lunes, 22 de diciembre de 2014

Bespoke libraries

This might be useful to lottery winners.
Suppose you want to have a full-blown library at home, as in many novels and films. How would you go about it? You might want to hire the services of professionals like Heywood Hill of London. Owned by the Duke of Devonshire, it has become a leading purveyor of bespoke (that is, customised) libraries and is the object of a recent piece by The Economist.
'The first major commission, in 2013, was a collection of books on 20th-century Modernist art and design for a chalet in Switzerland. The 3,000-volume library took four months to put together and three days to install at a cost of just under £500,000 ($788,000).'
Click here to read more.

Another option is bookseller and curator Thatcher Wine from Boulder, Colorado. CBS ran this segment about his work last summer.

Finally, a bonus: watch this nice video about libraries that someone took the trouble to put together.

jueves, 18 de diciembre de 2014

Jane Austen in quotes: 30 tips for a successful life

Undoubtedly Jane Austen is one of the best loved authors in Britain, whose influence lives on and whose ideas are still a beacon for the generations. Tuesday marked the 239Th anniversary of her birth and became the first ever Jane Austen's Day. To mark the historic ocasion, some of the best quotes from the author and her characters were pusblished for our benefit, on the conviction they are amazingly relevant to modern life,
Consider these:
Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of luck,
One cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty
The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid
I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.
Is the relevance amazing? Read them all and consider yourself.

sábado, 29 de noviembre de 2014

Raten Sie mit beim Adventskalender-Gewinnspiel!

Das Jahr 2015 steht vor der Tür und mit ihm viele große Geburtstage. Wir fragen nach 24 berühmten Personen, die im kommenden Jahr Jubiläum feiern. Rätseln Sie mit und gewinnen Sie einen von vielen schönen Preisen.
nuerm wmarkt21 Weihnachtsmärkte: die beliebtesten und größten in Deutschland
Der Nünberger Christkindlesmarkt

viernes, 21 de noviembre de 2014

Hardcore Grimm brothers' fairytales

A new edition of the Grimm brothers' tales shows that the original versions were a good deal more gruesome than the ones we know (further sweetened by the Disney factory). Between 1812 and 1857 the brothers published several editions in which they softened the stories and made them more child-friendly.

According to Jack Zipes, author of this new edition, "Though the Grimms kept about 100 of the tales from the first edition, they changed them a good deal. So, the versions with which most English-speaking (and German-speaking) readers are familiar are quite different from the tales in the first edition."

In 'How the Children Played at Slaughtering', for example, a group of children play at being a butcher and a pig. It ends badly: a boy cuts the throat of his little brother, only to be stabbed in the heart by his enraged mother. Unfortunately, the stabbing meant she left her other child alone in the bath, where he drowned. Unable to be cheered up by the neighbours, she hangs herself; when her husband gets home, “he became so despondent that he died soon thereafter”. 

To learn more juicy details about Rapunzel, the evil queen in Snow White or Cinderella read this article.

viernes, 14 de noviembre de 2014

Bad Sex (Literary) Awards

OK, this entry is a bit steamy.

Britain's most dreaded literary prize, the Bad Sex Literary Award in Fiction,  seeks 'to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction, and to discourage them.'  The fiction in question is not erotic but 'serious' literature. Now in its 22nd edition, this year's shortlist includes heavyweight authors like Haruki Murakami, and Booker or Pulitzer winners.

To learn more read this article describing the whole thing.

You can also visit the Literary Review. There's a funny video about the selection process.

The Bad Sex Award is one among other weird literary prizes.

martes, 4 de noviembre de 2014

25 Jahre Fall der Mauer

Der Song "Wind Of Change" von Scorpions prägte eine Generation. 
Er gilt als Hymne der Wende. 

  • I follow the Moskva 
And down to Gorky Park
Listening to the wind of change

An August summer night
Soldiers passing by
Listening to the wind of change

The world is closing in
And did you ever think
That we could be so close, like brothers

The future's in the air
I can feel it everywhere
Blowing with the wind of change

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
In the wind of change

Walking down the street
And distant memories
Are buried in the past forever

I follow the Moskva
And down to Gorky Park
Listening to the wind of change

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow share their dreams
With you and me

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
In the wind of change

The wind of change blows straight
Into the face of time
Like a storm wind that will ring
The freedom bell for peace of mind
Let your balalaika sing
What my guitar wants to say

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow share their dreams
With you and me

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
In the wind of change

viernes, 31 de octubre de 2014

A Harry Potter Halloween tale

Fans of Harry Potter rejoice! J K Rowling has released a Halloween treat, the story of the very mean Dolores Umbridge. You can read it in (registration is free) or by clicking on this link.

Happy Halloween!

miércoles, 29 de octubre de 2014

Top 10 vampire books

Nosferatu, 1922

Now that Halloween is coming it's a good time to talk about the most popular monsters in popular culture. How many novels about vampires have you read? What about movies, or even TV series you have seen? Take a look at this top-ten list published in The Guardian: just two of the novels were published in the XXIst century, the rest are venerable XIXth century classics. Don't expect any good-looking teenagers!

Bonus.- Not into vampires? Read this terrifying Twitter tale.

sábado, 11 de octubre de 2014

"The Cut" von Fatih Akin

Mardin, 1915: Eines Nachts treibt die türkische Gendarmerie alle armenischen Männer zusammen. Auch der junge Schmied Nazaret Manoogian wird von seiner Familie getrennt. Nachdem es ihm gelingt, den Horror des Völkermordes zu überleben, erreicht ihn Jahre später die Nachricht, dass auch seine Zwillingstöchter am Leben sind. Besessen von dem Gedanken, sie wiederzufinden, folgt er ihren Spuren. Sie führen ihn von den Wüsten Mesopotamiens über Havanna bis in die kargen, einsamen Prärien North Dakotas. Auf seiner Odyssee begegnet er den unterschiedlichsten Menschen: engelsgleichen und gütigen Charakteren, aber auch dem Teufel in Menschengestalt.
Obwohl der Film die Welt vor 100 Jahren beschreibt, ist er brandaktuell, denn er erzählt von Krieg und Vertreibung. Aber auch von der Kraft der Liebe und der Hoffnung, die uns Unvorstellbares leisten lässt.

Kinostart: 16.10.2014 

viernes, 10 de octubre de 2014

Gone Girl

Gone Girl, the major Hollywood movie based on Gillian Flynn's 2012 novel, opens in Spain today. The film, directed by David Fincher (Seven, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) has received mostly good reviews. The novel, which was #1 of the prestigious New York Times Bestsellers list for 8 weeks, is an excellent piece of entertainment, a real page-turner. Nick and Amy Dunne seem like the perfect couple, but then Amy disappears and there's a lot of incriminating evidence against Nick. Did he kill his wife?

Interestingly, the film release has sparked some controversy on whether Amy is a feminist or the story can provoke a misogynistic reaction. To learn more read this piece in The Guardian (spolier alert: the whole plot is outlined). It has a curious word that you will probably never use, 'mansplain', whose meaning is explained here. There's also a reference to Amy's 'Cool Girl' diatribe, which you can read here.

Gone Girl was in our recommended readings list last year and is available at our library.

jueves, 2 de octubre de 2014

National Poetry Day

2nd October was National Poetry Day in Britain. The Guardian celebrated by publishing videos of readers reciting poems they know by heart. Follow this link to check them out.

domingo, 22 de junio de 2014

¡Feliz verano, lectores!

Un año más ha llegado el verano. Os deseamos un feliz  merecido descanso estival. ¡No perdáis el contacto con el idioma (con un libro, por ejemplo)!

jueves, 27 de marzo de 2014


Read and produced by one of our amazing students.


Read by Mafalda, one of our fabulous students


According to an interview, this is what Miguel Ruiz says about the four agreements:

“This book reveals the source of beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, it offers a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to some new experiences of freedom, true happiness and love”.

It doesn’t matter what language or what religion people have, this book is a universal one.


“We can say that whatever we want to change, first we need to start with ourselves. We cannot give what we don’t have. To be impeccable with the word is much more than just doing. What you say, you will do.

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love”.


“Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering”.

Agreement third: “DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS”

“Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can, to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With only this agreement, you can really completely transform your life”.

Agreement fourth: “ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST”

“This is my favourite one, definitely, because the first three exist only in our imagination, in our mind, but with the action we make it real. It’s no longer in the mind. We have so many ideas. But if we don’t take the action, those ideas will just dissipate. But if we take the action, we really create it and we can share it with everyone.

Your best is going to change from moment you want. Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid to judge yourself and regret”.


Read by one of our wonderful students.

sábado, 22 de marzo de 2014

Four whimsical short stories from Alexander @McCallSmith

The third edition of the Twitter Fiction Festival was held 12-16 March. What does literature look like on Twitter? Here's a sample by dear Alexander McCall Smith, author of the international phenomenon the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

To explore more fiction created in the 2014 festival, follow this link.

jueves, 20 de marzo de 2014

On Poetry Day, a Spring poem


I’m in the house.
It’s nice out: warm
sun on cold snow.
First day of   spring
or last of   winter.
My legs run down
the stairs and out
the door, my top
half   here typing

viernes, 7 de marzo de 2014

The World Wide Web at 25: Changing literature forever

The BBC recently published an article on the influence of internet on literature. The author argues that the World Wide Web has brought about a radical revolution in literature’s form and content – from e-books to Twitter fiction. Initially the internet appears in literature as science fiction, then science fact, curiously in the context of a dystopian society (in the style of Orwel's 1984). The article then focuses on the new literary forms brought about by Tweeter, with micro and flash fiction. There's even a Tweeter Fiction Festival soon to be held.
"These writers see an online world that is dizzyingly complicated, but they may actually be making it even more so. Who knows how mysterious things will get as we follow them down the rabbit hole."
 This link will take you to the article.

lunes, 17 de febrero de 2014

Assassinat à L’école de Langues

                                               Assassinat à L’école de Langues

Petite nouvelle policière réalisée par les élèves de 5ème et 6ème années de l’école de Langues de Huesca en 2013, avec l’aide du professeur Mr Candie Gilles:

Belén Ancho, Marta Bornaechea, Ana Fuertes, Pilar Garanto, Ana Lacambra, Rafael Mosteo, Zhara Noghani, Elena Ubieto

Note apparue dans le journal le lendemain des faits :
« Hier, lundi matin, la concierge de l’école des Langues de Huesca, a trouvé le corps sans vie du professeur d’italien. Celui-ci était allongé sur le sol de la bibliothèque. Il  avait plusieurs coups de poignards dans la poitrine. Ce professeur venait tout juste de s’incorporer à son poste de travail il y a 3 mois, car il était en congé maladie pour dépression. D’après ce que nous avons pu savoir, il ne s’entendait pas bien du tout avec les autres professeurs, surtout avec son collègue, l’autre enseignant d’italien.
Nous vous tiendrons bien sûr au courant etc…. »

L’inspectrice chargée de cette enquête s’appelait Sarah et elle venait d’arriver sur les lieux du crime. Habillée avec l’uniforme de police, tout en noir, et avec de grandes bottes. De longs et blonds tire-bouchons sortent de sous la casquette. Elle a un beau visage rond, très impressionnant à cause de ses yeux bleus-clairs, presque transparents, et de son apparence très « nordique ».
L’air sérieux, elle parle avec fermeté, lentement en vocalisant bien. Elle connait son boulot parfaitement car elle a travaillé pendant dix ans au département comme spécialiste dans la recherche de criminels.
A 8h du matin, Sarah arrive sur les lieux du crime après avoir reçu le coup de fil de la concierge de l’école de Langues. Elle va directement à la bibliothèque pour observer les éventuelles pistes. Le corps qui gisait sur le dos, avec quinze coups de poignard, avait la bouche ouverte et laissait voir la langue à demi arrachée ou coupée. La flaque de sang inondait un livre fermé à côté du corps où se trouvait aussi un mégot de cigarette.
Alors, elle décide de commencer l’interrogatoire avec la concierge Margarita, qui a trouvé le corps.

À première vue, Margarita, droite comme un « i », est une femme maigre et petite, ses cheveux frisés grisonnent et sont déjà désordonnés, elle a de grands yeux noirs, inquiétants. De plus elle a vraiment mauvaise mine ! Elle semble très timide et bien incapable de prendre une décision, cependant, elle est très rigoureuse dans son travail, elle est toujours la première à arriver et la dernière à partir. Elle a plus ou moins la soixantaine et fume beaucoup.

L’interrogatoire :
Sarah : « vous êtes bien la personne qui a trouvé la victime ? »
La concierge : « Oui, ce matin comme tous les matins, j’étais en train d’ouvrir les salles et en entrant dans la bibliothèque j’ai trouvé le corps du professeur allongé face à terre. Quelle horreur ! Quelle catastrophe ! »

viernes, 14 de febrero de 2014


Augen, in denen sich die Unendlichkeit spiegelt,
wunderschön und rätselhaft.

ein Mund, wissend und doch geheimnisvoll lächelnd,
Sehnsüchte weckend.

eine Stimme, vertraut und voll Wärme,
die Seele berührend.

ein Gesicht, schön wie ein Sonnenaufgang am Meer,
strahlend und sanft.

anmutige Bewegung, bezaubernder Duft,
die Sinne betörend.

zwei Buchstaben nur, Symbol für eine ganze Welt,
wie das Alpha und das Omega.

nah und vertraut, unendlich fern,
Sterne berührend.

Für immer in meinem Herzen.

Raina Jeschke, 2006

Jacques Brel, La chanson des vieux amants

L’une des plus belles chansons d’amour de tous les temps

Bien sûr, nous eûmes des orages
Vingt ans d'amour, c'est l'amour fol
Mille fois tu pris ton bagage
Mille fois je pris mon envol
Et chaque meuble se souvient
Dans cette chambre sans berceau
Des éclats des vieilles tempêtes
Plus rien ne ressemblait à rien
Tu avais perdu le goût de l'eau
Et moi celui de la conquête

Mais mon amour
Mon doux mon tendre mon merveilleux amour
De l'aube claire jusqu'à la fin du jour
Je t'aime encore tu sais je t'aime

Moi, je sais tous tes sortilèges
Tu sais tous mes envoûtements
Tu m'as gardé de pièges en pièges
Je t'ai perdue de temps en temps
Bien sûr tu pris quelques amants
Il fallait bien passer le temps
Il faut bien que le corps exulte
Finalement finalement
Il nous fallut bien du talent
Pour être vieux sans être adultes

Oh, mon amour
Mon doux mon tendre mon merveilleux amour
De l'aube claire jusqu'à la fin du jour
Je t'aime encore, tu sais, je t'aime

Et plus le temps nous fait cortège
Et plus le temps nous fait tourment
Mais n'est-ce pas le pire piège
Que vivre en paix pour des amants
Bien sûr tu pleures un peu moins tôt
Je me déchire un peu plus tard
Nous protégeons moins nos mystères
On laisse moins faire le hasard
On se méfie du fil de l'eau
Mais c'est toujours la tendre guerre

Oh, mon amour...
Mon doux mon tendre mon merveilleux amour
De l'aube claire jusqu'à la fin du jour
Je t'aime encore tu sais je t'aime.

A kiss on the forehead

A kiss on the forehead—erases misery.
I kiss your forehead.

A kiss on the eyes—lifts sleeplessness.
I kiss your eyes.

A kiss on the lips—is a drink of water.
I kiss your lips.

A kiss on the forehead—erases memory.

Marina Tsvetaeva 

domingo, 9 de febrero de 2014

Die 64. Berlinale

Es ist wieder soweit, man kann in Berlin rund um die Uhr Filme gucken. 

Berlinale 2014 Plakate Potsdamer Platz

Wenn Sie sich informieren möchten, klicken Sie einfach:

martes, 4 de febrero de 2014

A horror story

The Inmans had a parrot. Grump (that was his name) was horrible, angry, scheming and nasty. But he was their parrot so they couldn't shoot him. Instead he lived in their house, soiled their mail, stole their fried chicken and every so often bit. Then, finally, he died.

Sort of.

lunes, 27 de enero de 2014

Holocaust-Gedenktag - 69 Jahre nach Auschwitz

Gemeinsam mit mehr als 20 hochbetagten Holocaust-Überlebenden gedachten Mitglieder der israelischen Regierung in Auschwitz der sechs Millionen Opfer des Holocausts. Soldaten der Roten Armee hatten das Konzentrationslager am 27. Januar 1945 befreit.


You might think the rise of e-books will put the printed book in danger of extinction, but you would be wrong. There's no reason to worry, as a couple of studies have recently found.

According to an American survey, 'Most people who read e-books also read print books, and just 4% of readers are “e-book only.” Overall, 89% of those who had read an e-book had also read a book in print.' (Read the article).

This echoes another British study, accoding to which, perhaps surprisingly, 62% of 16 to 24-year-olds prefer traditional books over their digital equivalents. The top-rated reasons for preferring physical to digital products were: "I like to hold the product" (51%), "I am not restricted to a particular device" (20%), "I can easily share it" (10%), "I like the packaging" (9%), and "I can sell it when used" (6%). (Read the article).

DRM: Digital Rights Management
The “’real books’ vs. ebooks’” debate has been around for years, of course. And, unlike other types of media, there are good reasons to prefer the old medium. Paper books don’t need electricity. You can resell them or give them away without sparking a battle over copyright infringement. They can suffer a coffee spill without completely crapping out. It is impossible to get distracted by pop-up emails and other apps. Paper books can’t disappear from your library due to company policy, technical malfunction, or technology obsolescence. And no matter how handy an ebook is, its intangible nature strips its ability to evoke the sentimental memories a dingy, dog-eared paperback can elicit. (Read more)
I'm a happy user of an e-book reader. I find it very useful and convenient. It's light and easy to hold when I read lying on my bed. It's also easy to carry on holiday or to a doctor's appointment. The books are cheaper and there are loads of classic works in the public domain, if you care to read them. I no longer need storage space in my cluttered bookcases. Having said that, I enjoy getting a printed book for my birthday. So, this is my experience. How about yours? Feel free to leave a comment.

For a wider perspective, have a look at these infograms on the business side of the issue.

lunes, 20 de enero de 2014

Amiri Baraka, 1934-2014

Poet and political activist Amiri Baraka died earlier this month at 79. Mr Baraka was a founder of the black arts movement in the 1960s, in the context of the Civil Rights Movement.
Baraka "adopted a confrontational style for his poetry, drama, fiction and essays. With intent to create awareness about the concerns of African-Americans, his writings ... on one hand have been praised as a voice against oppression, on the other hand, have also incited controversies." (CNN)
His poem Somebody Blew Up America, about the 9/11 attack, was controversial indeed and cost him his position as New Jersey's poet laureate. (Read and listen more on this story)

Amiri Baraka gave a reading of his poetry in Huesca in 2009.

For more information, read this New York Times article.

More poems by Amiri Baraka.

miércoles, 15 de enero de 2014

Praise for female readers

What do men look for in women? Some (many?) are attracted by looks, others by intellect, as explains today's poem by a teacher who beat a student at a rap contest. For more info, visit 

So, what do you go for in a girl?”
He crows, lifting a lager to his lips
Gestures where his mate sits
Downs his glass
“He prefers tits
I prefer ass.
What do you go for in a girl?”

I don’t feel comfortable
The air left the room a long time ago
All eyes are on me
Well, if you must know

I want a girl who reads
Yeah. Reads.
I’m not trying to call you a chauvinist
Cos I know you’re not alone in this

I want a girl who reads
Who needs the written word
& uses the added vocabulary
She gleans from novels and poetry
To hold lively conversation
In a range of social situations

I want a girl who reads
Who’s heart bleeds at the words of Graham Greene
Or even Heat magazine
Who’ll tie back her hair while reading Jane Eyre
and goes cover to cover with each waterstones three for two offer
but I want a girl who doesn’t stop there

I want a girl who reads
Who feeds her addiction for fiction
With unusual poems and plays
That she hunts out in crooked bookshops for days and days and days
She’ll sit addicted at breakfast, soaking up the back of the cornflakes box
And the information she gets from what she reads makes her a total fox
Cos she’s interesting & unique
& her theories make me go weak at the knees

I want a girl who reads
A girl who’s eyes will analyse
The menu over dinner
Who’ll use what she learns to kick my ass in arguments
so she always ends the winner
But she’ll still be sweet and she’ll still be flirty
Cos she loves the classics and the classics are dirty
So late at night she’d always have me in a stupor
As she paraphrases the raunchier moments from the works of Jilly Cooper

See, some guys prefer asses
Some prefer tits
And I’m not saying that I don’t like those bits
But what’s more important
What supersedes
Is a girl a with passion, wit and dreams
So I’d like a girl who reads.