Culottées, Pénélope Bagieu

Apache warrior or Hollywood mermaid, lighthouse keeper or bearded woman, gynecologist or empress, these women have shattered the prejudices. Culottées is a comic written and drawn by the French Pénélope BAGIEU. She depicts with humor and finesse fifteen women portraits : exceptional fighters who braved the social pressure of their time to lead the life of their choices. »Culottées » Volume 1 allows the author to bring (or bring back) to light the women who, against all odds, have become in very different fields, great flag bearers for equality between men and women.

Since there is still a lot of work, the artist will decline these portraits in several volumes. The tone is deliberately light and humorous even when these women have paid a high price for their rashness against the most elementary prejudices and rights. These biographies quickly told (this is the regret that can be emitted) makes us want to go further on their stories and document us a little more about these remarkable women.

The drawings are joyful, colorful and funny , as well as the texts. Extraordinary female lives are presented to us. What strength of character, what pugnacity, in these
women. I especially liked Christine Jorgensen the first transsexual woman in history, Josephine Baker, the « so » generous, or Leymah Gbowee, a social worker, who used to experience war and domestic violence.

I also loved the double pages ending each biography, revealing a magnificent drawing, often poetic, perfectly summarizing the life of these women.

A beautiful discovery, and a useful album, to remind (it’s always necessary to do it) that women have a role to play everywhere, on all levels!

A comic to read and watch with pleasure.

Scorpion

Who has never dreamt of being a repository of knowledge, possessing an exceptional IQ or acquiring unusual skills? For team Scorpion it’s not a dream, it’s their daily life.

The CBS channel proposed in September 2014 this series dealing with a gifted team that helps the US Department of Homeland Security.

The team includes Walter O’Brien, the fourth smartest person in the world with an IQ of 197 :

Sylvester Dodd, a calculation prodigy and a statistics genius :

Happy Quinn, an outstanding mechanic :

and Tobias Curtis, a world class psychologist graduated from Harvard :

 

Besides the 4 main geniuses and also long-time friends, 3 other people joined the team. Among them we can find Cabe Gallo, the federal officer who recruited the prodigies to deal with high security missions ; Paige Dinneen a former waitress who has to manage the interactions between the geniuses and the « normal » people and Paige’s son named Ralph : a young boy who, as the team, is endowed with extraordinary intellectual capacities.

For the moment, the show is composed of 3 seasons. Right now, this is my favorite series.   I really love it. I spend my all days watching it like a no life person. This is just fascinating, I mean their skills are completely out of the ordinary and I admire the way their brain work. They have no superpowers they are simply brilliant. But this is fictional and sometimes we can wonder « could this be possible in real life ? » and we hope that yes it could be,  because thanks to them, hundreds of lives have been saved and we hope we could do the same. I really recommend it ! ( and I have already converted people here 😉 )

Charlotte, David Foenkinos

This novel isn’t a fiction, it retraces Charlotte Salomon’s life, a german-jewish painter deported at the age of 26 while she was pregnant. After a childhood in Berlin marked by a family tragedy, Charlotte is progressively excluded by the nazis in every german society spheres. She liveS a founding love passion, before she has to leave everything behind to take refuge in the South of France just after the Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass). Thereafter, the outcasted women decide to undertake a composition of 769 individual works that we could describe as autobiographical (different from self-portraits) named « Leben? oder Theater?: Win Singspiel » (Life? or Theater?: A Song-play) realized with a fascinating modernity. Knowing herself in danger, she entrust her drawings to her doctor telling him that it represents « her entire life » . Today, these works are kept in Amsterdam . This book is a thrilling portrait of a talented young woman, totally inhabited by her art which makes her fight despair and the barbarism of her time, but also it’s a mention of a tragic fate. The book also represents the story of a search driven by a writer haunted by this artist. Indeed, it contains some first person narrative passages where the author talks about his research on Charlotte, the places he went linked to her..

I admire the emotion and the beauty of the text, mixing prose and poetry. The short sentences punctuated each time by a point induces a slow but pleasant rhythm. I loved this book, it is so well-written and so touching. Moreover it made me discover this wonderful artist. I truly recommend it.

Misery, Stephen King

Misery Chastain is dead. Paul Sheldon killed her with pleasure. And all of this is quite normal because Misery Chastain is his creature, the main character of his novels. He made a lot of money thanks to her, but she also smothered him: his death finally freed him. Now he can write a new book.

A car accident leaves him paralyzed into the hands of Annie Wilkes, the nurse who takes care of him in her house. A perfect nurse who loves her books but doesn’t forgive him Misery Chastain ‘s death. Then, nailed in his wheelchair, Paul Sheldon revives Misery unwillingly. Indeed he has no choice …


I must say that the idea of ??the admirer who sequestered her favorite author because he killed her flagship heroine is grandiose. Annie is completely crazy, Paul was really unlucky to meet a fan like this and he’ll dearly pay what Annie considers as « betrayal ».The death of Misery is unacceptable to her and she’ll employ all the most atrocious subterfuges to make the writer bend back on the denouement of his narrative.

Weirdly,  I loved Annie’s character.The fact that she has absolutely nothing for her, amplifies our desire to know more about this woman. It’s a bit an icon in her way, her madness fascinates and on each page I wondered how far she was ready to go and what were her limits. Behind an unpleasant and cruel torture facade she’s a real drifter that does not have much in her life and and that’s pretty sad .The atmosphere of the novel is simply perfect? As a claustrophobic, I felt like stifling throughout this reading. King has so well handled its context that we could believe we’re in it.


All the ingredients are gathered in these stressful closed doors, to put the nerves of the readers on edge.

Only Stephen King could write such a nightmare. I really recommend this nerve-racking  book and also the 1990’s film with Kathy Bates and James Caan. ( gifs come from the movie)

Narcos

Narcos is an American tv series created by Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard and Doug Miro, and directed by José Padilha. The first and second season are fully available from August 28, 2015 on Netflix.

Taking place in Colombia, it fictionalizes the hunt of Pablo Escobar and the whole of the Medellín cartel by the DEA. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the US federal police agency responsible for the implementation of the law on narcotics and the fight against illicit traffic within the country of the United States against drug abuse.

The real story of Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria is quite exciting and the fact that they created a series about it makes history more entertaining. Far from a simple biopic of Escobar, Narcos traces the fierce struggle of the United States and Colombia against the drug cartel of Medellín, the most lucrative and ruthless organization of modern criminal history. By multiplying points of view (the police, political, judicial or even the staff) the series depicts the cocaine trafficking’s growth and the bloody battle engaged with drug traffickers who control the market with force and ingenuity.

The DEA agents Steve Murphy and Javier Peña actually existed. Boyd Holbrook and Pedro Pascal who interpret them on screen spent a day with the real ones in the DEA training center. They advised the writers on the chronology of events and number of details. they had to transcribe such as  lies, corruption, sex, love …all the things that made the web of Escobar’s life.

The director and producer of the series, José Padilha has integrated archive footage in the realization to be closer to the maximum of known facts. We can see Luis Carlos Galán in campaign for the presidential election and favorable to the extradition of drug traffickers to the United States, the survey of countless houses and properties owned by Pablo, a picture of Escobar loading drugs on a Nicaraguan tarmac to the US, or President Ronald Reagan revealing involvement in Nicaragua’s Sandinista drug trafficking. Padilha said « Narcos is not a series about Pablo Escobar, but on cocaine trafficking in general. When cocaine has grown from a small production in Chile to a trade in Colombia, it has crossed the borders and has become a problem for the United States where Escobar took a leading role. He is the main subject in season 1 and 2, but we can step back and leave the Medellin cartel to mention the Cali and the Mexico cartel – the heart of today’s trafic. » The next seasons will focus on the chronological evolution of cocaine trafficking by focusing on other organizations in Colombia and Mexico.

Personally, I loved this series. On the one hand because the historical side is really interesting and on the other because the actors are phenomenal. The scenery and the music that goes with some scenes are really captivating. As surprising as it may be, Pablo seems appealing. Even if he’s qualified as the most dangerous and powerful of the criminals of the time he can really touch us, because he’s got a family and also because he’s simply a human being with fears and feelings.

The Girl On The Train, Paula Hawkins

Hi everyone so today I am going to talk about a book I read this summer and that I love very very much. It’s called The Girl On The Train and it’s written by Paula Hawkins. The novel debuted at N°1 on The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2015 list.

From the suburb where she lives, Rachel took the train twice a day to commute to London. Every day she sits in the same place, and every day she watches a nice house. This house, she knows it by heart, she even gave a name to its occupants : Jason and Jess. A couple perfect couple to her, a happy couple, as Rachel has been by the past with her husband before he cheats on her and dumps her. But one morning, she finds out another man in the window. What is going on ? Is Jess cheating on her husband? A few days later, it’s with amazement that she discovers the photo of Jess in the newspaper headlines. The young woman, whose real name is Megan Hipwell, mysteriously disappeared …

This book is an obsession, in every sense of the word. It’s made as an assembly of various diaries, the story is told by so many people like a puzzle with a view to a final table. It tells us the story of ordinary people, like you and me with ordinary lives full of happiness and common misfortunes. But for Rachel, the girl on the train, everything is good to enhance a sad and dull life and this is when she began her obsession.

But I will not tell you more, I can’t tell you everything, because this novel is a multitude of events that themselves made me feel a multitude of emotions. Just know that in this book there’s no hero, no characters almost perfect here, all have more or less murky secrets.You can’t imagine the end. I was constantly uncertain to the events that took place in this small suburb of London.

Paula Hawkins manages to give reality to her characters through their flaws, weaknesses, and stormy or happy pasts. Life is not a bed of roses, far from it.

It’s an excellent psychological thriller, in which Steven Spielberg was able to recognize the talent of the author, since he bought the film rights. I really recommend it because it’s such a good novel.

The Age of Adaline, 2015

Eternal youth is one of the greatest human fantasies. It raises questions differently about the meaning of life.

Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) is beautiful, young , and a whole life ahead of her. Born in 1908, this American lives a quiet and happy life. She meets a man , marries him and gives birth to a baby girl : Flemming . But in the early 30s, as she raises her child alone after the death of her husband, Adaline is the victim of a car accident . Since she no longer ages . This can be a tempting escape from our human condition , but here it forces the heroine to flee. The FBI wants her to take tests . She’s no longer safe .

The eternal young woman is forced to move every ten years to not make public her particularity. Flemming become older than her mother, who face the years without a wrinkle. Adaline is locked up in a solitary lifestyle. But her routine is disrupted when she meets Ellis Jones, a wealthy philanthropist who gives her a new taste for life. Only problem : the father of the young man , William Jones (Harrison Ford) , had an affair with her in the 60’s .

This interesting theme is added to a nice story . This is not the first time that the concept of immortality is addressed in a production. This is a subject that fascinates the human being who’s desperate to not being able to escape the aging and death .

It’s definitely not my favorite movie , but it deserves to be seen and appreciated. Designed more like a romantic comedy than a reflection film ,  » Adaline  » is nonetheless a beautiful film . The film is full of visual effects , beautiful aerial shots and thoughtful flashbacks .

The mother / daughter relationship and the reversal of position that causes the immortality of the heroine, who sees his own child become octogenarian , are very well staged. Overall, this film offers us a good time.

CHERUB, Robert Muchamore

CHERUB is the generic title of a series of children’s books written by Robert Muchamore. It tells the adventures of agents of a fictitious UK agency, composed only of minor agents from 10 to 17 years old. After the success of the original series of twelve volumes where the main character is James, the sequel ( three tomes ) tells this time Ryan’s adventures, which « succeeds » James. Robert Muchamore has also written a series of books called Henderson’s Boys, which tells the beginnings of Cherub and its founder Charles Henderson during the Second World War.

We can see several meanings about the CHERUB acronym:

  • CHERUB is the name of that agency, being the acronym of Charles Henderson’s Espionage Research Unit B1.
  • CHERUB also means « angel » or « cherub » in English, which is related to the logo of the organization.
  • And of course this is related to the fact that all the selected agents are children.

The CHERUB agents are recruited in all orphanages in the country for most of them for simple reasons: it’s necessary that agents have no connection with the outside world, and that no one has to leverage on them or the agency. The criteria are based on physical and intellectual abilities. The future agents can be received at any age, but are often recruited at the age of seven. From this age, they receive an education of the highest level: in addition to the subjects taught in regular schools, they learn two foreign languages ??(one using a foreign alphabet). They are also subjected to intensive physical workouts and are all specialists in martial arts. The purpose of CHERUB is to use juvenile criminals do not have the same mistrust that deal with adults. This branch of the British secret service was created because no one would imagine that such an organization exists.

Within this organization, there is since 1957 a special hierarchy among agents, thetis is visually perceptible : the T-shirts colors they wear indicate their rank.

What a life ! What child has not dreamed of becoming a secret agent when he is an adult ? And there it’s possible to become one as young as 10 years ! The story is full of twists , action , adventure and humor. It is amazing to find secret agents so young and yet the recipe works. We quickly become attached to the characters.

It’s fun to see the reactions of teenagers facing adult situations. And although their condition of secret agents seems to grow faster, they are teenagers after all.

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Today I am going to talk about a book that I love and that everyone should read.

To Kill a Mockingbird is an American novel of the best known. Published in 1960, it was so successful that it won the Pulitzer Prize and became a classic of American literature. The author, Harper Lee based her story on fiction but she included biographical elements of her childhood. This novel can remind us of a bildungsroman (a coming-of-age novel) and a detective novel.

The plot is setting in a little town of Alabama during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Atticus Finch raises his two children Jem and Scout alone. He works has a lawyer. Man of integrity and rigorous, he is appointed by the court to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman. This crime is punishable by the death penalty…

This book moved me to no end. It provides a wonderful reflection on the human condition and especially on the childhood, carried by the narrator Scout Finch.                              Scout is the little girl I wanted to be : sassy and feisty. She hangs around the neighbourhood, spends her time reading and climbing trees, she listens to the Sunday service at the church of blacks. She hates school and dresses, she responds tit for tat Aunt Alexandra who criticized her eternal dungarees stained with dust and the people she is mixing with. For Christmas, her father Atticus gave her a rifle. He even thinks that having a gun is an incentive to get shot, and asked her never to shoot the mockingbird. Because killing this bird would be « a sin ». Scout knows why : she is also a strange bird that can’ be put in a cage, who observes and tries to understand. She cries of rage at the stupidity and injustice, but she understands that we can also fight with words.

I absolutely recommend this wonderful book that tells us a lot about respect for others.

Sense8

 

Every human being has his own knowledge, skills, intelligence. Imagine if you could share them. This is what the Wachowski ( Matrix filmmakers ) have implemented in their new TV series called Sense8.

The title tells us a lot about the blurb. Indeed it’s a play on words : sense8 means sensate and it’s a synonym of aware .

The story revolves around eight people, spread throughout the world, which suddenly become connected intellectually, emotionally and sensorially .The show explores themes that its directors believe to be generally ignored by the series of science fiction, including politics, identity, sexuality, gender and religion.

Here is a a little presentation of the « sensate » :

Wolfgang Bogdanov , a burglar born in East Berlin, lives in Berlin, a complex family history.

Kala Dandekar , a druggist from Mumbai, engaged to a man she doesn’t love.

Riley Blue , a DJ from London with a troubled past, a native of Reykjavik, Iceland.

Will Gorky , a policeman haunted by an unsolved murder during his childhood from Chicago.

Capheus (nicknamed  » Van Damn  » ) , a minibus driver in Nairobi, Kenya, which is desperate to earn money to cure his mother.

Sun Bak , daughter of a powerful businessman she works in Seoul, South Korea, and practices kickboxing .

Nomi Marks ( born Michael Marks ), a trans woman , blogger and hacker from San Francisco.

Lito Rodriguez , a famous telenovela actor nicknamed « El caído  » living in Mexico City, who conceals his homosexuality.

I recommend this great show to everyone . You’ll see how thrilling and intriguing it is ! You’ll wonder if one day it will happen to us and if science will manage to explain it.

The Shining, Stephen King

If I say The Shining, most of people think about Kubrick but they should have King in their minds. This is what often happens when films from novels have a hit. Over time, we forget the author.

This book was written in 1977 and this is what the story tells us :

Daniel Torrance, as known as Danny, is a little five years old boy who has a very strange power called the shining : he can feel the emotions of people around him and also predict the future. His father, Jack, a recovering alcoholic and fired from his teaching profession, succeeds in finding a new job as the guardian of the Overlook, a prestigious hotel in the Colorado’s mountains. But this huge place contains the heaviest secrets between murders, mafia and malfeasance. Only Danny can see and feel it. This hotel cut off from the world intends to make them insane ( especially in Jack’s case) and prisoners.

King managed to exploit themes such as telepathy, family, alcoholism, loneliness with a rare accuracy.

I loved the book but I was a little disappointed that the film does not show all the elements that King wanted to convey in his book. But I do find, however, that it’s a remarkable film. If you saw it , I thoroughly recommend reading the book who is extraordinary.

Noughts and Crosses, Malorie Blackman

Imagine a world where everything is black and white. Where black people are rich, powerful and ruling whereas white people are poor, despised and dominated. This is the world where Sephy and Callum live. Racist laws, coups, bombs, this is what their daily lives rhythm.

This story written by Malorie Blackman shows us how silly a human can be by believing prejudices and by thinking like the society wants him to think. It takes us into the racial segregation where communities are clashing mercilessly . There are neither good nor bad guys, just people who struggle for their convictions.

But Blackman also tells us that love can be found even in the darkest places.

This is literally my favorite book. It comes from a saga and this one ( the number 1 ) is called Noughts and Crosses. I loved the other ones but this one is still the best to me.