Bella figura How to live, love, and eat the Italian way

Kamin Mohammadi

Book - 2018

"One woman's story of finding beauty, and herself--and a practical guide to living a better life, the Italian way! Kamin Mohammadi, a magazine editor in London, should have been on top of the world. But after heartbreak and loneliness, the stress of her "dream life" was ruining her physical and mental health. Gifted a ticket to freedom--a redundancy package and the offer of a friend's apartment in Florence--Kamin took a giant leap. It did not take her long to notice how ...differently her new Italian neighbors approached life: enjoying themselves, taking their time to eat and drink, taking their lives at a deliberately slower pace. Filled with wonderful characters--from the local bartender/barista who becomes her love adviser, to the plumbers who fix her heating and teach her to make pasta al pomodoro--here is a mantra for savoring the beauty and color of every day that Italians have followed for generations, a guide to the slow life for busy people, a story of finding love (and self-love) in unlikely places, and an evocative account of a year living an Italian life"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : Alfred A. Knopf 2018.
Language
English
Physical Description
x, 284 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780385354011
0385354010
Main Author
Kamin Mohammadi (author)
  • January 2008: Festina lente, or, How to slow down
  • February: La dolce vita, or, How to taste the sweetness of life
  • March: La Festa delle Donne, or, How to celebrate being a woman
  • April: Fare l'amore, or, How to take a lover
  • May: Mangia, mangia, or, How to eat and not put on weight
  • June: Perduta, or, How to lose your head
  • July: Piacere a te stessa, or, How to take pleasure in yourself
  • August: Femminilità, or, How style has nothing to do with money
  • September: Stare in forma, or, How to never need a gym again
  • October: Sprezzatura, or, The power of studied nonchalance
  • November: Amore, or, How to find true love
  • December: Stare insieme, or, How to be together.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Mohammadi's sparkling, month-by-month account of a year in Italy is a less exotic (and perhaps less self-absorbed), more outwardly observant version of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love (2006), but without the praying. In January 2008, stressed and depressed, Iranian-born Mohammadi took a buyout from her job as an editor of a glossy British magazine and accepted a friend's offer to stay at her vacant apartment in Florence. There she worked on a memoir (The Cypress Tree, 2011), made friends with a bartender, observed the people and places of the city, and fell in love first with a charming scoundrel and then with a nice-if-complicated guy with two ex-wives, three kids, and a passel of dogs. Touting the virtues of olive oil and daily strolls and offering a set of uncomplicated recipes and lifestyle suggestions, the author makes a convincing if not completely original case for the benefits of living life in the slow and sunny lane. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this charming hybrid of self-help and memoir, journalist Mohammadi (The Cypress Tree) relates a journey that began 10 years ago when she left her frazzled and unfulfilling life in London for a year's sabbatical in Florence, where she planned to write a book. She quickly became enamored of the Italian way of life, which is about "making every aspect of life as beautiful as it can be" and embracing "generosity and abundance." Mohammadi conveys life lessons learned in Italy (from the health benefits of olive oil to the importance of slowing down and observing one's surroundings), alongside her progression toward self-acceptance. The book is also part travelogue—Mohammadi includes vivid descriptions of the area's landmarks and attractions, like the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pubblico in nearby Siena—and part romance, as Mohammadi finds herself entwined with a few of Florence's most eligible bachelors. Clueless about the culinary arts upon arrival, Mohammadi is treated to a pasta-making lesson by a charismatic plumber, and includes some favorite Italian recipes at the end of each chapter. Mohammadi captures myriad aspects of the charming Italian lifestyle, and her story's happy ending is a testament to its benefits. (May) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"One woman's story of finding beauty, and herself--and a practical guide to living a better life, the Italian way! Kamin Mohammadi, a magazine editor in London, should have been on top of the world. But after heartbreak and loneliness, the stress of her"dream life" was ruining her physical and mental health. Gifted a ticket to freedom--a redundancy package and the offer of a friend's apartment in Florence--Kamin took a giant leap. It did not take her long to notice how differently her new Italian neighbors approached life: enjoying themselves, taking their time to eat and drink, taking their lives at a deliberately slower pace. Filled with wonderful characters--from the local bartender/barista who becomes her love adviser, to the plumbers who fix her heating and teach her to make pasta al pomodoro--here is a mantra for savoring the beauty and color of every day that Italians have followed for generations, a guide to the slow life for busy people, a story of finding love (and self-love) in unlikely places, and an evocative account of a year living an Italian life"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"One woman's story of finding beauty, and herself--and a practical guide to living a better life, the Italian way"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A British journalist describes how in spite of her successful career she began to experience stress-related health setbacks and accepted a friend's invitation to Florence, where she discovered the Italian approach to slowing down and enjoying everyday life.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

An Iranian exile and British journalist describes how in spite of her successful career she began to experience stress-related health setbacks and accepted a friend's invitation to Florence, where she discovered the Italian approach to slowing down and enjoying everyday life.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

“She walks down the street with a swing in her step and a lift to her head. She radiates allure as if followed by a personal spotlight. She may be tall or short, slim or pneumatically curvaceous, dressed discreetly or ostentatiously—it matters not. Her gait, her composure, the very tilt of her head is an ode to grace and self-possession that makes her beautiful whatever her actual features reveal.”   This is the bella figura, the Italian concept of making every aspect of life as beautiful as it can be, that Kamin Mohammadi discovered when she escaped the London corporate media world for a year in Italy. Following the lead of her new neighbors, she soon found a happier, healthier, and more beautiful way of living.   The bella figura knows:• That the food that you eat should give you pleasure while eating it. Pause for meals, and set a place, even if you are eating alone.• To seize any opportunity to get moving—be it taking the stairs, doing a coffee run at work, or dancing with abandon.• To drink a spoonful of excellent-quality extra-virgin olive oil four times a day. • To seek out nature, be it a city park, a tree on your street, or some wild place.• And to love yourself. The bella figura—occupies her space, emotionally and physically, with style and entitlement.