Books

Selected Poems by Oscar Wilde.

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Title: Selected Poems.
Author: Oscar Wilde.
Genre: Poetry.
Country: Ireland.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1876, 1881, (this collection 1996).
Summary: A collection of 40 poems (1 being an excerpt). Hélas (1881) presents a passionate artistic soul who connects with the tantalising music of the lute, exploring the conflicts of the artistic and the austere. In Sonnet to Liberty (1881), the poet acknowledges that while politics and the people who are into them weary him, he appreciates the passion and importance of the cause. In Theoretikos (1881), the author claims that the people have lost their freedom of thought, and wishes to be free of their influence. Requiescat (1881) describes the sorrow felt over the passing and burial of a young woman. San Miniato (1876) is the author's homage to the Italian painter and Dominican friar Fra Angelico. In Sonnet (On hearing the Dier Iræ sung in the Sistine Chapel) (1881), the poet emphasizes that love and beauty of nature is a much more efficient way to get people to love God than with fear-mongering of hell and damnation (which is the gist in the hymn).

My rating: /10.
My review:

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Books

You should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann (translated by Ross Benjamin).

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Title: You should Have Left.
Author: Daniel Kehlmann (translated by Ross Benjamin).
Genre: Fiction, novella, epistolary fiction, diary, writing, mystery, mental health.
Country: Germany.
Language: German.
Publication Date: 2016.
Summary: The novella is an eerie and supernatural tale of a writer's emotional collapse in a diary record of the seven days that he, his wife, and his four-year-old daughter spend in a house they have rented in the mountains of Germany—a house that thwarts the expectations of his recollection and seems to defy the very laws of physics. He is eager to finish a screenplay for a sequel to the movie that launched his career, but something he cannot explain is undermining his convictions and confidence, a process he is recording in this account of the uncanny events that unfold as he tries to understand what, exactly, is happening around him—and within him.

My rating: 7.5/10.
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Books

Russian Black Magic: The Beliefs and Practices of Heretics and Blasphemers by Natasha Helvin.

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Title: Russian Black Magic: The Beliefs and Practices of Heretics and Blasphemers.
Author: Natasha Helvin.
Genre: Non-fiction, occult, religion.
Country: U.S.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 2019.
Summary: Born in the USSR and descended from a matrilineal line of witches, the author offer a look into the secret practices of Russian post-Christian black magic. Drawing on personal experiences, she provides insight into the fundamental ideology of black magic practitioners, from the universal laws of magic to the principles of morality. Exploring the history of occult practices in Russia, particularly the profound effects of Christianity and the birth of a specifically anti-Christian but Christian-adjacent and Christian-blended branch of magic, the author explains cemetery magic, sacrifices, the creation of hell icons, places of power, and much more.

My rating: 4/10.
My review:

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Books

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan.

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Title: The Thirty-Nine Steps.
Author: John Buchan.
Genre: Literature, fiction, mystery, crime.
Country: Scotland.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1915.
Summary: The novel introduces the hero, Richard Hannay, who, despite claiming to be an "ordinary fellow", is caught up in the dramatic race against a plot to devastate the British war effort. Hannay is hunted across the Scottish moors by police and spy-ring alike, and must outwit his intelligent and pitiless enemy in the corridors of Whitehall and, finally, at the site of the mysterious thirty-nine steps.

My rating: 8/10
My review:

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Books

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss.

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Title: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
Author: Dr. Seuss.
Genre: Fiction, picture books, children's lit, poetry, humour.
Country: U.S.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1937.
Summary: A story about how a plain horse and wagon on Mulberry Street grows into a fantastic tale of a procession no one can beat!

My rating: 9.5/10.
My review:

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Books

The Educated Imagination by Northrop Frye.

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Title: The Educated Imagination.
Author: Northrop Frye.
Genre: Non-fiction, essays, lectures, literary criticism.
Country: Canada.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1962 (published 1964).
Summary: A book of 6 lectures. In The Motive for Metaphor, Frye attempts to answer such questions of literature as: What good is it? What is the social value? What is the place of the imagination that literature addresses itself to in the learning process? and Will we outgrow it?, as well as comparing the ways of literature and science. In The Singing School Frye talks about all literature being inspire by other literature, and examines the conventions on which Western literature and mythology are primarily built. In Giants in Time, Frye addresses the question of reality in literature, as well as the progressive element in its study and teaching. In The Keys to Dreamland, Frye looks at the roles of both writers and readers of literature, as well as speaking on where the inspiration for literature does, and doesn't, come from. In Verticals of Adam, Frye discusses the place of literature in education, and how to teach literature, especially to children. The Vocation of Eloquence is addressed to readers rather than writers, consumers of literature, and explains “what literature can do and what its uses are, apart from the pleasure it gives."

My rating: 8.5/10.
My review:

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Books

Animal Farm by George Orwell.

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Title: Animal Farm.
Author: George Orwell.
Genre: Fiction, plays.
Country: England.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1945.
Summary: Mr Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organized to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the ideals of the rebellion are corrupted, then forgotten. And something new, unexpected, and sinister emerges as they find out that while all animals are "equal", not all are equal in the same way...

My Rating: 8.5/10
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Books

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard.

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Title: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
Author: Tom Stoppard.
Genre: Fiction, plays.
Country: U.K.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1966.
Summary: The play which, as it were, takes place in the wings of Hamlet, and finds both humour and poignancy in the situation of the ill-fated attendant lords, caught up in and doomed by Hamlet's mania.

My Rating: 9/10
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Books

Superman: True Brit by John Cleese and Kim Howard Johnson, and John Byrne and Mark Farmer.

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Title: Superman: True Brit.
Author: John Cleese and Kim Howard Johnson.
Artist: John Byrne and Mark Farmer.
Genre: Graphic novels, fiction, super heroes, satire, parody.
Country: U.S.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 2004.
Summary: In this very British tale, the Last Son of Krypton's rocketship crash-lands in an English town even smaller than Smallville – Weston-super-Mare – where the infant Kal-El is taken in by adoptive parents – the Clarks – who raise their son Colin to hide his powers, because the worst thing anyone can do is stand out from the crowd. But when Colin grows up to become a mild-mannered reporter working for the Daily Smear, a powerful tabloid newspaper dedicated to uncovering the biggest story of the century, he finds that the key to his success may actually be to go public. What will the neighbours think? The story aims to poke fun at the apparent desire to conform embedded in the British psyche, as well as mocking the British tabloid press.

My rating: 6/10
My review:

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Books

The Essential Trudeau by Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

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Title: The Essential Trudeau.
Author: Pierre Elliot Trudeau (edited by Ron Graham).
Genre: Non-fiction, politics, speeches, interviews.
Country: Canada.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1998 (excerpts from 1960s, 1970, 1974, and 1990).
Summary: Trudeau has always opposed the dominant ideology and what passes for conventional wisdom. This was true when he spoke out against the oppressive rule of Maurice Duplessis in Quebec. It was true in his years in Ottawa, as justice minister and prime minister, when he introduced controversial measures ranging from wage-and-price controls and restrictions on foreign investment, to expanded rights for homosexuals. It has remained true in the years since his retirement, particularly when he has taken issue with the more provocative expressions of Quebec nationalism and with federal initiatives with as Meech Lake and the Charlottetown Accord. Now neo-conservative ideas have taken over. Virtually every level of government in Canada is competing with the others to reduce the role of the state and eliminate constraints on business. Less government has come to mean a smaller role especially for the federal government. And the increased powers taken on by the provinces are being used, increasingly, to substitute private interests for the public good. The Canada that promoted equality, justice, and opportunity for all is under sustained attack. Never has the need for a clear statement of classic liberal principles been greater. In this book, Ron Graham has brought together a selection of excerpts from Trudeau's writings, speeches, and interviews to make a highly reasonable, lucid, and compelling summary of Trudeau's political beliefs. To each chapter in this selection Trudeau has provided an introduction and to many of the excerpts he has added a new commentary.

My rating: 8/10.
My review:

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