War Horse. Michael Morpurgo
In the old school they use now for the Village Hall, below the clock that has stood always at one minute past ten, hangs a small dusty painting of a horse. He stands, a splendid red bay with a remarkable white cross emblazoned on his forehead and with four perfectly matched white socks. He looks wistfully out of the picture, his ears pricked forward, his head turned as if he has just noticed us standing there.
To many who glance up at it casually, as they might do when the hall is opened up for Parish meetings, for harvest suppers or evening socials, it is merely a tarnished old oil painting of some unknown horse by a competent but anonymous artist. To them the picture is so familiar that it commands little attention. But those who look more closely will see, written in fading black copperplate writing across the bottom of the bronze frame:
Joey. Painted by Captain James Nicholls, autumn 1914.
Some in the village, only a very few now and fewer as each year goes by, remember Joey as he was. His story is written so that neither he nor those who knew him, nor the war they lived and died in, will be forgotten.
1. Iceland travel guide.
Resting on the edge of the Arctic Circle and sitting atop one of the world’s most volcanically active hot spots, Iceland is an inspiring mix of magisterial glaciers, bubbling hot springs and rugged fjords, where activities such as hiking under the Midnight Sun are complemented by healthy doses of history and literature.
2. The adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
He was a large man with rounded shoulders, a massive head, and a broad, intelligent face, sloping down to a pointed beard of grizzled brown. A touch of red in nose and cheeks, with a slight tremor of his extended hand, recalled Holmes’ surmise as to his habits. His rusty black frock-coat was buttoned right up in front, with the collar turned up, and his lank wrists protruded from his sleeves without a sign of cuff or shirt. He spoke in a slow staccato fashion, choosing his words with care, and gave the impression generally of a man of learning and letters who had had ill-usage at the hands of fortune.
A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud. By Carson McCullers
It was raining that morning, and still very dark. When the boy reached the streetcar café he had almost finished his route and he went in for a cup of coffee. The place was an all-night café owned by a bitter and stingy man called Leo. After the raw, empty street, the café seemed friendly and bright: along the counter there were a couple of soldiers, three spinners from the cotton mill, and in a corner a man who sat hunched over with his nose and half his face down in a beer mug. The boy wore a helmet such as aviators wear…
My Son the Murderer. By Bernard Malamud
He walked at a fast pace up the broad avenue. In the old days there was a bridle path at the side of the walk where the concrete bicycle path was now. And there were fewer trees, their black branches cutting the sunless sky. At the comer of Avenue X, just about where you can smell Coney Island, he crossed the street and began to walk home.
Bruno, my old faithful. Is it enough to say he is indescribable? The soft down of your white hair lightly playing above your scalp like a half-blown dandelion. I should begin with your height,which is very short. On a good day you barely reach my chest. Or shall I start with the eyeglasses you fished out of a box and claimed as your own, enormous round things that magnify your eyes.
My Sister lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher: “Our cottage is the complete opposite of our flat in Finsbury Park. It’s white not brown, big not small, old not new … . My new school is tiny. It is surrounded by mountains and trees and a stream runs past the front gate so if you are in the playground you can hear this gurgle gurgle like water running down a plughole. In London my school was on a main road and all you could hear or see or smell was traffic.“
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: “Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not much larger than a rat-hole: she knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw. How she longed to get out of that dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool fountains …“
“The King and Queen of Hearts were seated on their throne when they arrived, with a great crowd assembled about them – all sorts of little birds and beasts, as well as the whole pack of cards: the Knave was standing before them, with a soldier on each side to guard him; and near the King was the White Rabbit, with a trumpet in one hand, and a scroll of parchment in the other. In the very middle of the court was a table, with a large dish of tarts upon it: they looked so good, that it made Alice quite hungry to look at them.“
- Hard Times by Charles Dickens
It was a town of machinery and tall chimneys, out of which interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves for ever and ever, and never got uncoiled. It had a black canal in it, and a river that ran purple with ill-smelling dye, arid vast piles of building full of windows where there was a rattling and a trembling all day long, and where the piston of the steam-engine worked monotonously up and down, like the head of an elephant in a state of melancholy madness.
- Room by Emma Donoghe
On the other planets it’s mostly persons that hundreds can fit into the screen, except often it gets all big and near. They have clothes instead of skin, their faces are pink or yellow or brown or patchy or hairy, with very red mouths and big eyes with black edges. They laugh and shout a lot.
1.- Do Not Send Flowers to Your Mother (Dionisio Martínez)
Her coat was draped over her shoulder, she had her laptop computer under her right arm, a red handbag in one hand and a heavy shopping bag from the supermarket in the other. She leaned against the wall, clasped one of the straps of her bag between her teeth, balanced the bottom of the bag on her thigh, which she raised, crossing her calf over the other knee and she thrust her hand inside it, trying to keep her shoulder up so that her coat would not slip to the ground.
2.- Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
The marshes beyond the churchyard were grey. The river beyond the marshes was a darker line of grey. A bitter wind was blowing across the marshes from the sea. The graveyard was a dark and frightening place.
- From The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon:” I looked up and saw Mrs Shews running towards me from the patio. She was wearing pyjamas and a housecoat. Her toenails were painted bright pink and she had no shoes on”.
- From Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert: ” Those Caravaggio paintings always make me feel weepy and overwhelmed, but I cheer myself up by moving to the other side of the church and enjoying a fresco which features the happiest, goofiest, giggliest little baby Jesus in all of Rome”.
- From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl : “It was a large open row boat with a tall front and a tall back (like Viking boat of old), and it was of such a shining sparkling glistening pink colour that the whole thing looked as though it were made of bright, pink glass”