70th anniversary

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. On January 27th, 1945, the Red Army marched into Auschwitz to liberate over 7,500 remaining prisoners. By the time of liberation over 1.1 million were estimated to be murdered in the concentration camp. In honor of the day of liberation, I will be reading “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” by John Boyne.

This poem was scratched into a wall in Auschwitz by an unknown prisoner. It reads:

“I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.
I believe in love, even though I don’t feel it.
I believe in God, even when he is silent.”

It’s Monday! What are you reading?


After spending over an hour trying to find a parking space at the hospital today, it was huge relief to get home and just sit on the couch and finish the last few chapters of “If i Stay” By Gayle Forman. I am however happy to report that baby girl was looking healthy on the measurement ultrasound today. She’s measuring shorter in height and an pound less, but they say she will just be an petite girl like her mama!


“There is something comforting in that. To go down as a family. No one left behind.”

Mia is a seventeen year old girl that has been in a tragic car accident. It was snow day from school and her family that includes Dad, Mom and younger brother Teddy, pile into the car to make an impromptu trip to visit. They never make it there. Instead, the car crosses over the center yellow line and into a large tracker trailer. Mia is no longer in her body, she’s leaves the broken frame and suspend in everything that is happening, present and aware but not able to interact with the happenings around her. She witnesses the bodies of her dead parents and searches for teddy, who she can not find. When her body is transported to the hospital for medical care, she is pulled along with it. At the hospital, she witnesses both the attempts to save her life and the agony of the remaining family and friends as they wait. Mia soon realizes it’s up to her if she stays in this world, or passes on to the next.

The format of the book focuses both on the present and past, in order to give a deeper sense of who the characters really are. It jumps back in time to explain her love of cello and her relationships with her family and friends. While the format gives that much needed deeper explanation of characters, it also breaks up the emotional tension that the reader is feeling. It would be emotional scene in the present of Mia fighting to live that left you feeling gloomy, only to quickly jump into the past of Mia and her boyfriend’s first kiss. The format certainly left me feeling like the author was playing with emotions. (***POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT AHEAD****) This format continues to play out to the end of the book when Mia ultimately makes the decision to stay or leave. She is witnessing her boyfriend holding the hand of her body, begging her to stay, when she is suddenly transported back to the pain of her body. Where she must in that moment make the choice. The quick jump and rapid decision was surprising, it almost had me feeling like the ending was too quick and there was much more that needed to explored. Another smaller issue that had me questioning was the fact that what and where Mia was during the out of body experience was never dug deeper into. It was that she just woke up and was outside her body, existing but not really existing in the same reality as others. I wish that there was more explanation for the reader, but I figure that the author skipped over that to avoid putting a spiritual or religious aspect to the book. Over all, I liked the book and it made me want to rent the movie to see the adaption of the movie. The human emotion of death and choice was really what made the book a page turner and keep true to the title. It keeps you reading because you want to know the answer to the question, will Mia stay?

5 Image story #yalitclass

I’m still feeling lost in #YAlitclass with the format, even being a person that considers herself more “tech” advance. I don’t twitter and I had a LiveJournal way back in the day. Some patience is needed here! I need a trick to make sure I’m staying ahead with the assignments. I see a post by other classmates and think “WAIT! WHAT!” Clearly a new strategy is needed with my pregnancy brain! Anyways, let’s get down to it:

Over the years my reading has grown more stagnant. I always considered myself a lover of books but life, mostly children, had started to consume all my free time. That precious time before bed that used to spend reading was now occupied by laundry, last minute chores, or just my mind being filled with the to-dos of tomorrow. I’m glad that I have this class to explore that love again and this assignment also had me re-think my past reading and where it all started.

1)

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“The Monster at the end of this Book” By Jon Stone and Michael J. Smollin

This is my earliest memory of being fond of a book. It didn’t matter how many times my mother read it to me, I wanted to hear it again and again. I would explore the pictures of Grover’s anxiety filled adventure and wait with bated breathe for the final reveal at the end. Grover was the scary monster! Silly Grover. It was tale of mystery, kid sized.

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“Where the Sidewalk Ends” By Shel Silverstein

As my reading skills developed, my taste in books did as well. I no longer needed the grand pictures and color that children books had. I think this book was the beginning in my favor towards poetry and even interested me into starting to write my own, simple, poetry. Shel Silverstein poems were catchy and age appropriate while the illustration did not take over the focus of the book but simply gave the reader another insight into his head.

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“Molly: An American Girl 1944” by Valerie Tripp

This was just one of the books in the American Girls Collection. Many people might remember this characters by the American Girl Dolls. They were the cool thing and I had the felicity doll. They were very smart on marketing, they had tons of products to go along with the dolls that also included books. Genesis! What better way than get kids interested in books by marketing it along with a popular toy. These books were deeper than just the character and the doll, they were centered on a certain time period. The books had historical facts and told of the lives and troubles of the young women in that period.

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“The Great Gatsby” By F. Scott Fitzegerald

It was book bemoaned by some high schoolers but a book I really came to love! It was written in a way that was understandable to me so it was able to peak by interest. It is one of the few books that was required in high school that I actually read start to finish. I was even more intrigued when were able to watch the movie adaptation and compare and contrast it to the book. This opened by eyes to classic fiction and the fact that maybe it wasn’t so boring after all!

5)

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“The Chronicles of Naria” By C.S Lewis

This was the first set of books I ever personally owned, thus it has always been special to me. I compare the book set to the “Harry Potter” of my own youth. It had everything to keep a young reader engaged like mystery, other worlds battles and intense relationships. What is a kid not to love about the book? I still have this set tucked away somewhere.

“Ticker” by Lisa Mantchev #Yalitclass

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What am I reading? I’m reading “Ticker” by Lisa Mantchev

To be honest the keywords about the book confused me. Steampunk? What’s that? I guess it’s showing of my age and un-coolness. After a quick google search I found that steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that focuses on the time period of steam powered machinery. Well that sounds interesting and I love history so I’ll give it a go!

———————————————————–My Summary————————————————————————

Penny Farthing is a teenage girl with a clock for a heart. Each little tick for a beat reminds her of that. After falling deathly sick her family’s doctor, Calvin Warwick, implants a clock in place of her heart to save her life. This surgery did not come without causalities. The doctor is revealed to be more of a mad scientist than a family physician. He is put on trial for experimenting with dozens of people with a clock heart in order to safety use it on penny. Calvin must pay for his crimes and Penny must deal with the overwhelming guilt of the aftermath of her survival.

To complicate matters even more, Penny’s family is in the business of bodily augmentation. They make body parts for human out of machinery. While it sounds like a noble enough profession, there are many people that deeply and religiously oppose such a thing, making both penny and penny’s parents an enemy. It all comes to a dramatic middle when Penny’s parents are kidnapped with their ransomers make steep commands that would give away the secrets of the family’s research. Can Penny save both her parents and the family’s business? Will Calvin be duped an mad scientist and hanged for his accused crimes? Find out what happens next by reading “Ticker” by Lisa Mantchev.

————————————————My Thoughts—————————————————-

“Ticker” is a fun, quick read for all ages, although geared to the youth/teen demographic. It is heavily noted with the steampunk genre with the machinery being described frequently in each chapter. If you’re not familiar with the terms and genre, it can take some time to understand what the author is trying to describe. This makes the first few chapters slower and harder to get into. As the story progresses the characters are more developed with distinct personalities which easily explains their past and present behavior. As the story deepens the book takes on a mystery approach while still staying true to its steampunk roots. The mystery components are what truly kept me interested in the book.

Upcoming:  “Speak” By Laurie Halse Anderson

“If I Stay” By Gayle Foreman