Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Have a nice 2009

Click on the image below to see the full size photo.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

A Christmas Carol (animated film)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)

A man who hates Christmas is visited by three spirits who will show see Life in a different way.
Click on the image below to download the story.

Chapter Summaries copied from Bookrags

Chapter 1
Dickens begins his story by assuring his readers that Jacob Marley is, indeed, dead. He explains that without this assurance, the true miracle of the tale he is about to relate would not be fully understood. From there, he goes on to introduce Marley's former business partner Ebenezer Scrooge, a cold, bitter, miser; in the words of Dickens' narrator, Scrooge is a "squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner." It is quickly apparent that Scrooge has shown this miserly persona to the world for years, and he likes it that way.
As the story begins, Scrooge is being assaulted by the Christmas season. First, to try to bring him some Christmas cheer is his nephew, whose invitation to Christmas dinner is met with a series of hearty "Bah Humbugs!" Next are two gentlemen.....

Chapter 2
Having fallen asleep after his ghostly visit with Marley, Scrooge wakes to the sound of the clock chiming twelve. He is perplexed how could it be only twelve when he went to bed sometime after two? Then he recollects that Marley's ghost told him his first spirit would visit him when the clock struck one. He vows to stay awake until that time passes to disprove the silly notion of the ghost, and yet, as the clock chimes once, his bed curtains are parted.
Scrooge's first spirit visitor identifies itself as the Ghost of Christmas Past. After much discussion, the Ghost takes Scrooge back in time to a holiday season long forgotten. Here, Scrooge sees himself as a very young boy, left alone at school during Christmas when all of his friends are joyfully.....

Chapter 3
After his encounter with the Ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge is once again asleep. As Chapter 3 opens, Scrooge wakes himself up with a particularly loud snore. He's ready this time for a ghostly visitor, even opening his bed curtains so as to be prepared for whatever appears. His preparations, however, are all for nothing, because when the clock strikes one, no apparition appears. Instead, Scrooge finds himself bathed in a mysterious light.
Once recovered from NOT seeing a spirit, Scrooge determines that the source of the strange light seems to reside in the room connected to his. He discovers in this adjoining room that the room itself has been transformed onto a holiday wonderland, and that it is indeed occupied by the second spirit, who identifies himself as the Ghost of Christmas Present......

Chapter 4
Unlike the two Ghosts that precede it, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come does not speak; in fact, it is Scrooge himself who says aloud who this spirit is. The spirit, for its part, does nothing but point one outstretched hand to lead the way, and yet, for some reason, this Ghost fills Scrooge with more fear and foreboding than any of the past spirits he has seen.
The first stop for Scrooge and this third spirit is the city street. Here, they listen in on the conversation of a group of gentlemen who seem to be discussing the death of someone that they did not care for. As he moves on from this group, Scrooge overhears a group of wealthy businessmen whom he had always tried to make a favorable impression on.....

Chapter 5
In this last chapter, Scrooge wholeheartedly joins the land of the living. He promises to "live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!" and begins his day by shocking a young boy outside his window with a request for him to take Scrooge's money and buy the prize turkey. He has this turkey sent anonymously to the Cratchits. Then, meeting one of the men he had refused a donation to on the previous day, he makes a generous donation for both the present and the past. Finally, he arrives at the home of Fred and enjoys dinner with his nephew's family and friends. Throughout his day, Scrooge marvels at the joy he experiences by interacting with the world around him.
The next day, he can scarcely wait for Bob Cratchit to arrive at.....

Sunday, 14 December 2008

The Happy Prince (Oscar Wilde)

High above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince. He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Penguin Tasters

You can read an extract of a book thanks to Penguin Tasters. These are the novels whose first chapter you can download:
- The Widows of Eastwick by John Updike: Those of us acquainted with their sordid and scandalous story were not surprised to hear, by way of rumors from the various localities where the sorceresses had settled after fleeing our pleasant town of Eastwick...
- Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler: The cry rattled through the ship like the howl of a wounded jungle beast, a mournful wail that sounded like a plea for death. The moan incited a second voice, and then a third, until a ghoulish chorus echoed through the darkness.
- The Lost Throne by Chris Kuzneski: The monk felt the wind on his face as he plummeted to his death, a journey that started with a scream and ended with a thud.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

New book of J.K. Rowling

Information taken from Yahoo! News.

Rowling offers Potter fans a gift with new book

By DEEPTI HAJELA, Associated Press Writer

"The Tales of Beedle the Bard" (Children's High Level Group, $12.99, 111 pages), by J.K. Rowling: Just in time for the holidays, J.K. Rowling has given Harry Potter fans a little gift.
No, not a new book about the young wizard — THAT would be like a birthday combined with Christmas! Instead, she's written a charming confection of a book from the world of Harry Potter with the sparkle and wit that remind us why she became a publishing sensation in the first place.
The title of the book, "The Tales of Beedle the Bard," should be instantly familiar to all Potter fans. That was the book Harry's friend Hermione Granger was bequeathed following the death of Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster at their school. One tale in the collection of childrens' stories played a part in Harry figuring out how to destroy his enemy, the evil Lord Voldemort.
Following the publication of the last of the Potter books last year, Rowling created seven copies of the Beedle book, writing and illustrating the five stories. She gave six of the copies to friends and the last one to the Children's High Level Group, a charity she helped create. The charity auctioned the book, which Amazon bought for $4 million, and has released an edition for the general public to raise more money.
In this edition, Rowling tells us, the tales were translated from the Ancient Runes by none other than Hermione. And adding a special flair, the stories are accompanied by notes from Dumbledore, expounding on their larger meaning. In her introduction, Rowling says the notes date to about 18 months before Dumbledore's death.
If anything, the new book shows us Rowling hasn't lost her touch since finishing her series. It's all here — cleverly written stories, little details that add to the enjoyment of readers who spot them, deeper points about the choices people make and their consequences. The yarns are ostensibly meant to be read by wizard children, so they're short, but they don't lack for action, or in some cases, rather gruesome imagery and some violence. Apparently wizard children are a hardy bunch.
This isn't a full-length book, though, so it doesn't have the depth and emotional heft that were the hallmark of the series. But it really is a gift to fans. It rewards them for their dedication to the world of Harry Potter by giving them more glimpses into that place. Dumbledore's commentary is a particular pleasure, especially when he recounts details that make certain aspects of the series a little clearer.
Fans saddened that the series had to end will now have a reason to smile a little.



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