Short stories – Oscar Wilde

Hi !

I just found a book at home which might be there for a long time… It’s a little book called « Short stories » written by Oscar Wilde.

I was curious to discover this book because inside there are the english texts and the translations in french, and I began to read two of the trhee short stories which are in this book : The Canterville Ghost, The Model Millionaire, The Happy Prince.

These short stories are very british and I find it very pleasant, it’s very easy to read, even in English !

If you want to try to began to read in English, I advice you this book !

Bowling for Columbine

Last year, I published an article about the book « Hate List » which deals with a killing in a school.

Now I want to speak about « Bowling for Columbine », a movie directed by Michael Moore in 2002, which deals with the same subject as the book : the shooting (here) in Columbine school.

Students of TL1 know this film director because we watched « Fahrenheit 9/11 » with our Philosophy teacher.

This movie is a documentary which criticizes american society. In fact, it denounces the fact that if there are many homicides by firearm in America, it’s because we can own one easily. Michael Moore plays the role of a kind of Candide, who pretends interview people innocently.

This movie is a good denunciation of the ease of obtaining arms in America, you should watch it !

La Vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert

« La Vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert » is a novel written by Joël Dicker who is a swiss writer. 

I really wanted to talk about this novel because I think it’s a real masterpiece, I read it during the summer holidays when I was in England and every evening I couldn’t help my self reading some chapters…

The story is a little bit complicated. In fact it’s the story of Marcus Goldman who is a young writter, his firt novel was a real success but then he doesn’t find the inspiration. So he decides to look for inspiration in the New Hampshire where his former university teacher, Harry Quebert, lives. But this one has been just arrested for the murder of Nola Kellergan, a young woman gone since 1975.

In fact, each chapter doesn’t take place in the same period : one is about the 70’s, one is about the studies of Marcus Goldman when he was in the university and one is about the present, after the arrest of Harry. Marcus wants to prove that his former teacher, who is his friend, is innocent, so he investigates alone, without the police help.

I find this book very good, we have the impression to be in a movie because there are flashback all the time. I advice you to read it, there is a lot of suspens.

Nightmares and Geezenstacks

Nightmares and Geezenstacks is a book written by Fredric Brown in 1963. In this book, there are many short stories of black humor.

I read this book in 2010 and I enjoyed it. It’s the first book I really loved.

In fact, we studied one of these short stories (which is called « Nightmare in yellow ») at school and I liked it so I decided to buy the book and read all of it.

I advice you to read it if you love black humor and scary stories !

Alice in Wonderland

Hello!

I know everybody knows the famous story « Alice in Wonderland » written by Lewis Carroll. You surely watched the movie, the artwork cartoon or read the book. I’ve already read the book in french and I’ve just finished to read it in english.

Everybody knows the story : Alice is a little girl who falls asleep. Then, she sees a white rabbit, she decides to follow it, she falls in a hole and touches down in a Wonderland where there are many fantastic creatures and places.

Before to read it in english, I thought that I wont understand anything but in fact it’s very easy ! So I advice you to read it if you want to begin to read in english because it’s a very good story and it’s very easy to read.

1984 (movie)

1984 is a novel written by George Orwell. In classroom, we saw the movie by Michael Radford.

The atmosphere is very cold, the rhythm is slow and the story very glaucous. Some of pupils didn’t like this movie but I really enjoyed it ! I love this kind of movies even if they are strange.

However, I found some pretty harsh scenes (like the scene of the torture).

I think George Orwell wrote a very good story, in fact, we can ask : Does Big Brother exist today ? I think yes, Orwell is a kind of anticipator !

What about you ? What do you think about 1984 ?

Blowin’ in the Wind

Blowin’ in the Wind is a song written by Bob Dylan, it’s the most famous protest song ever.

« How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, how many times must a man look up
Before he can really see the sky?
Yes, how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind. »

In fact, there is no allusion of an event, so this song is timeless. However, Dylan wrote it in 1962 during the Vietnam War and movements for civil rights.

Each verse is a question and « the answer is blowin in the wind » in each chorus.

Here, my cover of this song with Nicolas :

Full metal jacket

Full metal jacket is a movie made by Stanley Kubrick (yes it’s one of my favorite film directors!!) and it dates back to 1987.

The storie takes place at the end of the 60’s. There are two parts in the movie :

– 1st : we can see young soldiers in the army, they are the new recruits in the training camp. Their sergeant is a brutal and nasty man, he always insults and humiliates them and particularly the soldier Lawrence (he calls him Gomer Pyle) who becomes the drudge of the boys.

This part shows how we made killing machine in the training camp and we understand why the slogant of the soldiers is « Born to kill (because we made them believe that they were born to kill.)

– 2nd : in this part, we can see the soldiers in Vietnam during the war. This part shows the violence of the war and that a lot of soldiers are sensitive even if we made them killing machines.

I think it’s a really good movie which shows the violence of the Vietnam war and what happened in training camps at this time, how young boys turned into killing machines because of the army.

Birdy

Birdy is an american movie made by Alan Parker in 1984.

The main characters are Birdy played by Matthew Modine, and his friend, Al, played by the famous Nicolas Cage.

In fact, I watched this movie one hour ago and I want to write an article about it because it was a real slap for me.

It’s the story of two young friends, Al and Birdy. Birdy is mad about birds and he dreams of the possibility of flying : it’s the only thing he likes. However, the two men have to go to the Vietnam war and they come back totally differents : Al is disfigured and Birdy stays in a hospital, alone, looking at the window without speaking and dreaming, he wants to run away and fly. Al is very sad when he sees his friend like that, and he wants to help him.

This movie is very touching, we can see the relationship of these two characters who are very close. It is also tortured and destabilizing, I think it’s a real masterpiece.

You should watch it, I know it’s not an easy movie, and it’s not the kind of movie we can watch during an evening with our family but it is a very good film.

William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet

William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet is a movie of Bad Luhrmann made in 1996.

Romeo is played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Juliet by Claire Danes. In fact, it’s the story of Romeo and Juliet but it takes place in the 90’s…

It’s exactly the same story written by Shakespeare : the Capulet and the Montaigu can’t stand each other, Romeo and Juliet can’t live their passionate love etc. I think the original story is very good, very romantic and interesting, but the movie totally destroys this universe and the film director made something so boring and bad !

I can’t bear this movie ! Do you ever watched it ? What is your opinion ?

Animal farm

Animal farm is a novel by George Orwell published in 1945.

It deals with animals who live in a farm and who decided to make a revolution and fight against men who neglect them.

In fact at the beginning, I thought it was a novel for children because I didn’t understand the real meaning of it, but after some chapter, I understood that it’s a fable about Stalinism.

I found this novel very good and interesting. Moreover, it helps me to understand the history lesson about Stalinism.

You should read it !

Frankenstein : the movie by Kenneth Branagh

Last monday, in class, we saw Frankenstein, the movie made by Kenneth Branagh.

Some students really love this movie and I do too, the actors are good and succeed in showing their emotions without overact (Robert de Niro, who plays the monster, is really great). Moreover, there are no boring times and I think it’s a very good quality in a movie.

Thanks to this movie, I’m going to read the novel of Mary Shelley !

The Shining

The Shining is a movie by Stanley Kubrick.

Kubrick is one of my favorite film directors. The storie comes from a novel of Stephen King (american writer) which is called The Shining too.

Jack Torrance has to keep a hotel during the winter, when it’s close. However, the last keeper killed his wife and his two girls but Jack doesn’t care. He wants to keep this hotel  with his wife and his son Danny.

Danny seems to know many things about this hotel and he has got a lot of bloody visions.

During the movie, there are more and more strange things. At the beginning nobody is worry except Danny, but his mother becomes scared because of Jack, who becomes more and more aggresive, strange and mad…

Kubrick succeed in making a scary and oppresive atmosphere thanks to the loneliness in  this big hotel, it reminds us a kind of labyrinth.

It’s a very good movie, you should watch it ! (except if you are fearful…)

Hate List

Hate List is a novel written by Jennifer Brown and published in 2009. I have read it last summer and I really enjoyed this book !

It’s the storie of Valerie, an american teenager who, after a shooting incident in her school made by her dead boyfriend (Nick), try to rebuild herself and her life.

Valerie and Nick wrote a Hate List, a list of people they hate. Valerie thought it was just a joke but Nick was serious. When he brought a gun to school and started shooting people, Valerie put herself in front of a victim and her leg was hurt.

It deals with themes of hatred, bullying, family tension and suicide. The narrator is Valerie, she tells us the events before the shooting incident and what is happen in her actual life. One chapter is about the past, another is about the present etc… Sometimes the storie is broken by newspapers articles about the shooting incident.

I think this novel is very interresting because we always want to know if Valerie will manage to leave her problems and thanks to chapter about the past, the reader is eager to know how are the characters in the present, how Valerie’s friends think about her now etc…

So, it’s a very good book for teenagers, you should read it !