What's in a year? What makes it so special, so different from any other years? Scattered pictures of vacations with friends, dinner parties, children birthdays, ends of schools, Christmas days, give to each year an unforgettable touch, as in a vintage selection, that filters what we will keep in memory for the rest of our life. The value of these precious pictures, lost in some drawers that sometimes we open in the boring winter evenings, is that they produce a selection of instants worth remembering, a ranking of what must be kept in memory and what will be lost in the magmatic confusion of our unconscious past.
Here I'll provide another way of making an year unforgettable, just by giving grades, ranking the days and the experiences in a way that makes it distinguishable in my memory from any other year forever. Ranking is a form of visualization of reality, a way of illustrating a special configuration of the world worth remembering.
Best lunch: May 29th, Paris, a small café, at the corner between rue de Grenelle and rue de Bellechasse, close to the Marie of 7th arrondissement where we had declared, few minutes earlier, to be the mother and the father of Raphaël. It was a bit like a wedding, we thought. I took a lousy sandwich and Ariel a mixed salad, but they tasted very special.
Best dinner: Alone, 7 months pregnant, at the pizzeria Brandi, Salita Sant’Anna di Palazzo, 1, Napoli. I had just a pizza Margherita, but it was not a Margherita, it was the hecht-pizza, the Platonic idea of the pizza, and I’ve cried…
Best friend of the year: Vivian Norris De Montaigu, film producer, co-author with me of the documentary movie Obama Mama, who was able to get me out of my house in a December evening when I felt really depressed and in so doing she started a new phase of my life... Thank-you, Vivian!
Best philosopher: It’s getting harder every year... Mmmmmmhhh, I’d say Steven Holmes and his radical conferences at the Collège de France in March.
Best academic talk: Yochai Benkler’s talk at the Institut Nicod on The End of Universal Rationality, May 26th. New ideas and the perfect Harvard style: 45 minutes of talk without a written note, with the dexterity of a Shakespearean actor on the stage…
Best place: On the roof of the Museum Kampa, Prague, with Leo and Raphaël still inside.
Best website: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/ . Always sharp, interesting and entertaining.
Best day: Sunday, August 16th: Raphaël was born in Paris, at the Hospital Saint Vincent de Paul. A sunny Sunday, nobody around, just me, Ariel and the baby.
Best song: Adele, First Love (well, it was released in 2008, but I am a slow follower in the world of pop music).
Best movie: Up, because of the dog who speaks like a dog.
Best documentary movie: Food Inc.
Best theater: Shadow theater with Leo in Prague, just because we were there together.
Best museum: Museo Madre in Naples, an old palace in the Spanish quarters, with a collection of the best Italian art of the 60ies and 70ies.
Best exhibition: No exhibitions.
Best non-fiction book: Sarah Hrdy, Mothers and Others.
Best fiction book: An old book suggested by my friend Pia: My Year of Meat by Ruth Ozeki.
Best culinary invention: Pasta with fresh tuna and eggplants. I have prepared the eggplants as for a regular Norma’s sauce (but I prefer to slice them very thin and cook them in the oven with some brush of olive oil on them). Then I sliced the fresh tuna fish and marinated it into a mixture of olive oil, soja sauce, lemon juice, orange juice, some strawberries and fresh mint. Then, when the eggplants were ready and the macaroni cooked, I just fried for three minutes the marinated tuna in a pan, then added the eggplant and then the pasta. Delicious.
Best hotel: Again, Prague with Leo: our lousy Bed and Breakfast at the corner of Karl’s bridge, with a small terrace and a wonderful Internet connection.