Tag Archive: holocaust



WunderlandWunderland by Jennifer Cody Epstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This should be required reading for everyone. Especially now.

It was difficult for me at first as I thought maybe I was reading pro-nazi propaganda. But the people who suggested this read for me would never have recommended that kind of book. So I continued reading.

The book was written through differing points of view and differing times. It feels like a memoir at times as it gets quite personal.

Instead of it being propaganda, the author gives us an inside look into how a person/nation becomes less free-thinking, how certain biases become bigotry and hatred. She shows us how group-think and gang-mentality forms, even in the most loving people. Peer pressure and lack of trust promoted by the people in power move all the people into fear. I think that was my take away.

I would have given this book five stars but my experience with text-to-speech with this back and forth in time and differing personalities was difficult to figure out who was talking and when. Without eyes on the text, I would get lost.

If you can, please read this book. I think I may want to read it again and take notes. Maybe I’ll give more stars next time.

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Waiting for a Miracle: Historical NovelWaiting for a Miracle: Historical Novel by Helen (Wininger) Livnat
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished reading this a few days ago. I hate it when I finish before I am ready to sleep. I start the next book and forget to get back to the last book to review. But this one needs a review!

There cannot be enough books about the Holocaust. We need to look at it from every angle to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This book presented another point of view. It is from paternal journals handed down from the time of the first world war. The great-granddaughter is conveying the story. All the way to her own life.

All in all, it is well told. It doesn’t quite fit into my goal of reading books by strong women with strong women as main characters as Helen (Wininger) Livnat only tells her story at the end and it feels she left much of her own life out to give her forefathers the say of what happened in those horrid times. And that’s fine with me. She includes what is happening to the females at that time as best she can. The stories are coming from journals of the men so she’s telling what she inherited. None of it is fiction. We’ve read the histories, we can see the truth. We need to take warning.

It is always hard to give a rating to someone else’s life. So in that, I’m sticking with the five-star rating. There were errors, grammatical mostly–near the end, a ‘there’ that should have either been ‘they’re’ or ‘their’ (I can’t remember which now) is one example. In fact, the ending could use an editor’s eyes. But it didn’t take away from the truth and horror of the story or the warnings. And I think that there may have been some translation problems in that I think Russian was the first language. But I’m guessing.

Like I said, it is the story that is the important issue here. I think everyone should read this. It is enjoyable watching the families and the sons adjust and still love no matter what the outside world is doing. It is amazing what we can do when we do it for love.

Yes, there are a lot of tears. Even near the beginning. So have your Kleenex handy. But there are big joyous moments as well. Life and love bring us generations of stories and struggles. Well worth the read. But I’m repeating myself. I just want people to pick this up when they can and take it into their souls.

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Review: The Book Thief


The Book Thief
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Death narrates this wonderful story about a young girl in Hitler’s Germany. That is a sentence I never would have thought of writing. But that is part of the many surprises in this story. If you’ve read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, you have a vision of Death. Though this book is covering more serious matters, the author brings in wit and wisdom, and shows us all how to care, how to love.

Early baby-boomers and their parents know deeply what happened pre and during World War II. Most books covering this era, with anger and depression and rightly so. This book looks at all of that plus teaches a girl to read and write. Okay, now that sounds like elementary school. And though this could be read to a younger audience the subject matter is quite mature. In fact, it is a great way to introduce to younger people how Hitler grew his army and how people learned to blame others for their problems (sounds a lot like what is happening now in many ways).

Right from the start I found I cared for Death and the other characters. But most of all I loved the quirky writing style. I have read in other reviews that the style was distracting, but I found it was necessary. We need to take the subject lighter so that we can live with the girl in her own innocence. The turn of a phrase in this author’s writing kept me highlighting all over the place. Markus Zusak is amazing!

This Kindle version was given to me for a birthday gift from my friend, Yve. Thank you so much! I picked up the audio version from the library, hence breaking up my current reading list. I loved the narrator of the audio, Allan Corduner. He acted the parts and kept me interested. Though this was the library Overdrive version, I think I will use this month’s credit to get the Audible copy. That’s how much I loved the combination. I plan to read this again. As for the movie? I am not sure I want to watch it yet. I am too in love with my own imaginary movie.

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