Strangers on a Train

26 05 2010

Título: Strangers on a Train

Autor: Patricia Highsmith.

Editorial: Penguin

Obra Adaptada: SI.

Nivel: Intermedio.

Reseña: This book is an adaptation from the original book written by Patricia Highsmith. You can also find a film version which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1945 that became so well-known. 

´Strangers on a train´ tells a mystery story about Guy Haines, a famous tennis player, who meets Charley Bruno on a train. Charley proposes him a very strange plan `You murder my father and I’ll murder your wife´. From this moment, Guy’s life changes and he goes into a world of madness, lies and death; he cannot escape. 

In my opinion, this adaptation is rather limited and sometimes it is a bit difficult to follow the plot. But in general, it is a type of story from those days which seems interesting to me because it is evolved in an atmosphere of great tension.  I would recommend it as an entertaining book for those who enjoy classical mystery stories.

Valoración: 3/5

Sheila Cidón Brincones 2ºNI



Five on a Hike Together

24 05 2010

Title: Five on a Hike Together

Author: Enid Blyton

Level: Advanced

ReviewThe famous five are four determined children with a dog who solve mysteries and get tangled up with smugglers and other criminals.

The stories always take place during the children’s school holidays. Every time they meet, they want nothing more than to stroll about the countryside and have picnics, but the adventures just come along.  

In “Five on a Hike Together” they have to solve a strange message and a map showing a criss-cross. The story involves their adventures in a burned-out house by the side of a lake where the children have to search for some treasure. However, they have rivals: two unpleasant criminals, Maggie and Dirty Dick.  

The five are two brothers and a sister, Julian, Dick and Anne, and their cousin George (Georgina) a tomboy with short hair and boy’s clothes who owns a large dog, Timmy. They are aged between 12 and 10. They are intelligent, responsible and brave. Julian, the oldest, is the leader of the group and sometimes a bit strict. Anne, the youngest, takes care of their domestic duties during the Five’s various camping holidays. Timmy is a very clever dog, affectionate and loyal that provides physical protection for the children.

This book is written in a style accessible to any Spanish reader. The language is easy and the scenes are described with simplicity. The fast pace of the writing keeps reader’s attention. It’s a page-turner full of twists.

If you have been and still are a five fanatic, I recommend you to read this book with your adult view. You’ll discover things you didn’t think about when you were a child and you’ll think how naïve you were!

Nowadays, I’m 35 years old and I have had the same butterflies in my stomach as the first time I read the book. I have let my imagination run away with me again. I was really hooked. It has been very exciting.

 Rate: 5/5 

Susana Cainzos  2ºNA



At Risk

22 05 2010

Title: At Risk

Author: Patricia Cornwell

Level: Advanced

Review:   A Massachusetts State Police investigator, Win Garano, is called from the National Forensic Academy in Tennessee by his boss, the District Attorney, Monique Lamont. She is running for governor and she plans to use a new crime initiative called ‘At Risk’ to employ new DNA technology so she sends Garano to Tennessee to work a twenty-year-old unsolved murder. Although he doesn’t want to work the case, he must obey her, so he starts the investigation, but, while carrying it out , a shocking violent act intervenes.

The characters draw you in from the beginning although they are one-dimensional, so, since you can’t get enough information about them, it is difficult to connect emotionally with them.

This novel is a whodunit written in present tense, what makes you feel part of it, and in a style accessible to any reader with quite plain language, despite being a crime book, because it doesn’t go into the facts in too much depth. In fact, the story is underdeveloped, the plot is sketchy, it doesn’t flow together, and nothing is fully explained. Therefore, this plot, intriguing but easy to lose the thread of it, requires all one’s powers of concentration.

That style is what really hooked me; I kept reading the book in order to know what happened. I couldn’t put it down. In my opinion, the novel starts well, keeping you in suspense at the beginning, but then, just as the plot and suspense are rising, you start the new chapter and find out that the detectives have it all solved so you think you have missed some crucial paragraph somehow. And, finally, the novel is finished suddenly as though the writer had a deadline so, when I got to the end, I realized that some of the facts were still unknown and I wasn’t really sure about what had happened. I suppose the reason of this bizarre end is that the writer had already planned to write the second part, entitled ‘The Front’.

To sum up, as far as I am concerned, the book is readable, albeit not as good as other Patricia Cornwell’s thrillers.

Rate: 3/5

Natalia García 2ºNA



The Host

21 05 2010

Title: The Host

Author: Stephenie Meyer

Level: Advanced

Review

The Host” is the first book of a trilogy, which will have been completed with The soul and The Seeker. These books have caused the same expectation as the preceding debut saga, the international best-seller TwilightStephenie Meyer amazes us with a romantic and science-fiction novel for adults.

‘A nail-biting love and treason story where humanity destiny is at stake. The Earth has been colonized by aliens who invade and take over human bodies. Wanderer, one of the invading souls, has to face indescribable emotions, dreams and regards from Melanie’s soul. She refuses to give up her mind without havifinding Jared. A loving triangle with only two bodies.’

Written in a nice and easy style, immediately accessible to any reader, with a infallible formula that you will get you hooked on it. It is a human story faraway from the language and topics of this genre (spacecrafts, ray guns..), set at our days, where confused human feelings and emotions are told in an elegant and wonderful observed way.

This captivating writer shows us an eloquent form to introduce characters, but baffled at the same time, as they entwine to confuse the reader. Melanie symbolizes the courage, the power and the human devotion, opposite to Wanderer, a candid and insecure creature who must decide between her feelings and carrying out one’s duty.

This is not the best book I have come across, but it is undoubtedly one that catches you all at once, the five books, one after the other.

 Rate: 3/5 

Reina Pérez  2ºNA



Fury

20 05 2010

Title: Fury

Author: Salman Rushdie

Level: Advanced

Review:  “Fury” is a novel about Malik Solanka, a 55-year-old Cambridge professor born in Bombay, who is the creator of “Little Brain”, a highly popular mechanical “philosophical” doll.

One night, Solanka finds himself standing over the sleeping bodies of his English wife and his little son with a knife in his hand. Confused and alarmed, he decides to abandon his family and go to New York where he hopes to escape the inner demons that he believes drove him to almost murder his family.

The book tries to explore personal demons or “furies” that are around him and it is also a portrait of New York.

“Fury” contains numerous subplots: a mystery about a series of murders in which his friend Jack Rhinehart is thought to be involved, the life of an anti-semitic plumber which story has been bought by a film studio, a sci-fi revolutionary fantasy that has a huge commercial success…

He strikes up two relationships. Mila Milo, a gorgeous serb, incest victim and young internet entrepreneur that helps Malik to cure about some of his demons and Neela Mahendra, his secretive love, a beauty indian very smart who is politically committed to the national liberation movement of his country. Solanka visits the island to meet Neela, but her devotion to the cause will entail some problems…

The characters in “Fury” are one-dimensional, lifeless and constructed according to contemporary American life.

Malik Solanka is too passive. He’s simply an observer with a back-story. He is an angry, impulsive man, but he is also pitiable and a bit desperate for love and acceptance.

This novel is a bit complex. It offers satirical themes and it mixes moments of anger and madness with black humour. It is not a fast-paced thriller. In fact, “Fury” is a bit slow, no much happens.

Rate: 2/5

Susana  2ºNA



Book of the Dead

20 05 2010

Title: Book of the Dead

Author: Patricia Cornwell

Level: Advanced

Review:   The “Book of the Dead” is an old expression which comes from Ancient Egyptian funerary texts. It is the morgue logbook, a sort of ledger in which all cases are entered by hand. After reading this book, however, it will take on a new meaning…

Bestseller Cornwell’s 15th novel depicts a new Kay Scarpetta adventure. In this occasion, the pathologist forensic has just opened a modern lab in the apparently peaceful city of Charleston, offering expert crime scene investigation and autopsies. Soon, she is asked to consult the murder of a famous American tennis champ in Rome. At the same time, she has to deal with other violent deaths, facing a killer as deadly as any she has ever encountered.

Once again, Cornwell presents characters from previous Scarpetta books. For this reason, they are not well drawn, since we are supposed to know them. The main character is Kay Scarpetta, a strong, perfectionist and intelligent woman holding her own in a profession dominated by men. Besides her, we can find her usual colleagues and their tumultuous and tangled relations. They are Benton Wesley, an FBI profiler and former boyfriend; Lucy, her beautiful and brilliant niece and Peter Marino, an excellent detective but tortured because he is secretly in love with Kay.

Besides its rather one-dimensional characters, the story has loads of commonplaces, clichés and awful stereotypes, such as the arrogant and ladies’ man Italian carabiniere Captain Poma. Written in a style immediately accessible to any reader, it delivers Cornwell’s trademark grisly crime scenes, but lacks coherence and emotional feelings. In addition, sometimes the reader flounders in excessive forensic details.

To sum up, this is another whodunit full of twist bestseller, which I recognize its ability to entertain and enthrall, but only for diehard Cornwell fans.

 Rate: 3/5

Conchi Olea 2ºNA



Bookcrossing desde nuestra Biblioteca

15 05 2010

Ni las cenizas del volcán islandés, ni la meteorología, ni los contratiempos del viaje, impidieron que nuestros intrépidos compañeros Paco, María R., Ana Carmen  y un afortunado grupo de alumnos que pudieron realizar este viaje, dejaran en manos de “Peter Pan” en South Kensington Park este libro viajero que, partiendo de nuestra biblioteca, continúa ahora su andadura por el País de Nunca Jamás.

¡Muchas gracias por vuestra colaboración!



Circle Games

15 05 2010

IDIOMA: Inglés  

TÍTULO: Circle Games

AUTOR:  Frank Brennan

EDITORIAL : Cambridge

OBRA ADAPTADA: SI 

NIVEL: Básico

RESEÑA: “Circle games” is a collection of short stories told by an anonymous narrator that includes five different and surprising stories. 

The first story is about an old and boring Chinese lion dancer and how his life changes one day. The second story is about a couple who want to buy an old wooden wheel on an English pub wall. The next one is about a poor bicycle taxi driver in Singapore who helps a sick girl on the National Day. And the last one is about an English archaeologist student who finds a strange and very old disc which changes her life for a few weeks. 

The book is entertaining and easy to follow. I would recommend it to start to read books in English in the first months of the course.

VALORACIÓN: 3/5 

Benedicto Fernández  2ºNI



Tre metri sopra il cielo

14 05 2010

Titolo: Tre metri sopra il cielo

Autore: Federico Moccia

Editoriale: Feltrinelli Editoriale

Livello: Non adattata

Step è un ragazzo che da poco tempo ha incominciato a frequentare un gruppetto di giovani violenti e malviventi che sono sempre in strada con i motorini  a “fare casino”. Babi è una ragazza di famiglia agiata, bene educata, alunna di un liceo privato. I due si trovano e si innamorano malgrado le loro famiglie e i loro amici.

Una storia d’amore adolescente come quella di Romeo e Giulietta fra due giovani di mondi diversi adattata ai nostri tempi e raccontata in modo semplice, con l’uso della alternanza di scene per mantenere l’interesse del lettore.Un argomento usato tante volte che è difficile farlo originale, ma che secondo me riesce a mantenere l’interesse del lettore. 

Potrà l’amore sopportare le differenze sociali? I caratteri diversi? Supereranno  gli ostacoli che li separano? Certamente il loro amore li mantiene a tre metri sopra il cielo.

Valutazione: 3/5

Eva Serra 2ºNA



Murder by Art

13 05 2010

IDIOMA: Inglés  

TÍTULO: Murder by Art

AUTORJanet Mcgiffin

EDITORIAL : Cambridge

OBRA ADAPTADA: SI 

NIVEL: Intermedio

RESEÑA: This book, written by Janet Mcgiffin and first published in 2009, is a murder mystery story.

The story takes place in Milwaukee in the USA during the summer. It starts on a hot August summer night when a young artist and a gang leader’s girlfriend are shot in the street, a woman dies mysteriously in the Mercy Hospital emergency room and a famous artist is killed at the opening of an exhibition of his work. Dr Maxine Cassidy and detective Grabowski find the connection between the events and they discover that these facts have not been accidental.

In my opinion, this book is rather interesting and the story is easy to understand. To sum up, if you like good thrillers, you’ll enjoy “Murder by Art” 

VALORACIÓN: 5/5 

Isabel Iglesias Santamarina  2ºNI



The Full Monty

12 05 2010

Título: The Full Monty

Autor: Wendy Holden

Editorial: Penguin Readers

Obra adaptada: Sí

Nivel: Intermedio

Reseña: ´The full Monty´ is a very popular and funny British film and this book is a great adaptation from it. The story mixes a formal language with some colloquial expressions which makes it easy to read it. 

It is about a group of men who don’t have work, so they need to do something to feel fulfilled. The main character is Gaz, who is divorced and needs money to be able to see his soon. He is quite crazy and always has crazy ideas, but he only wants to stay with his son. Gaz encourages the rest of the group to form a stripper’s group. They have several problems in their lives but finally they become close friends. 

It is worth reading because it is amusing and entertaining but at the same time it is a moving story.

Valoración: 4/5

Sheila Cidón Brincones  2ºNI