King of Shadows

King of Shadows by Susan Cooper is a wonderful children’s book, not only for kids.

king_of_shadows_coverNat Field is a boy actor who visits London with his American drama group to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Globe Theatre. But soon, Nat falls ill and while he lies in isolation in the Guy’s Hospital in today’s London another wakes up in London of the year 1599 and is drawn into different reahearsals for A Midsummer Night’s Dream alongside William Shakespeare himself. He has difficulties to get along in the age of Shakespeare and to find out who he is supposed to be in this London of the past but he astonished when he first meets William Shakespeare alive.

It’s a great book not only about A Midsummer Night’s Dream but also about Shakespeare and the age of him. You get drawn into an London of the Elizabethian age and get to know the life at that time and the life on and behind the stage of The Globe Theater. Kings of Shadows has casted a spell over me and I’ve to admit that I become a big fan of Shakespeare since I’ve read this book.


Pride and Prejudice, published in 1813, is the most popular novel of Jane Austen. Therefore you can find a lot of film adaptions and also a musical of this great piece of English literature.

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet do have five daughters who they want to wed with appropriate young men. Espacially Mrs. Bennet is pretty concentrated on finding a good match for her daughters, while her husband wants his daughters to be happy, in first place.

One day the new and wealthy neighbour Mr. Bingley shows up and Mrs. Bennet does everything to support the possibility that he might marry one of the young ladies. While Mr. Bingley is interessted in the oldest daughter Jane, his also moneyed friend Mr. Darcy keeps an eye on the second oldest daughter Elizabeth. But Elizabeth takes an instant dislike to Darcy after he coldly rebuffs her attempts at conversation and so the problems start to develope because Lizzie, the heroine, is the only one of the daughters who is convinced not to marry except of true love. When she comes to know that Darcy is trying to avoid the relation between Bingley and her sister Jane, she starts flirting with Mr. Wickham. He is an old rival of Darcy and tells her that Darcy wronged him out of jealousy some time ago. Things are developing and Lizzie finds out that Wickham has told her the story from a wrong perception to hide that he was the bad guy.

Elizabeth is told that Darcy paied the marriage of her youngest sister Lydia who has run away with Wickham. When Bingley and Darcy return to the Bennets, Jane accepts Bingley’s proposal of marriage. A last interruption follows by Lady Catherine, Darcy’s aunt, who has a talk to Lizzie and insists that she renounce Darcy because he’ll marry her daughter. Elizabeth refuses and leave the house to go walking on the moors at dawn. There she meets Darcy who has heared of what his aunt has done. He admits his love and Lizzie finally accepts his proposal and assures her father that she really loves Darcy.

California – Five women decide to start a “Jane Austen Book Club”. There is Sylvia who is left by her husband after plenty of years, her lesbian daughter Allegra in her early twenties who enjoys to live in a way of “no risk, no fun” and only wants to solace her mother. Moreover there is Bernadette, a strong woman and a good friend who has the idea for the club, Prudie who is a young and unhappy married french teacher in high school and Jocelyn, a single woman who only lives for her dogs and who accidently gets to knwo Grigg, a young man who is more interested in sci-fi then in romantic literature but hopes to get on with Jocelyn by joining the book club. Jocelyn’s idea of inviting Grigg to the club was to set him up with Sylvia in order that she gets over her divorce but as it’s mostly in reallife the things are going to be different…

At their first meeting everyone chooses one of Austen’s books. First thing first, they start reading all those books and meet regularly to discuss the books but none of them realise that all their lifes start to be similar to the life of one of Austen’s characters.

Bernadette = Mrs. Gradiner in Pride and Prejudice
Sylvia = Fanny Price in Mansfield Park
Allegra = Marianne in Sense and Sensibility
Prudie = Anna Elliot in Persuasion (cf. prude)
Jocelyn = Emma in Emma
Grigg = represents all the misunderstood male characters in Austen’s novels

It’s a brilliant film for all the bookworms out there, lovers of romantic stories and of course especially for those who love Jane Austen’s novels. Enjoy it!

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of comments from mostly American people who can’t imagine what handball is. There were answers like “it’s like soccer but with hands instead of feet” or “it’s a mix between soccer and basketball” …!!

Ok.. Attention please! It’s neither like soccer nor like basketball. It’s a totally different and independent sport! And it’s actually an European sport!!! 🙂

Imagine a court 40 meters long and 20 meters wide. There is a goal (3 meters wide and 2 meters high) on the left end and on the right end of the court. There are two teams each of 6 court players and one goalkeeper who is also allowed to attack. There is a ball called ‘handball’ which has a circumference of circa 55-60 centimeter. The player stop, catch, throw, bounce and strike the ball in any direction, with any part of the body above the knees – in first place with the hands.  A match lasts two periods of 30 minutes and it has a half-time break of 10 minutes.

Some details: In front of each goal is a semi-circle line surrounding the goal in a distance of 6 meters. This area is called crease and only the defending goalkeeper is allowed to be inside. There is one exception: an attacking player who has the ball is allowed to jump into this area to score a goal but the ball must have left his hand before he gets in contact with the ground.

Two more lines are there in front of the goal – the seven-meter line and the free-throw line. Should a defender contact an attacker in the goal perimeter, his team is penalized with a direct attempt at the goal, with only one attacker on the seven-meter line and the defending goalkeeper involved.

The free-throw line which is a dashed semicircular line nine meters from the goal. The play is restarted after a fault with all attacking players outside this line, and the defensive players at least three meters from the ball. Play restarts at the site of the fault unless the fault is inside this region, in which case play restarts at the nearest point on this nine meter line.

After a goal, the team conceding the goal restarts the game with a pass off from center court.

The whole match consists of attacks and defenses. While one team attacks the goal of the other team the attacked team defends its goal. When a defending player can catch the ball, they take turns and the team who was defending before starts an attack while the other team defends its own goal. It’s a fast and maybe a bit a rough game.

There are much more details and rules but these are the most important ones to understand the game.

By the way, Gro Hammerseng, the woman with the Nr. 10, who has the ball in the pictures was voted as World Handball Player of the year 2007!!

H.G. Wells

Herbert George Wells was born in Bromley, Kent on the 21th September 1866 as a son of an ironmonger (also a cricketer) and a housewife. The family was of the impoverished lower-middle-class and the mother, who was very religious and loyal to Queen Victoria, had a very strict opinion about the contact between the different classes which is why H.G. wasn’t allowed to contact girls from the underclass. The most important thing Herbert George inherited from his father was his passion of reading which he let out at the local library. He became devoted to the fictional worlds and they also stimulated his desire to write. In 1877, his father had an accident which put an end to his career as a cricketer. Thus the family lost an important source of income which is why the mother went back to work as a lady’s maid at country house in Sussex. From that moment H.G. WellsH.G. Wells parents lived a seperated life but they never divorced and they never developed any other liaison. Because of the financial problems the parents decided to place their boys as apprentices to various occupations.

In 1881, H.G. Wells started working as a draper and failed. His careers as a chemist’s assistent and as a teaching assistend ended up in an equal way. At the age of 18 he won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London where he studied biology under T.H. Huxley and moreover physics, chemistry, geology. He passed the exames in biology and physics and 6 years later he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology at the University of London. As an alumnus of the Normal School of Science, he later helped to set up the Royal College of Science Association, of which he became the first president in 1909.

His experiences during the time as apprentice, the studying under T.H. Huxley and his active membership in the new founded Labour Party affected his later work.

“I was never a great amorist, though I have loved several people very deeply.”

First he married his cousin Isabel Mary Wells in 1891, left her in 1894 and married one of his students in 1895. But his second wife wasn’t the only woman with whom he had children. In spite of Amy Catherine’s knowledge of some of these affairs, she remained married to Wells until her death in 1927.

Some of his works:

The Time Machine (1895)
The Invisible Man (1897)
The War of The Worlds (1898)
A Modern Utopia (1905)
The Outline of History (1919)

Iceberg Technique

The iceberg technique became also known as “minimalism”. Hemingway believed that, like an iceberg, which only reveals one-eighth of itself above water, a story should also only reveal the most essential information and the reader completes the story with its own phantasy.

“A writer should show only the tip of what may be a huge conflict.”

The stylistics call it implication (the nonsaid is included) or underdetermination (less than the logical necessary informations is expressed).


Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Miller Hemingway was born on 21 July 1899 in Oak Park (Illinois). He was considered as the most successfull and most popular US-author of the 20th century but he was also a reporter and a war correspondent.

The works of Hemingway are the image of his life, and the key of his life is adventure. In E.M.Hemingwayhis youth, his father, a physician in Oak Park (Illinois) had taken him on many fishing and hunting trips in the Michigan Woods. When World War I broke out, he ran away from home to serve in the army. In 1918 he was serverely wounded on the Italian front. His war experiences are laid down in his later novel “A Farewell to Arms” (1929). Then he became a journalist. He also earned money in Paris as a porter and in Spain as a toreador. The latter period is described in his novel “The Sun Also Rises” (1926). In the 30s he joined the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, the literary outcome of which was another novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (1940). He became a reporter again, visited China and hunted in Africa. In World War II he joined in the French resistance movement. Having invaded Paris on his own initiative, he was expelled from the army, but later honoured. In 1954, he was involved in two plane crashes in Africa. On 2 July 1961 he died accidentally while cleaning his gun in Ketchum (Idaho).
Besides his great novels, he wrote a lot of short stories, the most famous of which are “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” (1935) and “The Old Man and the Sea”(1952).