Book Club. Frankenstein, el final.

El Book Club dedicado a la novela más famosa de Mary Shelley, Frankenstein llega hoy a su fin después de dos meses de interesantes conversaciones sobre diferentes temas derivados de la obra. Temas que influyen directamente en nuestra manera de percibir y entendernos tanto a nosotros mismos y nuestra realidad inmediata, aún sin que nos demos cuenta.

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Frankenstein ya está en camino

La primera edición del libro Frankenstein de nuestra colección de clásicos Sparrow ya está en el horno.

La misma tiene por portada el trabajo ganador del concurso llevado a cabo entre abril y junio de este año. La introducción viene de la pluma del ilustre filósofo y escritor Rafael Angel Herra. Pronto estaremos comenzando también con el Book Club dedicado al doctor y su monstruo. Mientras tanto, te dejamos con una versión en línea de la historia para ir calentando:

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How well do you know your way around Middle-earth?

Our book clubbers have had an amazing journey since Bilbo and the party left Bag End. They went through the Ruhdaur and beneath the Misty Mountains before being taken by mythical beasts all the way to the Carrock. Then they crossed the darkest forest of the Rhovanion and reached Esgaroth, which lies just a few miles from Dale and dreaded Erebor itself.

ian-mckellen-gandalf-490x251
They went where?

If you’re wondering the same thing (as many people will most likely do), taking a look at this interactive map and timeline of Middle-earth by the LOTRProject.com will help you catch up with Bilbo and his associates. Hover your mouse over the events on the right side and get the location of our heroes’ adventures as they make their way to the Lonely Mountain. Go and have fun exploring Tolkien’s Middle-earth!

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Concurso: Frankenstein ya tiene portada

Luego de haber recibido una cantidad de 45 propuestas de la autoría de 25 concursantes, el jurado determinó que la obra titulada MFS, cuya autoría corresponde a Diego van der Laat, es ganadora por unanimidad. La obra será la portada del libro Frankenstein, de la Colección Sparrow del Centro Cultural Británico y la Editorial Germinal S.A.

El jurado:
Felo García, arquitecto y artista nacional, Premio Magón 2008
– Juan Hernández, Director, Editorial Germinal
César Maurel, artista, escritor y traductor
– Ana García, coordinadora cultural y Directora de Recursos Humanos, Centro Cultural Británico
– Jonathan Cordero, coordinador cultural y Director de Recursos en Línea, Centro Cultural Británico
– Andrea Cuadra, coordinadora cultural y Directora Académica, Centro Cultural Británico

La premiación será el día 14 de junio del año en curso y contará con la presencia del jurado y el ganador. Queremos agradecer a todos aquellos que participaron – pronto tendremos un nuevo concurso de diseño.

¡Felicidades, Diego!

Diego van der Laat. "MSF".

Menciones especiales para:

 

Kimberly Castro. "Stitches"
Kimberly Castro. “Stitches”

 

Jenny Solano. “Miseries”. Corel Painter y Photoshop.
Jenny Solano. “Miseries”. Corel Painter y Photoshop.

 

Carlos Arias. Sin título. 2013
Carlos Arias. Sin título. 2013

 

¡Muchas Gracias a todos los participantes por enviar sus propuestas!

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17 May – “The Hobbit”

We began this book club by looking at the life and times of J.R.R. Tolkien and cultural influences that inspired his work. We looked at his background as a professor of Anglo-Saxon (Old English) at Oxford, and heard the epic  poem Beowulf  recited in the original Anglo-Saxon language (together with a translation into modern English!)

We talked about works by other artists which may have had an influence on Tolkien, in particular the huge operatic cycle “The Ring of the Nibelungs” by the German composer Richard Wagner, and listened to  Siegfried’s Death and Funeral Music from the opera Gotterdammerung, the final of the four operas which make up the “Ring” cycle.

We also looked at Runes and the Runic alphabet ;  runes were an ancient Germanic writing system with which Tolkien was familiar, and incorporated into his works. Students read chapters 1, 2 and 3 for homework……An unexpected journey begins!

"Wotan visits Mime and offers him his help." Illustration to Richard Wagner's Siegfried by Arthur Rackham. 1911
“Wotan visits Mime and offers him his help.”
Illustration to Richard Wagner’s Siegfried by Arthur Rackham. 1911
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A Clockwork Orange: The End

“Alex presents us with the raw picture of life in a broken down society, in which being “good” can sometimes even turn into a defence mechanism against the gross injustices committed by the government authorities supposed to be supporting their population, and being “bad”, into the only way of expressing individuality and acquiring a status amidst the mechanization of human interactions, all within a thought-provoking debate on free will.”Hillary. Book Club. 27th April 2013

Although it’s true what they say about all great things coming to an end,  we are sure that ‘A Clockwork Orange’ will stay with us for a very long time.

To say goodbye to this Book Club we spent some time playing our own version of the old game Pictionary, using words from the novel. Our book clubbers jumped at the task with their best Nadsat and showed how proficient they have become at using the made-up language of Alex and his droogs. (If you want to become as good as them here’s a full Nadsat glosary).

El pase de diapositivas requiere JavaScript.

We also re-imagined our favourite scenes from the point of view of other characters involved and shared our points of view on the final chapter of the book.

When the book was to be published in the United States, Burgess’ editor in New York decided that the chapter #21 was too bland and left it out of the US version. Since Kubrik’s film was based on the edited version of the book, most people are unfamiliar with the original ending, which has led to some degree of controversy on whether the story is better with or without it.

To finish this Book Club, here’s a 30-minute documentray that follows Kubrik as he brings to life his version of Burgess‘ story. Viddy later!

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Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy – Week 1

Take a few seconds and try to recall as many science-fiction-related clichés as you can…

W. Shatner
Please don’t let Captain Kirk’s gaze distract you.

The science-fiction genre has commonly been associated with a parade of recurring themes, plots and characters. It isn’t rare to find robots, alien races (usually the green kind), the mandatory human hero and the occasional appearanace of a higher intelligence. These and many more ‘ingredients’ have been constantly re-worked and updated through the years and according to the ever-evolving nature of our technological context.

Quite often, however, lack of imagination and overuse of those elements can lead even the most patient reader/watcher on the planet to wish they weren’t wasting their time on with the story (or that they were wasting it in a more useful way at least).

So, how about throwing a good bit of humour into the mix and making fun of all those old clichés? That’s exactly what the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy does.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Picture yourself in this scenario: you wake up, mildly hungover, and discover that your entire race has got less than 15 minutes before being completely wiped out by a troop of interstellar civil servants. What would you do?

Option A
a)
Option B
b)
Beer!
c)

Although option B would seem the most sensible one, for Ford Prefect, an alien living undercover (or more precisely: stranded) on Earth, option C is unquestonably the wisest one as he prepares to ‘hitch’ a ride aboard a spaceship full of poetry-loving bureaucrats from outer space. His best friend, a human called Arthur Dent, unaware of the planet’s fate, prefers to spend his time complaining about an equally unaware troop of human civil servants trying to destroy his house.

The destruction of the planet sets in motion the plot of the story, sending them into a series of crises across time and space; one of which is the impossibility of finding a decent cup of tea anywhere else in the universe.

Don’t Panic!

These two words are printed in large letters on the cover of another of the protagonists of this story. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is an electronic book, published in Ursa Minor, which in spite of being largely inaccurate and outdated, is the most popular source of information for those “impoverished hitchhikers trying to see the marvels of the Universe for less than thirty Altairan Dollars a day”.

I went to lie in a field, along with my Hitch Hiker’s Guide to Europe, and when the stars came out it occured to me that if only someone would write a Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy as well, then I for one would be off like a shot. Having had this thought I promptly fell asleep and forgot about it for six years.”

This is how Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy first came up with the idea for the story while lying drunk in a field in Innsbruck, Austria in 1971. His idea was finally materialised as a comedy radio series broadcasted by BBC Radio 4 in the United Kingdom in 1978. During the production of the radio show, Adams and his team were passionate about making sound effects that would stand out as innovative and original.

The radio show was soon followed by the first of five novels in the books series, a TV adaptation by BBC 2, LP recordings, a computer game, a second radio series, stage shows and more recently, three more radio series and a movie from 2005.

During the course of our 3rd Book Club, we’ll jump from adventure to adventure with Arthur and Ford while trying to discover the answer to the greatest questions in life. We’ll go on a journey across the universe at the same time that we laugh about those silly bits of our very earthly reality. Perhaps you’ll be surprised by the answer!

Watch the first episode of the TV series:

More Reading:

The 42 Things You Should Know About ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 30 years on: why we should still be reading it – The Guradian

Original Radio Scripts

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Week 3

Suddenly she came upon a little three-legged table, all made of solid glass; there was nothing on it except a tiny golden key, and Alice’s first thought was that it might belong to one of the doors of the hall; but, alas! either the locks were too large, or the key was too small, but at any rate it would not open any of them. However, on the second time round, she came upon a low curtain she had not noticed before, and behind it was a little door about fifteen inches high: she tried the little golden key in the lock, and to her great delight it fitted!”

-Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 1

[source]

 Alice then looks through the door to discover an amazingly beautiful garden on the other side. Being the kind of curious child she was, Alice immediately set her mind to get to the other side and lie amongst the flowers; even though she couldn’t even get her head through the door.

Eventually, and after many adventures which involved considerable changes in her size, she manages to get to the garden and continue her journey as we know it.

But what about all the other doors that Alice didn’t open? What would her adventure have been if she had opened a different one?

These are the kind of questions that the great poet T.S. Eliot had in mind when writing the first few lines of his poem Burnt Norton, the first in his Four Qartets. Here’s a fragment of the poem:

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future.
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. . My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
[continue reading]

In the text, T.S. Eliot ponders about the multiple futures that lie ahead of us at every moment and the infinite possibilities of what our past and future might have been.

During last week’s Book Club, while discussing the poem and its meaning, an interesting question rose: If you were given the possibility to go back and peek through the keyholes of your ‘other doors’, would you do it?  If so, to what purpose?

It was quite interesting to discover that even though many of us do not regret our choices in life, we do wish we could see what might have happened had we chosen differently at certain points in our life. Others however, fervently oppose going thorugh that old path and lingering on memories that never were.

Would you use your chance to look at your other possible lives?

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