Archivo de la categoría: Libros

Living the ‘here and now’

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The reading of Jack Kerouac´s novel On the Road reminds us of one of the most common phrases: ‘live the here and now,’ which is certainly a great motto to describe the typical teenage mindset. We can assure that all of us have reflected upon the pros and cans of following his statement at some point in our lives.

In the first place, in case some individual defined their lifestyle according to the ‘here and now,’ it seems quite obvious that it would be much easier to enjoy and avoid the routine, adding to this the spontaneous behaviors and self-development which this experience would bring to that person.

Nevertheless, it must be said that to live ignoring the existence of some ‘tomorrow’ might break into pieces our possibilities to find a job, which is required to afford a house and sustain ourselves and our families in the future.

Considering each of these facts, we can end with a conclusion: acting as if there´s no tomorrow should be taken seriously, otherwise we will suffer the consequencies sooner or later.

Ángela N.

People can live for a hundred years without really living for a minute, wanting to live  as if there was no tomorrow. Carpe Diem. They are all different ways of expressing the “here and now” lifestyle. But what are the pros and cons of living this kind of lifestyle?

                By living the “here and now”, by forgetting that there’s a tomorrow, life is more enjoyable, because it prevents you from being a prisoner of the past, no errors can be made, there are no limits at all, there is nothing you can’t do. The positivity that soaks  it all comes from the certainty that by focusing on the present you can live better, which leads to a positive approach to life. Besides, by taking risks and erasing all concerns, mental health is improved, because it means leaving behind sadness and insecurity. Furthermore, this lifestyle implies a seek for renovation and freedom, wanting to be 100% yourself, to improve; it encourages you to be better.

                On the other hand, by forgetting that there is a tomorrow, that what you do today might have an impact on what you’ll do tomorrow, you lose sight of the future. All actions have consequences, and being reckless can be damaging. What’s more, when living on the edge you can hurt yourself, or even hurt someone else. By focusing only on living like there’s no tomorrow, the existence of other people can be forgotten, and therefore their health or security aren’t taken into account. Besides, it is necessary to look at the past, because it’s a way of learning, of not repeating the same mistakes you once made.

                We can conclude by saying that living the “here and now” allows you to enjoy life, breaking the chains that restrain your freedom, and it also leads to a healthier mind. But all acts have consequences, and lessons can be learned from the past. It is paramount to take into account other people’s lives so they aren’t hurt. Let us find a purpose to serve, not a lifestyle to live, as Criss Jami said.

Mireia B.

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¨Carpe Diem¨ is a very common expression that many people have heard at least once in their life. Translated from Latin, the sentence would mean something similar to ¨seize the moment¨. This idea of worrying just about the ¨here and now¨ has had a lot of influence in different movements, such as the ¨Beat Generation¨ of the mid 50s in America. As any other idea, this philosophy presents pros and cons, which should be analyzed in order to determine the benefits and disadvantages that this type of lifestyle may present.

 For a start, living the current moment without worrying about the future is at first sight something easier than trying to live a life which follows an established course, eliminating the typical concerns which people are usually exposed to. In addition to this, the fact of not being attached to making decisions which could compromise your future allows people to expand their freedom and self-determination, which are greatly valued concepts  in today´s society.

However, this kind of philosophy is clearly not designed for everyone, mainly because it is not essay to abandon the stereotypes of a perfect life which we have been listening to since our childhood. Studying, growing up, getting married, and having kids could seem as not vital or of great importance, but many of the people which have spent their entire lives enjoying the present day discover in the end that those are vital elements that can bring us more happiness than all of the superficial joy obtained through applying the ¨carpe diem¨ idea.

In conclusion, dedicating your life to living the present moment is something not many people can do, despite the fact that it could seem like the easiest option. However, it looks like all the satisfaction obtained through this kind of lifestyle is not enough to leave the traditional values aside and replace them for what fans of the ¨Beat generation¨ would consider a life worth living.

Juan S.

Passive resistance to solve problems?

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How many times have we felt the urge of punching someone in the face? How many times have we kept our wildest desires locked because they were too strong? How many times have we wanted to tell the others what we really thought? In our daily life we must face tons of problems and we all react in different ways. Is passive resistance effective? Or is it better to confront them violently? We need to stand up and face them, but no t with violence.

                Violence doesn’t solve anything; in fact it makes it all worse. By using violence when facing a problem we are being just as wrong as the problem itself, we are putting ourselves in the same position. Furthermore, we provoke a violent answer which leads to a bigger problem. Such is the case of wars, where through violent ways human losses are caused. Auschwitz is a perfect example of the consequences of violence. All actions have consequences, and the more aggressive an action, is the more tragic its outcome will be.

                Secondly, if we respond badly towards the problem, we are letting it bring us down. It is important for this not to happen, we need to stand up to our values and let the silence, or the words (if they don’t cause a worse reaction), be our shield. By the use of non aggressive, and therefore passive resistance, we are letting what is causing us pain not bring us down and undermine our values.

                On the other hand, sometimes by not confronting a problem directly we are causing so much pain that it’s essential to respond by opposing actively. By acting passively we are creating a bigger problem, such is the case of the Iraq mess where the only possible solution is to confront the enemy. The problem needs to be stopped or it’ll grow into something far more tragic.

                We can conclude that the use of violence when facing a problem is useless, because it involves tragic consequences. However, there are cases where opposing actively is the only possible solution, but those are exceptions. We need to stand up and not let the problem bring us down. As Lucretius said: ‘The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence but by oft falling.’

Mireia B.

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So let´s say that you are walking down the street on your way back home, and by the time you are about to open your house’s door, you see an old woman getting robbed. What do you do? Everyone would say that they would go and kick the burglar’s butt, but we all know that many of them wouldn’t even look at the scene because it’s none of their business, and after a few hours they’d tweet something like: “I just saw a granny getting robbed. How disgusting! #StopRobbing”. That’s what passive resistance is about, and it’s actually useless.

A few days ago, while I was watching TV an ad popped out saying: “There are two kinds of people: the ones who say we need a change, and the people who make things change”. It was from the Red Cross, and the person claiming that is completely right. Because words are beautiful, but action is what makes the difference.

I can’t stop thinking about people saying the exact same thing as I do, such as Michael Jackson in his song “Man in the mirror”: “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change”, or a Spanish rapper named Calle 13, in his song “La vuelta al mundo”, in which he talks about how no one is going to fix anything for you, and if you want something to be done, you have to do it yourself.

All in all, I truly believe that passive resistance is not useful, and even more: passive resistance is probably what brought our society this close to –at least it seems to me- the beginning of World War III, and that’s mainly because we have let everyone do whatever they wanted because, again, it’s none of our business. Everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to try.

Arnau P.

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“I would prefer not to”. We all want to say that a few times a day just like Bartleby in the book “Bartleby – The Scrivener”. However, we can’t, we have obligations to follow and work to do. Yet is it really effective to be passively resistant? I think that in some cases it would be a good solution to show some resistance, but not always.

First of all, violence is never a solution to a problem. However, some people might think it’s the best way of showing and teaching someone a lesson, but in most cases it will make it only worse. Nevertheless, if you use violence, how can the other person understand your perspective? The answer is that they can’t and won’t understand it.

So, the best way to show resistance is to say so, but we have obligations, bills to pay, food to buy… You can and should say no to the things you don’t want to do, but some others are just inevitable and you shouldn’t let it get out of control like Bartleby.

Finally, the most important fact is that if you resist you should give and think of solutions. You can’t just say you don’t want to do it and that’s it, you should show interest in improving and resolving the problem or situation.

In conclusion, in my opinion you should resist in some cases, but in others it’s nonsense because in the end everyone has to do it, like for example going to work or paying bills. Besides, I think that Bartleby is not a good example to follow.

Kimmy H.

“LOS VIENTOS” DE MIGUEL HERNÁNDEZ

“La poesía es la pintura que se mueve y la música que piensa” dijo Émile Deschamps. A lo largo de la historia, la poesía ha sido la fuente de inspiración para muchos, ya sea para denunciar, educar o expresar sus sentimientos. Es el caso de Miguel Hernández. Poeta Alicantino que utilizó su poesía para expresarse y apoyar al pueblo. En 1937 publicó “viento del pueblo” donde busca ser la voz del pueblo y denunciar los horrores de la guerra con su poesía popular se enmarca en el movimiento republicano para apoyar al pueblo.

El presente poemario contiene poemas escritos durante la Guerra Civil, como “El sudor” o el poema que da título a la obra “viento del pueblo”. Todos narran los horrores infligidos por la guerra, el dolor y las duras condiciones tanto sociales como políticos, a la vez que incita al coraje y rebeldía.

En su poema central, “viento del pueblo”, el autor incita al pueblo para que se levante contra el poder que los somete, a la lucha y a que no se resignen a seguir sufriendo injusticias. El poemario carece de estructura precisa. El romance es la forma métrica utilizada y destaca por su lenguaje directo y propagandístico. Perteneciente a su 3ª etapa, bélica y de urgencia. La angustia y el sentimiento de protesta y el amor son elementos omnipresentes. Se dirige a la lucha, a su mujer y a la tierra. Miguel Hernández traspasa del “yo”, de la intimidad político.

Los poemas se pueden dividir en 3 unidades temáticas. Primero, los que se centran en el combate: son elegías, himnos que resaltan el heroísmo idealizado de los combatientes y demonizan al contrario. Están también los que tienen como escenario la vanguardia. En ellos se ensalza a los pueblos, y ciudades que mantienen la lucha moral y económicamente. Por último, se distinguen los que tienen por objeto los sentimientos intimistas del poeta, que contempla la guerra como una degradación del ser humano.

El poeta recurre a los símbolos para representar los valores, símbolos que el poeta busca transmitir al pueblo. De esta manera, aparece el sudor, que se convierte en algo honrado, simboliza el trabajo y significa al labrador. Este símbolo está presente en el “niño yuntero” y hasta le dedica un poema entero “El sudor”. Las manos igualmente son utilizados para la clase trabajadora y burguesa de la poesía de guerra. El viento aparece como símbolo del pueblo en lucha “vientos del pueblo me llevan (…) y me aventan la garganta”. Por último, otros símbolos recurrentes son el toro y los bueyes. Este primero representa la rebeldía y el valor frente a los bueyes que se conforman de su situación y prefieren seguir viviendo bajo el yugo de la dominación “Los bueyes doblan la frente (…) en los páramos de España” (fragmento de “Viento del pueblo”)

Podemos concluir que Miguel Hernández busca a lo largo de sus poemas denunciar los horrores y el dolor infligidos por la guerra a la vez que incita a la rebeldía (uso de símbolos como el viento o los toro) y a la lucha. A su vez muestra cuán importante es para él el pueblo y que comparte su dolor. Sin embargo no es el único que denuncia los horrores de la guerra y busca lanzar al pueblo mensajes de coraje y rebeldía. En arte, por ejemplo, artistas como Picasso con “Guernica” o Dalí, utilizan su pintura para hacer pasar su denuncia.

Mireia Blanco

La semana trágica del caso Savolta

‘Nací, crecí y me eduqué en un país caracterizado por la paz el orden y la garantía de que todo lo que podía pasar era previsible’. Este es un fragmento de la novela de Eduardo Mendoza, La Verdad Sobre El Caso Savolta, la cual trata de reflexionar a cerca de la situación política y social del  momento.

Para ello nos transporta a la Barcelona de los años 20, momento en el que esta era el escenario de una lucha de poder entre los empresarios y los obreros, los que, hartos de la férrea censura y de su grave situación económica, deciden revelarse.

Gracias en parte a la excelente puesta en escena, nos es posible adentrarnos tanto en la alta sociedad catalana como en los barrios obreros más humildes de la misma.

Mendoza utiliza metódicamente recursos como el humor (aportando así un toque refrescante a una obra en un contexto tan difícil) con el fin de desenvolver una trama que adquiere desde el primer instante un carácter realista.

El autor narra la historia de Javier Mendoza, un hombre que se traslada a Barcelona y que en su estancia allí se topa con todo tipo de personajes (como un periodista con sólidos ideales, una joven gitana o un visionario mendigo).

En conclusión, ‘La Verdad Sobre El Caso Savolta’ es un libro original e innovador que todo amante de las novelas negras debería leer. Sus brillantes toques humorísticos, junto con el fantástico diseño de personajes y ámbitos en que se desarrolla la historia, hacen de esta un ejemplo perfecto de cómo transmitir un profunda crítica social de manera entretenida, seduciendo de esta forma a todo lector.

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The Railway Children

the-railway-children.jpgTITLE: The Railway Children

AUTHOR: Edith Nesbit

PUBLISHER: Puffin books

GENRE: Adventures

YEAR: 1960

PAGES: 273

Edith Nesbit was born in London in 1858. She lived in differents parts of Europe during her childhood. Then as an adult she lived predominantly in Kent and London.

The story is about a family who moves to a house near a railway when their father was sent to prison after being falsely accused of spying in his company. The children become friends with the engineer who stops the train near their house every day, and he is finally the one who proves their father’s innocence and reunites the family once again.

I personaly think that the book could be influenced by a case named “Dreyfus”, which was really well-known worldwide some years before the book was written, because it was about the same kind of topic.

The book could be interesting for people who like adventure stories and drama. It’s a pretty overwhelming story that really catches your attention.

Marta N.

García Márquez y Macondo

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“Muchos años después, frente al pelotón de fusilamiento el coronel Aureliano Buendía había de recordar aquella tarde remota en la que su padre lo llevo a conocer el hielo. Macondo era entonces una aldea de veinte casas de barros y caña brava construido a la orilla de un río de aguas diáfanas que se precipitaban por un lecho de piedras pulidas, blancas y enormes como huevos prehistóricos.”

Este es un fragmento de la aclamada obra de Gabriel García Marquez “Cien años de soledad” considerada como la novela cumbre del autor y por tanto como una de las más influyentes dentro del realismo mágico, corriente a la que pertenece la novela.

Esta, nos traslada a los orígenes de Macondo una recreación de su propio país según el autor, cuando la saga familiar de los Buendía aún se encuentra dando sus primeros pasos. Allí, nos topamos con su creador, Aureliano Buendía que a través de sus vivencias y recuerdos comienza a sumergirnos de lleno en la historia.

Para poder narrarnos lo que se propone, el autor hace uso de un amplio abanico de técnicas propias del realismo mágico, tales como la gran precisión a la hora de describir, o los saltos temporales observable una vez dentro de la misma, elementos que no hacen sino ayudar a que la historia tenga en todo momento un ambiente un tanto  fantástico, una de las bazas más importantes de la obra para atrapar al lector.

Gracias a esto se nos consigue describir un mundo plagado de aventuras, sorpresas y emociones verdaderamente impactantes, en el que nada es lo que parece, algo que da como resultado que hasta el momento que en un principio podría resultar más monótono o previsible, se encuentre repleto de tensión y en ocasiones hasta misticismo.

En conclusión, la obra de García Márquez es una de las referentes de su género y época ya que el autor, consigue darle ese clima mágico gracias a sus descripciones tanto del ambiente como de los sentimientos de los  personajes, que rezuman realismo.

Empire Tales

empire tales.jpgBook title: Empire Tales

Author: Various

Publisher: Black Cat

First publication date: 1976

Genre: Short stories

PLOT SUMMARY:

The book contains fantastic stories set in the 19th century, when the British Empire controlled a quarter of the known world. Also, the stories deal with themes like war, colonization, culture clash, etc. Most of the book’s stories are inspired by folk tales from India, Africa and Asia during that age.

PERSONAL OPINION:

In my opinion, the book seems very interesting because you can get an idea of the situation of the British Colonies in the 19th century. I recommend this book to all those who want to know about Britain or learn more about its history.

Pablo M.

ODIO TAMBIÉN SE ESCRIBE SIN HACHE

`Amor se escribe sin hache’es una de las obras teatrales más relevantes del insigne humorista Enrique Jardiel Poncela. Esta comedia romántico-erótica publicada en el 1932 esconde tras de sí una crítica al amor convencional y esteriotipado de las novelas de la etapa de la posguerra, en la cual desaparecen las innovaciones más interesantes dando paso a un teatro tradicional y entendido. Junto a este surge la corriente humorística, encabezada por Poncela, donde vuelca sus ideas inadaptadas y excepcionales.

Nos ofrece la exagerada y absurda historia de Lady Brums (una mujer encantadora rodeada de pretendientes y amantes) y Pérez Setz( o como lo apodan, Zambombo). La trama se va desarrollando en torno a los inagotables intentos de Zambombo de conquistarla y de cómo esta le desconcierta una y otra vez hasta tal punto que en el protagonista floran sentimientos opuestos como odio y a la vez amor.

Repleta de acotaciones teatrales y expresiones tan coloquiales como sarcásticas, Poncela no deja títere con cabeza, desacreditando modas, personas y a la literatura romántica en general.

A causa del patrón de relato que sigue el dramaturgo la obra produce una sensación de convicción e incluso un sentimiento de empatía con la historia del enamorado cuyos sentimientos oscilan entre el amor y el odio. Y todo esto, ¿por qué? Porque con hache sólo se escriben las cosas realmente importantes, como ‘hermanos’, ‘hijos’, ‘historia’, ‘honra’ y, por supuesto, ‘humor’.

                                                                                                                                Ángela N.

The Wizard of Oz

wizard of oz.jpgBefore reading

Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Author: Frank Baum
Illustrator: W.W. Denslow
Publisher: Geo. M. Hill Co.
Date: 1900

Plot summary

Dorothy is an orphan girl who lives with her aunt and uncle on a farm. One day she was playing with her dog, and a tornado took them to an unknown land where they met many special characters like the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. They want to go home and have to overcome different obstacles.

After reading
I really liked this book. I had seen the movie when I was younger and I thought the book would be interesting. I recommend it to people who like children´s literature and classics. This story was a success and it meant so much to my childhood, as my dog is named Toto, like Dorothy´s.

Sonia M.

The Great Gatsby

gatsby-original-cover-art.jpgBefore reading

Title: The Great Gatsby
Author: Francis Scott Fitzgerald
Genre: Modernist novel
Release date: 1925
Pages: 171

Plot summary

Jay Gatsby is a young millionaire with a dubious side that has no ties to the society around him. No one knows how he got his fortune; some believe that he is illegally selling alcohol or that he´s a murderer. However, he organizes great parties to which he invites all kinds of people; nevertheless Gatsby is a lonely man. What he really wants is to revive the past to meet the love of his life, Daisy, who is married to a respectable millionaire, with whom he has a daughter.

Personal opinion
The main characters in this novel appear through the eyes of Nick Carraway. Tom and Daisy Buchanan, George and Myrtle Wilson, Jordan Baker, and especially Jay Gatsby. It´s an easy novel to read, but the action’s slow, which makes it a little bit boring.

Jay Gatsby is a self-made man, without many scruples, adventurous, romantic and a risk taker. A man in love with a woman called Daisy Buchanan, pretty and fragile, but married with Tom, who ignores his wife and has a mistress (Myrtle Wilson). However, he goes crazy when he finds out that Daisy has an affair with Gatsby. Mrs. Buchanan confesses not having loved her husband and that she married him on purpose, and that really she loved Gatsby, and she has always loved him. All of these circumstances will make the plot twist into unexpected events.

Ana P.