Sunday, November 30, 2008

I am almost done my 11th BAM book and want to again thank Katie for this challenge. I am seriously thinking about using this concept next year with our Readers' Advisory training. I haven't worked out all the bugs, but I need to make some major changes to how we do RA.

My book for the November challenge is Mayflower: a story of courage community and war by Nathaniel Philbrick. I now know more about the pilgrims than most of my friends would ever want me to know. My habit, when I learn something new, is to tell the world. Just ask some people I know about how I keep boring them with stuff from The Ominvore's Dilemma.

I am now going to go off and finish the book.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Not that anyone is reading this blog besides myself, but I wrote all this while waiting for the election results and then did not react at all to the election. HURRAH!!! HURRAH!!! HURRAH!!! Now on to the October BAM challenge.

Last month's challenge for BAM was books that haunt. I really don't like ghost tales; I am definitely not into horror and so, I was trying to come up with a book that haunted me in other ways. I got to the end of the month and had not read anything new that I found haunting. I read a bunch of books in October - 12 according to my list at Good Reads, but they were so memorable that I thought I could use them.

So I looked over my list and realized that two books that I read tie to a subject that has haunted me since childhood. I recently read both The Book Thief and We Are on Our Own. Both of these books are about the Holocaust. A topic that probably haunts lots of people.

I can't remember when I read A Diary of a Young Girl, but I think that is the first book that I read that showed me the horrors of World War II. I can still see (in my mind's eye) the movies we saw in high school history class.

I am of German descent, supposedly. None of my immediate relatives were in Germany at the time of the Holocaust. However, this connection has bothered me a lot. Would I have behaved differently than many of the German people living then?

The Book Thief is a very different take on this part of history. Death is telling the story and Death sees us very differently than we would like to be seen. This is an amazing story. Zusak is young, I think, but he has an old mind. To conceive of all this and to get it on paper. Just phenomenal.

Main characters are Liesel, Max, Rudy, Hans and Rose. They are all well imagined. I am still thinking about Liesel and her books. I have read lots of books about WWII. most centering firmly on the Holocaust. This is less on the actual death camps, but the atrocities are still there. Thanks to the way Zusak writes, I will be haunted by this book for a long, long time.

The other haunting book about WW II that I have recently read was We Are on Our Own by Miriam Katin. This book preoccupies my mind for several reasons. One, it is a story about WWII that is not familiar to me. I had never thought much about those who tried to escape. What Miriam and her mother went through was very difficult.

Two, the drawings of this "graohic novel" are very evocative. Most of the GNs I have read have been black and white, and very clear. These drawings are in colored pencil and are less clear. As one reviewer stated - they look like a child's memory. Really true.

However, I am mostly disturbed by where Katin's experiences put her with her religion. She has been left haunted herself - without a clear belief system. This is hard for me to imagine.

Hopefully all this explains how I was haunted for the October BAM challenge.

I am looking forward to November and the topic of giving.