      thanks for all the comments
      I have read Michael Polan, but have skipped over some of the dense parts. I do like his philosophy though.
      Darn, I wish it hadn’t been deleted.

Comments are closed.

What is it about those Italian women? You know the ones I’m talking about: beautiful, sexy, dressed to the nines just to take the kids to the park. They have a certain something that is indefinable. It is in the way they dress, the way they prepare their meals, the way they spend their leisure time.

It is because they know the importance of la bella figura. Roughly translated from Italian, it means putting you best foot forward in everything you do. It means cutting a beautiful figura. The opposite of la bella figura is la brutta figura, which is what someone might say about the falling down drunken guy at the party or the super tackily dressed woman at church. It means ugly figure.

La bella figura is much more than your appearance. It goes much deeper than that. It is about how you act. It is about how you treat others. It is about how you care for yourself, your home and your family. Living a life in line with la bella figura doesn’t take money. In fact, it is more about how to have class without a lot of money.

Someone who exudes la bella figura will have clean, pressed clothes and be well groomed. They will not be rude or sloppy. Their fingernails will be impeccably groomed. Their hair shiny and clean and their shoes will be polished. They will not have stray threads hanging from their suit hems. They will not be driving a car in need of the car wash.

La bella figura means driving that 15 year old car and meticulously cleaning it and caring for it. It means keeping your belongings in good repair. It means taking time to clean your house and not cluttering it up with meaningless objects.

When you focus all your spare energy, time and money on the things that bring you the most amount of pleasure, then you are truly living a life in line with la bella figura. The best part about it is that you don’t have to be Italian to do so. You just have to think like an Italian.

Italian children are raised to present la bella figura in whatever they do. From the time they are small and are groomed perfectly to attend church or school, they know that appearances count. They count because it is the first thing people judge about you. That first impression does matter. Appearances are also important because when you take the time to look nice, you are showing that you care about yourself. When you care enough to look good, it shows you have good healthy self esteem. Nothing is more attractive than self confidence.

In addition, dressing nice also shows respect for others. If you invite people over for dinner and greet them in flip flops, baggy sweats and a stained shirt, it is really disrespectful to them. The same if you dress sloppy to go to church or even to the market. By dressing nicely and being well groomed, you show respect for everyone in your world.

Having la bella figura means presenting yourself in the best light possible in all your interactions.