Tuesday, 1 September 2015


"A late summer garden has a tranquillity found no other time of  the year."
William Longgood

Sunday, 30 August 2015


Read here a review of Benedict Cumberbatch's performance as Hamlet which is now at the Barbican until 31 October 2015. The production is sold out, but 30 £10 day tickets are made available to buy in person to every performance.
Flitting across the stage with an athletic intensity, he is walking in the footsteps of the greats; among them Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, Peter O’Toole, Kenneth Branagh and most recently, David Tennant. 
Although Benedict Cumberbatch is best known for his film and television roles, he undoubtedly knows classical theatre. He first performed in Shakespearean plays such as Romeo and Juliet, Love’s Labour’s Lost and A Midsummer Night’s Dream early in his career. He has appeared in films such as Atonement, Amazing Grace and  Star Trek Into Darknessand was the star of the TV series Sherlock, receiving three Emmy award nominations for the role. For The Imitation Game, about  British cryptographer  Alan Turing during the Second World War, he received an Oscar nomination.

According to Henry Hitchings, the theatre critic on the London Evening Standard, Benedict Cumberbatch is "a charismatic Hamlet, energetic but also pensive."

Wednesday, 26 August 2015


Bride and Prejudice is a 2004 romantic musical film directed by Gurinder Chadha. The screenplay is a  Bollywood-style adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It was filmed in English, with some Hindi and Punjabi dialogue. The film released in the United States on 11 February 2005 and was well received by film critics. 
Needless to say, it has always been one of my favourite movies! 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015


This is a romantic comedy about a nostalgic screenwriter who is on a trip to Paris with his fiancée's family and has experiences there that change his life. In fact, he finds himself puzzlingly going back to the 1920s every day at midnight. Here you can read The New York Times review of the movie.

This film is sort of a daydream for American lit majors. It opens with a couple on holiday in Paris with her parents. Gil and Inez are officially in love, but maybe what Gil really loves is Paris in the springtime. He's a hack screenwriter from Hollywood who still harbors the dream of someday writing a good novel and joining the pantheon of American writers whose ghosts seem to linger in the very air he breathes: Fitzgerald, Hemingway and the other legends of Paris in the 1920s.  Continue reading here.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015


Based on Nicholas Sparks' best-selling novel, The Last Song is set in a small Southern beach town where a separated father gets a chance to spend the summer with his unenthusiastic teenage daughter, who would rather be at home in New York. He tries to reconnect with her through the only thing they have in common,  music.

Sunday, 9 August 2015


I saw this beautiful and romantic period film on TV several months ago and, quite obviously, I loved it! 
It takes a look at the year leading up to and first few years of Victoria on the English throne. It shows the struggle and difficulties of being a lonely child growing up in a repressive background at Kensington Palace before becoming the  queen that would have the longest standing reign in all of British history. The film also depicts the life of a married monarch, that is to say the marriage between Victoria and Albert,  a true love story for the ages.
Read here a review of the movie.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015


Before watching some lovely comedy movies to improve your English, click here to read an interesting article about how "movies make language come alive".

Saturday, 1 August 2015


"In August, the large masses of berries, which, when in flower, had attracted many wild bees, gradually assumed their bright velvety crimson hue, and by their weight again bent down and broke their tender limbs."
Henry David Thoreau

Friday, 31 July 2015


Here you can read this beautiful, entertaining, thrilling, touching, bold, tragic, unforgettable book about love and death whose teenage protagonists make us think over the meaning of true love. 

Here you can find a detailed analysis of this heartbreaking novel.
Teaching notes for John Green's novels are available for download here.

Thursday, 30 July 2015


Emily Brontë   was born  in Thornton, Yorkshire, England   on 30 July 1818.  She produced only  one novel, Wuthering Heights (1847), a highly imaginative novel of passion and hate set on the Yorkshire moors, which  is considered one of the greatest novels in the history of literature.
Click here to learn everything about Emily Brontë and her single novel. 
Here you can find my previous post on Wuthering Heights. 


Sunday, 26 July 2015


When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.
Ernest Hemingway

The public's acquaintance with the personal life of Ernest Hemingway was perhaps greater than with any other modern novelist. He was well known as a sportsman and "bon vivant" ..He became a legendary figure, wrote John W. Aldridge, "a kind of twentieth-century Lord Byron; and like Byron, he had learned to play himself, his own best hero, with superb conviction. He was Hemingway of the rugged outdoor grin and the hairy chest posing beside a marlin he had just landed or a lion he had just shot; he was Tarzan Hemingway, crouching in the African bush with elephant gun at ready, Bwana Hemingway commanding his native bearers in terse Swahili; he was War Correspondent Hemingway writing a play in the Hotel Florida in Madrid while thirty Fascist shells crashed through the roof; later on he was Task Force Hemingway swathed in ammunition belts and defending his post single-handed against fierce German attacks." 
Continue reading here.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015


Click here to listen to W. B. Yeats's beautiful poem. Here you can find a detailed analysis of it.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


"Live in each season as it passes: breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit."
Henry David Thoreau