Five Books To Read For Halloween

Image Credits: StockSnap

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, since I was a little kid growing up in the suburbs of Milan; my schoolmates and I would go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, even though in the late 90s and early 2000s it wasn’t very popular to celebrate Halloween in Italy, as it is a tradition that originates from the Anglo-Saxon world.

When I was ten years old, I remember spending Halloween night reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, whose Italian edition had just been published; I have always loved reading and, as with movies, I often enjoy reading books according to the current season.

I have just picked up a book from the Goosebumps series that I used to love as a kid; it’s called Ghost in the Mirror and it’s giving me 90s vibes!

Here are five books which belong to the horror/thriller genre that I have recently read and loved, so hopefully you too will get to enjoy some of the titles I am recommending.

Image Credits: Quirk Books

1) My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix: I bought this book after seeing the trailer from the Amazon Prime Video movie adaptation and I didn’t know what to expect, but I had a great experience reading it. While it has plenty of horror elements and some parts of the book are quite creepy, it is really about friendship and how much one is willing to put on the line to help a friend out. Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since they were little, but things change during high school, when Gretchen starts treating her group of friends badly and generally behaving weirdly with the people around her. Abby fears Gretchen might be possessed by an evil demon so she embarks on a quest to save her best friend, going against an entire community that does not believe her.

This supernatural horror story is set in the 1980s, therefore it is enriched with 80s pop culture references, which you will probably enjoy if you grew up in that decade or are fascinated by it. Maxwell, one of my friends on Goodreads, described the novel as “Mean Girls meets Fear Street” and I think it is perfectly fitting for this mood (plus, fans of Stranger Things will definitely appreciate it). I am looking forward to reading more from Grady Hendrix!

Image Credits: William Morrow & Co.

2) Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman: this was the fourth book I read by Neil Gaiman (I am a big fan of The Graveyard Book, which I read eight years ago for Halloween and would like to reread someday) and I enjoyed the story and its meanings. Neverwhere was published in 1997 and it is now considered one of the best works in the urban fantasy genre. It tells the story of Richard Mayhew, a young Londoner who lives a pretty normal life, working in Central London and spending time with his fiancée Jessica. While the two are going to a business lunch with her boss, they stumble upon an injured girl named Door, who has been abandoned in the streets. Richard decides to rescue the girl and takes her home against Jessica’s will, as she gets angry and breaks off their engagement. Richard’s life begins to get very chaotic when he discovers the existence of London Below, the dark world Door comes from…The two of them embark on a journey through London’s Underground as Richard gets stuck in London Below and tries to help Door and the other creatures in the fight against evil forces.


Five Movies To Watch For Halloween

Image Credits: Szabó Jànos

I have always been a cinephile and I enjoy watching movies according to the current season; since I am a huge fan of Halloween, I watched John Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween movie when I was fifteen years old and every October I like to discover new horror movies or rewatch my favorite ones.

While I usually prefer horror movies that veer towards the thriller genre, I find it cathartic to be able to observe from a distance some of humanity’s ancestral fears.

I tend to watch all kinds of horror movies but I generally stay away from the ones that are too disturbing (even though I have come to appreciate a few slasher movies among the classics, like the Scream series).

I have rounded up five favorite movies to watch for Halloween; most of them are available on DVD/Blu-Ray or on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Image Credits: A24 /BBC Films

1) In Fabric (Peter Strickland, 2018): I recently watched this underrated horror gem on Prime Video and I enjoyed it beyond my expectations. The story revolves around a cursed red dress as it switches from owner to owner, with devastating consequences for the people who purchase and wear it.

The movie is set at the beginning of the 90s but its atmospheres and set designs are very reminiscent of the 1970s; it is a satyrical horror that serves as a critique of extreme consumerism and self-image obsession, also touching on the subject of our bosses’ excessive and sometimes ridiculous analysis of our workplace. The vivid color palette and overall atmosphere reminded me of Dario Argento’s Suspiria, a masterpiece of the horror genre which I included on this list as well and whose electronic score by Goblins is very similar to the In Fabric soundtrack by Cavern of Anti-Matter. Some critics have also stated that it would be a great watching experience for people who enjoy filmmaker Ari Aster’s movies.

I work in the fashion industry so I really enjoyed watching a horror movie about fashion, and I think many people will appreciate the narrative and symbolism of a movie that has humorous notes in it as well.

Image Credits: F/M Entertainment

2) Near Dark (Kathryn Bigelow, 1987): this was Kathryn Bigelow’s first movie and I think it was masterfully directed, to the point that I didn’t notice this was her directorial debut. Not only is this a movie with vampires as main characters, but also it is a road movie that has excellent cinematography and gothic vibes; it was mainly shot in Arizona and the wonderful desert landscapes contribute to making it a horror western, something very unique in its genre.


Throwback Thursday: A Day At Armani / Silos And 40 Years of Emporio Armani

giorgio armani print dress
Armani / Silos – Giorgio Armani dress

Armani / Silos has always been one of my favorite places in Milan since the first time I had the chance to see it in 2017. Located in the heart of the Tortona district, where most of the Milan Design Week events take place every year, it is a huge building dedicated to the Giorgio Armani universe.

With a surface area of 4500 sqm and extending over four levels, the space opened in 2015 to celebrate 40 years of the Italian designer’s career. It is called “Silos” because the structure was originally a barn built in 1950 that was used to keep the grains.

During the renovation of the space Giorgio Armani, who personally supervised the project, chose to focus on minimalism, eliminating the superfluous and preferring regular geometrical forms that perfectly match the aesthetics of his brand.

Armani / Silos tells the story of more than 40 years of Armani’s career, showcasing about 400 clothes and 200 accessories from 1980 to this day. As he carefully selected items for display that best represented his world, the designer explained: “[…] Fashion, which seems to live in an eternal present, needs to reflect on itself and its roots precisely in order to project itself into the future, accompanying and often anticipating major social changes. Remembering how we have been helps us understand how we can be.”

Giorgio Armani.
Giorgio Armani creations – Armani / Silos
Armani Silos.
Armani through the years – Armani / Silos
Fifty Shades of Red - Armani.
Shades of red – Armani / Silos

Traveling To Calabria And Staying At Residenze Cassoli In Lamezia Terme

aerial view
Aerial view of Calabria’s Tyrrhenian Coast

A couple of weeks ago I took a trip to Calabria to visit some friends. I hadn’t been there for quite a while but during my childhood and teenage years I would spend long periods of time in this beautiful region of Southern Italy, especially in the summertime, because my father is a native of Calabria and my maternal grandparents are from the region as well ( they all emigrated to Milan when they were young).

I traveled by plane to Lamezia Terme, a city on the Tyrrhenian coast that is home to the region’s main international airport. If you enjoy flying as I do, the flight to Lamezia is an experience in itself; on a clear day you get amazing views of the coast and it almost feels like landing on the water, as the airport is very close to the seaside.

While most of my family comes from the Northern part of Calabria (mainly from the province of Cosenza), I spent a few days in Lamezia Terme to visit a dear friend of mine who was born and raised there and we had not seen each other for years.

Lamezia Terme is an Italian city in the province of Catanzaro. The municipality of Lamezia has a large territory that includes the former municipalities of Nicastro, Sambiase and Sant’Eufemia Lamezia. The origins of Nicastro, which is now considered the center of the city, trace back to the 9th century, when Calabria was part of the Byzantine Empire; this brought to the creation of a fortress called Neo Castrum (“New Castle”); it was built by the Normans and enlarged by Emperor Frederick II, but it was destroyed after an earthquake in 1638.

Once home to the thermal baths, the area of Sambiase became an exporter of farm products in the 7th century, when Byzantine monks were teaching the farmers to read and write. They also built numerous monasteries and churches, and five of them still exist to this day. Sambiase was a very important place for the economy, since it was exporting its own products (mainly olives, grapes and wheat) to the whole Byzantine Empire and it was allied with other major Byzantine cities like Taranto and Naples.

Sant’Eufemia Lamezia, where the international airport is located (some of you travelers may have noticed that the airport code SUF stands for Sant’Eufemia), is the most ancient part of the city. The territory of the municipality of Lamezia, near Gizzeria Lido, is home to the bastion of the Knights of Malta, called so because it was assigned to the Knights of Malta, who owned a fiefdom in the Gulf of Sant’Eufemia. Along with Nocera and Gizzeria, Sant’Eufemia is still devoted today to the figure of St. John the Baptist, protector of the Order of the Knights of Malta.

When in Lamezia, I stayed in the area of Nicastro, right in the city centre, at a beautiful facility located less than a minute from the main street, home to various boutiques and commercial activities; the location is pretty great because it allows you to move around on foot and in the evening you can easily reach bars and restaurants for dinner or an aperitif.