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Posts from the ‘5 star reviews’ Category

Non 1001 Book Review: Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl

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The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Published in: 1947
Literary Awards: Luisterboek Award 2008
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★★★
Find it here: The Diary of a Young Girl

Synopsis from Goodreads: Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.

In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death.

In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: I am ashamed to say I have made it to the grand old age of “cough cough splutter” without having read this important book. I am so glad that I have corrected that mistake.

This is a heartbreaking book, not because of what Anne writes, but because we the reader already know how it will end.

Anne writes in her diary as if she were writing to a person called Kitty. This allows the reader to assume the role of Kitty, and ultimately the role of Anne’s friend and confidant. Anne really speaks to her reader. I could visualize the annex and the people in it. I could see Anne sitting as her desk writing and I could see her occasionally seething with anger at those around her and their lack of understanding.

What is so important about Anne’s diary is that is shows her, and the others in the Annex, as human beings. They are not just statistics. They are actual people. It also shows that they are not saints or heroes they are nothing, special just people like you and me. Anne can be bitchy and hurtful, she suffers with depression and rails against the restrictions put on her and her family. Yet through all the ups and downs she remains upbeat and positive because she is convinced that rescue is coming. Her optimism just about broke my heart and while I knew that rescue would never come for Anne, I kept willing the allies to get there sooner to save this family. What made it even worse was the knowledge that had they gone a few weeks longer without being betrayed, it’s possible that everyone could have survived.

Favourite Quotes: 

“I could spend hours telling you about the suffering the war has brought, but I’d only make myself more miserable. All we can do is wait, as calmly as possible, for it to end. Jews and Christians alike are waiting, the whole world is waiting, and many are waiting for death”

“I’m left with one consolation, small though it may be: my fountain pen was cremated, just as I would like to be some day”

“Those violent outbursts on paper are simply expressions of anger that, in normal life, I could have worked off by locking myself in my room and stamping my foot a few times or calling mother names behind her back”

“That’s something we should never forget; while others display their heroism in battle or against the Germans, our helpers prove theirs everyday by their good spirits and affection”

“I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!”

“The time will come when we’ll be people again and not just Jews!”

Who would I recommend this to: Everyone. I really believe everyone should read this book especially given the current world situation. This book helps you to take a step back and to realize that no matter what colour, race, or religious beliefs you hold, we are all the same underneath.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: The Diary of Anne Frank

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

On the Road – The Secret Chord – Geraldine Brooks

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Mount of Olives, Israel

I was fortunate enough to get to visit Israel this past November, and as I was standing in front of King David’s Tomb I realized I didn’t really know anything about him.  A friend posted a review of The Secret Chord and I knew it was the perfect book to educate me.  (I love Biblical fiction, but struggle reading the actual Bible.)

It wasn’t long before it clicked that this was David of “and Goliath” and “and Bathsheba” fame.

I love ancient history and I think that’s one of the reasons Biblical fiction is so appealing to me.  I learned so many interesting things about David, which most of you probably already know, but which were news to me.  Like, he wrote a bunch of the Psalms.  I won’t say too much about him because I don’t want to ruin the story for those not in the know, but let’s just say, he was a maniac.  He is also the first man in “literature whose story is told in detail from early childhood to extreme old age.  Some scholars have called this biography the oldest piece of history writing… ”  Kind of makes me want to read the bible.  Kind of.

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Kid’s Corner: Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick

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Our daughter is at the age when she is constantly asking us for the story behind things and whether things are “real.” Is Santa real? Unicorns real? Fairies? I haven’t quite figured out how to respond. Do I destroy her sense of wonder and fantasy or do I help her distinguish between fact and fiction? Usually I just mumble some noncommittal answer and try to change the subject. So imagine my pleasure when she asked if Winnie the Pooh was real and I actually had an answer for her — based on a book that had just been released.  Read more

A Fine Balance

a fine balance

It’s been a while since both Book Worm and I have given the same book 5 stars. We are both fairly stingy with our 5-star ratings. So when a book comes along that gets 5 stars from both of us, we get very excited to share it with you. See why we thought it was so good and let us know if you loved it too! Read more

1001 Book Review: The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison

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Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye was my favorite read of January and my first 5-star read of 2016. Find out why and let us know what you thought of the book. Read more

The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

tsar of love and techno

I have started 2016 on a good note with the completion of my first 2016 read: The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra. Find out why it was so good and let us know how the start of your reading year is going.   Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: The Gap of Time Jeanette Winterson

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The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson
Published in 2015. Part of the Hogarth Shakespeare Retold series
Reviewed by Book Worm
Rating 5 stars
Find it here: The Gap of Time: A Novel (Hogarth Shakespeare)

Amazon synopsis: The Winter’s Tale is one of Shakespeare’s “late plays.” It tells the story of a king whose jealousy results in the banishment of his baby daughter and the death of his beautiful wife. His daughter is found and brought up by a shepherd on the Bohemian coast, but through a series of extraordinary events, father and daughter, and eventually mother too, are reunited.

In The Gap of Time, Jeanette Winterson’s cover version of The Winter’s Tale, we move from London, a city reeling after the 2008 financial crisis, to a storm-ravaged American city called New Bohemia. Her story is one of childhood friendship, money, status, technology and the elliptical nature of time. Written with energy and wit, this is a story of the consuming power of jealousy on the one hand, and redemption and the enduring love of a lost child on the other. Read more

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights by Salman Rusdie

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Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rusdie
Release Date: September 8 U.S and September 10 in U.K
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by: Jen
Pre-order your copy here: Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights: A Novel

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from netgalley (and Random House) in exchange for an honest review.

There is no question that Rushdie is a great story teller and his latest endeavor is no exception. One of the things that I love about his books is that they can be read on multiple levels. On the surface, they are entertaining stories that can be read for the sole enjoyment of the weird, wacky, and intelligently humorous ride. Yet, on a deeper level, his books are filled with symbolism, allusions, and often complicated philosophical questions that lead to a richer and more interesting reading experience. Read more

2015 Man Booker Longlist: A Little Life by Yanagihara

a little life

Book Worm is breezing through the Longlist books and will have more reviews to come soon. Next up is a book I recently finished: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Keep reading to find out what I thought and where it ranks among the 2015 longlist books we have read thus far. Read more

Kid’s Corner: Rosie Revere Engineer

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Until recently, my 4 (almost 5) year-old was convinced that princess was a viable career path. I remember receiving an email from her preschool about career day dress-up, requesting that parents explain to their children that princesses, mermaids, fairies, and pirates were not real career options. Interestingly many of the “problem careers” were stereotypically female. If you think about the children in your life, you may notice that little boys will rattle off real career options (albeit also highly gendered options) like fireman, builder, and policeman whereas girls tend to mention magical or false ones. While I don’t expect a preschooler to have his/her career path mapped out, but I find it curious that girls often aspire to futures that are untenable. I’m convinced that books and television have a large role in these early dreams. I spent years of my childhood convinced that I was going to be a detective thanks to Nancy Drew. Then thanks to my grandmother’s favorite TV show, I decided to become a lawyer. For the record, I became neither a detective nor a lawyer.

I say “until recently” because E’s career aspirations changed a few months ago after reading a book that one of our readers recommended: Rosie Revere, Engineer. Keep reading to see what Emma thought of the book. Read more