Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Woohoo! Back to reading!

I've actually been able to finish a few more books recently and wanted to share them...

Surviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz
By Eva Mozes Kor and Lisa Rojany Buccieri

This haunting memoir tells the story of Eva Mozes Kor and her twin, Miriam's, survival of Auschwitz.  The twins arrived at Auschwitz with their whole family, were torn from their mother, and never saw the family again.  Eva and Miriam were housed with a few hundred other twins and experimented on by Dr. Josef Mengele.  Experiencing illness, hunger, and devastating effects from being injected with unknown substances, the girls survived their time at Auschwitz only to be faced with the reality of starting over after the war.

My grandfather was a survivor of Auschwitz.  He was a prisoner of war during World War II and, luckily, was liberated from the camp after the war.  Therefore, I have always been extremely interested in reading about the Holocaust, especially the camps.  Although the subject matter is intense, this book was a very good read.  I devoured the book in a single sitting and feel comfortable recommending it to any of my high school students.  There are some disturbing parts of the book, in particular when Mrs. Kor is describing some of the experiments on the twins, but, in my opinion, the writers of this book kept it from being overly graphic.  This book has become one of my favorite books about this specific time period, along with I Have Lived a Thousand Years by Livia Bitton-Jackson.

Rated: 4.75
Recommended for: History buffs, those looking for something other than Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl

Fancy White Trash
By Marjetta Geerling

Poor Abby.  Her parents are divorced, her eldest sister is a teen mother, her middle sister is pregnant with her guitar teacher's baby, and her mother is newly married and pregnant...with the guitar teacher's baby.  Oh, did I mention that Abby's best friend, Cody, is gay but can't admit it to anyone yet?  And that Abby's first love, Jackson (Cody's brother), is back in town after a summer of mission work?  No wonder Abby has developed her ridiculous One True Love Plan.  She refuses to end up like her sisters and mother, the beautiful, yet trashy, Savage girls. 
Once the new baby is born (the sister's baby...confused yet?) and the guitar teacher hits on Abby, the dynamics in the Savage household change and Abby must learn to deal with more family problems.

Fancy White Trash is on the High School Sequoyah list this year (Oklahoma award).  I really liked this book and must say that I've never read anything like it.  The subject matter is CRAZY, but not totally unrealistic.  And...I LOVE the cover.  What is wrong with pink flamingos?

Rated: 4.25
Recommended for: Anyone looking for a laugh

Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don't Float: Classic Lit Signs on to Facebook
By Sarah Schmelling

With postings like "Holden Caulfield thinks only morons write status updates (Catcher in the Rye)" and quizzes to find out which Jane Austen character you would be, this book portrays characters and authors from the classics all in Facebook postings.  I LOVED it!  The tongue-in-cheek humor is great and the subject matter is timely.  Luckily, I have a vague idea of the plots and characters of most of the classics detailed in this book.  However, the ones I didn't "get" due to the fact that I haven't read many classics, encouraged me to read some of these old dust-catchers (just kidding classics lovers!!).  I know the AP students would get a kick out of this book.  I plan on showing them tomorrow...

Rating: 4.5
Recommended for: Students with some prior knowledge of the classics...with a good sense of humor