Wow. I ADORED this book. My first thought after closing it for the last time was "Everyone in the world should read this." What a life changing story...moreWow. I ADORED this book. My first thought after closing it for the last time was "Everyone in the world should read this." What a life changing story this was!
"Death" being the narrator was such a great touch. I think that might be one of my favorite things-when he (I assume death is a "he") started forshadowing to the deaths at the end, I was grateful for the warning-but from that point on I felt like I was rushing through the book, half hoping I could beat death there and read a happier ending...but the book couldn't have ended any other way.
I can handle reading a lot of fantasy violence and torture, because, no matter how connected to the characters I am-I know on some level as I’m readin...moreI can handle reading a lot of fantasy violence and torture, because, no matter how connected to the characters I am-I know on some level as I’m reading that it did NOT happen. So, when I picked up Skeletons I knew that would be different, and I was right. Even the smallest acts of cruelty in this book twisted my guts because I know that what the Jews went through during the Holocaust is absolute reality. Just thinking about it makes me feel sick. So, in a way, this book was the opposite of fantasy-seeing how the various characters in their different situations dealt with the war is what connected me to them. There was a German family fleeing from the Russians and a Scottish POW traveling with them, a young Jewish woman in a work camp, and a Jewish man disguising himself (usually) as a German soldier. I feel like I went on a real journey with these characters and the end of the story was brilliant and heartbreaking, as a true war novel should be.(less)
I don't really want to say much about the story itself, because I knew next to nothing about it when I started it and I loved reading it that way, wit...moreI don't really want to say much about the story itself, because I knew next to nothing about it when I started it and I loved reading it that way, with no idea what was coming or what would happen.
It is quite the story though, very heart wrenching and very personal. I love reading books that make the characters family once you're finished with it. Anna and Trudy feel like family now, and I will be treasuring this book for a very long time.(less)
I'm not sure how to review a book like this. It is an absolutely brilliant book, but certainly not one I can claim to have enjoyed. Who could enjoy su...moreI'm not sure how to review a book like this. It is an absolutely brilliant book, but certainly not one I can claim to have enjoyed. Who could enjoy such a story? That being said, I consider it one of the best books I have ever read. It is a moving testimony to bravery, pain, suffering and hope. The Holocaust is not a time in history that we want to remember, but it is a time that we cannot let be forgotten. Books like this serve as a reminder of the lowest of humanity...but also the highest. One cannot call Nazis vermin without also naming the Jews heroes.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough to be the one you choose to read so you can remember.
The writing is so clear: so simply written and so full of emotion. I feel like I have lost people I know. In many ways, a lot of us know this group: the Frank and Van Pels families. We first learned about their years of hiding in the Annex through Anne Frank's diary. And here, Sharon Dogar takes us on a fictionalized account of Peter's journey.
The best way I can think of to describe the way I felt while reading this book is to say that I feel like I was shoved headfirst into Peter's pensieve. I was an invisible onlooker during every part of his story, from the Annex to Auschwitz. It has been a long time since I have been able to so clearly see a movie version of the story I am reading play in my head. I sure chose a wrenching story to be so immersed in.
Sharon Dogar mastered the ability to shed light on the way Peter must have felt while hiding in the Annex. She described not only the feelings of frustration and and fear and longing for the outside...but all the normal things a teenage boy goes through. She balances them all perfectly and makes Peter really seem like a person. That is what makes reading this book so hard - you are getting to know and love a person that you already know has a horrible fate.
There are so many gripping passages in this book, I could quote all day long. Sometimes it was the expressions of hope and love that were more jarring than the ones of war or fear. Regardless, the voice that Dogar gives her characters will get a grip on you that doesn't let go, even when the story is over.
“I don’t exist anymore. They’ve turned me into a nobody so that they can wipe me off the face of the Earth.” ......................
“Maybe I’m ashamed because it’s hard not to feel ashamed, when just being born is something you can be killed for.” ......................
“I know that sometimes love is as hard to bear as hate, that it can hurt as much.” ......................
“Even if you replace my name with a number, give me no spoon to eat with, or clothes, or shoes to walk in – so that I am forced to live and eat like one. I am not an animal.” ......................
“No, I was not hungry. Hungry is a word that you can understand. This hunger is not in my stomach, it is in my skin – my bones. If you cut my legs off they would walk toward a bowl of soup without me.” ......................
Y’all, I picked up Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley despite hearing little to no buzz about its release. I love historical YA, and seeing the magic wo...moreY’all, I picked up Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley despite hearing little to no buzz about its release. I love historical YA, and seeing the magic word spy got my reader senses all a-tingle. The WWII backdrop definitely came to life and I found myself very much enjoying most aspects of this story.
Our intrepid heroine, Betty (code name: Adele), isn’t satisfied sitting on the sidelines. She lies about her age so she can train to become a spy. Along the way she makes an unlikely best friend, falls in love with an American pilot and manages to pull off more than her share of bravery. This all makes for a very engrossing read, y’all!
The one weak spot of Violins of Autumn is definitely the romance. It isn’t the focus of the story, and while I’m glad…I was disappointed with Robbie, the American love interest. Bless his heart, he just didn’t do anything for me. I wasn’t feeling the swoons. I did feel a little more with Pierre, the French bad-boy resistance fighter. Cue the groans – I can hear you guys already. “Nooooo! Not another love triangle!” Well, fear not. I definitely don’t think there was enough development to call it a triangle. Just enjoy the boys for what they are and focus on the real strengths of the story!
From parachuting into Nazi-occupied France until its liberation by Allied forces – we follow Adele and see the part she plays in the war. From undercover tours of enemy munitions factories to dodging check-in points on bicycle – there certainly aren’t a lot of dull moments! Then, when things start to go wrong, Adele has to ferret out the existence and identity of an unlikely double agent.
Seriously, I loved seeing Adele’s growth throughout Violins of Autumn. She has to deal with a lot of confusion and growing pains along with the constant pulse of danger. Seeing how the war was changing her while at the same time seeing her struggle not to let it? Definitely made the pages keep turning. I found so many passages very elegantly written:
“Regular life. It still goes on around me.
While a kind man was working up the nerve to ask me on a date, I was working up the nerve to kill him with my bare hands.”
If you’re a fan of historical fiction, Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley is definitely a book you’ll want to pick up!(less)
For the Duration: A Lighthearted WAAF Memoir by Felicity Ashbee might be non-fiction, but it sure doesn’t read that way. This is definitely a historic...moreFor the Duration: A Lighthearted WAAF Memoir by Felicity Ashbee might be non-fiction, but it sure doesn’t read that way. This is definitely a historical read worth picking up, no matter how far out of your comfort zone it may be.
“War?” my American friends had said, “What war?” “Hitler,” I replied. “There isn’t going to be a war,” they repeated complacently. But I knew better.
Thus begins a very engaging and entertaining memoir about Felicity Ashbee’s experiences in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in WWII. I have been trying to increase my non-fiction reading lately, and I made a great choice with For the Duration. Before I go into the book – we have to talk about the cover. Do you guys like it? The picture is a woodcut illustration Felicity herself did for the WAAF Magazine in 1940.
For the Duration is peppered with great illustrations – from photographs to several of Felicity Ashbee’s original drawings.
I actually learned some interesting things about WWII in general. Did you know that no major military operations occurred in the initial months following Britain’s declaration of war on Germany? That period is known as the “Phoney War.” It was during this time that Felicity and the other women of the WAAF were trying to figure out their place.
For the Duration also covered a lot of the small day-to-day things that Felicity Ashbee remembered. From putting on amateur theatricals (which included songs about worn out knickers) to catching bedbugs to challenges to drink beer without touching the glass with one’s hands.
It does turn into a bit of a see-saw. Some parts make for very easy reading while some sections are really dry and hard to follow – but hey. Such is life (and this is a memoir after all). Overall, I definitely enjoyed my reading experience.(less)