Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Review: Touching the Void - By Joe Simpson

"Suddenly I remembered something. I had a penknife in the top of my rucksack. If I could get it out, I could cut the rope."

With these words from Joe Simpson, the terrible climbing journey of mountaineer Joe Simpson had started.

Touching the Void is simply an autobiographical story, which the author, Joe Simpson, writes about his extraordinary experience when he had a terrible accident on a mountain and fought hard to survive.

The story took place on Siula Grande, a mountain in the Peruvian Andes, in the year 2004, where Joe Simpson and his climbing mate Simon Yates had a challenge to climb the Siula Grande Mountain, which is one of the most difficult mountains in the world to climb.

In the beginning everything went as planned until they reached the summit of the mountain, and after feeling elated for doing that, and while they were descending, Joe had and accident and bkoke his leg. In this situation we can imagine how it's impossible for a man to get down the mountain from the height of more that 5000 feet with a broken leg. But with the help of his friend Simon, they planned to tie themselves together with one rope and slowly move down. What happened next is the worst scenario which they never dreamt about. Somehow Joe had fallen in a deep space and Simon found himself in a situation to decide between dying on the icy mountain or cutting the rope, letting Joe fall down to his death. It was a very difficult decision, but he decided. Did he really cut the rope? If so, what happened to Joe? Did they survive? All these you'll know when you read this story.

The story overall is good and well written, even if it was a bit boring in the first four chapters. I spent a lot of time reading the first four chapters but I only spent half that time reading the rest of the book. 

This story is not just about a man who was trying to climb a difficult mountain and had a horrible accident, but it also gives such a wonderful lesson in life about how to fight and struggle to survive in a terrible environment.

I recommend everyone to read this book, just to know how much we are able to do things that we thought at first were impossible. I also advise reading from chapter five if they aren't interested in the story from the first chapters. It's wonderful at the end, just don't leave the book - complete it.

Ehab Salem Loukae
Upper Intermediate A

Monday, February 13, 2012

Book Review: The Pearl - By John Steinbeck

I chose this story as the cover's picture attracted me. I thought it was about native American people and cowboys, and how the native people suffered a genocide.

Instead, the story, which was written by John Steinbeck is about poor people in one South American village which was occupied by Europeans and Spain. In this village the story of 'Kino', who was the main character, with his wife and their single baby who had been bitten by a scorpion. When Kino found a large pearl they thought their prayers were answered and that they would be able to treat their son. Instead, the pearl brought greed, blood and the most sadness in the end, when Kino's son was killed. Finally they decided to return home and get rid of the trouble source 'pearl'.

I don't like the repetitive idea of the story, apart from that the story line was amazing and how the author linked the characters with it made the reader live with them. However, the last two chapters lose track, they finish in a rapid way, but as I thought the cause was because the book is the condensed version and retold to reduce the story's volume.

I believe it is a nice story and I recommend it to be read. So if the reader is patient he will enjoy it, especially if he likes tragic stories.

Abujalil Abuhajar
Upper Intermediate A

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Two Frogs

Two frogs lived in a village all their lives. They thought they would like to go and see the big city that was about ten miles away. They talked about it for a long time and at last they set off to see the city.

It was a hot day and they soon began to feel tired. They had only gone a little way when one said to the other 'We must be nearly there. Can you see the city?' 'No' said the other frog, 'But if I climb on your back I might be able to see it'.

So he climbed up on the back of the other frog to see the city. Now when the frog put up his head his eye could only see what was behind, not what was in front. So he saw the village they had just left. 'Can you see the city?' asked the frog who was below. 'Yes' answered the frog who had climbed up. 'I can see it. It looks just like our village'. Then the frog thought that it was not worthwhile going any farther. They went back and told the frogs around the village that they had seen the city and it was just like theirs.

Ibrahim Baour
Areej Elmeshri
Aya Elmeshri
Mohamed Tarhony
Pre-Intermediate A

Going to & might

I'm going to study in England.
I'm going to play footballl with my friend today.
I'm going to do more exams today.
I'm not going to shop today.
I might go to a party with my friend tomorrow.
I might go to the cinema tomorrow.
I might get a job in the USA.

Mohamed Al Zaidi
Elementary B

Resolutions for 2012

Hi, my name's Mahmud. I'm going to talk about my New Year's resolutions for 2012.

  • I'm writing a guide for rugby touch rules right now. This book is for referees, players and other officials. They're going to find the answers for their questions.

  • I'm going to register my daughter in a private school. They're teaching her the basics right now. And I'm going to do house maintenance.

  • I'm going to study English until I pass the PET exam. And I'm working on a certificate to give it to my English teacher.

Elementary B

Going to...

I'm going to do the washing up.
I'm going to clean the house.
I'm going to play tennis.
She's going to get a taxi.
I'm going to meet some friends.
I'm going to school in the morning.
I'm going to have dinner tonight.
I'm going to clean the house in the afternoon.
I'm going to watch TV in the evening.

Malak Adel Elghmasi
Elementary B

Going to & not going to

  • I'm going to do more exercise.
  • I'm going to do another English course.
  • I'm going to meet my family next week.
  • I'm going to go to a gym.
  • I'm not going to do any work tonight.
  • I'm going to do my homework now.
  • I'm going to watch a film in the evening.

Safa Elghamasi
Elementary B

Some plans

I'm going to buy a new scarf today.
He is going to wash his car tonight.
I'm going to get a new phone next week.
We're going to move to America next year.

Khadija Adel
Elementary B

What are you doing? What are you going to do?

Are you going to watch a movie tonight?
What time are you going to school?
We are going to travel by car.
It's going to rain!
Are you listening to Tripoli FM now?
I am reading Karim's homework now.

Abdol-Karim Forjani
Elementary B

Laila and the wolf

One day, when Laila was playing outside her house her mom called 'Laila come and take this cake to your grandmother's house', 'I'm coming mom' said Laila.

Laila went into the house and put on her coat, 'Be careful darling the woods aren't safe and watch out for the wolf. Don't speak to him' said her mother. Laila already had gone on her way between the trees, holding a full basket of her mother's delicious cake. The wolf smelt the cake and came forward to Laila. 

'Where are you going you beautiful girl?' asked the wolf. 'Go away. I won't talk to you, you are a bad wolf' said Laila. 'No, no Laila. I want to help you. It's very dangerous here' said the wolf. 'So where are you going Laila?' asked the wolf. 'I'm going to my grandmother's house to give her this delicious cake' said Laila. 'Mmm, but you have to take this way, it's much shorter' said the wolf. But the wolf lied to her, that was a very long way to her grandmother's house. Laila agreed to take that way. When she had gone the wolf smiled and said 'Haha! I'll arrive at granny's house first. And the wolf got there first and ate the granny and put on her clothes and glasses and laid on her bed.

Laila finally arrived at her grandmother's house, she knocked on the door. 'zcome in my darling' said the wolf, pretending that he is the granny. Laila opened the door. 'Hello granny. How are you?' said Laila. 'I'm OK. Happy to see you. What's in your hands?' asked the wolf. 'Oh it's the cake my mom baked for you' said Laila. 'Thank you . Put it there honey.'

After that Laila sat by the bed and stared at her granny. 'Why are your eyes so big? asked Laila. 'Because I see you by them' said the wolf. 'And why is your nose so big?' asked Laila. 'Because I smell you by it' said the wolf. 'And why are your ears so big? asked Laila. 'Because I hear you by them' said the wolf. 'And why is your mouth so large?' asked Laila. 'Because I eat you with it!' Then the wolf jumped on Laila to eat her but she escaped and ran to her grandfather screaming 'Grandfather! The wolf ate granny and is going to eat me!' 'What? The wolf ate your granny> asked the grandfather. Then he ran into the house and killed the wolf and also saved the granny.

And they lived happily ever after.

Alaa Elmezoki
Jenna Bader
Sohaib Elrghi
Pre-Intermediate A

Monday, February 06, 2012

Book Review: Diamonds are Forever - By Ian Fleming

James Bond, the secret agent of the British Secret Service, the double 'O' licensed to kill agent, well trained, charming, good looking, men want to be him and women want to be with him, is off on another adventure to save the world. This time the diamond industry is at stake.

In this adventure, James takes on a job to stop the diamond smuggling from Africa. This takes him to England and to the United States of America to take down a big mob responsible for diamond smuggling. James did his homework and was tipped off that these diamonds taken from the diamond mines of Africa into this network of smuggling to the place where they can be sold without the control of the diamond corporations. This is an easy task for the world's top agent. He uses his wealth and charm to get the job done.

This is not your typical James Bond story. In this book it shows how the main character spends a lot of time stalking and trying to life the life of a smuggler just to reach to the head of the 'pipeline' as the book calls it. James meets a lot of interesting people along the trip. Some of them he already knew, some are real life crooks, but as we are used to seeing a love interest in every adventure of his, this time the girl is stuck in the middle of everything.

In my opinion, we are past the age that heroes need to win at the end of a story, but James Bond fans would love this story as it has all the action, secret agent work, gun fights and at the end the hero always gets the girl. This is an entertaining, full of action story that needs to be read to complete the series of James Bond.

Wael Aradi
Upper Intermediate A

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Book Review: The Treasure of Monte Cristo - by Alexandre Dumas

"Too good to be true", that old saying is exactly what the life of Edmond Dantes was. The first officer of a ship called The Pharaon was just about to be captain, get married and live happily ever after, when he was sent to prison for a crime that he didn't commit.

The epic story of this man's search for freedom takes place in France between 1815 and 1829. After being sent to prison for a false letter written and sent by his two jealous enemies, he meets an old man in the dungeon in the cell next to his and becomes like a son to him. Then his new friend told him about a treasure that he had the map for. So he escapes and finds the treasure on the island of Monte Cristo and he becomes a rich man. After hearing the awful news of his father's death and his fiance's disappearance, he decides to go back to his hometown, Marseilles, to take revenge on his enemies!

The story was very interesting and well written. It's an adventure story that took place in quite a historical period on time in France. This story is a demonstration of the fact that justice must come along even if it takes too long.

Alaa Samir
Upper Intermediate A

Book Review: Shake hands forever - by Ruth Rendell

My own choice of this novel was because of it's cover. The picture on it indicated that this novel is about a murder; these kinds of books are my favourite because I love puzzles and mysteries.

Anyway, when I read the novel I found it telling a story of a detective who investigates the murder case of a woman and through the chapters we start meeting some of the characters such as the victim's husband who was somehow involved in the crime. This novel and all it's details, which lead to a big surprise in the end when you find out that the husband wasn't the killer, his wife wasn't a victim - she was a criminal and the body was that of another woman.

In this novel you discover that the novelist has tried to make a kind of picture, in this picture there is a series of events, apart from one thing - there weren't that many details about the characters; their interactions, feelings and their internal thoughts. But I must admit, Ruth Rendell made this novel a very interesting one, especially the end when exciting moments changed the facts upside down. Because of that the final chapter was my favourite, meanwhile the 7th chapter was not a very good one for me, maybe because it was very short and didn't give enough explanation of the title's meaning and why the novelist chose it.

The story-line was entertaining and all the characters were connected, although I was disappointed by the incongruity of the characters as there wasn't a strong chemistry between each other, apparently the author's style was realistic, rich but without involving humanitarian feelings. So when you reach the end of the novel you'll know that there isn't a perfect murder, also the truth appears sooner or later.

This is a terrific novel, appealing to most, but for someone who admires puzzles, they may want to look for more action and suspense in another novel.

Ahlam Ziat
Upper-Intermediate A

Tripoli, a good place to live and visit

My favourite place is Tripoli. It's a nice, beautiful city and it's the city where I was born, and it's in Libya.

Tripoli Medical Centre
There are many nice places in Tripoli. I live in a place called Fkany's Sania. It's behind Tripoli University. There aren't any interesting places near my home except the university, Tripoli Medical Centre, Hadba Hospital and the busy motorway, Alsaria Road.

There are many shops, but they are far from us. There is a school near my home, and there is a square whee the boys play football. There aren't any restaurants, markets or hotels. There aren't any lakes or rivers in Tripoli, but there is the sea and a nice beach. There are two museums in Tripoli but they are far from my home. In Tripoli there are many good places to go at night.

I like my city Tripoli, it's a good place to live and visit.

Mohammed Al Zeiat
Elementary A

Zawia is my favourite place

My favourite place is Zawia. It's the city where my uncle lives. There is a famous square called Maydan Al-Zawia where the rebels gathered and fought the Gadaffi mercenaries to free Zawia from them. There are a lot of markets and there is a beach a few minutes away. We go there with bikes or with cars. There aren't any mountains in Zawia, and no rivers. There's a mall in the city centre and there's a university called the Seventh of April. There's a lot of cafes and good places to go at night.

Elementary A

The places and things I love

My favourite place is Yefren. I love the mountains so much because it's a sweet place and my town is the mountain town called Yefren and it's my favourite place. I love shopping and there are interesting shops there. I can't go swimming there because there isn't a beach. I love my college because it's interesting and also Gharian because it's my future husband's town. I love Rome, Italy and Morocco and nature too.

Mawada Mousa 
Elementary A


My favourite place is Tokyo, Japan. It's the city where my friend lives. There are big markets near her home and long roads. There is a beautiful lake near the city but there aren't any mountains. The is a bus station but there isn't an airport near my friend's home. It's a beautiful place to visit.

Mawada Ali Hashem
Elementary A


My favourite place is Seoul, Korea. I like this city. It's very developed and there are a lot of restaurants and there are so many lovely people you can communicate with. There are lots of small cars and there are a lot of buses. There are interesting supermarkets and there are some houses. There are beautiful parks and there are many cinemas and there are karaoki bars.

I like to visit Korea.

Elementary A

I will love Tripoli forever

My favourite place is Tripoli. There are two nice parks, there are some intereting shops but there isn't a market. There are some restaurants and nice cafes. There are big hotels and there are some small hotels. It's not a good place to go at night. It's a quiet place. I will love Tripoli forever. 

Retaj Zlitne
Elementary A

Yefren - my favourite place

My favourite place is Yefren. It's the town where my parents were born and where my grandparents live. It lies on a high mountain and it's a small town. Yefren is a comfortable place. There are great mountains there and it has a good hotel. It's on the edge of a mountain. There is a nice park in the town and there are interesting shops but it has a little market and there are no restaurants but it has some cafes. There is a museum about the revolutionaries of Yefren and the February 17th Revolution. It's a nice, interesting museum.

There aren't any good places to go at night with your family but boys like to go camping out in the nature because it has a very nice feeling. It's a quiet place to visit.

Rema Mousa Abuqasea
Elementary A

My family's city - Tripoli

My favourite place in Libya is Tripoli. It's the city where my family lives. In Tripoli there are two nice parks near our home and only one shop. There aren't any nice cafes by my home. There is one cinema and a theatre, it's nice. There is a market and there are big hotels. There is a city centre that my family sometimes visits. I like my family's city. It's a quiet place to visit.

Raneem Zleetny
Elementary A

Tripoli - the capital of Libya

My favourite place is Tripoli. It's the capital of Libya. Tripoli is the city where my family live. There are one or two nice parks. There is an interesting museum and there is a five-star hotel. 

Libya has a long coastline. It's about 1,170 kilometres long and in Tripoli there's a beach. There aren't any lakes or rivers. There are malls and shops. There are markets and lots of restaurants and nice coffee shops. There is lots of traffic. It's not a good place for quiet, but it's still my love forever.

Aya Swissi
Elementary A


My favourite place is Tunisia. It's the country where my brother lives. He is a professional basketball player there. There are nice malls near his home and good hotels. I like going there in summer because I meet all my friends there and I like a small city there named Sedi Abosid. It's a nice city and they make traditional food there.

Mahmud Belhaj
Elementary A

Martyr's Square

My favourite place is Martyr's Square. It's the place where my grandfather lives in Tripoli. There is a big hotel called AlKabira and a park near the flat. There are lots of shops and cafes by the flat and there are lots of expensive restaurants. There are two small fountains and two museums just five minutes away by car. And there's a small square in front of the flat. There's a cinema only ten minutes away by car. There are lots of things you can do. It's a good place and I love it so much.

Maha Hamouda
Elementary A

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

A birthday meal with friends

The last time I had a special meal was last month. It was my best friend's birthday. She decided to have her birthday party in a restaurant called Ewan Express. Our friends were there too.

All of us wore black jackets and pink scarves. It was lunchtime so we ordered rice with chicken wings, kebab, shawarma and of course pizza. The meal was very delicious and we had a wonderful time chatting and laughing.

After the party, we went to her house where her mother had prepared another meal for us. It was an unforgettable day.

Aya Elmishre
Pre-Intermediate A

A graduation celebration

The last special meal I had was three weeks ago. We went to a very nice restaurant and celebrated my graduation from high school. My family and I were so happy that night. We got to the restaurant at 8:00pm, but we didn't get home early. Actually we went back home at 12:00am. We spent four hours there and I tried to be dressed up. I wore a nice jacket that my uncle brought to me and a beautiful pink scarf. Also, I wore my mom's expensive watch.

At dinner we had some very delicious grilled beef and Pepsi for all, and cheesecake for dessert. Oh.... I met my favourite teacher there. She was so happy to see me - I was happy to see her too.

Alaa El-Mezogi
Pre-Intermediate A

A birthday meal adventure

My mom made the best meal on  my birthday. We were at home - my brother, my sister and I. I can't remember exactly when but I think it happened on a Saturday. I wore ordinary clothes, and the party started at about 7 o'clock and ended at about 8:30 pm. I remember we ate a very delicious trifle and swiss-roll and a lot of chocolate. 

My mother burned herself in the kitchen and most of the trifle and candies were eaten by my brother. I didn't cry - just letting you know because nothing is perfect in this life. I forgot, that night I didn't sleep, not because I was sad that my brother ate everything or we didn't have a candle and no one remembered to buy it, I didn't sleep because I had a toothache. I suffered until the morning you know what's really interesting is when I went to the doctor and he said don't eat chocolate. When he finished he gave me a smile and said God help us all and this is my advice - try to be happy.

Radwan Zait
Pre-Intermediate A

A birthday meal

My special meal was last night for my friend's birthday in her home. All of my friends were there. It was very cold so I wore my heavy black dress. We ate some sweets and pizza. It lasted from 6:30 pm until 11 pm. I had a really nice time.

Marwa Ayad
Pre-Intermediate A

A restaurant in London

In 2006 I visited my uncle who lives in England, in Ipswich, and one day my uncle's family and I decided to visit London. One of the places we visited was a restaurant called Sandoz, I think, I'm not sure about the restaurant's name. 

We had a chicken meal, and it was really amazing. One of the advantages of Sandoz is that it's halal and drinks are free. So once you enter the restaurant you can drink whatever you want without paying for them.

I hope there will be a Sandoz in Libya one day. Then I think I will not eat at home at all.

Ibrahim M. Baour
Pre-Intermediate A


Corruption is a broad term that can apply to so many behaviours, also corruption can involve people or institutions. Broadly we can say corruption is any act that is against the law, from which some benefit could be harvested. Generally it is government personnel who are usually incriminated in such acts. 

As a matter of fact, many countries are economically and scientifically retarded as a result of the spread of corruption in government sectors. It is the main reason behind the failure of reform projects as it may drain the financial support of any project and leads to it's death.

On a smaller scale, corrupt government personnel usually try to gain benefit from their positions at work to earn money, using twisted methods and bribery. In Libya, for example, nobody can have his business run without facing such problems. On the other hand, the loose hand-grip of the judicial system promotes such corrupt activities and persuades others to commit such crimes.

To fight corruption we should build a strong judicial system and well-equipped monitoring body that will pick any corruption that may rise in government circles.

Riyad Abuserwil
Upper Intermediate A