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Arxiu per la categoria: English Book Club

English Book Club: ‘Strangers on a train’ by Patricia Highsmith

220px-StrangersOnATrainStrangers on a train, is a psychological thriller novel by Patricia Highsmith about two men whose lives become entangled after one of them proposes they ‘trade’ murders. He then goes ahead and fulfills his end of the imaginary bargain, leading to fatal consequences for both.

It was adapted as a film in 1951 by director Alfred Hitchcock. It has since been adapted in whole or in part for film and television several times. The novel was adapted for radio in 2004 by Craig Warner, and adapted for the stage in 2013.

Architect Guy Haines wants to divorce his unfaithful wife, Miriam, in order to marry the woman he loves, Anne Faulkner. While on a train to see his wife, he meets Charles Anthony Bruno, a psychopathic playboy who proposes an idea to “exchange murders”: Bruno will kill Miriam if Guy kills Bruno’s father; neither of them will have a motive, and the police will have no reason to suspect either of them. Guy does not take Bruno seriously, but Bruno kills Guy’s wife while Guy is away in Mexico.

Bruno informs Guy of his crime, but Guy hesitates to turn him in to the police. He realizes that Bruno could claim Guy’s complicity in the planned exchange murders; however, the longer he remains silent, the more he implicates himself. This implicit guilt becomes stronger as in the coming months Bruno makes appearances demanding that Guy honor his part of the bargain. After Bruno starts writing anonymous letters to Guy’s friends and colleagues, the pressure becomes too great, and Guy murders Bruno’s father.

Patricia Highsmpatricia highsmith2ith (1921-1975) was an American novelist and short story writer, known for her psychological thrillers, which led to more than two dozen film adaptations.

Strangers on a Train, her first novel, has been adapted for stage and screen numerous times, notably by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. Highsmith wrote 22 novels, including her series of five novels with Tom Ripley as protagonist, and many short stories. Existentialism is the literary movement that most influenced her writing, with “Dostoyevsky and Gide through Camus and Sartre” among her favorite authors.

Published under the pseudonym of “Claire Morgan”, Highsmith wrote the first lesbian novel with a happy ending, The Price of Salt, republished 38 years later as Carol under her own name.

Highsmith was born Mary Patricia Plangman in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1927, Highsmith, her mother and her adoptive stepfather, artist Stanley Highsmith, whom her mother had married in 1924, moved to New York City.

Many of Highsmith’s novels were set in Greenwich Village, where she lived at 48 Grove Street from 1940 to 1942, before moving to 345 E. 57th Street.

Highsmith had a troubled personal life. She endured cycles of depression, some of them deep, throughout her life. She was an alcoholic who, allegedly, never had an intimate relationship that lasted for more than a few years, and she was seen by some of her contemporaries and acquaintances as misanthropic and hostile.

A lifelong diarist, Highsmith left behind eight thousand pages of handwritten notebooks and diaries. She never married or had children. Highsmith died from lung cancer in Locarno, Switzerland.

Here you can see the trailer Hitchcock’s adaptation of the novel.

The English Book Club will take a summer break and will meet again in October!

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English Book Club: ‘Love actually’ by Richard Curtis

Love Actually6 is a 2003 Christmas-themed romantic comedy film written and directed by Richard Curtis. It features an ensemble cast, many of whom had worked with Curtis in previous film and television projects. The screenplay delves into different aspects of love as shown through ten separate stories involving a wide variety of individuals, many of whom are shown to be interlinked as their tales progress. Most of the film was filmed on location in London.

The film begins with a voiceover from David (Hugh Grant) commenting that whenever he gets gloomy about the state of the world he thinks about the arrivals terminal at Heathrow Airport and the pure uncomplicated love felt as friends and families welcome their arriving loved ones.

The film then tells the ‘love stories’ of many people: Billy Mack and Joe; Juliet, Peter and Mark; Jamie and Aurélia; Harry, Karen and Mia; David and Natalie; Daniel, Sam, Joanna and Carol; Sarah, Karl and Michael; Colin, Tonyand the American girls; John and Judy; and Rufus.

All the stories are linked in some way, with the exception of Billy Mack and his manager, who are not acquainted with any of the other characters, but Billy appears frequently on characters’ radios and TVs, his music video twice providing an important plot device for Sam’s pursuit of Joanna; the pair also cross paths with the other characters in the closing Heathrow scene.

Richard-Curtis-Copyright-Alex-WalkerRichard Whalley Anthony Curtis (born 8 November 1956) is an English screenwriter, producer and film director, who was born in Wellington, New Zealand to Australian parents.[1] One of Britain’s most successful comedy screenwriters, he is known primarily for romantic comedy films such asFour Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Notting Hill and Love Actually, as well as the hit sitcoms Blackadder, Mr. Bean and The Vicar of Dibley.

He achieved a first-class Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature at Christ Church, Oxford. At the University of Oxford, Curtis met and began working withRowan Atkinson. Collaborating with Rowan Atkinson in the Oxford Revue, he appeared alongside him at his breakthrough Edinburgh Fringe show. As a result of this, Curtis was commissioned to co-write the BBC Radio 3 series The Atkinson People with Atkinson in 1978, which was transmitted in 1979. He then began to write comedy for film and TV.

First with Atkinson, and later with Ben Elton, Curtis then wrote the Blackadder series from 1983 to 1989, each season focusing upon a different era in British history.

Atkinson played the lead throughout, but Curtis remains the only person to have been a writer for every episode of Blackadder. The pair continued their collaboration with the comedy series Mr. Bean, which ran from 1990–1995. Curtis had by then already begun writing feature films.

After much hype and anticipation, the Red Nose Day special of ‘Love Actually’ aired as part of Comic Relief on Friday (24 March) night. Picking up 14 years after the film, fans found out what became of some of their favourite characters, as creator Richard Curtis gathered together the likes of Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Martine McCutcheon, Bill Nighy and Liam Neeson for a mini-reunion…

Since its launch in 1988, Red Nose Day has become something of a British institution. It’s the day, every two years, when people across the land can get together and do something funny for money at home, school and work.There’s a fantastic night of TV on the BBC, with comedy and entertainment to inspire the nation to give generously. Comic Relief spends the money raised by Red Nose Day to help people living tough lives across the UK and Africa.

The English Book Club will meet again to coment this book on saturday April 29nth.

Here you can see the trailer of ‘Love actually’ sequel.

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English Book Club: ‘The Canterville Ghost’ by Oscar Wilde

portadaThe Canterville Ghost is a short story by Oscar Wilde. It was the first of Wilde’s stories to be published.

The story is about a family who moves to a castle haunted by the ghost of a dead nobleman, who killed his wife and was starved to death by his wife’s brothers.

The story begins when Mr Otis and family move into Canterville Chase, despite warnings from Lord Canterville that the house is haunted. Mr Otis says that he will take the furniture as well as the ghost at valuation.

At first, none of the Otis family believe in ghosts, but shortly after they move in, none of them can deny the presence of Sir Simon de Canterville. The family hears clanking chains, they witness reappearing bloodstains “on the floor just by the fireplace”, which are removed every time they appear in various forms.

But, humorously, none of these scare the Otis family in the least. In fact, upon hearing the clanking noises in the hallway, Mr Otis promptly gets out of bed and pragmatically offers the ghost Tammany Rising Sun Lubricator to oil his chains. Despite the ghost’s efforts to appear in the most gruesome guises, the family refuses to be frightened, and Sir Simon feels increasingly helpless and humiliated.

oscar-wildeOscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet. Wilde’s mother was of Italian descent. Until he was nine, Oscar Wilde was educated at home, where a French bonne and a German governess taught him their languages. He then attended Portora Royal School. Wilde left Portora with a royal scholarship to read classics at Trinity College, Dublin, from 1871 to 1874 and afterwards, he moves to England and join the Oxford Union.

In London, he was introduced to Constance Lloyd and the couple married in 1884.

After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s.At the height of his fame and success, while The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), was still being performed in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for criminal libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The charge carried a penalty of up to two years in prison.

In 1897, in prison, he wrote De Profundis, which was published in 1905, a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials, forming a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. Upon his release he left immediately for France, never to return to Ireland or Britain. He died destitute in Paris at the age of 46.

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The Canterville Ghost has inspired many cinema adaptations. The first one was released in 1944 and was directed by Jules Dassin and starred by Charles Laughton. Ther have been many other minor adaptions and in 2017 will be presented a new one, an animation movie which will have the voices of outstanding british actos like Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry.

You can find his books (in catalan and spanish and in english too) at Biblioteques de Vilanova catalogue: Oscar Wilde

The English Book Club will meet again to coment this book on saturday April 1st.

Here you can see a feature clip of the first original movie.

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English Book Club: ‘The strange case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde’ by Robert L. Stevenson

307104c277761bb2c2a4c2fdf35b25b3This month we’ve started a new book club for those interested in practice and improve this language. The books we’ve chosen are for people with an intermediate English level, are adapted editions, but we can also offer, for those brave, the full versions.

The first book we’re going to talk about is The strange case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde written by Robert L. Stevenson.

First published in 1886, the work is commonly known today as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or simply Jekyll & Hyde.

Mr. Utterson is a London lawyer who is a friend of Dr. Jekyll. Jekyll gave up his regular practice to experiment with non-traditional medicine. Utterson is concerned because Jekyll has written a will that leaves all his money to his new partner Mr. Hyde. Utterson has heard bad things of Hyde and disliked him at first sight. The lawyer thinks his friend is being blackmailed.

One day, the lawyer is asked to identify the body of a murdered man, Sir Danvers Carew, one of Utterson’s clients. Hyde is suspected of the murder, but he has disappeared. Jekyll swears that he has not seen Hyde and has broken with him forever. The case remains unsolved and Jekyll becomes more sociable than he had been.

Suddenly, though, he locks himself into his laboratory, yelling to the servants through the door, directing them to gather chemicals for him. The servants recognize a change in his voice and think that their master has been murdered; another man has taken his place in the lab. They call Utterson who breaks down the door. On the floor lies Hyde, who has killed himself with poison. Sadly, Utterson assumes Hyde returned and killed Jekyll, but the doctor’s body is nowhere to be found.

He does find, however, a letter in which Jekyll explains his relationship to Hyde.

7414003808_a1fb733758_oRobert Louis Stevenson was born on November 13, 1850, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Stevenson traveled often, and his global wanderings lent themselves well to his brand of fiction. Stevenson developed a desire to write early in life, having no interest in the family business of lighthouse engineering. He was often abroad, usually for health reasons, and his journeys led to some of his early literary works.

In 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson saw the publication of his first volume of work, An Inland Voyage; the book provides an account of his trip from Antwerp to northern France, which he made in a canoe via the river Oise. In 1881 he published his first book of short fiction, New Arabian Nights (1882).

The 1880s were notable for both Stevenson’s declining health (which had never been good) and his prodigious literary output. He suffered from hemorrhaging lungs (likely caused by undiagnosed tuberculosis), and writing was one of the few activities he could do while confined to bed. While in this bedridden state, he wrote some of his most popular fiction, most notably Treasure Island (1883), Kidnapped (1886), Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), and The Black Arrow (1888).

In June 1888, Stevenson and his family set sail from San Francisco to travel the islands of the Pacific Ocean. In 1889, they arrived in the Samoan islands, where they decided to build a house and settle. Several of his later works are about the Pacific isles, including The Wrecker (1892), Island Nights’ Entertainments (1893), The Ebb-Tide (1894) and In the South Seas (1896). He died in Samoa in 1894.

To encourage yout to read and speak in english, no matter how fluent you are, we reccomend you to watch this Monty Phyton’s video ‘A book at bedtime’

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