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The bamboo sword and other samurai tales by
The Bamboo Sword comprises eight stories and gives a very good picture of life of Samurai at the time. Samurais who appear on this novel were not cool or brave but mundane like a salary man. For example, Oguro Tanjuro, a main character in The Bamboo Sword, visits Unasaka domain with his family, looking for a master to serve to get a salary, but unfortunately the recruit program has ended and he struggled.
This novel is full not only of sorrow but of humor of Samurai in the Edo period without battles.
Animal farm : a fairy story by
“Soon or late the day is coming, tyrant man shall be overthrown, and the fruitful fields of England shall be trod by beasts alone.”
This is a song “Beasts of England” from this novel. All living animals in “Manor Farm” rose in rebellion and all human beings were expelled. They believed that they were freed from suffering to roam freely in an indiscriminate society. However, it turned out to be a dystopia since it was created.
This is a social novel in a form of fairy tale.
A Haiku journey : Bashō's Narrow road to a far province by
“The passing days and months are eternal travelers in time.”
The most famous phrase above in Oku no Hosomichi (1702) is taken up by a textbook for junior high school in Japan. The author Basho Matsuo (1644-1694) is famous for haiku, a genre of Japanese short poem. This collection reflects his trip to Tohoku region and gathers his haiku which he composed during it. Wouldn't you like to feel what he saw and felt through haiku during travel?
This is the Roald Dahl’s masterpiece who is famous for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
In this story, genius girl “Matilda” became to use supernatural power because of frustration. Unless this story is a comedy which she kicked ass villains, it involves various problems (neglect, adult children) and I surprised author’s ability which he wove social problems into juvenile literature.
Max Weber's 'science as a vocation' by
”Again, I am tempted to say of a teacher who succeeds in this: he stands in the service of 'moral' forces; he fulfils the duty of bringing about self-clarification and a sense of responsibility.”
For our correct judgement, we have tended to demand on science and forget our responsibility. Through Weber's lecture, even today's students notice that they are under the illusion on this point.
Saint Joan : a chronicle play in six scenes and an epilogue by
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), the authorship of My Fair Lady, also wrote on Joan of Arc in his drama Saint Joan (1923). Right after Joan had been canonized in 1920, he tried to imagine the live voice of the “fresh saint” in this work.
He of course enters the scenes of her famous episodes such as the Siege of Orleans, and the aspect of some comical communications is another interesting point.
Things fall apart : authoritative text, contexts and criticism by
Things Fall Apart (1958), written by a Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe (1930-2013), is one of the most read of novels in English.
This monumental work represents the influence of 19th century British Empire upon traditional tribal communities in West Africa.
International students using English, you have an opportunity to consider the relation between Anglophone culture and each local one in this African novel.
A universal history of infamy by
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) was an Argentine magician-like author who wrote short-stories, poems, essays, and the like. A Universal History of Infamy (1935) is a series of biographies on a variety of unknown villains in the world.
As to Japan, notorious Kira Yoshinaka (1641-1703) appears, who was taken revenge by vengeful masterless samurais. This episode is famous in Japan as Chushingura, a work of Japanese dance-drama, what is called kabuki.
The alchemist by
What’s your dream? It’s not too much to say it’s crucial to look for it. However, in the same time, it’s difficult to keep it. This is a story about a boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland Spain to Egypt where they say treasure was buried under Pyramid. He reminds us of the importance having a dream and how it enriches our life. He encounters a lot of troubles in his journey to the treasure. Whether he successfully obtains it is not the core part in this story, rather the process and this struggle with enemies and his fate could be essential.
If you like chocolate, this story might offend you. This book describes the situation where government bans producing, having and eating chocolate. Main characters try to make chocolate illegally and fight to state. This book is easy to read, so you might reckon it is a story for children. Nevertheless it indicates many things in our complicated real world especially how we should act when government makes a law to limit citizen's fundamental right.
Anyway, I’m sure you can enjoy this book.
A Christmas carol by
You may say it's too early to talk about Christmas, because the Christmas is about five months away.
This book is a story of Christmas day. Scrooge was extremely stingy with his money, so Christmas wasn’t special day for him. Marley, who died seven years ago came to see Scrooge and took him to three spirit. After these spirits, Scrooge changed his mind and could enjoy Christmas. I love this story because Dickens describes each character skillfully.