BOOKS (2019-2020)

MUSIC IN THE LITERARY SIDE OF OUR LIVES

                                                                                             

By: Blanca Royo Camacho

 

Music is present everywhere. Even books have their way to make us curious about music and even stimulate creativity to make music. Have you ever discovered a song you have never heard about by reading a book?

 

Sometimes characters in some books are so incredibly detailed that they will even have their own taste in music. I’m sure you will have heard of the best-selling novel After. This book is a perfect example of a teenage girl whose calm personality is reflected in her favourite tunes written by a band called “The Fray”. Not only do books share music, but also songs partake teachings from books. There are so many examples of this kind: starting from famous novels like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet which inspired the song “Love Story” by Taylor Swift to the dystopian novel 1984 by George Orwell from which the renowned singer David Bowie wrote a song by the same name, and lastly, Rag’n’Bone a British singer who wrote a song titled “Perfume” based on this classic German novel by Patrick Süskind.

 

I bet you also have read a book which has already produced a movie. This takes part in the harmony between books and music. Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and all Disney movies are a few examples of this.  Another interesting case is Wonder a breathtaking film we all have heard about. Bea Miller wrote a song for the film based on this book called “Brand New Eyes”. The moment you listen to that song  you will immediately relate both artworks together.

 

Music has proved we can find it in nearly every corner of our lives. Books are just one of many unnoticed examples of this fact. So, which other songs you have gotten to know with the novel’s help?

Fermat’s Last Theorem

By: William Zhang

In October, I was captivated by the brilliance of the book Fermat’s Last Theorem, by Amir D. Aczel, a story about the hard work behind the scenes that contributed to unlocking a three-hundred-year-old mathematical mystery. It all started in 1637, when Pierre de Fermat, an amateur mathematician, wrote down this seemingly very simple theorem, stating that xn + yn=zn has no whole number solution when n is greater than 2. It seems so simple, yet almost impossible to prove. For the next three centuries, it sparked the imaginations of many mathematicians, while for others their fascination led to deception, disloyalty, or mental disorder.

Although it was up to a single mathematician, Andrew Wiles, to present the final proof in 1993, the work of many mathematicians over the past three hundred years made it all possible in the end. The proof’s accolades belong not only to Wiles, but also many others just as much: Ken Ribet, Barry Mazur, Gerd Faltings, Goro Shimura, Yukata Taniyama, Gerhard Frey, and many others. Their work contributed to the opening of many new mathematical fields, and sped up the world’s progress in mathematical research. 

I think that Fermat’s Last Theorem is absolutely the best math book I have ever read. It was like a tale of a quest for a long-lost buried treasure. The storyline was very well presented, starting from the excitement at the final proof, then the long, deep dive behind the scenes. After it moves through the world’s history, it finally arrives back at Andrew Wiles at Cambridge. Besides being a story, it contains interesting mathematical explanations that could be easily understood. I enjoyed how it dives into the stories of the different mathematical careers of many great mathematicians, while also going along with the world’s history. In each short story, the author honors and explains every mathematician’s contribution to the final proof. 

I highly recommend the book to the students at Nepean High School, because it is a great mathematical inspiration. It is the brightest beacon of inspiration for everyone to become more interested in math. I believe it targets high school students. If you love math, this is the best book for you to dive deeply into mathematical history around Fermat’s Last Theorem. 

LION

By: Rohan Kingwell

There is no such thing as darkness, only unseen light. This theme of hope epitomizes the autobiographical novel, Lion, written by Saroo Brierley. This enthralling novel follows the life of a young boy, lost from home amid India’s never-ending streets, and decades later makes the inconceivable attempt to trace his way back.

 

The journey all began for Saroo at the age of five, when he was lost from his brother in his hometown of Khandwa, India. Saroo accidentally travelled by train across the country, enduring several near-death experiences. Years later, Saroo is adopted by a family in Hobart, Australia. At the age of 25, Saroo knew there was a missing piece to his puzzle, and he began his search for his hometown, his cultutre, his identity.

 

This novel is so fascinating, as it demonstrates how personal success is such a malleable concept. For Saroo, the mission home gave him a purpose in life, and this biography depicts how success needs to be measured not in the abstract but in terms of the immediate concrete goals. It reminds us how culture often shapes who we are, and how reconnection with our past is self-derived. Due to this novel’s inspirational overtone, it is appealing to those grappling with life challenges. Saroo’s novel stresses the importance of hope amid times of struggle.

 

I recommend this book to every single student at this school. This book is enough to ignite a spark in one’s life,  inspite of their situation or life story. Lion’s inspirational theme, its emphasis on one’s relationship to culture, and its relatability makes the book a powerful read.

Hamlet Diary Entries

 

By: Vicente Garrido Portilla

Act I Entry:

It would seem these days are not to be mine. My father is dead, Ophelia has grown distant, Wittenberg taken from me, and my mother, who leaves me for the lupa and Faustulus, seeks the fool who craves my father’s place, but is too unfit to climb the ladder. Yet I have my cater-cousins, my trusted partners, most astute Horatio, and indivisible Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Enemies have sprouted everywhere, but their intentions have never been but pure and open, this I know. Great woe have I felt, a deep slumber pulling at every waking thought. I can see everything moving away, running, but I cannot touch it. I have not the love of my family, nor of dear Ophelia, who in leaving takes the last of my sweet sovereignty. But anon, a mission has been given to me. In this one thing, with this one rope I can pull myself through. Just action, bold, valiant, necessary action to let true Denmark rest. But I feel like a bird without air. My mind and body ready, my spirit adrift, and how can one run on just one leg? Fie! To dabble and bicker about what is necessary! If this is what is left that I can do, then I shall become it to my very being. Now, the lady Ophelia, who for what we know of each other is surely worried. Off to her now! With Haste! Haste! No external state can be enough to keep me from this, from all I bare. Oh those slings and arrows, away!


 

Act II Entry:

Oh Fortune, have you no mercy for the indecisive? Ophelia will pass on, her love for me will fall like autumn leaves accepting winter’s chill. With one hand I would reach out to her, with the other strike revenge on the false Dansker, yet they stand still without the push of my chest. Wittenberg, keeper of my finest years. The deepest learning I’ve had, the deepest thought, the purest flight of my spirit. Neither Denmark nor Heaven could keep me from myself when I was there. Now the winds have changed and I fly home. To trust someone, and be understood. Home is now where my colours colour me mad, and my mind binds me to stagnation, but in fair Wittenberg, even with all that was expected of us, the joy was always worth the pain. How I loved it so. How I loved her so. Ophelia is gone from me, for she cannot stay by me in what I must do and keep herself. She is gone from me. If the time would permit it, I would mourn her loss, but now I need to plan, for true Denmark must be revealed. 


 

Ophelia Entry:

That poor lost soul. He had everything within him, everything open to him, and now I fear what hasn’t already been taken away may destroy him. I loved him, with his agile spirit, his compassionate presence, his royal dignity. How could I not, but we were never free. Always my father would watch. If not our conversations, then my thoughts of him. If he wasn’t protecting my chaste treasure, then he was waiting for me to welcome that slipping prince into my young and tireless arms. The king, my father, all the lords and ladies, their eyes and hearts may be baited by different pleasures, but their minds are the same. They control what they do not understand, and they crush what they love in their march of confusion. Now they have taken dear Hamlet, and I do not know what has been done to him that he has lost his great mind, but there will be no one there to lessen his pain. As always I will obey, for in no other way can I ever gain choice over these arrant knaves. I will help him if I can, but if he continues with others as recklessly and aimlessly as he so was today, then his days are numbered.

Diary Entries: Hamlet 

By: Avery Bendell 

Journal entry #1-Hamlet:

 

Alas, such strange events hath turned my sorrow and darkness into vengeance.

 

 Simply hours ago I was contemplating the end. For fair Ophelia, how I thought I loved her, however her love was not returned but instead cold and unrequited. For mighty King Hamlet, a King twice as brave and cunning as the snake that takes up the throne now. For elegant Queen Gertrude, begging me to stay with family when I long to be back in Wittenberg. Nay, instead ‘twas Horatio that prompted me to a perfect purposeful plot of revenge. He came to me and said that he saw such a peculiar omen, a ghost of King Hamlet, dressed in battle attire. Well methinks it might’ve been a hallucination except for the fact that Marcellus, Bernardo and Horatio saw it too, for what I saw, I swear on my life, ‘twas as Horatio had warned. It was my father! Proud King Hamlet of Denmark. And he told me this: poison in his ear, at the hand of the new King. 

 

‘Tis just what I need! A spark to ignite the flame to revenge. My thoughts of death and hell hath left and been replaced with a plan to avenge my father. How dare he steal  both the throne and my mother’s hand in marriage all too soon. Even Niobe shed tears, but not ever composed  Gertrude. How I cannot wait for the stars to catch up with ‘em. 

 

Journal entry #2-Hamlet:

 

After last night's encounters with the ghost of mighty king Hamlet, I hath decided that ‘tis wise to plot a scheme to figure out if the snake Claudius is indeed a murderer. A distressing evening such as the one that has passed, makes me weak at the knees and pale as a snowdrop galanthus, but I have faith that fate will run its course. I passed by Ophelia’s chamber today and was suddenly overcome with grief of unrequited passion, for she was so fair. I suspect that it was not her own idea to break the heart of a young and grieving prince for it was not fair. I entered while she was employed with the matronly task of sewing and my eyes were locked on her, Ophelia ever so fair.

 

 However, I feel my actions were over exaggerated. I held her for too long as her sewing sat silently at her side. Possibly a subconscious act, for I have a true plan to fulfill. A plan driven by anger. I left her chamber, my eyes still locked, I hope she believes that I am deranged with passion for her so the true nature of my actions tip toe behind backs.

 

Journal entry #3-Ophelia:

 

A few days ago I was forced to dismiss my affiliation with Prince Hamlet. It was not my choice, for my father, Lord Polonius, insisted that Hamlet was only putting up an act that he loved me. However I suspect this was not entirely an act after the curious events that have come to pass. For I cut off letters from him and we hath had limited contact until last night. Such a strangely terrifying event that followed the rejection. He entered my chamber while I was preoccupied with my sewing, acting ever so bizarre. His stockings were bunched around his ankles and beads of sweat dripped from his nose. It was as if the devil had possessed him from hell! He held me for several minutes and yet felt like hours. I admit, I did feel some resentment towards Lord Polonius as I felt a small allure towards Prince Hamlet. What an exciting nightmare. But I cannot let those fractions of feelings drive my instructions from my Lord Polonius. I would be in ever so much trouble if I were to fall for Hamlet again! I do miss him but he is leading the way onto a lane of lunacy! He exited my chamber walking backwards, his eyes never left my body. Ever so mad!

KNIGHTWATCH 2020/2021