Driving creates so many sensory memories, or at least descriptions of those sensory memories that can change depending on when and where a person is driving. Whether it’s the street lamps rushing past while you ride in the backseat on a long road trip or that memory of you and your friends driving down the oceanfront with the convertible’s top down during spring break.
Wheels of Aurelia creates new memories with the protagonist Lella driving the Via Aurelia to reach the French Riveria in the the late ’70s. What Wheels of Aurelia does so different from other driving games is the focus on character stories. Throughout the drive different paths may be taken depending on the exits and the dialogue options that are chosen between characters such as Olga, Gorilla and others. In fact, Wheels of Aurelia could almost be considered a visual novel, but it is too ambitious to be held back by one genre.
The characters in 1970s Italy are all fueled by political interests and social topics that create discussion between themselves that the player has to navigate. “Any news about President Moro?”, “Are you a feminist?” and “Can I ask what you think about abortion?” are all topics that Olga may bring up within the first ten minutes of a playthrough. The time period is educational too, I know nothing about Italy in the 70s and topics such as Pasolini’s murder and “the real revolution in May ’68″ that Lella speaks of in France led me to doing some research after each playthrough.
The game is currently still in beta and can be purchased from developer Santa Ragione’s website. So what are you waiting for? As the Italian’s say, buon viaggio!
|Recommended by Kieffer Wilson||Monday, January 18th, 2016||No Comments »|
Kate Quinn’s historical fiction novel The Serpent and the Pearl follows the rise of the infamous Borgias to power in Rome. The story begins when the beautiful Giulia Farnese’s world is turned upside down when she finds out her marriage is an utter sham and she is to become Cardinal Borgia’s mistress. Together with her bodyguard Leonello and her cook Carmelina, Giulia enters Borgia’s dangerous world of passion, power and politics. In the midst of corruption and violence, the three companions learn how to play the political games that skyrocketed Borgia to power if they want to survive.
Unlike other historical novels, Giulia is not a helpless heroine. She’s smart, vivacious, and brave. While she starts off as a naïve young girl, once Giulia begins her relationship with Cardinal Borgia and gives birth to a daughter, she starts testing the political waters and putting her quick-witted intelligence to good use. Readers who are looking for a strong female character will be rooting for her from start to finish. Despite the liberties taken with the Borgias’ real-life history, Quinn weaves a compelling tale about the bloody politics that took place in 1492 that keeps readers and history buffs still riveted even today.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Tuesday, January 6th, 2015||No Comments »|
Singer, dancer, and psychic healer Alessandra Belloni takes viewers on a magical journey using theater to explore the healing power roots of the tarantella, which is an Italian folk dance. Belloni explains the dance has roots in the rites of the Maenads, who worshipped the Greek God Dionysus and morphed into a celebration of the Black Madonna in the middle ages. However, no matter the era, the tarantella was used to cure women of depression, malaise, and sexual repression.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, September 25th, 2014||No Comments »|
If you’re sick of the endless snow that’s engulfed the northeast and need a pick-me-up, then make sure you purchase Michael Heatley’s Italy!. This book, which is part of the Small Panorama Series, provides beautiful photographs of famous historical sites and breathtaking images of the Italian countryside.
To make it easier for readers who may not be familiar with Italy or its history, Heatley arranged the chapters by region: northwest Italy and the Ligurian coast, southern Italy and Sicily, central Italy, northeast Italy, and of course, Venice and the Veneto. The introduction also has a map and the book is peppered with fun historical tidbits, which makes it easier for readers to get a sense of the different regions, particularly if they’ve only glossed over Italian history during their school years.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, February 19th, 2014||No Comments »|