Sunday, January 27, 2013

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2013

 It is International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2013

 To honor this day I’d like to spotlight the book Surviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor, & Lisa Rojany Buccieri. Eva is an amazing woman you can learn her story here on her Candles Holocaust Museum Site. So important to never forget and make sure these atrocities never happen again. This book is available at the library.

 Surviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz

Synopsis from Goodreads
Eva Mozes Kor was 10 years old when she arrived in Auschwitz. While her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, she and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man known as the Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele. Mengele's twins were granted the privileges of keeping their own clothes and hair, but they were also subjected to sadistic medical experiments and forced to fight daily for their own survival, as most of the twins died as a result of the experiements or from the disease and hunger pervasive in the camp. In a narrative told with emotion and restraint, readers will learn of a child's endurance and survival in the face of truly extraordinary evil. The book also includes an epilogue on Eva's recovery from this experience and her remarkable decision to publicly forgive the Nazis. Through her museum and her lectures, she has dedicated her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and working toward goals of forgiveness, peace, and the elimination of hatred and prejudice in the world.

My Review:
I was interested in this book because I have watched the documentary Forgiving Dr. Mengele and as a librarian I am always looking for non-fiction books written for middle grade or young adult. I also have found that now I want to read the stories from the survivors, everyone knows the story of Anne Frank she is the go to book about the holocaust especially for this age group and I am glad to have a found this compelling story from a survivor I think that is what makes Eva & Miriam’s story so important is they survived the awful things this lunatic Mengele did to them and so many others. Her letter forgiving what Mengele and the Nazi’s did to her and countless others is an amazing act of compassion and courage.

This quote from the Declaration of Amnesty Eva wrote for the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz is so powerful I love that she chose not to be a victim anymore and how forgiving liberated her too-
“I hope in some small way, to send the world a message of forgiveness, a message of peace, a message of hope, a message of healing. Let there be no more wars, no more experiments without informed consent, no more gas chambers, no more bombs, no more hatred, no more Auschwitzes.”
-----------------Eva Mozes Kor

That is the reason this book is so important for young people the telling of the story and the learning to live with the atrocities done to you and in the end to find the strength within you to forgive, that is what makes this a powerful read. It is a short book but sure packs a lot into it.

Another thing I found fascinating was how the guards and such at the camps said the twins were the lucky ones because they got the special attention from Herr Doktor but what these poor children went through was not special, it is horrific when you read in Eva’s own words what was done it is horrifying, the experiments and tests he did we won’t allow on animals let alone children. That is another reason this book is so important is so we never forget, be always vigilant so nothing like this ever happens again.

I recommend this to all middle grade & young adult readers and for the adults that want even more of the story try Echoes From Auschwitz: Dr. Mengele's Twins: The Story Of Eva And Miriam Mozes by Eva Mozes Kor, Mary Wright and also the documentary I mentioned above Forgiving Dr. Mengele as of this writing it is streaming on Netflix.

4 Stars

I received this book from netgalley & the publisher for a fair and unbiased review

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Club Musings~~Little Bee by, Chris Cleave

Little Bee by, Chris Cleave narrated by, Anne Flosnik

We read this for our library bookclub as you can see from my review below I loved this book I thought Little Bees spirit and hope were amazing however nobody else liked this book all they saw were the horrors while I saw the beauty and it got me wondering; is it because Anne Flosnik humanized everyone so beautifully that I had a completely different experience with this book because everyone else read it in paper form and I listened to it on audio: it was like we read 2 different books. I wonder if they would think differently if they listened to it too.
So, I would say, listen to it on audio to truly experience the beauty of this book.
The audiobook for Little Bee is available on Library2Go website.

I have also added some of my favorite quotes from the book that may give you some idea of what I found beautiful.

My review:

“People wonder how they are ever going to change their lives, but really it is frighteningly easy.”
― Chris Cleave, Little Bee

This was a beautiful story and I fell in love with Little Bee, her attitude on life ,the storyteller and the scars were such beautiful metaphors for life be happy you survived and don’t let what happened to you dictate your whole life. I loved this quote;

I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.”
― Chris Cleave, Little Bee

I liked the way the author made these distinctions in language and speech the way Charlie puts things and the halting way Little Bee talks I thought said volumes about these characters (see below how great this is on audio!). When Little Bee changed her name I thought she changed it to something beautiful and strong and she picked it herself and for me it felt like her first step to freedom, a freedom she never stopped believing she would have I think that’s what I loved about her she is a survivor but she doesn’t just survive she lives. I also enjoyed what she said about proverbs where if she tells a little story then says “that is a proverb in my country” people will suddenly shake their head yes, yes and look solemn. This cracked me up because I could see this working!

I kind of wish there hadn’t been the Lawrence storyline, I guess it made Sarah more human? more flawed? But maybe I didn’t like this storyline because I didn’t like Lawrence, even though we never really get to know Andrew I can’t help thinking he was a better person than Lawrence could ever be but that’s just my opinion of him. Andrew was such a huge part of the story yet we never really get to know him we only have the reasons the people left behind have deduced as to why he died the way he did we never get to hear from him what led him to that end. There I times Sarah does annoy me it’s in the little things it gets a little better in the scene with Charlie at the river but then she rides off and I felt just leaves Little Bee to fend for herself with the police. I felt she was at times self-centered but then there were times of such huge compassion Sarah was kind of an enigma there were times I liked her and many times I didn’t.

I loved Charlie/Batman too I felt so sorry for him but I loved watching his relationship with Little Bee grow and couldn’t help wondering if this growing relationship was one of the reasons when Sarah thought about sending Little Bee away is that she was jealous with no one to blame but herself.

Audio production: I not only fell in love with Little Bee I fell in love with her narrator Anne Flosnik ,she was perfect in her narration, her voices for Little Bee, Sarah and Charlie were fantastic I thought she did great on Little Bee’s broken Queen’s English and the odd way Charlie talked was that much more enhanced by her narration, her accents and inflections were so great! I will be looking for many more from this wonderful narrator!

4  Star book
5  Star narration

“You travel here and you travel there, trying to get out from under the cloud, and nothing works, and then one day you realize you've been carrying the weather around with you.”
― Chris Cleave, Little Bee

“Sad words are just another beauty. A sad story means, this storyteller is alive. The next thing you know something fine will happen to her, something marvelous, and then she will turn around and smile.”
― Chris Cleave, Little Bee

“I’m telling you, trouble is like the ocean. It covers two thirds of the world.”
― Chris Cleave, Little Bee

“If I could not smile, I think my situation would be even more serious.”
― Chris Cleave, Little Bee

“Isn't it sad, growing up? You start off like my Charlie. You start off thinking you can kill all the baddier and save the world. Then you get a little bit older, maybe Little Bee's age, and you realize that some of the world's badness is inside you, that maybe you're a part of it. And then you get a bit older still, and a bit more comfortable, and you start wondering whether that badness you've seen in yourself is really all that bad at all. You start talking about ten per cent."
Maybe that's just developing as a person, Sarah."
I sighed and looked out at Little Bee
Well," I said, "maybe this is a developing world.”
― Chris Cleave, Little Bee
“At some point you just have to turn around and face your life head on.”
― Chris Cleave, Little Bee

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Library2Go Audiobook Spotlight # 7~ The Cove by Ron Rash narrated by, Merritt Hicks

Library2Go Audiobook Spotlight #7~ The Cove by Ron Rash narrated by, Merritt Hicks

 Most of you know our new Library2Go service makes it easy to download ebooks but what some might not know is there is also a great selection of audiobooks available for download too. I will spotlight some of my favorite audiobooks and narrators.

Synopsis: Deep in the rugged Appalachians of North Carolina lies the cove, a dark, forbidding place where spirits and fetches wander, and even the light fears to travel. Or so the townsfolk of Mars Hill believe-just as they know that Laurel Shelton, the lonely young woman who lives within its shadows, is a witch. Alone except for her brother, Hank, newly returned from the trenches of France, she aches for her life to begin.

Then it happens-a stranger appears, carrying nothing but a beautiful silver flute and a note explaining that his name is Walter, he is mute, and is bound for New York. Laurel finds him in the woods, nearly stung to death by yellow jackets, and nurses him back to health. As the days pass, Walter slips easily into life in the cove and into Laurel's heart, bringing her the only real happiness she has ever known.
But Walter harbors a secret that could destroy everything-and danger is closer than they know. Though the war in Europe is near its end, patriotic fervor flourishes thanks to the likes of Chauncey Feith, an ambitious young army recruiter who stokes fear and outrage throughout the county. In a time of uncertainty, when fear and ignorance reign, Laurel and Walter will discover that love may not be enough to protect them.
This lyrical, heart-rending tale, as mesmerizing as its award-winning predecessor Serena, shows once again this masterful novelist at the height of his powers.

My Review:
This is a beautiful and heartbreaking book. Set in the Appalachians during WWI and hate towards Germans is running rampant with the help of one fervent recruiter Chauncey who is on a witch hunt for anything German. At the same time on a farm in the cove lives Laurel a young woman with a wine splotch birthmark that people in town say is a curse and call her a witch and the townspeople won’t let her go to school because she may harm their children. A superstitious lot they are, that makes for a lonely life for Laurel, she does have her brother Jack who is back from the war missing a hand but alive. When one day she hears the most beautiful flute music and sees a raggedy man a few days later she finds him covered in bee stings and brings him home. Walter recovers but seems to be a mute but that doesn’t stop sparks from flying between him and Laurel.

I cared so much about these characters that towards the end my stomach was knotted with worry and when events played out I was bawling (should not have been listening to this at work!). This book evokes the times and the place I felt like I was there. It is a love story but so much more it is about the human condition and how people can be so incredibly hurtful towards others. I loved Laurel and felt so bad for the way she was treated and even though I figured out certain things about Walter, it didn’t matter, he was one of the few people to show a kindness towards laurel and I think it was what they both needed.

Merritt Hicks’ narration was spot on her southern accent was great and her characters were all very distinct I always knew who was talking. I will definitely listen to this narrator again!

As I said this novel is beautiful and heart wrenching all at the same time, this is my first book by this author and will not be my last! I think fans of southern fiction and historical fiction will like this one.

4 ½ Stars

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Library2Go Audiobook Spotlight #6~ A Grown Up Kind of Pretty by, Joshilyn Jackson

Most of you know our new Library2Go service makes it easy to download ebooks but what some might not know is there is also a great selection of audiobooks available for download too. I will spotlight some of my favorite audiobooks and narrators.
Today's Spotlight is also a book that is in my Top 5 of the year I gave it a 5 Star Rating for writing and narration and in a very uncommon case this authors narration of this book was flawless I would have thought it was a professional narrator.

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty written & narrated by, Joshilyn Jackson
Synopsis: A powerful saga of three generations of women, plagued by hardships and torn by a devastating secret, yet inextricably joined by the bonds of family. Fifteen-year-old Mosey Slocumb-spirited, sassy, and on the cusp of womanhood-is shaken when a small grave is unearthed in the backyard, and determined to figure out why it's there. Liza, her stroke-ravaged mother, is haunted by choices she made as a teenager. But it is Jenny, Mosey's strong and big-hearted grandmother, whose maternal love braids together the strands of the women's shared past--and who will stop at nothing to defend their future.

My Review:
This is my first book by Joshilyn Jackson and I will be remedying that ASAP. This was such a great book I listened to it on audio and sat in my car in the parking lot for an extra 20 minutes just to get to the end of a chapter. What great characters I loved them all! This book is about family and what it means to be family. The 3 generations of women in this book will make you smile, cry and cheer.

This was narrated by the author and I know audiobook junkies like me cringe a little when we hear this (unless you are Neil Gaiman) but I must say Joshilyn Jackson narrates this book like a pro and I think if you didn’t know it you wouldn’t think twice of recommending this narrator so I see that she narrates most of her book so I will continue with this author on audio!

Once the first bombshell is dropped in this book you will not be able to turn back or put this book down! Oh my, it would be so easy to give away too much in a review but I want you to know how much I loved this book! Big, Little & Mosey are all great women in their own right, I loved how each chapter was told from each woman’s perspective so you knew what each was thinking and hiding and revealing to the other and how the other reacts to it. As you may be able to tell I fell in love with this family of women and I just want to gush on and on. Maybe I better just stop here and say READ THIS BOOK!!

5 Stars