Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Through the Eyes of a Survivor

I must confess when I first received this book as part of a bookring I really did not want to read it. The sheer size of the book, 503 pages, had me wishing for a lighter read.

As I began to read Nina Morecki's personal account of her survival of one of the most horrific periods in History I became enthralled with her story and could not put the book down. Nina grew up in a privileged Jewish family in Poland; beautiful new dresses, vacations to her beloved country retreat, a solid education. It would appear that she had it all. Her parents worked hard to build. But, even pre-war Poland there was animosity toward the Jews. Life slowly became harder and harder as Poland was invaded by the Russians and then the Germans and her family lost everything. Nina survived the following years following her instincts, her quick wit and her strength.

Colette Waddell weaved Nina's oral account of her life in a caring and informative fashion. Unique to Holocaust survivor stories, Waddell, with Nina, relays her entire life including immigrating to the United States, building a life and a family. No matter how many accounts I read of the Holocaust it is always shocking to imagine that not only did people live in such horrible conditions, but they survived. Nina's story is definitely no exception, she is an incredible lady. It was a privilege to be able to read her story.

Where Does the Time Go?

There is only two weeks of summer left before school starts again and there is still so much I want to do before I go back. At least the little one and I have been enjoying some free time the last few weeks.

Last week we went to the zoo and were able to touch stingrays, James wasn't too sure what to make of it, but he had a good time. We have had a few play dates and visited some new parks. Who knew there was a park circuit! This week end hubby set up the trampoline in the backyard and it is now a favourite hangout for the neighbour's kids. James loves running around on it and bouncing, his face just lights up! It has been great to have the time to enjoy James and how much he is growing up.

So, now I have to start getting my head into school mode. I think I will curl up with a good book before I get too serious about school work just yet!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Affluenza is a disease caused by the pursuit of the American Dream since the Second World War. Americans are drowning in debt, overworked and overtired from trying to keep up with everyone else. John deGraff and David Wann put their PBS documentary into book form demonstrating the detrimental effects of collecting possessions and wealth on our lives, families and communities.

Affluenza is insightful and a wake up call for all consumers. I found the book caused me to be reflective on my purchases and what is truly necessary. However, as I read on, I found the book to be very repetitive and at times extreme. While the message is important, it might have been done in fewer pages.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Bookseller of Kabul

Asne Seierstad provides a candid account of daily life for an Afghani family in Kabul. Sultan Khan is a bookseller who has struggled many years to keep Afghanistan's history alive through his expansive library of books. He has seen his books trashed, burned and has been imprisoned for his passion to keep Afghanistan's history and culture intact despite war and coup d'etats. The Bookseller of Kabul is the story Sultan's family, two wives, children, siblings, mother and a nephew, and their daily lives in war-torn Kabul.

I was completely drawn into the honesty of this account of Afghani life. Sultan fills the patriarchal role of a tyrant ruling over everyone. As a westerner and a woman, it is very difficult for me to even begin to imagine a world where I have no rights or say in living my life. I am grateful I had the opportunity to read this book to have just the beginning of how some people live in fear and poverty.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Mercedes Coffin

The Mercedes Coffin is the 17th novel Decker and Lazarus series. A fifteen year old murder case gets reopened when billionaire Genoa Greeves reads about a murder eerily like her teacher's that never got solved. She offers a very large financial incentive to solve the cold case which falls into Peter Decker's lap having just solved a major case. As with any well-written mystery, the pursuit of the cold case is tied to the current case, a few more murders and characters just trying to remain innocent unless proven otherwise.

This is the first book I have ever read of Kellerman's and I have already added a few more to my wishlist. I loved that Kellerman shows us the human side of homicide detectives. Peter Decker is a family man and a man of faith, and he balances those two roles with the role of Homicide Lieutenant Detective.