Sometimes it all became too much. Fiction from Pakistan

And yet, though she insisted that she loved Pakistan, sometimes it all became too much. “I hate it, everyone’s a crook, nothing works here!” she would sob, fighting with her husband.

This is Sonya, an American woman who married a Pakistani man, and a minor character in Daniyal Mueenuddin‘s In Other Rooms, Other Wonders – one of the best works of fiction I’ve read in quite some time.

There is quite a lot of quality stuff being written in English by Pakistanis who’ve lived in America, gone to school and perhaps studied creative writing there. Another one coming to mind is Mohsin Hamid, author of Moth Smoke and The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

I sometimes wonder whether this will be the path forward for Italian fiction, as well: to be led by writers who belong both here and somewhere else, or neither here not there.

The secret sauce in the Google+ design: AngelList

In the couple of weeks since Google+ was unveiled, oceans of digital ink have been poured in reviewing the service, sharing tips and tricks, loving/hating Google for it, as well as in the ultimately futile exercise of predicting whether it will succeed.

I have abstained from such predictions. I have not yet, however, come across any commenters remarking on the Google+ look and feel: it seems to me very much that it took its inspiration from AngelList, the business angels hangout started by Naval Ravikant and Babak Nivi. That is, perhaps, because it is (rightly) difficult to get invited to join AngelList, and therefore a lot fewer people have access to it than to Google+.

But if you look at two screenshots, the resemblance is evident. I sometimes have trouble telling which page I’m on. (Then, of course, I read the content). Do you share this feeling?

The Illusionists: Help fund it on Kickstarter

A few weeks ago, I had drinks with a young filmmaker I had started following on Twitter months ago. Her name is Elena Rossini and she lives in Paris. We talked extensively about her feature-length documentary project, The Illusionists. I’ll let her explain it in her own words:

As you may know, in late June I’ve launched an ambitious fundraising campaign for my feature-length documentary The Illusionists, which I wrote and I am co-producing and directing.

Here is the synopsis of the film:

THE ILLUSIONISTS is a feature-length documentary about the commodification of the body and the marketing of unattainable beauty around the world. The film will explore the influence that corporations have on our perceptions of ourselves, showing how mass media, advertising, and several industries manipulate people’s insecurities about their bodies for profit.

The Illusionists’ Kickstarter page has a video teaser and a longer explanation of the project: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1085595579/the-illusionists-documentary-insecurity-sells (its themes, style, and my motivations for making the film).

There are amazing experts already lined up for the interviews, including author & filmmaker Jean Kilbourne (best known for her iconic film series “Killing Us Softly”), psychotherapist Susie Orbach (best known for her books “Fat is a Feminist Issue” and “Bodies”) and Jenn Pozner (author of “Reality Bites Back”; she was recently featured in the New Yorker and on NPR). I’m also hoping to interview Umberto Eco, Gloria Steinem, Oliviero Toscani and Maurice Levy of Publicis, amongst others. 

Thanks to the incredible generosity of friends, friends-of-friends, Twitter and Facebook followers, the fundraising campaign has already achieved some amazing milestones. 12 days in, I’ve reached 43% of the total funding goal, with over 110 backers and more than 1,100 Facebook “likes” of my Kickstarter page. In short, I’m on cloud nine. But the road ahead is still long… if I don’t reach 100% of the funding goal by August 5th, I will lose all the pledges made so far.

On Kickstarter, I am offering “regular people” pre-sales of the film and various other gifts as rewards for donations:http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1085595579/the-illusionists-documentary-insecurity-sells (the column on the right). I’m also developing a special package for sponsors whose mission is aligned with the message of the film that would offer exposure on the site, in all press material, and in the end credits of the film.

If this is something that resonates with you, go to Kickstarter.com and fund it. I just did.