Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Pool by William Somerset Maugham - Review

The story 'The Pool" written by famous British writer William Somerset Maugham is about love. The main character, Scottish mam Mr. Lawson lived on the island Samoe. The island is located in the Pacific ocean close to Australia.

The author used the method of narration from the first side for the beginning and end of the story. The main part, the story of love Mr. Lawson with the girl Ethel was written from the first side. Ethel was a daughter of a native woman and a man from Holland. The author called her and people who had mixture parents - half-caste.

The plot of the narration took place on the island Samoe, in Scotland and on Samoe again. It is a very touching story about unhappy love, differences between cultures, human weaknesses and prejudices. 

Maugham's stories are highlighted by a very rich style, clear message- the main idea and the plot is really captivating. 

Here is the link to the text of the story:

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Review: The District Doctor by Ivan Turgenev

The short story “The District Doctor” by Ivan Turgenev belongs to the genre of narrative. The author caught a cold and invited the district physician to his hotel. After some medical procedures were completed, the main characters had a frank conversation during which the district doctor told the story of his life.

The author said "I am going to impart his narrative to the indulgent reader. I shall endeavour to express myself in the physician's words". Ivan Turgenev is a classical Russian writer, his works are studied in schools. One reason for such success is the ability of the author to use the language of simple people. The translation text from Russian to English can't display all the nuances of this folklore.  

The story is very touching, it is a love story without a happy ending. The feelings of people, their thoughts and actions, all of them are very authentic. The slice-of-life narration style conveys perfectly the atmosphere of place and time, where and when the story took place.

Here is the link to the text of the story:

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Review: ​Two Friends by Guy de Maupassant

Two Friends by Guy de Maupassant is a touching story about two French fishermen who make an attempt to come back to their hobby (catching fish) during the war with Prussia.

Two main characters indulge in nostalgic memories about the peaceful life they had before the war. The story represents the best qualities of two friends: they are honest, sincere and love their fatherland. The story is realistic and tragic, without a happy ending.

Here is the link to the text of the story (page 24 in the file):

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Movie review: Barry Lyndon by Stanley Kubrick

The movie "Barry Lyndon" by Stanley Kubrick represents a genre of epic historical costume drama surrounding Europe in the 18th century. The plot is based on a free interpretation of the novel written by a classic author of British literature, William Makepeace Thackeray.

The movie starts with the scene of a duel where Barry's father is killed. At the beginning of the movie, a young Irishman, Barry Lyndon, falls in love with his cousin. He was shy and honest. With youthful confidence, he defers his honor calling for a duel with a captain of the British army who made efforts to establish a romantic relationship with Barry's girl. They had the duel after which Lyndon had to leave his homeplace.

Barry Lyndon experienced many adventures during his life. He was robbed, served in the army as a simple soldier along with lower-class people. He was a hero during the war in Europe, a wastrel in high society, a gambler, husband and father. The plot is really interesting as it captures the attention of the viewers, as Kubrick portrays the time and lives of these people in a realistic manner. He is able to capture the emotions and complexities of the time.

Stanley Kubrick very cleverly makes use of the paintings of that period as a reference for both costume and make up for the characters in the film. He is also able to encapsulate the trails and tribulations of the time period.

This movie is less famous than other Kubrick's works like “The Shining” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”, but it should definitely be classified as a masterpiece. It is highly recommended to watch.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Ant and the Grasshopper by William Somerset Maugham Review

William Somerset Maugham began the short story "The Ant and the Grasshopper" by using the same name in the fable of La Fontaine. According to this fable, the ant worked hard during the summer preparing shelter and food for the winter. The grasshopper, however, was singing the whole summer and when the winter came, he asked the ant for food, to which the ant answered: "You sang. Why, then go and dance."

The author described in the story the life of two brothers: George and Tom. Tom was a careless person. He spent his life at parties and gambling, borrowed money without aim to return it. Society did not approve of his lifestyle. Though he was forty–six he looked as young as thirty–five. George was only a year older than his carefree brother and he looked sixty. He always did what was to be done, worked hard, saved money for his retirement.

What happened in the story and the author's opinion about the moral of the fable in real circumstances ... readers will know about it after reading this funny short story.

Here is the link to the text of the story:

Saturday, June 8, 2019

​Airport by Pauline Kaldas Review

The short story "Airport" by Pauline Kaldas described the time before the meeting of two people who were going to marry but they had never met before.

The first character, the young man Samir, went to an American airport to meet his fiancé who flew in from Egypt. A few years ago Samir came to the USA after he won a green card lottery. The second character, Hoda, was a girl who planned her future life in the US.

Thanks to the writer's skill readers can feel the atmosphere of expectation of uncertainty in the story. The main characters focused on their thoughts, doubts and they see life around them as a parallel reality. Let's look at the first paragraph as an example:

"He paced the airport waiting room, his steps marking a path in the carpet between the rows of seats. At first those sitting down looked up at this man who could not hold his feet still like the rest of them and curb his agitation. After a while, some returned to their own thoughts or families. A few kept their gaze on his coming and going, perhaps to ease their own turmoil. Even after he left, a few repeated his path with their eyes as if permanently held by the ghost of his movement."

The story is short. It doesn't have an outcome. The readers know that these two people are ready to overcome possible difficulties. The main characters suffered being alone at the beginning of the narration but they had a hope to find their happiness. The happy ending wasn't described by the author but it likely will come.

This a link for pdf-file where the text of the story can be found on page 116:

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Sunday Along The Moscow River, Russia (June the 2st, 2019)

The photos below were taken on June 2, 2019 along The Moscow River in the part of the city which is located close to the centre of Moscow.

This is the view of The Moscow River from the Vorobyevskaya Embankment. The skyscrapers of the Moscow-city district are behind the trees.

These fountains are especially popular during hot days. Children and adults like running inside this structure and play with water.

This is the view from the Park Museon toward Moscow Kremlin. One tower of Kremlin is slightly visible far ahead. The tremendously big sculpture on the right represents the most respectable Russian Tsar Peter the Great.

This day in Gorky Park was the “Arena of Heroes” competition. The brave girl, Katerina, is on the way to a successful finish. The crowd around endorsed her by applauding.

Riding on bicycles has become a very popular activity in Moscow.

This picture represents the beauty of the city’s landschaft. People enjoy walking along the river.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Possibility of Evil by Shirley Jackson Review

The short story "The Possibility of Evil" by Shirley Jackson takes place in a small town in the USA, where all people have known each other for many years. The welcoming phrase "how are you" is a real question for them. It seems that each citizen wants to help others.

The main character, the old lady, Miss Adela Strangeworth, has lived in the town since it was founded. She likes roses in her garden and displays a nice attitude toward her neighbors. What happens next? Shirley Jackson is a master of unexpected endings. Readers may know the plot and appreciate the moral of the story after reading. The intrigue of the ending is kept up to the end of the story.

This is the link to the text of the story:

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry Review

"The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry is a funny story about two unlucky guys who decided to get a ransom by kidnapping a boy. The boy was a naughty teenager who behaved like a monster.

After a few days, the kidnappers were ready to lower their ransom demand. It soon became clear that nobody wanted the boy to return home. Finally, the gangsters returned the boy to his father along with all the money that was paid to them.

O'Henry chose to have the main character narrate the story. The main character recalled this story and told it for the strangers, surprising the audience with funny comments. This story represented an excellent sense of humor of the author combining with a definite moral message, which made reading enjoyable and deductive.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Escape by William Somerset Maugham Review

The short story The Escape by William Somerset Maugham is written in humorist style. If the author wanted to display the plot directly, the story would be named The Escape From Marriage For a Man.

In fact, the method for canceling marriage proposal which Maugham suggested is more universal. He made a routine process of putting off the wedding. The story is short and funny.

Here is the link to the text of the story:

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Embroidery by Ray Bradbury Review

The story "Embroidery" by Ray Bradbury is very short in length. The plot of the story takes place within a period of ten minutes. For these ten minutes the main characters, three women are preparing embroidered patterns.

The author describes one of their works which includes: a flower, man, road, sun and a house; every detail is depicted carefully. It is a beautiful scene with one flaw in it: the man standing on the road had something wrong with his face.

The lady who created this pattern cried, she wanted to create an ideal picture. The author wrote that she "began to pick away at the thread with her little deft scissors flashing. The pattern came out thread by thread. She pulled and yanked, almost viciously. The man's face was gone. She continued to seize at the threads... The man was gone from the road. She had taken him out entirely."

The plot also describes the thoughts of the ladies who are thinking about everyday household chores. They recall these chores with nostalgic feelings because it is in the past and they know that it will never happen again.

Ray Bradbury writes about the end of the world for these people and he makes comparisons with the final actions of the characters of the story. Some readers have associated the story with the Matrix where each world is part of another world. The attitude of the people towards their destiny is the next subject which is described in the story.

The author leaves open questions about the main idea of the story. This is a topic for discussion after reader has read the story.

Here is the link to the text of the story (page 136 in the pdf-file):

Sunday, May 5, 2019

A Few Days In Belgium And Around

We took this trip at the beginning of May 2019. We found a nice place to stay in Brussels. We booked it on Airbnb in five months in advance. The location was very convenient because it is exactly in the center of old Brussels;  The price was very reasonable.

The Arrival Day

From our apartments, the old Brussels can be reached quickly. The Grand Place can be reached by walking for five minutes. It is one of the most beautiful medieval squares in Europe. Each building here has its own name. Each palace was built in a different style. The photo below shows two of them.

Day One

The price of a ticket for the train is quite high but there are ways to make the journey cheaper. In our case, we had three full days. We bought tickets for ten rides for 86 Euros. Passengers have to write down the date and destination for each person for each ticket. It is possible to get of the train and get on again to continue the journey.  Our plan for the first day was to visit two prominent cities: Gent a Bruges.

The large parking place for bicycles was the first thing we saw in Gent.

The city is a paradise for bikers, there are special bicycle lanes. Gent has a few universities so there are many young people on the streets.

The city is remarkable because of its many medieval buildings, cathedrals, castles, and canals. This day was foggy and partly rainy.

Gent for many tourists is city on the way to the most visited by tourists place- Bruges.

The weather in Bruges changes often during the day. We were impressed by the number of beautiful streets and canals, they were decorated with green trees and colorful flowers.

The crowds of visitors were in only in a few central streets. The picture below shows a place full of tourists.

There are also many empty areas without tourists. They are very picturesque, we took lots of great photos there.

There are many pedestrian zones in the city.

The old buildings, water, greenery, flowers, bridges, calm streets create a fabulous atmosphere.

Bruges is photographer's paradise.

Day Two

We did some researches on the Internet before the tour. The French city of Lille is located relatively close to Brussels. There is less convenient way to reach Lille which cheaper than the train: you can take Flixbus. The price of one ticket is only 5 Euros. It takes 1.5 hours and we decided to visit this city.

The impressions were not as vivid as we had in Bruges. Lille is not a touristic place. The streets are full of cars. That’s why we couldn’t take many photos. We had to take pictures above cars pointing our cameras to the top of the buildings.

When we came back to Brussels, we had the evening to see the capital city of the European Union. The picture below shows the building of the Euro Parliament.

From the business area where the Euro Parliament is located, we rode the Metro. The Metro is very aesthetic, it wasn’t very impressive.

Day Three

This day was dedicated to exploring Belgium province. It was a Saturday, the day when weekend tickets are available, their cost is half of the usual price. We bought the tickets to Dinant.

Dinant is located on the south in a French-speaking part of Belgium. The city is considered as a hometown for the saxophone. The inventor of this instrument,  Adolphe Sax, was born in Dinant in 1814. The signs of it are everywhere.

Dinant is also frequently visited by tourists. The hills of the Ardennes and the Meuse River, old streets, forest - all together create a wonderful background for the fans of Instagram.

It was a cold day. Visiting a  cafe "Tea Room" to try the traditional Belgian waffles was a good idea, so we tried it with chocolate and with caramel. It was delicious.

On the way back to Brussels we thought about having a stop in one of beautiful villages.  We chose Lustin and it was a great choice.

We crossed the bridge and took pictures of wonderful landscapes here.   


The foam on the water added a more white color to the scenery of the picture.

Namur was the last city which we visited this day. We didn't have much time there. The city is quite pretty as other Belgium cities which we visited.

Belgium is a very interesting country for tourists. Many cultures have been living here together for centuries. Belgium provinces and countrysides are underestimated for tourists because many visitors stay in the top cities and don't know much about other places.

Belgium is a nice place to be!