Sunday, November 22, 2020

Knock by Fredric Brown -- Review

The short story "Knock" by American science fiction and mystery writer Fredric Brown starts with a description of "a sweet little horror story that is only two sentences long." 

"The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door..."

This is how the story ends, with one exception, the last person knows who is behind the door, and this person is not the last... Maybe this knock on the door will save doomed humanity.

This is a link to the text of the story:

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Pétur by Olivia Clare --- Review

The story "Pétur" by Olivia Clare tells about a woman who traveled with her middle-aged son to Iceland.

It was her dream to see her former husband's country. The story starts with the sentence "Ash fell from the wind" which was a volcanic eruption. The author described what people saw and felt during those days. 

Olivia Clare combined it with the mood of the main characters and their attitude toward each other. They belong to one family but they are completely different. 

The author created a great picture of the atmosphere in the countryside in Iceland, it shows how people adapted to severe nature.


Here is the link to the text of the story:

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Before the Party by W. Somerset Maugham -- Review

The central theme of the story is how a respectable wealthy British family is trying to maintain their appearances and how their appearances can be deceiving.

Millicent, a middle-aged woman, who returned from Borneo after the death of her husband, Harold had hidden something.

Maugham gave a long introduction which prepared readers for what happened next. It was a beautiful summer day and the family planned to attend the party. It is far away from the jungles of Borneo, but the past events brought darkness to the home life of the family.

If the truth is not pleasant, nobody wants to know it. The story is clever and deductive.

This is the link to the text of the story;

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Discussion about English Grammar

Here are some mistakes which were made in the test for English Grammar. This is what we discussed with an English native speaker. The text which is crossed out is how it was answered initially. The text in bold is the right answer according to the creator of the test.  The text in brackets shows the comments during the discussion). 

I normally live in London but this year ___________ in Tallinn.

I live

I'm living (Because it’s a continuous action. For example I live in Moscow but: Now I’m living in Moscow.)

I do live

I would have


Your leg looks bad – you_________see a doctor.


should go (it is more appropriate in spoken English)


ought to (it is also possible to use but it is more formal)

They asked her who_____________.

is she

she is 

was she

she was (Because the action is in the past, the description of the action needs to be in the past)

I wish I____________a dog when I was young.


have had

had had (This is an unreal situation and it is completed in the past. But some English speakers think that the phrase “had had” sounds not natural).


Saturday, October 31, 2020

By the Waters of Babylon by Stephen Vincent Benét -- Review

"By the Waters of Babylon" is a post-apocalyptic short story by American writer Stephen Vincent Benét. It takes place in the territory of the USA and New York City. 

The narrator of the story is a young man who explores the world around him. People live in tribes and they do for a living what ancient people did in the distant past (hunting, gathering plants, etc.). The main character also sees the signs of the apocalypse that mankind will face in the future.

This mixture of past and future is what differentiates the story from others and makes it memorable.

This is a link to the text of the story:

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Prometheus -- Retold by Bernard Evslin -- Review

According to the ancient Greek myth, Prometheus brought fire to man. He did it without permission from the main god, Zeus, and he was punished for it. 

Zeus expressed an interesting conclusion during a discussion about fire and happiness:  

Do you not know, Prometheus, that every gift brings a penalty? ... Man does not have fire, true, nor the crafts which fire teaches. On the other hand, he does not know disease, warfare, old age, or that inward pest called worry. He is happy, I say, happy without fire. And so he shall remain.

This dilemma stays true for nowadays regarding technical progress for example. People take advantage of it and they are paying for it by losing natural life. 

Here is the link to the text of the story:

Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Man from Glasgow by Somerset Maugham -- Review

The story is written in a mystical genre.  This is not a typical genre for Somerset Maugham. The author finishes the story mysteriously, spectacularly. It could scare readers.

The narrator meets the main character in a hotel. He lives in a Spanish town and he experiences something frightening.  

Here is the link to the text of the story: