Walter Moers children’s books

Walter Moers is a german writer, comics creator and illustrator. We nearly know nothing about him as he is a very secret man and avoid all kind of mediatization. He especially wrote fantasy children’s books that he illustrate by himself.

I read two of them when I was younger and they remain a part of my favorites books as they are full of humour, fantasy and wrote with an incredible dose of imagination: The City of Dreaming Books and Capt’n Bluebear. 

Even if they are rather thick, they are really easy to read and the illustrations are wonderful.

My favorite one is probably The City of Dreaming Books. It tells the story of Hildegunst Taillemythes, a young dragon, apprentice poet and writer. Just before he die, his master give him a strange manuscript with no known author. When he read it, Hildegunst is so spellbind by the quality of the writing that he decide to go searching for the author of this « perfect » manuscript. His quest will lead him until Bouquinbourg, a city where books are alive, can think but also be dangerous for the one who read them, the city of the dreaming books.

There is so much poetryas much on the writing than in the draws that perfectly fits that what you see as a simple children’s book totaly turn you upside down and transports you.

I’ve always like children’s books as they often could be read on two level. Walter Moers ones are a perfect exemple of this fact as even if the basic story completely fits with a children mind, an adult could find in the complete book a certain kind of beauty without finding it complicate to read. We should not denigrate children’s literature that could be a great one if you get rid of all the preconceptions you got.

The sun is coming back, take one of them and get out to read in a great moment of relaxation!

San-Antonio

San-Antonio is is both a character invented by Fréderic Dard and one of the numerous pseudonyms of him. He wrote 175 novel under this name as if his charater, who speak at the first person narrativ, had written his own history.

San-Antonio is supposed to be a police commissioner who investigates strage cases, often with is coarse acolyte Bérurier. Written as if the commissioner have been telling oraly his adventures, those novels are full of humor, in the typical way of Frédéric Dard: rude, full of contrepetrie, anglisism, catachresis and neologism. The author even said that he made his entire career like a writter with only 300 words and he invented all the others.

I would like to give you my favorite extract and, as Dard is a french writter, everybody will understand: it’s in french :

« Pinaud est occupé à recoudre les boutons de son pantalon qu’un séisme a dispersés. Bas-vêtu d’un calcif à rayures style Chérie-Bibi, son chapeau de feutre enfoncé jusqu’aux coquilles, ses lunettes en équilibre sur la pointe de son naze, il tire l’aiguille avec autant de conscience que Jeanne of Arc en mettait à filer sa quenouille en bâton avant que ses voix off ordonnent à la pucelle d’ébranler les rosbifs et d’emmener Charlot number VII à Reims pour y sabler le champagne de la victoire. »

San-Antonio; Tout le plaisir est pour moi

With this particular sense of humor, the series of San-Antonio please to a large public by mitigate the usual darkness that reign in the atmophere of thrillers. All the plots are more fussy than the one before but it is really easy to read and so fun that it is always a pleasure!

Personaly, I think that the two best are Tout le plaisir est pour moi and Salut, mon pope! .

You should give it a look, I am pretty sure that you will like it, even if reading is absolutly not your cup of tea!

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde is a famous writer of the victorian era. During this time, novels override poetry that’s why, even if he beggan to write a collection of poems in the tradition of esthetic, he quickly started to write plays and short stories in which he went deeper and deeper in his research of the ambiguity of beauty and often hurted himself to the strict rules of the Victorian era, especially concerning his plays.

 The Picture of Dorian Gray, his only noveldepict the story of a virtuous young beautiful man, Dorian Gray, recently rich after his father’s death. He inherits of his father’s domain and meet some former friends of his father, particulary a painter Basil Hallward who quickly become his friend and who is absolutely fascinate by Dorian’s beauty and decide to paint a portrait of him. During his work, he presents him Lord Henry who live a life of decay completely opposite of Dorian’s one. But quickly, he leads Dorian in the darkest side of London, convicing him that his beauty his a gift and that money, youth and lust are the best things that could ever happened to him. When Dorian’s portrait is finally finished, he is flabbergasted by is own appearance. So he organize a party to show it to is entire new circle of friends. During this evening when his beauty subjugates everyone, he admits to Henry that he would like to stay like the paint depict him forever as he is nearly jalous of it and of the admiration that it seems to cause. He ignores the consequences of his words: he just sell his soul to the devil and from that moment, he stop to get older, to bleed or to keep any physical mark. His portait is now the reflect of his soul, putrefying, turning into a monster as he lives more and more in sin.

In this novel, Oscar Wilde deals with the ambiguity of beauty, decay and duplicity, using themes of virtue, vices and evil. He develops there the philosophical doctrine that consist in believe that the research of pleasur is the only aim of human existance : hedonism. His story reminds us Narcisse as narcissism is one of the main point. They are also both afraid by death and added to they obsescion for themselves, they are the only cause of their tragic end.

Critics violently welcomed that novel that offend British moral, in partucular because the writer did not explecitely express his choice between vice and morality. However he answered that a dook can not be moral or immoral, it is just well written or not.

Beowulf

As every literature, Anglo-Saxon literature beggin when the stories that was transmitted orally was wriiting for the first time. One of those stories is named Beowulf and is a part of the older texts that you can find about Anglo-Saxon history. It is an epic poem about the adventures of the warrior Beowulf that came to help the king Hrothgar to get rid of a monster who eat villager: Grendel. So he became a hero and went through many danger. He finaly succed to the king and lost his last fight against a dragon. The poem is named according to the name of the main character and take the same kind of place in the Anglo-saxon culture that Ulysse’s story take in general european culture. Thus this epopee inspire many tales and stories and give birth to many adaptation especially cinematographic.

Tolkien is the perfect exemple of writter that inspire himself from Beowulf, as he done with many ledgend to build this monument of literature that is the entire world he create through the adventures of Bilbo, Frodo and so many others. In fact, we owe him the recognition that is today awarded to 0thanks to his conference Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics. Indeed the poem interested for studyingthe language but Tolkien was the first to notice the beauty of the text. Thereby Tolkien used this tale to create his own one, giving to Gollum the same kind of appearance than Grendel, etc…

Even translate in a modern english, it is a difficult text, hard to read and understand but there is an extract  about Grendel, join with a pictures take from the film of Robert Zemekicksreleased in 2007 :

« That grim spirit was called Grendel,

Famous waste-wanderer that held the moors

Fen and fastness; the land of the race of  monsters

The unhappy creature occupied for a while

After the Creator had condemned them. »

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is an adventure novel writting by Jules Vernes that deals with three sailors send on see by the gouvernment to investigate a strange creature responsible for the disappearance of some sheeps. After months of travel, they finally found the beast and discovered that it is a submarin. The captain, Nemo, decided to keep them captive. While two of them tried to escape, the third is fascinate by captain Nemo. As they was shut in the submarin, they discovered all the strange and wonderfull worlds living under the sea and went through numerous danger.

On this well-known novel, Jules Vernes  imagine a trip under the sea using all the mystery that can offer the seabed to create fictional worlds where the characters evolve. This is a perfect exemple of initiatory journey where they had to face up to strange monsters, unknown area and to brave their own deepest fear.

Les Boloss des Belles Lettres

« -But! Is it a french Title ???! »

Yes, I know, but it is also a french website…I could probably translate it by « J*rck of the Beautiful Letters », but would it be proper ? I don’t think so…

On this website, you could fine a plenty of good references concerning classic literature. But I recommend you to not use it for your disseration or any other homework. Actually, some guys who probably had some troubles in their own literature class decided to reapropriate most of sums up of classic books in they own way.

French level is on of the baddest ever, writing as well as orthography… for, surprisingly, our biggest delight! The aim is of course to recognize elements that you find in the original book (because you read some of them, don’t you?) and the way that they are express.

I already share the wonderful sum up of Madame Bovary to my schoolmate but there is so much more! If you laught, even a lit a bit, I recommend you to read romeo and juliet, Dom Juan, etc…

P.S: Please, if you had some traumatic experiences or a kind of phobia concerning swearwords, don’t click on this link : http://bolossdesbelleslettres.tumblr.com/

The heart is a lonely hunter – Carson McCullers

Carson McCullers is an american writter born on 1917. The heart is a lonely hunter is her first novelwritting at the age of 23. The scene takes place in a little town on southern America. It tells the story of few chracters living there and crossing each others lifes. It beggin with John Singer and his friend, Anatopolus, two deaf-mute living together, but one day, Anapolus is locked in a psychiatric hospital, letting Singer alone. Next to it, he become the link between the others characters who confide their dreams and ambition to him.

If you read and enjoyed Le moulin de Pologne by Giono, I recommend it to you, you’ll find the same kind of atmosphere close to the closed-door wich just a little bit more of pessimism and darkness. Furthemore, Carson McCullers is a great author that succeeds in making you feel close to her characters because they look complitely human full of weackness, hopes and disappointments.

Lovecraft and Cthulhu mythos

Howard Phillips Lovecraft is a sci-fi, horror and fantasy author born on august 1890. As a lot of writters, his work was not appreciated but he is now recognize as a great artist ( especially by Stephen king who tells him « the greatest artisan of classic story of the 19th century »).

One of this most well-known stories is Cthulhu mythos, a fictional univers setting in the real world but where old and dark forces are asleep, waiting for the best moment to restore their past authority on humans. They are present as former gods, came from space thousand years ago. It is made of few short-stories, each about one of this gods. It is link with some other books of Lovecraft like the Necronomicon, supposed to be writting by a fictional author, Abdul al-Hazred the mad arab who predicted « a background of evil versimilitude. » (refer to the old gos)  by this verse :

« That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And with strange aeons even death may die. »

« The call of Cthulhu » is the most famous one and gives the name to the entiere myth. Cthulhu is an humanoid monster with a face of cuttlefish, tentacles and drangon wings. He is supposed to sleep at the bottom of the South Pacific, in the underwater dead city of R’lyeh. Lovecraft inspired himself of the Kraken to create Cthulhu.

24 days, the truth about Ilan Halimi’s dead

On january 2006, Ilan Halimi was kidnapped. He disappear 24 days and when he was found, he was almost dead and die in the ambulance going to the hospital. He was just 23 years. For 24 days he was tortured and maltreated because of his belonging to the Jewish community.

He was  kidnapped by a group of muslim of the Parisian surburb, directed by Youssouf Fofana. It’s called « the gang of barbarians » because of their abuse of violence. They ask for a ransom because they were conviced that the Jewish community was rich and will paid for the life of one of them.

For a long time, authorities refused to admit that it was an antisemitic action and says that it was only for money but, Ruth Halimi, mother of the victim, strongly believed otherwise. So, She wrote a book named « 24 days, the truth about Ilan Halimi’s dead » with the help of Emilie Frèche, a young writter to denounce and make aware of  the presence of anti-Semitism in a society supposedly tolerant: she would like to said to other social minorities to be careful: wickedness still exist despite appearances.

It has just been adapted to film by Alexandre Arcadi with the wonderful Zabou Breitman on the play of Ruth Halimi. It is a great film that takes a slape in your face. It really makes you feel ill at ease and almost shameful for the behavior of some people because of prejudices introduced by the evolution of our cultur.

Jérémy Schneider

Jéremy Schneider is a french illustrator who draw realistic works of art all in black and white. He use black chalk on Canson to obtain more shades of black (he said « a darker black »). He like to do very precise works with a lot of detail as in his sketch named « bear »:

He collaborate with Commune De Paris, a clothing store, on a serie of pattern shirt dealing with the revolt of the 19th century. He drawn the face of few bourgeois horified by the view of the workers’s movement. They all have an exaggerated expression that make them look ridiculous :

Jérémy Schneider, Bourgeois

He likes philosophy and readind and inspire himself of Nietsche, or Willialm Shakespear, especially in his work named « king lear » ( not hidden reference…at all…)

 

Doctor who

Few month after the end of the 7th season, I would like to share my favorite series with you.

Doctor Who is a british sci-fi serie beggining on november 1963. It tell the storie of an alien who look like a human. He is a time traveler and save humanity of alien’s attack. It’s actually the oldest series in world: 26 season were distributed between October 1963 and 1996before the BBC stopped it because of a lack of audience. Fox takes the concept in 2005 and continue the storie of this strange character.

It is named Doctor Who because one of the most important plot of the serie is the name of the doctor: only two characters know it (the doctor and his wife) and this question regulary come back « doctor ? but, doctor who ? »

The doctor survived 33 season (26 before 1996 and 7 after 2005) because of one of the particuliarity of the characters is his ability to resurect in an other body twelve times, so there is twelve actors playing the same role but with little differences of characters. My favorite one his the one of the season 5,6 and 7 : Matt Smith. He is complitely neurotic,has a strange sence of humour (second degree, black humour, uses the literal sense of the words…) and always wear a bow tie, wich makes him the most charismatic doctor of doctor who !

Unfortunatly, the next season (that beggin in september) is about an other doctor ( normaly the last one: Matt Smith was the 11th). It will be hard to mourn Matt Smith, but I swear, I try hard!

Tattoos in museum

Since may 6, the Quai Branly museum presents a retrospective aubout tattoos and their history. Named « Tatoueurs, Tatouées », it is the first exhibition showing the tatto as an artistic movement. The aim is to show the evolution of tattooing over time from the first civilisation that uses it to express their belonging to a religion or mystic movement, to our civilisation where, after being a sign of social or cultural difference, it is now consider as a banal thing.
Composed of more than 300 work of art, you can find different kind of works: sketches on paper or kakémone, photo series, books criminologists, tattoued members of silicone body and… true human skins!
It also represented all continents thanks to their history ( japanese yakuza, french prisonners,etc…)
It ends the october 18 so you have all the summer to jump on a train and go to the Quai Branly museum! Don’t miss it!

a small bonus for lovers of tattoos:

Bilbo the Hobbit – Peter Jackson

On the eve of the output of the second part of the film Bilbo the Hobbit by Tolkien rehabilitate by Petter Jackson, I’m going to give my own mind about the first part.

Reminding of the three Lord of the Ring, I feel disapoint by Bilbo. First, having read the book, I wonder why they made the film in few parts knowing that the book is pretty short (exept interminable description of landscapes, I mean). Consequently, nothing happend ! Be honest, if you saw it, you was boring, don’t you ? Next, even if there was really beautiful pictures on screan (again and again landscape ! That is the Tolkien’s and Jackson’s strength), I was destabilized by the design of the characters. I believed I was on a kind of freaky fary tale. I was thinking like » is Peter Jackson actually working with disney ? ». So, I check it: he doesn’t. So has he finally realized that it could to be good for children? Mistery… To finish, the last but not the least point of disapointment : the end.I mean, I’m just waiting for action for two hours and it cut when it is going to star ? » No! Is it a joke? Dude, you can’t do this to me! I beg! It is a kind of torture you know? » is probably what I would say to mr.Jackson if he was here. Oddly, he wasn’t.It’s a pity!

And to your opinion ? Will you watch the second one?