Books for Christmas?

In case you're looking for something new and original either for yourself or for a friend who likes English literature, have a look at this list of recommendations from January Magazine, an online literary magazine.

The January Magazine Holiday Gift Guide 2005: Fiction

There has also been a list in the New York Times, of course. A couple of lists, to be more precise:

And, finally, something I really recommend: Superb choice of audio material - readings by contemporary authors, interviews, discussions - fascinating and *free*:
Author readings and interviews


Harold Pinter's Nobel Lecture

At the Offical Nobel Prize website you can watch a video and read the text of Pinter's speech. It had been pre-recorded because his doctors didn't allow him to travel because of his poor health.
Pinter's Nobel Lecture

Pinter's topic was "Art, Truth & Politics", and he began thus:

In 1958 I wrote the following:

'There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.'

I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?

See also:
Report in the Telegraph

Report in the New York Times


Hylô! Shw mae?

Hylô! Shw mae?(Hello! How are you?)
That's Welsh and now I want to present what we did last week. It was really a lot, so nobody can claim, that anyone of us is lazy. Now I want to show you in detail, what we did throughout the whole week. At the last weekend we were supposed to read the text “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Although this text was really difficult to read, and especially the translation of it was extremely demanding, what every one of us had to experience during the lesson when we translated a part of it, I think it contains some quite interesting facts. For example, I think, many of us were surprised by the fact that there are so immense differences in the way of living between the northern Welsh and those who live in the southern part of Wales, e.g. at their professions. What I personally found very funny is the affair concerning the nicknames. But although being quite funny, this is, of course, also very confusing. I think, some of you aren’t that interested in the topic we considered on Monday, but I am a little bit influenced by my Facharbeits topic. I am writing about the Welsh language, and I can tell you, that, considering Wales a bit closer, you will recognize, that it’s really a beautiful part of the United Kingdom. There is so much you can experience, and if you’re reading about it, you might become fascinated, as I am, and therefore the question arises, if you should plan for your next holidays to go to Wales and look at the beautiful nature and listen to the language, although you won’t understand any word. There is so much you can learn about Wales.
We talked about another part of Great Britain, Scotland, on Tuesday, December 6th. This is one of the parts that want to separate from England. This is a very difficult topic, because there are many advantages of being independent, but also many disadvantages do exist. What I think is particularly striking is the problem concerning the history. Many years, the two peoples fought against each other and now they are united. So I personally understand very well, that there are many who want at least their children to be told Scottish history at school. Tuesday, we started talking, and also discussing, about some typical or not typical British things, what we finished on Thursday. Thursday, Caro also presented one this year’s Nobel Prize winners, Harold Pinter, to us. She did it very well, and I think, we also learned a lot of things, we wouldn’t get to know without her. She presented one his plays, Betrayal. This is the very realistically told story of a fairly trivial case of adultery among the London literary establishment: Jerry has had an affair with the wife of his best friend Robert. The affair started in 1968 and ended in 1975. The story is told backwards, so you see, the book starts at the point, when Emma’s marriage is broken and ends in 1968 when the affair began. I really enjoyed her presentation and its topic. We finally talked about another text, “The Happiest People on Earth”. It presents the British in an extremely positive way. We are supposed to translate the last part of the text for Monday, so don’t forget about it!!!
You see, the claim I did at the beginning of my summary is true, we did a lot of work during that week.
See you tomorrow or at least on Monday.
Yours, Maria


Hello my lovely elks!!

Hello everybody!
Today, it is my turn to summarize our informative english-lk week.
On Monday, we listened to a funny and very interesting speech about Pipi Longstocking by Barbara. She told us about the author Astrid Lindgren and the exciting life of the main character. But we also listened to the wonderful song which always introduces the Pipi-films. In my opinion, it was a very funny presentation.
After that we read a text about the UK, Great Britain, the British isles... ?? It sounded very confusing and difficult to decide which expression is the right one to say that you mean the little island which we often and erreounesly call "England". But, thanks God, even British people have their problems with that. :-)
In our next English lesson, on Tuesday, Mr Ringeisen brought along a magazine about "Pride and Prejudice", the movie which we will watch soon. It was funny and also very informative to read something about "How you can catch your dream prince!" and so on. :-)
On Thursday, we corrected our homework, a translation and a word quiz, together and after some hard working, we listened to a caberett song of Michael Flanders and Donald Swan : "A Song of Patriotic Predjudice". It was kind of funny because they sang in a very old style, like the Comedian Harmonists, I guess, and it was very ironical. The men sang about Irishs, Welshs, Scots, Germans, Frenchs and so on and they mentioned all well-known predjudices. Besides that, according to their words, the English are best people ever.
At the end of the lesson, we watched a film about the various parts of the UK and about Shakespeare who was able to combine all parts and become an important writer for the island. So, we learned something about Shakespeare`s parents and grandparents, about the surroundings when he was born and some facts about his life. In my opinion, the film was made very well and informatively and I would like to watch more of it.

Ok, well, that is the end of my short summary. I hope you enjoyed it :-)
Have a nice evening and a wonderful next english-lk week!!
See you,

Happy Hanukka, Merry Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas or simply HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Is it politically incorrect to wish someone "Merry Christmas" in multicultural USA?

"'Merry Holiday' to all and to some a Christmas fight" (Chicago Tribune)