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text 2019-12-29 15:32
24 Festive Tasks: Door 9 - World Philosphy Day: Task 4
Macbeth - William Shakespeare
Sonnets from the Portuguese - Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Five Plays: The Robbers, Passion and Politics, Don Carlos, Mary Stuart, Joan of Arc - Friedrich von Schiller
Look Back in Anger - John Osborne
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
L’étranger - Albert Camus
Homo faber - Max Frisch
Mario und der Zauberer - Thomas Mann
Kaspar - Peter Handke
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen

By and large, I think it's fairest to say "I didn't mind" the books we read in school. 


A few stood out as instant favorites: Shakespeare's Macbeth which, together with Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet movie (which we watched in class) laid the groundwork for my lifelong love of Shakespeare; and Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese (which the rest of my class hated, but I instantly loved).


Some that I found OK without being enthusiastic about them still inspired me to take a closer look at their authors and discover works that I ended up liking much better -- e.g. Friedrich Schiller's The Robbers and Intrigue and Love (aka Passion and Politics), which eventually led me to his Don Carlos, which in turn became an instant favorite.


Some I rather disliked in school (at least in part, because of the way in which they were presented in class), but I reread them years later and they suddenly made a whole lot more sense -- such as John Osborne's Look Back in Anger, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Albert Camus's The Stranger (though I still liked The Plague, which we never read in school, better), Max Frisch's Homo Faber and The Firebugs; and, perhaps most surprisingly, Thomas Mann's Mario and the Magician (surprising because Mann was already a favorite author of mine at the time, so this should have been a no-brainer favorite from the start).


There were only a few books that I positively hated in school, but those I hated with enough of a vengeance never to have looked at them again -- or at anything else written by their authors: Peter Handke's Kaspar and Alfred Andersch's Sansibar.


Far and away the biggest impact on my reading preferences, though, was wielded by my final English teacher, who not only taught that Shakespeare class mentioned above and introduced me to sonnets (EBB, Shakespeare and otherwise), but who also gave me a copy of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park as a gift ... and thus inspired yet another one of my most lasting instances of book fandom -- because come on, if you fall in love with Austen's writing when reading Mansfield Park, everything else is just bound to fall into place completely naturally.


(Task: Did you love or hate the books you had to read for school?  Looking back, which ones (good or bad) stand out to you the most?)


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review 2019-11-16 15:22
"Children of the Stars", by Mario Escobar
"Children of the Stars" - Mario Escobar

“Children of the Stars” set in 1942 is the story of Jacob and Moses Stein, two Jewish brothers ages 12 and 8, who cross Nazi-occupied France in the hope of reuniting with their parents. It opens with the boys being caught in a raid and taken to the Vel’d’Hiv velodrome, a repurposed detention camp housing thousands of Jews. They manage to escape and thus begin their life on the run. This is their story.….

This fictional tale highlights the value, courage and decision making of the two children as well as the kindness and humanity amid the perils of the Second World War. Although, the brothers are a figment of the author’s imagination, they represent thousands of children who travel across Europe as refugees during WW11. This is about their journey and the people they meet along the way. Many risked their life to help the boys.

With a simple and poetic style, Mario Escobar leaves small pearls for each chapter that make us reflect on the wonderful and brave people who fight against invaders and help those fleeing by welcoming them at the risk of their own life.

But, this tender and sad story seemed so unreal. The boys are too mature for their ages, they think like adults. Parents abandoning children for a better life in Argentina does not resonate well with me. How can they leave their little ones behind during the Nazi occupation? If so, it must have been heartbreaking for the parents….

Although based on historical facts, this story was unlikely because of the age of the protagonists and the very difficult course they take. This novel reads as if segments of different young lives are played out by these two young boys.

This story is all about hope, heart and faith in humanity.

“I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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quote 2019-10-24 19:44
(...) wszyscy jesteśmy jednocześnie widzami i aktorami, wystawiamy na pokaz własne życie prywatne i z rozbawieniem oglądamy cudze, w powszechnym striptizie, w którym nic nie jest już chronione przed niezdrową ciekawością zdeprawowanej przez głupotę publiczności.
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quote 2019-10-24 14:38
Newralgicznym problemem naszej epoki wpływającym na osłabienie demokracji jest lekceważenie prawa - kolejny poważny skutek ukształtowania się cywilizacji spektaklu.
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quote 2019-10-22 06:04
Każda kultura, wiara, obyczaj winny znaleźć dla siebie miejsce w społeczeństwie otwartym, pod warunkiem że nie narusza praw człowieka oraz zasad wolności i tolerancji stanowiących istotę demokracji.
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