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目前分類:心得筆記 (14)

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Would I recommend the book “Room” written by Emma Donoghue?  If you are looking for literature value, this is not a book worth reading due to its poor readability and passages filled with ambiguity, wordiness, grammatical errors, poor organization and incorrect sentence structures.  There are novels employing child narrators without sacrificing the literature value such as “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, “The Book Thief” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time”.   


The story is not as dramatic as one would have anticipated due to the way it was narrated, by a five-year-old boy.  The author’s effort to constrain the tone and sentence structure to a five-year-old boy by purposely inserting errors into the sentences to make it sound like a five-year-old boy makes the entire novel hard to follow and distracting to a degree.  It is sometimes hard to get beyond pages and pages of broken English rambling by the five-year-old boy and the inconsistency of language used throughout the novel.  By the way, I am a mom with a five year old and an eight year old but I do strive to teach my kids to speak clearly and to use proper language, so others can understand. 

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On our way to school, a poster sign of a movie caught our attention.  I believe that the property owner whose house faces our school’s main entrance, on the opposite side of the road, put up the sign to make a mockery of the public schools.  


Stirring up controversy, “Waiting for Superman” is an intriguing documentary, which expresses the importance of good teachers in cultivating the young minds who shape our future, and at the same time talks about the failing school system in the US by following five families through their public school experiences.  This film delivers an emphatically powerful and upsetting message about the bureaucracies in our educational system, the teachers’ unions such as the National Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers.  These unions are a hinder to public school reforms, in addition to creating the ferociously labyrinthine union contract that cossets non-performing teachers and prohibits incompetent tenured teachers from getting fired for poor teaching performance.

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Elisa English's review, written on 4/30/10

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen


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I have read a review of the movie "Atonement" recently.  I can't remember where I read it but it aroused my curiosity of the book.  I decided to pick it up from our local library.  Luckily, I was able to find a copy of it without trouble.  It took me almost an entire weekend of reading to finish the book. 

Ian McEwan's novel “Atonement” is beautiful and wrenching, brilliant and enthralling, psychologically penetrating, and elegantly written with metaphors and insight into human characters and struggle.  The novel’s theme surrounds guilt, truth, justice, honesty, innocence, punishment and atonement.  It is gorgeously detailed in its depiction of love, shame, morality, racism, snobbery, cowardice, redemption and life's ironies with scenes full of emotional deluge. It explores and examines the impossibility of absolution, the complexity of human consciousness, the staggering implications of lies, the harm of innocence and ignorance, and the profound impact of imagination and misunderstanding.


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Where should I start?  What can I say about the book?  Do I like it?  It is hard to say.  I don’t like the ending.  In reality, I hate it.  It is not what I would have expected.   I don’t like the Mom.  Maybe desperate time needs desperate measures.  Still, it is hard for me to imagine that a mom could be like that, pouring all her love towards one sick child, oblivious of another child’s predicament and sacrificing and putting one child at risk for the sake of another one.  Her total devotion to the leukemic child, Kate, leads to the neglect of her other children.  Her son, Jesse, takes drugs and becomes a pyromaniac because of feeling hopeless and worthless.  Her daughter, Anna, born to serve as a walking donor for the sole purpose of extending her sister’s life, holds certain resentment for being a donor as she undergoes invasive medical interventions.  She has nightmares about her being cut into so many pieces that there isn’t enough of her to be put back together.   I really feel for her.  I despise the concept of conceiving a child just to keep the leukemic sibling alive.    How can one bring a child to life only to let her/him suffer and expose her/him to dangers so as to save another child?  What right do we, as parents, have?  Is it justifiable for the Mom to fight for her leukemic child at whatever cost it takes, even if it means to infringe upon the rights of another?  Where is the boundary? Where is the fine line between legality and morality?


My Sister's Keeper, written by Jodi Picoult, is captivating, and full of drama, dilemma and controversy.  It is poignant, sad, and heart wrenching.  It tells a story about the Fitzgeralds, a family in turmoil, from the different viewpoints by the different characters.  It examines the emotions of each character and his/her reactions encountering the situations.  It is not easy not to become entwined in the tumultuous lives of this family.  The story is fast pace and intriguing.  Would I recommend it?  I really don’t know.    

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I am at my wit’s end.  I am struggling to find words to write a book review of “The Book Thief”.  My brain just went blank after I finished reading the novel.  I don’t know what to say about the book.  Maybe I have too much relaxation from my vacation.  Oh well, you are excused if you find this review boring. 


My review of THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak

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    I really don’t know how to write a book review about “Le Petite Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  This book masquerades as children's literature for its deceptively simple prose and poetry.  The words are so simple, yet I could not grasp the profound meaning and the deep wisdom behind them.  I see this as a book about humanity and spirituality.  The book is full of metaphors, metaphors of introspection, of how to live a life, of what matter in life – love and responsibility – and of the priorities in life.  The messages are delivered through the little prince’s innocent questions that sought only the truth and through his understanding of himself and of the life and people he encountered.    


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No word could ever describe the emotions I experienced when I first set my eyes on Emily Bronte’s novel, “Wuthering Heights”.  I was eleven years old then, introduced to a wealth of English literature by my elementary English teacher.  She was a Dutch descendant, a very interesting lady.  She once told us that the best cheese was cheese filled with worms.  I do like cheese and snack them a lot but I really could not imagine that.  It sounded so gross.  Luckily, it did not ruin my appetite for cheese.


Anyway, back to “Wuthering Heights”.  After thirty-two years, I believe that I am ready to write a review about it and reveal my feelings towards it.

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This review contains my personal political view.  I don’t talk about Taiwan ’s politics much because I don’t live in Taiwan but that does not mean that I don’t have my own political view.  I don’t engage in debates with others on what works best for the Taiwanese because it is you who live in Taiwan, who have the sovereignty over the land of Formosa .  I don’t force people to see it the same way as I do and I am not interested in arguing with you over it either.  As I stated earlier in my blog titled “What my blog is and what it is not”, it is also a place where I vent my frustration, talk about things I see and books I read.  You have the freedom to walk away and I have the freedom to write as long as it is not used as weapon to kill anyone. 


Anyway, back to my review of “The Count of Monte Cristo”.  You might wonder why I kept reading books like these.  Maybe I like riding the rollercoaster of emotions.  Maybe I am attracted to the torturing of my soul.  Maybe I just enjoy indulging in melancholy and suspense.

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I am currently reading Kafka’s novels “The Trial” and “The Metamorphosis”.  As you all know that I do not have much spare time, so it is good for me that I still steal some time to read.  I have finally finished reading "The Metamorphosis".  It is a short novel.  I would like to share with you my review of the book.  As I stated earlier, I should, however, choose some light reading materials, which will not hurt my brain too much.  I felt suffocated by the deep thinking and emotional fluctuation.  This novel, though not as heavy as the others I read before, still portrays a depressing scene.   


If you have read Kafka’s novels, you will find loneliness, haunting loneliness, and extreme frustration throughout the whole pages.  The stories are mostly surreal, combining reality with fantasy and with a touch of ironic humor.     

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I have a friend.  She came from the Czech Republic .  We got acquainted through playing racquet ball.  After she got her PhD in Economics, she moved to Washington D.C. to work for IMF (International Monetary Fund). 


She was the one who introduced me to the book “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera.  Whenever I saw the book lying on the bookshelf, I would think of her.  I used to visit her whenever I was in D.C.  About 1 1/2 years ago, she moved to Ethiopia , teaching Economics at the Addis Ababa University .  It is hard to keep in touch and I miss her terribly, especially the games with her. 

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I want to jot down my feeling after reading “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini.  The intensity of the book is so high that I dreaded reading it for its heaviness and depressiveness.  It sucked away every ounce of my breath, leaving me drowning and clutching for a straw.  What it described is mind boggling.  I usually don’t like reading novels like this as there is already too much stress in my life to bring on something that is so upsetting.  Some of the story lines were pretty excruciating to read on.  It is not easy to finish the book without having an array of emotions.  The part about Sohrab is especially saddening.  I was flooded with emotions at the bathroom scene.  The words “For you, a thousand times over” overpowered all my senses.  This feeling I got, similar to that I had while reading “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”, is just as disturbing as it is unbearable.  However, I wouldn’t say that this book is comparable to “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and I wouldn’t say that I would recommend reading this book.

From literature standpoint, one would argue that there is not much of a literary value in this book for its plotting too schematic and transparently contrived.  The writing style is full of repetitions with as many clichés and as much foreshadowing as is humanly possible, which overshadows the compelling layers of metaphor.  The story was told in simple brush strokes, void of fancy verbiage and brilliant phrases.  

This is a novel about humanity, friendship, honor, betrayal, loyalty, acceptance, redemption, social stigma and bravery.    

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The boy who was not - 隱形男孩(守秩序)

Author 法里德.卡拉特巴里(Farideh Khalatbaree)

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I wrote this in my official blog.  I thought that it is interesting to share this with you.  Anyway, I just cannot stand narrow-minded people. 


In 認得幾個字 by 張大春, there was an email received by 張大春 from a reader. This is the content:
"I have a very urgent question that I would like to ask you. My son is10 month old and is getting to the stage of learning to babble. In an era where DDP is trying to get rid of anything associated with Chinese language, I am worried that my son's Chinese will become extremely poor. I know that you are very good at developing your kid's language skill, can you tell me, from now to the time that my son starts elementary school, the appropriate reading materials at the various learning stages? Thank you! A father who worries that his son will forget his root."

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