Tag: WW2

Book Review: The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

In today’s book review post, I am featuring my review for the first non-fiction book I read this year – A Diary of a Young Girl. I have been making more of an effort to read non-fiction of late, and so I felt it fitting that I also feature this on my blog. It reflects my current reading, and this book naturally led to some very strong emotions.

A Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

Genre: Non-fiction/classic

Pages: 283

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Fingerprint Classics

Publication Date: 1947

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank’s extraordinary diary, written in the Amsterdam attic where she and her family hid from the Nazis for two years, has become a world classic and a timeless testament to the human spirit. Now, in a new edition enriched by many passages originally withheld by her father, we meet an Anne more real, more human, and more vital than ever. Here she is first and foremost a teenage girl—stubbornly honest, touchingly vulnerable, in love with life. She imparts her deeply secret world of soul-searching and hungering for affection, rebellious clashes with her mother, romance and newly discovered sexuality, and wry, candid observations of her companions. Facing hunger, fear of discovery and death, and the petty frustrations of such confined quarters, Anne writes with adult wisdom and views beyond her years. Her story is that of every teenager, lived out in conditions few teenagers have ever known.

 

My Thoughts…

Having read so much historical fiction, particularly around World War II as I’m interested in the subject, I’m surprised I hadn’t read this book before now. Most of the narratives are about the overarching movements on the war, but it’s personal stories that really make it hit home. But this isn’t fiction. Anne Frank was a real young lady, who went into hiding because a regime did not like her faith. All the devastation that took place is disgusting.

Up until the family go into hiding, Anne lives a reasonably normal life. She has a school and classmates… A family who love her. All the things a child should have. Fear and doubt are not things that a child her age should know, but they come soon enough. There is a stark difference between the schoolgirl gifted a diary for her birthday, and the young woman confined into the Annex.

Throughout her diary we watch Anne struggle to come to terms with her new life, her relationships and living in a small space with very few provisions. Through the various chapters, we experience Anne’s day-to-day struggles, angst and moods, as well as her extended periods of melancholy. Anne becomes a teenager in The Annex; she has to battle with herself to come into her own, deal with her hormones and the like with no help or privacy.

The knowledge that this is a real girl’s diary makes the content all the more stark. That I concluded this read on the day Russia invaded Ukraine brought this to the forefront of my mind once again.

It is an educational read that helps those of us who have never known such hardship to really understand the atrocities experienced by the Franks, amongst others, had to live through. But, it also has a glimmer of hope – as it highlights those who risked themselves to hide and protect Jews. It is a pity it was in vain for too many people.

I don’t know what I expected, but the abrupt ending of the diary left me at a loss. Naturally, Anne had no inkling of their discovery and so there was no lead-up to that in her narrative. To mentally conclude the book, I researched what happened to the family after the events in her diary, and I was saddened by the reality. It is sad that anyone should go through this, but the truth is, so many lives ended in similar, or worse ways.

The Diary of a Young Girl wasn’t light reading by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it is important. It gives insight into the horrors that oppressed Jews had to live in, and only through wearing their shoes can we understand how they lived, suffered and fought for their lives.

Have you read The Diary of a Young Girl? What are your thoughts on this book? As always, let me know in the comments or on social media.

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books I’d LOVE to Re-Read!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is a freebie with the general theme of ‘love’. Now you know me, I am not interested in anything remotely romance-y. Obviously I wasn’t going to be sharing the post along those lines!

When trying to think about how I could make this topic work for me, I came to the answer quite easily. As I’ve been drafting blog posts of late, and featuring books I’ve read before, I’m frequently saying to myself that I would love to re-read them. And it’s true – I fully intend to do so! This wasn’t too far away from the forefront of my mind, so making a topic of them in today’s post seemed logical. It also means I have a record of the books I want to re-read as of now so I can always go back to it if I need to refer to it!

Half of the books on this list are ones I read prior to starting my blog and so it has been a good while since I read them. I’m interested in going back to them to see what I make of them now my reading taste has matured. Those books are: –

 

The Name of the Wind

The Mistborn Trilogy

The Gentlemen Bastards series

Blood Song

Night Angel series

 

In addition, there are books I have read within the last few years that I want to go back to again just because I thought they were brilliant! They’re the kind of books I could go back to you again and again (and again) and never get bored of them. These are the books I will shout from the rooftops about, because I think they’re bloody fantastic!

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy

Strange the Dreamer series

Raven’s Mark series

Code Name Verity

 

There is one final book on my list that I would like to re-read again, because I didn’t actually finish it properly first time round.

The Eye of the World

the eye of the world

After a very good attempt, I DNF’d first book in The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I was enjoying it, however it was also quite heavy. At the time I tried to read this book I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind. I started to struggle and ultimately made the decision to put this down because I wasn’t getting on with it.

I really want to go back to it because my friend Rachael absolutely loves the series and I trust her judgement entirely. I was the problem, I think… or at least the timing of it was. If I could go back to this in a better frame of mind, I’ll sail through it. A time when I’m really motivated to read and not intimidated by the length, because it is a chunky one… and only the first book of many! If all else fails I can get an audiobook copy – they are nice and easy to digest compared to physical books! 

I hope you have enjoyed today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! Have you read any of these books? Do you have any books you would love to re-read?

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Shelf Control #39 – 10/12/2021

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a regular feature here and is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

The next book on my list is one that is sat on my bookshelf upstairs. I have a weird kind of morbid fascination with the subject and having read a number of great books also of the same ilk, I had every confidence that I was going to enjoy this one and so bought myself a physical copy in advance. I haven’t read anything by this particular author before but I don’t think that matters!

Do you want to find out what today’s book is?

 

The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe

Goodreads – The Librarian of Auschwitz

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

 

My Thoughts…

I don’t particularly know why, given that the subject is incredibly unpleasant, but I really enjoy historical novels about Auschwitz. I have read and listened to a good few books by now but this is one still currently sat on my TBR… and on my bookshelf ready to go!

The books I’ve read to-date give me high expectations, but I have every confidence that they will be met. I have a lot of interest in the subject and that goes a long way with books like this. The premise is about preserving literature in the camp and as a self-confessed bookworm myself, I can appreciate that any day!

I can’t wait to finally read this and see how it compares to the other books I’ve read and listened to on the subject in recent years. Probably the one that stands out to me most is The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. I listened to the audiobook versions of these novels and they were absolutely fantastic. I can only hope that The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe adds to my list of brilliant works of fiction on the subject.

Have you read The Librarian of Auschwitz? Let me know in the comments!

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Sunday Summary – 21st February 2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post. Have you had a good week? Mine has been – I’ve enjoyed some great books, TV and even a film this week. For many years I haven’t really watched much in the way of TV, but with less pressure put upon myself to read all the time, I’m finding it on more often. It’s a funny coincidence that the film I ended up watching most of was the film edition of my current read! What a coincidence, eh?

In terms of blogging, I shared one other blog post this week. I finally put together my review of Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor; I hope it does the book/series justice. It’s one of my favourites and I hope that comes across. If you haven’t checked out that post yet, please do!

I also drafted 90% of my Harry Potter tag post, but unfortunately, I ran out of time to finish it and publish it yesterday. My laptop decided to inconveniently download and install some updates late yesterday evening. Let’s just say that it’s gotten to a certain age where downloading updates renders it practically useless in terms of doing anything else! Want to flick from a word document to a web page? Sure, but you’ll have to wait five minutes, the programs will ‘not respond’ at least twice and after all that, don’t dare to scroll the web page unless you want to repeat the whole process. So, come 10:30 pm last night I’d had enough and gave up.

 

Books Read

I’ve made progress on a number of books this week. As of last week’s Sunday Summary post I was currently reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling. I went on to finish this book this week and it was honestly as good as I remember it! I really enjoyed this second book of the re-read of the series. Thankfully the early books aren’t too long, so it didn’t take long to read at all. Once I’ve read the third one they get a bit chunkier though!

Next, I picked up my current read, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I bought this on Kindle a few years ago and I decided that it was the book I wanted to pick up next. Over the course of the week, I’ve read a quarter of the book so far. Ironically, I’m about at the point in the book where I picked up on the film on Friday night, so I know what happens. I’m still looking forward to reading it though –it hasn’t spoiled it for me at all!

Lastly, I listened to some more A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin this week. I have started listening to it when commuting as I said I was going to. I still listened to the radio a couple of times, but I think getting back into the habit of listening to audiobooks on a regular basis will help me get through more of them than I am currently.

 

Books Discovered

This week’s discovered section is going to be comparatively boring to last week’s update. There’s nothing to add here and that’s probably for the best!

 

Coming Up…

Since I’ve already written 90% of the post, it makes sense to share my Harry Potter Book tag early next week. I’ve enjoyed writing it and I hope it makes for fun reading for you!

I’ll be sharing another review with you later in the week. I have a number of reviews to catch up on, and this week’s review is for a book I read late last year that I had been asked to read in exchange for an honest review. London: Auxiliary 2039 is a cyberpunk thriller novel that I loved. The plot was interesting and I enjoyed the mystery behind the narrative. I hope you can check out my full review next week!

 

Until then, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post! Have a good week, happy reading and I’ll see you around!

 

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Shelf Control #24 – 14/08/2020

It’s Friday – welcome to a slightly later than usual Shelf Control post. Apologies it’s a little late – normally I draft these on a Thursday night but as I was working on yesterday’s Spotlight Feature post, I didn’t get round to it.

We’re concluding the run of classic books in today’s post. I went through a phase of adding quite a few classic novels to the TBR, as you have seen over the past several weeks.

In case you haven’t read one of these posts before, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Goodreads – The Book Thief

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

 

My Thoughts…

I’m a huge fan of historical fiction novels based around WW2. I’ve read and featured many on my blog over the past few years, so it’s not exactly a secret. Combine that with the main character who reveres books… I’m bound to love it!

It astounds me that the book has a rating of 4.3 on Goodreads and nearly 1.8 million ratings. That’s mad! If it’s rated that highly I have a lot of confidence I will feel the same way about it. Almost all of my Goodreads friends that have rated the book have given it 5 stars.

Have you read The Book Thief? Is it as good as it appears? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Shelf Control #23 – 31/07/2020

Happy Friday and welcome to another Shelf Control post! We’re continuing with the theme of classics in today’s post. I went through a phase of adding classic novels to the TBR and so I’ve featured a lot lately. Today is no exception; however, we are coming to the end of them at last!

In case you haven’t read one of these posts before, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

Goodreads – Catch-22

Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved. Since its publication in 1961, no novel has matched Catch-22’s intensity and brilliance in depicting the brutal insanity of war.

 

My Thoughts…

I wonder how many people use the expression “catch-22” in day-to-day conversation without having read this book? For the moment I count among that number! You know a book is iconic when it makes such an impact on a society that it finds its way into a language.

I added this book to the TBR in 2018 at the same time as many other classics I want to read. As a historical fiction fan, I’m definitely looking forward to picking this up. If I had kept up with my Beat the Backlist Challenge, I could have been reading this later this year. Realistically that’s looking unlikely now. However, I will be chipping away at my backlist for the foreseeable. It shouldn’t be too long before I get around to this book.

Have you read Catch-22? What did you think of it if you have? If not, is it of any interest to you? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 03/07/2020

In my recent Sunday Summary post, I set myself a theme for today’s First Lines Friday post. I didn’t really know what book or genre I wanted to share, but I wanted to set some criteria so my selection of book was less random than usual. In the end, I settled on choosing a book that I have read and rated five stars.

I spent a long time last night flicking through a number of highly-rated reads and finally settled on today’s selection. It’s a historical fiction novel I read in 2018 and if I remember correctly, I read this in two sittings over two days. It is really easy to read and I was surprised to learn it was written for a younger audience than I expected considering the subject matter. Have you any idea what it might be from the hints? If not, perhaps the opening lines might give it away…

 

One afternoon, when Bruno came home from school, he was surprised to find Maria, the family’s maid – who always kept her head bowed and never looked up from the carpet – standing in his bedroom, pulling all his belongings out of the wardrobe and packing them in four large wooden crates, even the things he’d hidden at the back that belonged to him and were nobody else’s business.

‘What are you doing?’ he asked in as polite a tone as he could muster, for although he wasn’t happy to come home to find someone going through his possessions, his mother had always told him that he was to treat Maria respectfully and not just imitate the way Father spoke to her. ‘You take your hands off my things.’

Maria shook her head and pointed towards the staircase behind him, where Bruno’s mother had just appeared.

 

Intrigued to find out what the book I am featuring this week is?

 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne

Goodreads – The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The story of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some clues about the book on the back cover, but in this case we think that would spoil the reading of the book. We think it is important that you start to read without knowing what it is about.

If you do start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy called Bruno. (Though this isn’t a book for nine-year-olds.)  And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.

Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope you never have to encounter such a fence.

 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is such an iconic story that I think everyone has an idea of what it’s about, even if you haven’t read the book or watched a film based on it. I went into this book with a vague idea of the story, but reading it for myself was a completely different experience. It’s one of the few books that have made me really cry at the end. Despite the emotional aspect of the story, I absolutely recommend it to anyone and everyone. It offers a child’s innocent and completely different perspective to an awful event.

Have you read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas? Let me know what you think of the story in the comments!

 

 

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