This snowpocalypse, ridiculously-freezing, can’t-go-anywhere weather is good for reading lots and lots of books. And all of the ones I’ve been enjoying have been fantastic.
Margot by Jillian Cantor
This is the fictional tale of Anne Frank’s sister had she survived Auschwitz. I LOVED this book. I stayed up until midnight, on a school night, to finish it. I absolutely feel in love with Anne Frank in her book, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and thought this story, of what happened to Margot, sounded fascinating. It didn’t disappoint.
Margot, or Margie Franklin as she is known in America, has moved to Philadelphia because she and Peter made a plan to meet there after the war. It is the cit of brotherly love after all. She tells everyone she meets she is a Christian and wears sweaters year-round to hide her tattoo. Even though she doesn’t consider herself Jewish anymore, she still won’t eat ham and observes Shabbat every weekend.
Margie is having a difficult time adjusting to life in America, all on her own. Especially ever since her father published her sister’s diary for the world to see. Now the book has even become a movie for everyone to see and discuss!
Margie is also searching for Peter. If she survived, even though everyone thought she was dead, maybe Peter did too. She has never contacted her father; he still believes she is dead. While working for a Jewish lawyer, Margie is involved in an anti-semetic case. This case brings many of Margie’s past and emotions to the surface. Will she tell her boss, who she is secretly in love with, all of her secrets? Will she find Peter? Will she ever take off her damn sweater? You’ll have to read to find out. If you are interested in that era, or in the Anne Frank story, you will enjoy this book.
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
This is the second in the trilogy that began with The Maze Runner. When we last left the Gladers, they had escaped the maze and thought they were safe at last. However, the WICKED had a different idea. The boys were about to be put through another trial. The world has been decimated by sun flares and a sickness they call “The Flare”. The sickness sounds similar to a zombie apocalypse. Thomas and his Glader friends must quickly figure out ways to survive this new trial, with all sorts of new and scary twists and turns thrown in.
Throughout this book, in addition to all of the sci-fi fun and twists and turns, Thomas starts regaining his memories. He feels as though he is a part of WICKED and can’t figure out if they are good or evil. He’s not sure what is real and what is a trial and who is to be trusted. It’s action packed, exciting and unique. I can’t wait to read the last one in the series.
The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida
This is a nonfiction book written by Higashida who is 13-years-old and has autism. He was able to write the book through a communication device his mom invented. I found this book absolutely fascinating. I find that many of Olivia’s “symptoms” from her syndrome are similar to autism; in fact, many children with her syndrome have a dual diagnosis of autism. I thought that I may be able to understand some of her behaviors better by reading his account.
It is heart-breaking, enlightening, inspiring and fascinating all at the same time. He answers common questions about autism with such eloquence and genuine heartfelt honesty. Here are some of my favorite quotes from his perspective:
On why he does things even though he “knows better”: We know we’re making you sad and upset but it’s as if we don’t have any say in it, I’m afraid, and that’s the way it is. (I need to remember this when Olivia destroys her room for the 10th time in one day.) He also states that he gets distracted when trying to remember if he can/can’t do an action and then it’s too late.
On when people talk baby talk to him: Every single time I’m talked down to, I end up feeling utterly miserable—as if I’m given zero chance of a decent future. (That pretty much sums up how Olivia and I feel when people talk to her this way.)
On his facial expressions being limited: What makes us smile from the inside is seeing something beautiful, or a memory that makes us laugh. This generally happens when there’s nobody watching us. (We catch Olivia spontaneously laughing…maybe it’s a wonderful memory she’s reliving. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?)
On stressing his family/caretakers out: But I ask you, those of you who are with us all day, not to stress yourselves out because of us. When you do this, it feels as if you’re denying any value at all our lives may have—and that saps the spirit we need to soldier on. (Yikes. Positive attitudes everyone!)
On if his sense work differently: Our emotions trigger abnormal reactions. (Maybe this is why Olivia destroys, picks her skin, etc. Who knows?)
On why he likes being in the water: In the water it’s so quiet and I’m so free an happy there. We are outside the normal flow of time..allows us to go back to our distant, watery past and feel free. (Maybe that’s why Olivia LOVES the water so much!)
I read this book in an hour. You should read it!!!
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Oh, how I love Hosseini’s writing. The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns hurt my heart but also gave me a perspective on another way of life that I had been missing. I love the way he weaves characters and their stories together. Even though I’m reading about foreign places and cultures, with names and cities that are often difficult to pronounce, I am not lost.
In Mountains, Hosseini tells of a family torn apart by heartache. This one heartbreaking decision leads Saboor and the following generations through many paths. Hosseini tells the stories along these paths through the eyes of the Saboor, his wife, his children, his cousins, a caretaker, a doctor, the doctor’s friend, and finally Saboor’s daughter and son. The way he weaved them all together was interesting and made for an easy flow of a story that could have been all over the place. He did a great job of making the story come full circle, even if it doesn’t end exactly as you had hoped. If you liked his other two books, you will love this one too.
Have you read anything good lately?