The Pianist

Book 40 in 2018.

“The Pianist”, by Wladyslaw Szpilman

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Whew.  This was a hard read.  It is under two hundred pages, but full of heartache after gut wrench, after horror.  Wladyslaw Szpilman was a Jewish man living in Warsaw, Poland during WWII.  He miraculously survived the Nazi’s meticulous extermination of the Jewish people living in the severely below humane conditions of the Warsaw ghettos, for three years.  His entire family and almost all of the people he knew were murdered, either in gas chambers or shot.   He then hid in various friends homes for a year, then alone in burnt out buildings and attics for a year, before the liberation of Poland.

The utmost level of human endurance and the will to persevere against all odds.  Truly amazing.  In the forward of the book written by his son Andrzej Szpilman, he explains,

My father wrote the first version of this book in 1945, I suspect for himself rather than humanity in general. It enabled him to work through his shattering wartime experiences and free his mind and emotions to continue with his life.

The fact alone that he was brave enough to write and share his experiences, is a testament to his perseverance and strength.  It was made into a movie in 2002, staring Adrien Brody as Szpilman.  I have not seen it.  I don’t think I could now.  Overall afterthought, intense.

 

To Kill a Mockingbird

Book 39 in 2018.

“To Kill a Mockingbird”, by Harper Lee.

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I don’t normally read classics.  They don’t always keep me interested.  (I am aware of my literary lameness) I know for a fact I read this in High School.  I could not for the life of me remember it, even while I read it, most of it was not even vaguely familiar.  My soon to be 9th grader is going to read it in school next year.  Sometimes, I like to read what they are reading, just so I know what is entering their brains.  I tried to get him to read it with me, mother son book club!  He was not down.

I am sure most of my forty some followers, at one point has read this book.  Hence, the classic status.  I really did enjoy the multiple messages that Harper Lee so dramatically displayed for the reader.  All through the voice of a young girl.  There is some tough stuff in here, yet, it is relevant to every generation.  It is timeless.  We need to have empathy and compassion for all people.  It is a message I am continuously and consciously teaching my boys, people are people.  “Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, all your soul and all of your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”  Overall afterthought, read it again.

 

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The White Pearl

Book 38 in 2018.

“The White Pearl” by Kate Furnivall.

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Always on the hunt for historical fiction, usually WWII related, I found this.    I was not too sure about it.  About eighty nine pages in I considered putting it down.  I felt it was moving s-l-o-w.  Powering through, it turned into quite the ride! There were a few war related violent things, as well as some descriptive love scenes, ugh.  Which I should of seen coming, since one of it’s genres listed is romance.  It takes place in 1941 in Malaya, which was a totally new geographical location for most of the books I read.

Connie Hadley is a British colonial living in Malaya with her husband and son.  They own a third generation rubber plantation in the outskirts of Palur, Malaya.  She is unhappy in her marriage and has secrets that are always haunting her.  When WWII hits home hard, the family flees on their beloved yacht, the White Pearl, navigated by an mysterious boat dealer named Fitzpayne.  Their journey to safety has only just begun as they travel through Japanese and pirate infested waters.

I have to admit, towards the middle and throughout the rest of this book, it was a whirlwind of “what?!?”, “whoa!!” , and “no WAY!?!”.   Lots of drama, adventure and a little  romance.  I have already been to the library and I got another one of Kate Furnivall’s books.  Overall afterthought,  roller coaster.

 

First Family

Book 37 in 2018.

“First Family” by David Baldacci.

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King and Maxwell Series book number four did not disappoint.  Crime fiction at it’s finest.   I think there might only be one book left in this series… I may have to wait to read it.  I really think the fiction detective version of myself would be friends with Sean and Michelle.  At least I would think I was, but they would only tolerate me, because they don’t need any new people, because they are SEAN and MICHELLE.  But a fictional version of myself can dream, right?

The First Family is in trouble.  The First Lady’s niece has been kidnapped.  The Secret Service and they FBI are on the case, but they are not moving fast enough.  She hires King and Maxwell to find her beloved niece.  What they find along the way could possibly jeopardize the president’s re-election campaign.  Will they be loyal to the president, or the truth.

Boom.  Go get em guys.  Overall afterthought, nerd out Baldacci fan right here.

Kate’s Progress

Book 36 in 2018.

“Kate’s Progress” by, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

 

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Found this cutie on the shelf at my favorite place, the library.  I will not lie, I am not always systematic while choosing new reads.  Those lovely librarians take the time to set up some suggested books on the shelf, I walk by and snag some. Score.  I don’t even read the inside of the cover. Gasp, the horror.  Living life on the edge over here.

Kate lives in modern day London. She is done with the dating game. Done with the hustle.  Ready for a change.  Her dear grandmother decides to leave her an inheritance before she passes, so she can hear all about what adventures it will take her granddaughter on.  Kate not being super adventurous decides to purchase a fixer upper in the country.  When she meets the cranky previous land owners, and some of the locals, she is not sure where her place in this new world of county folk is.

Loved this book.  Super cute.  It kind of reminded me of a spin off of the movie “Sabrina” (the Julia Ormond, Harrison Ford version from the 90’s.  Sorry Audrey Hepburn).  Girl who is out of place, meets fun younger brother, and stern older brother, both competing in their own way for her heart.  Ok, so it is actually not that much like “Sabrina”, but that’s just what I kept thinking.  I will be looking into another book of Cynthia Harrod-Eagles very soon.  Overall afterthought,  good stuff.

The Forgotten 500

Book 35 in 2018.

“The Forgotten 500” by, Gregory A. Freeman

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This took me a while to finish.  Only because it had very detailed history.  I understand you needed to know political back stories of warring nations, but it was a bit long to get through.  As you know, I enjoy WWII history, this is the true account of a mission to rescue over 500 downed airman from Nazi occupied Yugoslavia.  You don’t hear too much about their part in the war, but this is the second book I have read that mentions the brave men and woman of Yugoslavia.

I did like the story, I learned a lot, that I never knew.  It was very interesting, and I found myself saying, “huh”, a lot.  However,  it was not my favorite.  If you are a WWII history buff, I think you would dig it.  Overall afterthought, severely informational.