Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Book Review Club (July 2010)

Greetings one and all to the NINETEENTH meeting of The Book Review Club. We're happy to have you join us.

I hope you're all enjoying the summer and getting a little leisure time for . . . reading. Because we've got some great book reviews this month. So grab a cup of coffee, sit down and start scrolling. You're sure to find something that grabs you.



BECAUSE OF ROMEK: A HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR'S MEMOIR by David Faber

This is not an easy read. From the first page to the last, I had a lump in my throat.

From the author's website:
David Faber survived eight Nazi concentration camps in Poland, from 1939 to 1945. He witnessed the Nazi murders of his parents, brother Romek, and five of his six sisters. When he was liberated in 1945 from the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, he was 18 years old and weighed 72 pounds.

Mr. Faber promised his dying mother that he would survive to tell the world of the Holocaust atrocities. Now in his eighties, he still travels across the country, speaking to all sorts of groups, including school children. He doesn't charge for his 1 1/2 hour presentation. Because Mr. Faber lives in San Diego, he visits many of our local schools and libraries. Child #1, Child #2 and Child #3 have all listened to him and been touched by his words. I'm determined to make it to one of his talks.

This was a difficult book to read. It is rich in details. I had to stop reading and set down the book during the scene where Mr. Faber watched the Gestapo torture, then kill his older brother, Romek. Also, there are black-and-white photographs of people such as Mr. Faber showing his Auschwitz tattoo (161051), Mr. Faber's family, some Gestapo officers, even empty cans of Zyklon B gas.

You can order BECAUSE OF ROMEK from the author and he will ship it free of charge to any U.S. address.

All in all, I highly recommend BECAUSE OF ROMEK. This is an important book. Just make sure you take a deep breath before plunging in.

And, now, totally changing gears . . .

Let's have a drumroll for the following amazing reviews from amazing reviewers!! Please, please visit. You won't be sorry.

MIDDLE GRADE/YOUNG ADULT BOOK REVIEWS

Sarah Laurence: THE ACCIDENTAL ADVENTURES OF INDIA MCALLISTER by Charlotte Agell (middle grade)

Cassandra of Misadventures of a Teenage Writer: A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle (middle grade, fantasy)

Stacy of The Cat's Meow: HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins (young adult, science fiction)

Stacy Nyikos: MONSTER by Walter Dean Meyers (young adult)

Thao of serene hours: TEN CENTS A DANCE by Christine Fletcher (Young Adult)

Jody Feldman: BUSTED: CONFESSIONS OF AN ACCIDENTAL PLAYER by Antony John (Young Adult)



ADULT BOOK REVIEWS

Kathy Holmes: LUCY SPRINGER GETS EVEN by Lisa Heidke (Australian chick lit)

Staci of Life in the Thumb: AFTER THE FALL by Kyle Ladd (Australian Women's Lit)

Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: THE NEXT BEST THING by Kristan Higgins (romance)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: THE CASE OF THE MISSING SERVANT by TARQUIN HALL (mystery)

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: A MURDEROUS PROCESSION by Ariana Franklin (mystery, set in medieval Europe)

Beth Yarnall: LONG LOST by Harlan Coben (mystery/suspense)

Kaye of the Book Review Forum: MURDER AT AVEDON HILL by P.G. Holyfield (mystery + fantasy)

David Cranmer of The Education of a Pule Writer: PRESENCE OF MIND by Edward Cline (mystery)

Scott Parker:HOMINIDS by Robert J. Sawyer (science fiction)

Patti Abbott: THE THINGS THEY CARRIED by Tim O'Brien (short stories)

Sarahlynn of Yeah, but Houdini didn't have these hips: OLIVE KITTERIDGE by Elizabeth Strout (13 linked tales)



NONFICTION REVIEWS

Linda McLaughlin: SOUL SURVIVOR: THE REINCARNATION OF A WORLD WAR II FIGHTER PILOT by Bruce and Andrea Leininger, with Ken Gross

Jenn Jilks of My Muskoka: THE SHALLOWS: WHAT THE INTERNET IS DOING TO OUR BRAINS by Nicholas Carr


**Exceptional previous reviews are only a click away.**


Note to Reviewers: You know the drill.:) If I missed you, leave me a comment and I'll rectify the situation pronto. And award myself one less chocolate today!

ENJOY!



18 comments:

Jenn Jilks said...

Yours is an important book, Barrie. We have a woman, Eva Olsson in Muskoka, who does the same thing. She has published a couple of books and has a CD or her speeches She spoke to our school in Ottawa back in 2005, when I was teaching in a middle school there.

Stacy Nyikos said...

Here I thought summer reads were supposed to be light, but you and I both picked out seriously heavy books! It fits with the Frida Kahlo exhibit I just saw in Berlin. I seriously need a dose of happy!

Barrie said...

Thanks Jenn! I will follow the link to Eva Olsson's story. David Faber actually married a woman he met in one of the concentration camps.

Barrie said...

Stacy, I know! What happened to us??! I had planned to do a beach reach, but then started reading this book. It felt somehow disrespectful to now review it, summer or not. I'd say we should call each other and cheer each other up, but maybe it wouldn't work!! ;)

Stacy said...

That's awesome that he's still touring and telling his story. Thank you for sharing.

Barrie said...

Hi Stacy (not N :) ! It is great that he's still going around and talking to people. I absolutely have to go listen to him, especially not that I've read his book. I'd really like to hear his voice.

Ellen Booraem said...

Wow, Barrie, that sounds like an amazing book. I make myself read/watch about the Holocaust periodically, just because I have such a hard time getting my mind to grasp the enormity of it. This sounds like a difficult book, as you say, but worthwhile. Thanks for letting us know about it.

Barrie said...

Ellen, I'm just like you. I make myself read/watch abt the Holocaust from time to time. "Enormity" is the perfect word. Looking forward to reading your review today. :)

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I did a report on Simon Wiesenthal, Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter, while in junior high and ever since that period in history has drawn me in, despite its heart-wrenching quality.

I'm glad you picked this book.

Susan R. Mills said...

Sounds like a powerful book. And so many other reviews to go read. Must go now!

Teresa said...

Thanks for sharing an important book with us, Barrie. It is definitely going onto my reading list.

Barrie said...

Alyssa, have you ever visited the Holocaust Museum in DC?

Susan, thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoy the other reviews!

Teresa, you'll be glad you read it. Although, it's definitely a tough read.

Kathy Holmes said...

I grew up in a Jehovah's Witness family and a little-known fact about them is that they were also in concentration camps during that time. They wore what's known as a purple patch or purple triangle so I heard a lot about these stories. Really a horrific time in history.

Sarah Laurence said...

That’s a powerful cover and review. I’m thinking back to Night by Elie Wiesel, one of my favorite memoirs if painful to read. Didn’t you say you were reading Night too? If so, is there a reason for this trend?

Being half Jewish, I’ve read many books about the holocaust although not this one. I’d recommend Leon Uris’s novels if you wanted to branch into informed fiction. His best was Exodus. My 15-year-old son took it as one of 2 books on his 7 week canoe trip this summer, although it was written for adults.

Thanks for hosting!

Lucy said...

I can see where this would be difficult to read but also very powerful. Your review makes me want to read it.

Bee said...

This book sounds gruelling. It must be incredibly powerful for children to be exposed to this man's life story.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

some great books here! thanks for the reviews!

Sarahlynn said...

When survivors like David Faber are no longer able to tell their stories, I worry about what will happen to us. I worry about my children learning about the Holocaust only in books and thinking the atrocities must not have been as bad as they're portrayed on the page, or even that they happened so long ago that they're no longer relevant.

Books like this one are so very important, as are David Faber and others willing to share pieces of their souls by telling their painful stories over and over again.