The most memorable books I read during October 2014


Starting this month, I am starting a new series of posts where I will list the most memorable books I have read in the past month and why they made such an impact on me. These aren’t necessarily “the best” books, but instead are the ones that really stuck with me for one reason or another. This list may include books for any age group or genre. I read a broad range of books, both fiction and non-fiction, so you never know what you may find in my monthly list! To get us started, here is my list of the five most memorable books I have read in October 2014!

1. The Flat Rabbit by Barour Oskarsson. This had to be one of the weirdest, least politically correct picture books I have ever read! It had me, my mom and my husband laughing out loud though. It is morbidly hilarious to see a rabbit flattened, then to see his neighbors scrape him off the road, attach him to a kite and fly him in the air. Not sure this is really a great book for kids, but it is hilarious for adults.

2. Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin. This middle grade historical novel stuck with me because it is the story of a child who grew up thinking Stalin and communism are the best things in the world, only to see how flawed the system truly is and how he has been led to believe things that aren’t true at all. To me, this idea that it is possible to fight for something you believe is right and then find out later that it is actually wrong is a profound lesson to learn.

3. History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life by Jill Bialosky. This adult memoir struck a little too close to home, but then again, that is why I picked it up in the first place. Since I have also had a sister commit suicide, I could easily and sometimes painfully relate to much of what this writer had to say. The circumstances and details might be different from case to case, but anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide would likely see much of their own suffering and search for healing reflected in this memoir.

4. I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children’s Drawings & Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-44 by various authors. As the title states, this nonfiction book is a collection of poems and drawings that were created by children imprisoned in a WWII concentration camp. Some of the book is funny and cute, some of it is sad and depressing, but it all shows the innocence and strength of the children who were mistreated during this horrible time. It also shows the loss of life and joy this world suffered due to ignorance and hatred.

5. The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz. This middle grade fantasy novel was a fun and enjoyable read. By the time I finished it, I was wishing to be a night fairy myself. I’ve always been a night owl anyways, so why not? Although the story starts out rather sad (with the fairy losing her wings in a terrible accident), things quickly start to look up and by the end of the novel, the little fairy is better off for the experiences she has had – both good and bad.

Such a sad story…how can people be filled with so much hate?

Been reading a book for young adults called “Surviving the Angel of Death”.  It was written by Eva Kor, a holocaust survivor who was one of the famous twins that Dr. Mengele experimented on at Auschwitz.  The things these kids went through is horrific.  When they arrived at Auschwitz, Eva’s mother, father and two sisters were killed, leaving only Eva and her twin sister, who were put under Dr. Mengele’s care to be his personal lab rats. 

While living in the concentration camp, Eva and her sister were only fed a single piece of bread and weak coffee for meals and were often denied even that.  The girls were injected with all sorts of foreign substances, some of which made them deathly ill.  They were the lucky ones though.  Some of the twins were part of a gender switch experiment and had their privates cut off, or were injected with fatal diseases, just to see how the body shuts down and dies. 

The twins lived in bunkers where they contracted dysentery and constantly had lice and fleas and rats crawling around them.  Often when they went to the latrine, they would find dead bodies of other twins who hadn’t made it.  Sometimes these dead bodies would be put back in the bed with their living sibling, I can only imagine having to lie next to the rotting body of your own twin. 

Luckily, Eva and her sister somehow survived, against all odds, but how do you heal after living like that?  Somehow Eva found the strength to move on and even forgive her oppressors, but I’m not sure that I could do the same in her situation.  I think of myself as a forgiving person, but that is just too much to imagine.  It sure makes me thankful for the life I have, and more determined to stop the evils of racism and prejudice.