Tag Archives: classics

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

Happy Christmas Eve!

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

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Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

green eggs ham seussRating: ★★★★

Reading Green Eggs and Ham to stubborn children is definitely a preferred alternative to torture. Introducing new foods to the very young can be a gruelling task, for parent and child alike. Seuss teaches that ‘new’ doesn’t automatically mean you’ll hate it. In that respect it kind of reminds me of The Croods with the ‘Anything new is bad’ ethos also being turned on its head.

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TV: Belgium’s Cordon a modern adaption of Albert Camus’s The Plague echoes Ebola crisis

Cordon cast

“Cordon sanitaire” is a sanitary cordon used to confine the infected with a highly contagious and deadly disease to a specific area, quarantining them away from the general population until everyone inside either dies or survives, allowing the disease to die out. This technique has been around for centuries. Photos are available recording how the cordon was implemented in Honolulu’s Chinatown in an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1889. In August 2014 cordons were used in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – the African countries most affected by Ebola.

Continue reading TV: Belgium’s Cordon a modern adaption of Albert Camus’s The Plague echoes Ebola crisis

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare, and David Tennant on playing him

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Derek Jacobi Hamlet

Derek Jacobi looking rather old for a teenage Hamlet

I found Hamlet rather difficult to follow. Few stage directions meant I couldn’t tell what the characters were supposed to be doing physically and all nuance of emotion was lost. (Earnest words or sarcasm? Genuine cruelty or pushing someone away for their own good?) About halfway through I decided to watch the BBC’s 1980 adaptation starring Patrick Stewart and Derek Jacobi on YouTube while reading at the same time.

Continue reading The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare, and David Tennant on playing him

Le Duc de L’Omelette by Edgar Allan Poe

Le Duc de L'Omlette Edgar Allan PoeRating: 

Do you read French? No? Google Translate to the rescue! But even then this short story is confusing. I read it twice in hardcopy format and online. To fully understand what happens I had to resort to Google where I found the clearest explanation from the Examiner.

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The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave by Mary Prince

The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave by Mary PrinceRating:

Oh the horrors of slavery!—How the thought of it pains my heart! But the truth ought to be told of it; and what my eyes have seen I think it is my duty to relate; for few people in England know what slavery is. I have been a slave—I have felt what a slave feels, and I know what a slave knows; and I would have all the good people in England to know it too, that they may break our chains, and set us free.

Continue reading The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave by Mary Prince

Metzengerstein by Edgar Allan Poe

Metzengerstein
Rating:

Hatfields & McCoys meets Sleepy Hollow (Tim Burton’s movie, not the awful book or TV show).

Metzengerstein is Poe’s first published short story, and it was not good. Seven pages of confusing, and almost nonsensical, Hatfields and McCoys tale of two feuding families.

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The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx & Frederich Engels

The Communist Manifesto
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It’s been a while since I studied Marxism at school, a refresh of my memory was required, and having never read The Communist Manifesto, I thought I might as well try it.

My views have changed. When I studied Marxism as a teenager I was enamoured with its idealistic belief that capitalism would inevitably end in revolution and somehow result in a more utopian and equal society. No one could ever accuse me of being an optimist, even back then, but I think perhaps Marx’s revolutionary philosophy played on my pessimistic “the world’s going to hell in a hand basket” outlook and shining a spark of optimistic hope that once society finally crumbles, things will get better.

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The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs

The Monkey's Paw
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“It has a spell put on it by an old fakir,” said the sergeant-major, “a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people’s lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow. He put a spell on it so that three separate men could each have three wishes from it.”

A fascinating classic horror story that has definitely withstood the test of time. I don’t usually enjoy short stories but it seems Jacobs knew his craft because he didn’t leave us wanting.

Continue reading The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs