Not until you read a book by Roald Dahl do you understand life from a children's point of view.The reason why I chose to read Matilda by Roald Dahl is simply because a friend gave me this book as a present. The author is was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter and fighter pilot. His books have sold over 200 million copies worldwide. He has been referred to as one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century.Dahl's short stories are known for their unexpected endings and his children's books for their unsentimental, macabre, often darly comic content, featuring villainous adult enemies of the child characters.His books champion the kind-hearted, and feature an underlying warm sentiment.The exceptional Matilda is about a smart, easily infuriated little girl who is misunderstood by her parents and loathed by the school's headmistress. On the other hand her kind and generous teacher, Miss Honey, thinks she is a brilliant academic genius. Matilda has a number of excellent schemes in her head to teach her nasty parents and headmistress a lesson.Whilst Matilda is the novel's central character many readers will be drawn to the larger-than-life, extrovert, humourous and strangely likeable headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. Her unique reprimands to the children, with phrases such as 'blithering idiot' and 'stagnant cesspool' will leave you in stitches.The novel is littered with excellent examples of Dahl's use of creative imagination to keep the reader's attention alive such as when Matilda uses her magical eyes to write a truthful message to the headmistress on the blackboard.Not only is language used in this book significantly more accessible to any reader but it also helps you to keep up-to-date with current English.On a disappointing note for me, Quentin Blake's doodle-like illustrations failed to match Dahl's impressive and brilliant character descriptions.All in all, Matilda is a fantastic and entertaining novel and I recommend it to children as well as adults!
THE COURTERThe reason why I chose this book was because it had few pages and it seemed easy to read.The Courter is probably the best short story written by British author of Indian origin ,Salman Rushdie,who is known for his controversial novel The Satanic Verses,considered blasphemouns in Muslim countries.The Courter is a well-written story set in London in the early sixties.The story tells about the daily adventures of an Indian immigrant teenager whose family settles in London and lived in block of flats Wawerley House.The excuse to bring up the story plot is in a letter received by the main character.The letter is from his old ayah and from there he begins to remember his childhood.Also,the plot overlaps a beautiful love story between the old ayah,Mary,and the porter,whose name she mispronounces as courter. The author draws the difficulties of immigrant people:language,race discrimination,custom,social status.Even though most situations are shown in a quite humorous style,the real background is one of a deep sadness and homesickness.The book is written in a style immediately accessible to any reader.The language is plain but at the same time it retains the reader´s interest.It is well worth reading if you want to enjoy an entertaining story perfect for reading anywhere. Carmen Loli Millán Díaz 5ºCAL
BOOK REVIEWTHE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLESby Sir Arthur Conan DoyleThe Hound of the Baskervilles is one of the well-known novels written by the Scottish writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930). It is a crime and mystery novel set in a real place in the south-west of England, Dartmoor, a land full of rocks and wet lands, where, suddenly, a sunny day can become a dark and foggy day.In this book, the same main character from the first Conan Doyle's books reappears, a strange and intelligent detective, who smokes a pipe, plays the violin, and lives at 221B Baker Street in London, called Sherlock Holmes. Although, Conan Doyle killed Sherlock Holmes off in one of his books, because he became bored with this character, he had to bring him back to life in this novel due to the fact that his fans kept asking for more stories about Sherlock Holmes. Another main character who appears again is Dr Watson, Holmes's trusty and slow-thinking friend. He is also the narrator of all the Sherlock Holmes stories. The narration starts with the mysterious death of Sir Charles Baskerville, who died suddenly. Everybody believes that a huge, ghostly and terrifying dog, which has haunted Baskervillie's family for many years, killed Sir Charles. Dr James Mortimer, Sir Charles Baskerville's friend and doctor, introduces the case to Holmes and Watson. Sir Henry Baskerville, the only heir, is back to London to claim the family money and mansion. However, strange things happen to Sir Henry while he is in London: he receives a letter warning him no to go to the mansion, somebody steals two of his shoes, and a weird man follows him.Sherlock Holmes asks Dr Watson to go with Henry to Dartmoor and keep an eye on him while he stays in London. Dr Watson reports him every detail and clue that he gets. He discovers that an escaped killer, Selden, is wandering the moor, in addition to this, Barrymore, the butler, and his wife are helping the escaped convict, who is Mrs. Barrymore's brother. Dr Watson meets Mr. and Mrs Stapleton, a brother and a sister who live near Baskerville's house and who show Dr Watson the most dangerous part of the moor. Moreover, he discovers that the night when Sir Charles died, he was waiting a woman called Laura Lyons, because he wanted to help her with money to get divorced, but she did not go to the appointment. Among other things, Dr Watson realizes that Sherlock Holmes has been secretly living in Dartmoor, getting his own conclusions. Not only is this a complex and absolutely gripping novel, but it is perhaps the most famous detective story in the world. Its main character is for sure the most popular detective in the universal literature. This character was created a very long time ago, but his stories and adventures are absolutely ground- breaking and exciting today. This book is a must.Mª Luisa Gómez de la Tría Alabarces5º CAL
THE KEY TO REBECCA.The Key to Rebecca is a novel published in 1980 by the acclaimed Welsh author Ken Follet. It is a beautifully written book set in Egypt during the Second World War when Germans and British fighting for the control of the North of Africa.The plot focuses on an intriguing story of spying. It tells the actions of the brilliant and ruthless German Spy Alex Wolf, secretly known as the sphinx, who comes back to El Cairo in order to get information about the enemy army for the Field Marshal Rommel. In El Cairo, the efficient English Officer William Vandam is after him.The story begins with Alex getting in Egypt when he made a fatal oversight which gives clues to the British about his presence. Immediately afterwards, Wolf is forced to look for a hidden place at a friend’s home who help him to steal military secrets of the British forces. Meanwhile Vandam tries to find out where Wolf is taking refuge.The great strength of this novel is the fascinating view of Egypt in the early 1940’s during the war. It shows the political intrigues of the Egyptians which were convinced and determined to negotiate with the Germans in order to avoid the British victory in the conflict. One criticism of the book would be about the characters because, although they are entertaining, they are excessively simple and some of them very predictable.The key to Rebecca is a hugely attractive book with episodes which are both full of action and spectacular. For all lovers of war and espionage novels, it would be an interesting reading.Juan Francisco Palma5ºc
WHEN GOD WAS A RABBITThis is the book that I recommend. To be honest, I would have never chosen it because it did not appeal me. However, it was a gift from a good friend when I retired. In others words, the book has picked me.When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman is a novel set, mostly, in England during four decades, from 1968 onwards. It is a story about childhood and growing up, familial ties and friendships, love and life. Elly and her brother Joe are the main characters with their closest friends Jenny and Charlie. Their parents and neighbours play a relevant role as well. Elly is a girl who matures too fast. She does not play with little girls of her age; she prefers the company of Mr. Golan, her elderly neighbour. But her friendship with Mr. Golan takes a dark turn and Elly feels sad and alone. Only her brother knows it. In order to mitigate her loneliness, he gave her a pet rabbit which she names God. When she meets Jenny she has the opportunity to share hers knowledge and experiences with a girl as her. Soon Jenny becomes her best friend who has a chaotic home life. Everything changes when Elly’s parents decide to open a bed-and-breakfast in Cornwall, and Jenny disappears without a trace. Friendless in her new town, Elly leans on her family, especially Joe. It is in this time when shadows from her childhood haunt Elly’s life. She learns that Jenny murdered an abusive husband, and they renew their friendship through letters Jenny writes from jail. Elly finds a job as a newspaper columnist, writing about the relationships she has lost and found. In the other hand, Joe tries to start a new life in New York, but he disappears in the chaos of 9/11. Elly manages to track Joe down, but he has lost his memory and feels stifled by his sister’s dedication. As Joe’s memory gradually returns, he reveals Elly’s childhood secret:”……” This book has a narrator: Elly who chronicles her life in two different parts. In the first one we can see the characters as a child whereas in the second we see them as adults. What I consider the best feature is the skill with which the author takes us from joy to sadness, laughter to tears as a reflection of life itself. Time catches up with some of the colourful secondary characters. She uses modern historical events as backdrop of the plot which immerses yourself in the whole story where you are a main character too. Despite my basic English, I consider that the book is written in a style immediately accessible to any reader. The language is rich and poetic with an excellent use of vocabulary. There's also a rolling rhythm which makes it very engaging to read. It catches you!The reading of this book has shown, once more, the magic of literature. I have discovered how behind a bland title a wonderful and well-written story can hide. Its fascinating plot is guaranteed to keep the reader absorbed from beginning to end. Do not miss your chance to read this. It is well worth reading. Once you have read it, you will never forget it. And remember, Beauty is but skin-deep! Never judge a book by its cover!The witness of my soul, my shadow in childhood, when dreams were small and attainable for all. When sweets were a penny and god was a rabbit.Mª Carmen Cubero, 5º CAL
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´The hundred-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared´First of all, I must confess that “The hundred-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared” isn´t my favourite book. However, I´ve found it to be an interesting reading. I have chosen this title because I read a favourable review in a newspaper. This piece was written by Jonass Jonasson, a Swedish author, in 2009. It was the first book by Jonasson, and it immediately became a best-seller. The storyline is located in current Sweden, although the protagonist’s memories go from Spain to URSS, going through almost the whole Europe. The genre could be explained as a novel with touches of comedy.The hero is an old man who lives in a retirement house. Surprisingly, at his hundred-year-birthday, he escapes looking for some adventure. Later, as his current story advance, he starts to remember several occurrences of his past life.In my opinion, the strongest points are the touches of comedy. There are some passages where you really enjoy and laugh a lot of. The weak point is the style of the writer. It is an advance level. It is visible that Jonasson worked as a reporter for a long time, and there are parts in the book where you think that you are actually reading a brief article. I was expecting for a deeper devising in the characters. All in all, I found this work very pleasant. Nevertheless, to be honest, I don’t consider this as a masterpiece. Definitively, I won’t put this work in my top ten, but this doesn’t mean that it maybe proposed as an entertainment mad.Elena Cifuentes 5ºCAL