2017年1月9日 星期一

【105-1 第三名】行政二A 游〇晴:The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

書名:The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

     “You don’t know where to look, and so you missed all that was important.” This is what Sherlock Holmes told John Hamish Watson in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 19 century. Also, this is what I like most after reading the book.

     In The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes, the author focused on the cases Holmes, a consulting detective, and Watson, a doctor in a clinic, face. The stories are mostly based on Watson’s view. In every case they face, they observe details, discuss clues, think logistically, and try their best to solve it for their clients. Both of them have an abundance of knowledge about how human think and how things usually work. With their perseverance and profession in detection, most cases come out in ends. The main character, Holmes, is a consulting detective who is consulted by private or officials once they have troubles. He is good at using deductive method and forensic science to solve cases. He could observe things in detail as if nothing could be left after his eyes. For instance, he says that Watson’s leather shoes were cut by an inexperience young maid when cleaning stains off from a rainy day. This astonished Watson, since he never tells Holmes about the maid and the weather before. Holmes uses deductive method to let go the impossible ones, and thus the remains are absolutely right. The two ways help him a lot in dealing with cases.

     In the cases-series book, The Scandal in Bohemia case impressed me the most. Though it isn’t quite a happy ending for Holmes, it indicates that being sensitive and viewing things in detail are absolutely important. At the beginning, Holmes uses his knowledge and keen observation ability to help his client, the king in Bohemia, to solve the case. Things go smoothly and the good ending was about to come as if it has been arranged by a director in a comedy. Nevertheless, Irene Adler, the client’s ex-girlfriend, is a much keener one. Not only does she notice that she has been observed and framed by Holmes, but try to make sure the orientation of Holmes. Eventually, Irene wins the “competition” between Holmes and herself. That is to say, Holmes is so confident about his own ability that he doesn’t notice Irene’s brilliant in observing things. This gives me a lesson-Never look down on your enemy even though you are already the best one in your field. Since many extraordinary ones are just busying with other things, they don’t pay highly attention on your field. I believe that both Holmes and Irene are undoubtedly keen enough in observing in detail and thinking in a logistic way. Also, they are sensitive in dealing with people.

     In another case in this book, The Case of Identity, Holmes says that Walton misses all that is important since he doesn’t know where to look at. Though this is an old book written in 19 century, this is still quite true in our days. We could never reach our destination if we don’t get the most important one or find the key points, even though we prepare or know a lot about the details. This may sound cruel and unfeeling, but this is what reality is. As a result, in the case-The Scandal of Bohemia, both Irene and Holmes know the important ones for themselves are and almost fulfill their destination in the end.

【105-1 第二名】財政三 康〇愉:Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

書名:Murder on the Orient Express

     The murderer is with us – on the train now…’ This particular statement made my whole body shudder when I was scanning through my sister’s books collection. I was itching to find an interesting book when this crime novel made its way to my hands. As a mystery lover, I wouldn’t want to miss this exceptional word: murder. Truth to be told, this book intrigued me from every aspect. I was expecting, what kind of murder will take place on the train?

     Written by a famous English novelist who has sold roughly 2 billion copies of her works, ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ was chosen as second place’s ‘World’s Favorite Christie’ in 2015. Agatha Christie, also known by the title of ‘Queen of Crime’ is listed in Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling novelist of all time. With the faithful protagonist, Hercule Poirot, who has been accompanying her ever since the first novel she published, Murder on the Orient Express successfully hit the bookstores on January 1934.

     The story begins with Hercule Poirot, a private detective who arrived in Istanbul, is going back to London because he received a telegram which prompt him to cancel his arrangements. By taking a first class compartment of Orient Express, Poirot met Mr. Ratchett, who attempts to hire Poirot’s strength because he believes his life is threatened. However, Poirot refused with the reason of doesn’t like his face. I’m impressed by how Poirot refuses the big money Mr. Ratchett offered firmly.

     On the second night, the train is stopped by a snowdrift and that was when the incident occurred. The next morning, Poirot was asked by Mr. Bouc, an acquaintance of his and the director of Orient Express to solve the case before Yugoslav police arrives in order to avoid any complication. Poirot agrees and conduct an investigation right away.

     This is when the story starts to get interesting. Poirot started with checking the crime scene, then he asked for the passenger’s alibi and search for any evidence he could find. Strangely, the murder was somehow related to a kidnapping case long ago in America. The evidence presented was undoubtedly sufficient, not too little but also not too much to reveal who the murderer is.

     I like how observant Poirot is even before the murder happened. He kept an eye of the people in the first class compartment acutely, but not intense enough to raise any suspicion. He also acted calmly during the whole incident, even though there were so much complicated pieces of puzzle. How he ever could arrive at such outcomes and possibilities, I think it’s because he think objectively. Nevertheless, I am fond of his character and his nature. ‘Mon ami, if you wish to catch a rabbit you put a ferret into the hole, and if the rabbit is there he runs. That is all I have done.’ He said to Mr. Bouc when he taunted one of suspect. Hercule Poirot is one of the best main character indeed.

     Agatha Christie is my most respected author and the number one crime novelist in my list. She always managed to make me wonder and think about the murderer, only to be astonished by the outcome in the end. I could have never guessed it right, and that only makes me feel like I haven’t catch up to her yet. I totally recommend Agatha Christie’s novels!

【105-1 第一名】應外三 陳〇心:All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

書名:All Quiet on the Western Front

     A book with disturbing tone, All Quiet on the Western Front arouses me to question what a war is really about. The story opens during the World War I, when Germany was in a crazy of war with France. Young and naive, Paul and his friends were inspired by their patriotic teacher Kantorek to join the army voluntarily on the French front. The war experience, however, was anything but what they had thought. People barely survive from the front in each battle; friends die in pain and horror; soldiers were maltreated in the camp by the government, and people feel not the glory of fighting the war but the fear of dying every day. The war made deep scars in the protagonist. Paul, a sensitive young man who is interested in poetry at school, describes himself as a “human animal”, lacking the ability to think and feel like a natural human being. The story ends sadly; Paul was shot to death as he tries to catch a butterfly, which was once his favorite insect before the war.

     The themes in the story pointed out how war could affect one’s psycho. To begin with, the soldiers lose their humanity senses such as empathy, compassion, and emotion; the replacement is numb and indifference. This can be seen as one of the wars most drastic impact on soldiers—struggling from physical danger and the lost of friends, the soldiers had no time to console their fear and sorrow; hence, they were forced to detach themselves from emotions. Secondly, some ironies could be found when the author arranged the plot. At one scene of the story, Paul and his friend were discussing the reason that caused the war. It turned out it was not because of one country’s man is offended by another country’s man or due to a nation offending another nation. They finally realize that someone, maybe the emperor or the king, wanted the war to happen; whoever wanted the war must have benefit from it. Sarcastically, those who fought in the war do not feel that they are benefited in any aspect. The war eventually leaves most people in mourn and pain instead of benefiting them. Another point that the book wants to demonstrate is how the society is imbued with patriotism. Paul’s teacher was an extreme patriot and encourages his students to die for honor in the war for their country; however, too much patriotism blinds people with the cruel part of the war including suffering, wounding, dying, and fear. I think the author wrote this part out in order to criticize the society at that time.

     The most grieving part which hovers me after reading is when Paul killed a French soldier in the trench due to fear. In the well-written words, the author depicts how absurd and cruel the war has made people become. After stabbing the French soldier, Paul realized that the French soldier was practically like him, who has a loving family waiting from him in his country. Paul felt even guiltier to find the photo of the soldier wife and thought of how despairing and painful for his wife to receive the dead news. This part ended sadly as the French soldier died eventually, and Paul curse to the sky of the bloody war. From my perspective, the story admonished how dreadful a war has cause a man, a family, a country to break down while criticizing the lust and vanity that the war possess in nature.

【105-1 特別獎】社工三 程〇環:The Girl on the Train: The Underside of Marriage

The Girl on the Train: The Underside of Marriage

書名:The Girl on the Train

     The Girl on the Train is a psychological thriller, written by English writer Paula Hawking. Although comments on this novel are mixed, which is frequently compared with Gone Girl, I still find it creepy, scary but gripping. The characters, the plots as well as the narrative are organized by the author at an optimal level to discuss the topic she wants to discuss.

     It is a story about five interconnected individuals, including an alcoholic, a liar and cheater, a vamp, a control freak, and a mistress, which means there are all terrible and morally-imperfect main characters in the story. Basically in thriller, there will be at least one character who are sober enough to discover clues piece by piece to unravel the mystery and murder, then have the murderer brought to justice. But in the novel, the heroine — Rachel is a drunkard and literally a loser: breaks up and lose her job, but pretending to work and commuting everyday by train, peeping and imagining others’ perfect life in the train. On account of alcohol, she goes through black-out and memory loss every now and then. It is not even a charming character, but the story records the experience how she just tries to entertain and excite herself in the murder at first, then struggle to get rid of her pathetic life and regain enthusiasm eventually. In this perspective, it is a story of self-salvation, which I think is the positive element underneath the gloomy narrative.

     The story is told by three female narrators alternately through each other, and also cut into little pieces non-chronologically. Although it seems a bit confusing, and needs readers to pause and sort out the story. In my opinion, the method actually improves the interest of reading, and controls the story in a restrained pace, which strengthens the tense and uneasy atmosphere haunted in the novel. Three narrators are either losing memory, concealing or cheating to readers, so you hardly guess what is really going on, and drawing your attention to read and read until the end is revealed. It is a wonderful process.

     In addition, the author wants to talk about the underside of marriage. What if the partner you live with everyday is actually hiding some secrets from you and even lies to you? Like Gone Girl, the story will change the readers’ thoughts towards marriage and love.

2016年1月11日 星期一

【104-1 第三名】應外四 楊〇玟:Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

書名:Still Alice

     Alice Howland is a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard University and a world-renowned linguistics expert. As she is in the full flush of success, something is terribly wrong. She forgets the words during her lecture, and she gets lost when running in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, Alice is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

     Alzheimer is not an unfamiliar word for most of us; however, how clearly we know about it? Before reading this story, I thought Alzheimer only happens when people get old, and they lose their memories day by day. Nevertheless, the process of deterioration is actually painful for the patients, and how well the author depicts it faithfully makes this novel astonishing and touching. Additionally, Alice is a special case; she is only fifty and she is such a successful and ambitious woman. Learning the truth that she is losing herself gradually is definitely killing her. I profoundly remember one plot that Alice gets lost in her own house when she wants to go to the bathroom; then she just urinates on her pants, which really shocks me. Besides the pain Alice undertakes, I identify with Alice’s feeling that she doesn’t want to be a burden for her family. This winter vacation, I was injured because of an accident. None of my limbs was hurt, but there’s a big wound on my face and now there’s still an apparent scar. My family knows I am sad, so they dare not to talk about it and pretend it is nothing in front of me. I know how they feel; therefore, I want to be strong for them, just like Alice does. And luckily, my family supports me, just like Alice’s.

     Lastly, the speech that Alice delivers is the climax of this novel. She finds herself learning the art of losing every day. She loses the most precious thing in her life-her memory. Despite this situation, it is not who she is; it is just her disease. She knows that she is still alive, and she still owns other treasure, such as her family and her goals. She is not suffering, she is struggling to seize every moment in her life. No matter what may happen afterward, we shouldn’t forget that she is “Still Alice.” That’s the meaning of the book, and it is very encouraging and inspiring. I highly recommend everyone to read this book!

【104-1 第二名】會計系一A 張簡〇萱:The book thief by Markus Zusak

The book thief by Markus Zusak

書名:The book thief

     For a person like me, who loves English so much, reading novels is an enjoying thing. Among dozens of books I had read, I would like to introduce “The Book Thief.” It was in the midst of the World War Two, a girl named Liesel Meminger and her little brother were sent to a foster family in Germany where Nazi regime was blossoming. However, her brother didn’t make it due to the freezing weather; therefore, Liesel alone lived with her beloved (foster) Papa and Mama. During the period, she met Rudy Steiner, her neighbor, and a Jewish boy called Max Vandenburg, who both turned out to be her best friends. Liesel started curious about the “word”, asking Papa to read her the first book she had stolen, The Grave Digger’s Handbook. From then on, Papa taught her daughter the basic vocabulary, and encouraged her to read more books. This is an amazing story which really impressed me. First of all, author used the view of “the Death” to tell the readers this ordinary but touching narrative that penetrated deeply into people’s heart, which was an astonishing writing skill that I never seen before.

     Secondly, although the novel was set in the background of the war, we could still see the love between people, especially during the domination of the Nazi. Love could be an urgent thing for civilians to embrace; for example, when the residents hided in the shelter because of the air raid, Liesel told a story to everyone to comfort their anxious mood. We knew that her sound not only soften the tension flowed in the air, but spread the love to each corner of the listeners’ hearts. I think this was the best part of the book, author used simple words to covey this sarcastic scene: the little girl’s calm voice was surrounding the shelter while the air raid hit, which made a strong contrast.

     There was another important reason why I love this book so much, it was the technique writer used. Author, Markus Zusak, tried to interact with us, the reader, through his story. He seemed to know what we were thinking while reading the book, therefore, reading this novel would have a feeling that author was telling the story in front of us, in person. On the other hand, author used colors to describe the environment in which a scene started to begin. The lifeless sight became vivid thanks to the ornamentation of these colors, and invisibly brought more emotions to the readers at the same time.

     Also, I think the author was trying to tell us how cruel the war was by the speaking of the death. Through the job of the death, it was more clearly that the world without any conflicts would be the human beings’ hopes, and the death’s too.

【104-1 第一名】法律四 梁〇齡:Q&A by Vikas Swarup

Q&A by Vikas Swarup


     Deep, bold and charismatic, Vikas Swarup gives a close peek at the real life in India. By sending the readers to several places simply applying sentences and words to his writing, within hours the audience has been sent to Mumbai, Delhi, toured the Taj Mahal, fled across the whole country and ended up sitting in a TV program’s studio. The breathtaking adventures and the stunning story not only provide an exceptional reading experience but also arouse deeper consciousness towards the Indian society. And, in part, to arouse the real truth lies behind the human nature, which can be seen on even you and me. Poverty, fraud, illiteracy and helplessness of all the people in such a great country drive people to seek excitement and splendor. Q&A is heavy, yet powerful. Bombarded with the suffocating social realities and strong humanitarianism definitely would leave one deep in thought.

     Ram Mohammad Thomas, an 18-year-old kid from the slum working as a waiter in the restaurant, survived to answer all the questions and won a billion rupees on a quiz show. Not surprisingly, the bureaus and the producers doubted his honesty and accused him of cheating in the competition. This dramatic plot unfolded the entire story while Ram recalled his fascinating adventure. From the moment he was found as an infant by a priest in Delhi, to an orphanage which turned out to be an illegal labor factory; from the days he worked in a faded Bollywood star’s house, to his employment by a security-crazed Australian army colonel. He worked as a tour guide in Taj Mahal, Agra, interpreting the love happened in history, and even met his own one. Every time trapped in a dilemma, he took out a coin and went for it when it turned the side which has a head. As the lucky coin turned “head” all the time, Ram overcame all the difficulties, in the end having a happy ending. Although it’s quite impossible for a teenager like Ram to survive in this enormous war, it’s Swarup’s special design that makes Ram who he appeared to be. Ram was smart, apprehensive, calm, clever and understanding, making people from all walks of life trust him by heart. His name reflected the complicated religious combination in India, implying the complex destiny he may be facing. He spoke three languages, and he was literate. He was an orphan grew up in a slum, yet never failed to broaden his horizon and seize the opportunities to learn. Employers, elders, even kids at his age, all were willing to show him their inner world as Ram examined them prudently. Someone who looked defensive may turn out to be vulnerable, someone who appeared to be kind may seem vicious in the end.

     These people, faced with dozens of difficulties in life, revealed themselves to Ram to seek shelter. They were somehow all helpless, WE are somehow all helpless. Swarup successfully illustrates the greed, weakness, depression, jealousy, selfishness in human nature. It appears to me that Swarup believes in god, and that whatever god is like, he has faith in the kindness and justified sense which underlie our moral spirit, leading us to luck and safety. Ram is a role who in part represents the existence of god. He never fell in a human trap, he was always decent, honest, generous, calmly observing the daunting world. He watched, provided help when others were in need. In front of him, a well-known actress could be as a kid, a cunning guy couldn’t disguise himself, a language disordered boy was like a brave angel. Through the trauma this world brought him and his acquaintances, the authenticities within them were inescapable.

     Destiny or opportunity? Life is a quiz show in disguise. But just like Thomas’s “lucky coin”, actually having a head on both sides, we can never change the things destined, but can always decide how we face them.

      “Because luck comes from within.”