Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Click on the title to watch the trailer of the film.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a 2006 novel about Germans and the Holocaust, from the point of view of a young boy, written by Irish novelist John Boyne. Unlike the months of planning Boyne devoted to his other books, he said that he wrote the entire first draft of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in two and a half days, barely sleeping until he got to the end.
To date, the novel has sold more than 5 million copies around the world, and was published as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas in the United States. In both 2007 and 2008 it was the best selling book of the year in Spain. It has also reached number one on the New York Times bestseller list, as in the UK, Ireland , Australia and many other countries.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Margaret Atwood Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake is a dystopian science fiction[1] novel by the Canadian author Margaret Atwood. Atwood has at times disputed the novel being science fiction, preferring to label it speculative fiction and "adventure romance" because it does not deal with 'things that have not been invented yet'[2] and goes beyond the realism she associates with the novel form.[3] Oryx and Crake was first published by McClelland and Stewart in 2003and was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction that same year.

Freedom Writers Diary

Click on the title to learn more about the film and the book.

Straight from the front line of urban America, the inspiring story of one fiercely determined teacher and her remarkable students.

As an idealistic twenty-three-year-old English teacher at Wilson High School in Long beach, California, Erin Gruwell confronted a room of “unteachable, at-risk” students. One day she intercepted a note with an ugly racial caricature, and angrily declared that this was precisely the sort of thing that led to the Holocaust—only to be met by uncomprehending looks. So she and her students, using the treasured books Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo as their guides, undertook a life-changing, eye-opening, spirit-raising odyssey against intolerance and misunderstanding. They learned to see the parallels in these books to their own lives, recording their thoughts and feelings in diaries and dubbing themselves the “Freedom Writers” in homage to the civil rights activists “The Freedom Riders.”

With funds raised by a “Read-a-thon for Tolerance,” they arranged for Miep Gies, the courageous Dutch woman who sheltered the Frank family, to visit them in California, where she declared that Erin Gruwell’s students were “the real heroes.” Their efforts have paid off spectacularly, both in terms of recognition—appearances on “Prime Time Live” and “All Things Considered,” coverage in People magazine, a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley—and educationally. All 150 Freedom Writers have graduated from high school and are now attending college.

With powerful entries from the students’ own diaries and a narrative text by Erin Gruwell, The Freedom Writers Diary is an uplifting, unforgettable example of how hard work, courage, and the spirit of determination changed the lives of a teacher and her students.

The authors’ proceeds from this book will be donated to The Tolerance Education Foundation, an organization set up to pay for the Freedom Writers’ college tuition. Erin Gruwell is now a visiting professor at California State University, Long Beach, where some of her students are Freedom Writers.

Tawni O'Dell : back roads


Tawni O'Dell, a western Pennsylvania native, earned a degree in journalism from Northwestern University. In addition to earning wages as a bank teller and a waitress, she put herself through college working as an exotic dancer jumping out of cakes at bachelor parties. A mother of two, she lives with her husband in Illinois.Back Roads is her first novel.

Book Summary

Harley Altmyer should be in college drinking Rolling Rock and chasing girls. He should be freed from his closed-minded, stricken coal town, with its lack of jobs and no sense of humor. Instead, he's constantly reminded of just how messed up his life is.

With his mother in jail for killing his abusive father, Harley is an orphan with the responsibilities of an adult and the fiery, aggressive libido of a teenager. Just nineteen years old, he's marooned in the Pennsylvania backwoods caring for his three younger sisters, whose feelings about him range from stifling dependence to loathing. And once he develops an obsession with the sexy, melancholic mother of two living down the road, those Victoria's Secret catalogs just won't do the trick anymore. He wants Callie Mercer so badly he fears he will explode. But it's the family secrets, the lies, and the unspoken truths that light the fuse and erupt into a series of staggering surprises, leaving what's left of his family in tatters. Through every ordeal, the unforgettable Harley could never know that his endearing humor, his love for his sisters, and his bumbling heroics would redeem them all.

Funny and heartbreaking, Tawni O'Dell's pitch-perfect characters capture the maddening confusion of adolescence and the prickly nature of family with irony and unerring honesty. Back Roads is a riveting novel by a formidable new talent.

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Flowers for Algernon is the journal of Charlie Gordon, a mentally retarded adult who becomes a genius after undergoing a brain operation. Keyes gives Charlie Gordon a voice that conveys the full range of emotions Charlie experiences before and after the operation. Keyes conveys the drama with such intensity that it becomes almost painful to listen: the yearning of an amiable adult who longs to be as smart as those around him, the pain of the transformed man who must live with the newfound memories of cruel childhood rejection, and finally the horror of his diminishing intellectual capacity. Flowers for Algernon has been popular in all its formats short story, television drama, movie and novel.