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



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



È una vita che ti aspetto

15 04 2010

Titolo: È una vita che ti aspetto

Autore: Fabio Volo

Editoriale: Mondadori

Livello: Avanzato

Recensione: Il libro parla di Francesco, un uomo di 30 anni che quando ne aveva più o meno 25 non era contento della sua vita. Quando ne aveva 25, un giorno, si è reso conto che la sua vita non aveva nessun senso e ha cominciato a preoccuparsi. Pensa di avere una malattia e va dal dottore. Il dottore gli dice che va tutto bene  e che il suo problema non è che abbia paura di morire ma paura di vivere. In questo momento comincia la sua ricerca per trovare un senso alla sua vita perchè decide che così non va. Alla fine trova il significato di vivere, il vero senso della vita.  

Il linguaggio di Fabio Volo è molto semplice e agile e ci scopre il mondo interiore di ognuno. Mi è piaciuto molto e credo che sia un libro facile da leggere e capire perchè parla di cose che succedono  a tutti.

Valutazione: 5/5

María de la Rubia Gómez-Morán  1ºNA



La strada che va in città

13 04 2010

Titolo: La strada che va in città

Autore: Natalia Ginzburg

Editoriale: Einaudi

Livello: Avanzato

Delia ha un sogno: abitare in città e vivere una vita benestante e con molti lussi. Lei pensa che il matrimonio, anche senza amore, sia la sua unica opzione per ottenerlo. 

Natalia Ginzburg racconta con un linguaggio semplice e diretto una storia atemporale che parla di sentimenti molto profondi, di passioni contraddittorie, della mancanza di coraggio per prendere le decisioni che permetterebbero di raggiungere il vero amore e del conformismo di vivere una vita comoda e facile ma senza emozioni autentiche. 

Questo è un libro che commuove perché parla di qualcosa di universale, di alcuni desideri che nel momento che diventano realtà non ci fanno così felici e scopriamo che, forse, pensando tanto a questo la vera felicità è passata accanto a noi senza che ce ne accorgessimo.

Valutazione: 5/5

Ana Alonso 1ºNA



Esco a fare due passi

12 04 2010

Titolo: Esco a fare due passi

Autore: Fabio Volo

Editoriale: Mondadori

Livello: Avanzato

Il protagonista, un giovane deejay di 28 anni è confuso sulla vita in generale. Il suo migliore amico, Nico, compie 33 anni. La lettera di “Buon Compleanno” a Nico  ci mostra il rapporto del protagonista  con la sua immaturità. Fabio Volo, racconta con un linguaggio giovanile temi importanti della vita di un ragazzino nel corpo di un uomo. 

Consiglio questo libro perchè come tutti i libri di Fabio Volo è molto semplice da capire e anche perchè si possono imparare un sacco di parole del vocabolario fra amici di questa età.

Valutazione: 5/5

Rosa Pérez  1ºNA



New Arrivals: Italian Shoes

9 04 2010

Título: Italian Shoes

Autor: Henning Mankell

Obra adaptada: NO

Once a successful surgeon, Frederick Welin now lives in self-imposed exile on an island in the Swedish archipelago. Nearly forty years have passed since he was disgraced for attempting to cover up a tragic mishap on the operating table. One morning in the depths of winter, he sees a hunched figure struggling towards him across the ice. His past is about to catch up with him. The figure approaching in the freezing cold is Harriet, the only woman he has ever loved, the woman he abandoned in order to go and study in America. She has sought him out in the hope that he will honor a promise made many years ago. Now in the late stages of a terminal illness, she wants to visit a small lake in Northern Sweden, a place Welin’s father took him once as a boy. He upholds his pledge and drives her to this beautiful pool hidden deep in the forest.On the journey through the desolate snow-covered landscape, Welin reflects on his impoverished childhood and the woman he later left behind. However, once there Welin discovers that Harriet has left the biggest surprise until last.

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/m/henning-mankell/italian-shoes.htm



New Arrivals: Let the Great World Spin

5 04 2010
2009 National Book Award Winner

Título: Let the Great World Spin

Autor: Colum McCann

Obra adaptada: NO

 “This is a gorgeous book, multilayered and deeply felt, and it’s a damned lot of fun to read, too. Leave it to an Irishman to write one of the greatest-ever novels about New York. There’s so much passion and humor and pure lifeforce on every page of Let the Great World Spin that you’ll find yourself giddy, dizzy, overwhelmed.”– Dave Eggers, author of What Is the What

“Now I worry about Colum McCann.  What is he going to do after this blockbuster groundbreaking heartbreaking symphony of a novel? No novelist writing of New York has climbed higher, dived deeper.”–Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes (See Frank’s full review on Amazon.com)

http://www.colummccann.com/