Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon 11

I cannot believe it's already time for another Bout of Books Read-a-Thon! I think this is my third time participating and I can't stress enough how it keeps me on track with my reading! What is the Bout of Books Read-a-thon, you ask?

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. 

 - From the Bout of Books team

Bout of Books

For this round, with a wedding to plan and a new house we're still chipping away at setting up, I'm going to go easy on myself. But I'm going to focus on holding myself accountable for my TBR Pile Challenge List. My goal is to read three books, two of which come from the challenge. Honestly, I think this might be the toughest read-a-thon yet because I'm such an emotional reader. I completely choose my books based on how I feel, so this TBR Pile List is completely unappealing to me. But I'm going to do it! I haven't failed a Bout of Books yet and I don't plan on it!! :)

If you're interested in participating, head on over to Boutofbooks.org and get in on the fun! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday's Reading Recap

 

On Saturday I helped throw a surprise 30th birthday party for my cousin, Jennifer (who is really more like a sister to me). The planning of the surprise on top of everything else going on was the biggest unlisted stress last week, but I'm happy to report that we were a success!! She was stunned! It helped that we went to Six Flags Magic Mountain on her actual birthday last Thursday to celebrate so she wasn't expecting anything else. I'm so happy we did it but I'll be honest: I didn't get much reading done as a result! Well worth it, though!
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Last Week I Finished Reading: Requiem by Lauren Oliver
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  This Week I Plan on Reading: , The Great Gatsby (re-read) by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

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This Week I'm Sharing a Review For: Priceless by Nicole Richie


What books did you recently discover? 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Memories of Babi by Aranka Siegal

I was born and raised in Hungary in a small city called Beregszasz, but some of the most vivid memories of my childhood are of my grandmother, Babi, on her farm. [...] Meaningful childhood memories can last a lifetime- here are stories inspired by some of my visits with Babi.
-from Memories of Babi by Aranka Siegal


One of my favorite children's novels is Upon the Head of the Goat: A Childhood in Hungary by Aranka Siegal; it chronicles Siegal's real life experience during the Holocaust, leading up to her captivity in a concentration camp. In the sequel, Grace in the Wilderness: After the Liberation, Siegal explains her life post-World War II, integrating back into everyday life after experiencing the horrors of the Holocaust. While it can easily be read as a stand alone, Memories of Babi, is best appreciated as a prequel to Siegal's two original novels as they bring life and history to the characters that is not afforded in the length of this book of stories.

Each chapter in Memories of Babi contains a story that reads like a fable with a lesson main character Piri (Siegal with a different name) learns from life with her grandmother, Babi, on Babi's farm. Piri learns lessons in hard work, compassion, honesty, and tradition which all help her maintain her sense of identity and compassion once faced with the atrocities of the Holocaust.

My favorite story was titled The Beggar Woman, in which Piri and Babi take care of Bracha, a beggar woman in town, when nobody else would help her. Babi grew up with Bracha and explains to Piri that she befriended Bracha as a child because others were cruel to her. When Piri asks whether or not the other children would play with Babi after she befriended Bracha, Babi replies, "Some did and some did not, but it didn't bother me. The ones that were so mean to her were not worth bothering about. Why would I want such mean friends?" I found this to be great foreshadowing for Piri's experience with the Holocaust.

Because I had already read Aranka Siegal's two autobiographical novels I knew what Piri would experience and how it would affect her; I knew the type of child she was and the adult she would become. The stories in Memories of Babi are part of the foundation for who Piri is which makes the stories more powerful having already read the novels. I highly recommend that if you are interested in reading this, you first read Siegal's novels. While they are marketed as children's novels, the content and writing are appropriate for any age. If you have children in junior high school or older, I highly recommend reading these books with them to give you a platform for discussing the Holocaust and human rights. Aranka Siegal's books are compelling reads for any age.

Bottom Line: A great compilation of fable-like stories which I highly recommend -- after reading Siegal's books Upon the Head of a Goat and Grace in the Wilderness. 4/5 stars (5/5 stars as a series)