Category Archives: Midread thoughts

Thoughts on the book as I read

Not a review but…

Currently attempting to finish The Tattooist of Auschwitz before the library Lon expires for probably the 5th time.

I don’t know what I can offer review wise because it seems to me this book is getting a ton of well deserved press from oodles of other people. It’s a wonderful piece of literature and history and nothing I could offer would be profound or new or more meaningful than anything that hasn’t been already said.

What it does remind me while reading it now in conjunction with so much anti-Israel feeling in the world is that this ANTI is not new. Within living memory of some of us, more than 6 million of us were brutally murdered, not counting over a million Roma, disabled, members of LGBT community and anyone else the Nazi regime deemed unhuman. Do I agree with all of the political policies in Israel? NO. But my people deserve our own place under the sun. And not because we were murdered but because it is our historical homeland. Quit denying it under the guise of supporting Palestine. It always boils down to hating the Jews. If you are anti Zionist, you don’t believe Jews have a right to their own land. It’s the same damned argument of the last 2 millennia. You don’t want us in your land and yet you deny us the right to our own history as well. I didn’t realize we sprung out of ether after all.

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Filed under Interesting Jewish books, Jewish topics for perusal and learning, Midread thoughts, Personal Reflections

Not a review but…we have a right to our own land

Currently attempting to finish The Tattooist of Auschwitz before the library Lon expires for probably the 5th time.

I don’t know what I can offer review wise because it seems to me this book is getting a ton of well deserved press from oodles of other people. It’s a wonderful piece of literature and history and nothing I could offer would be profound or new or more meaningful than anything that hasn’t been already said.

What it does remind me while reading it now in conjunction with so much anti-Israel feeling in the world is that this ANTI is not new. Within living memory of some of us, more than 6 million of us were brutally murdered, not counting over a million Roma, disabled, members of LGBT community and anyone else the Nazi regime deemed unhuman. Do I agree with all of the political policies in Israel? NO. But my people deserve our own place under the sun. And not because we were murdered but because it is our historical homeland. Quit denying it under the guise of supporting Palestine. It always boils down to hating the Jews. If you are anti Zionist, you don’t believe Jews have a right to their own land. It’s the same damned argument of the last 2 millennia. You don’t want us in your land and yet you deny us the right to our own history as well. I didn’t realize we sprung out of ether after all.

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Filed under Interesting Jewish books, Jewish topics for perusal and learning, Midread thoughts, Personal Reflections

Reading about the Romanovs

So this is slightly off topic or you know, maybe not. I’ve been slowly making my way through the last few weeks and getting my bearings again after the 1st yahrzeit of my mother’s passing and my dad’s two days spent in the hospital. So I’ve been reading and though nothing review worthy has come up, shades of things I want to express have been bubbling up in other topics. Last week or so I’ve been plowing through a history of the Romanovs written incidentally by a Jewish author, Simon Sebag Montefiore. I didn’t find this authorship significant until he began outlining how virulently anti-Semitic the tsars were. From Nicholas I and his enforced 25 army sentences for Jewish boys to Alexander III forcing Jews out of Moscow and encouraging pogroms that forced so many to come to America  in the 1880s. And his blessed successor, the executed Nicholas II? Same exact shit with encouraging and overlooking pogroms in 1905 and beyond. I am at the point of he story where I am impatiently waiting for him to be killed. And I am not that Kind of angry person! It boggles my modern mind that educated, intelligent, Westerners a mere hundred years ago were OK with murder and rape of the minority they hated. History just tends to repeat itself, doesn’t it?

The significance of a Jew writing this history isn’t lost on me. I’ve read several histories of the tsars and yet this feels like the first one where anti-Semitism isn’t given more than a two sentence address in hundreds of published pages. 
I feel weird reading it at this point. I do. But the end is nigh so to it I go and take mental notes as I carry through. 

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I go back to my roots

Second graphic book ever I’ve ever began is the Holocaust classic Maus. I’ve read two chapters so far and I think my heart is going to be bursting with sadness.

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From the fingertips of Eugenia S

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Becoming illuminated

Surprisingly i am greatly enjoying reading Everything is Illuminated this time around. The multi stranded narrative is actually capturing my attention more and seems much easier to follow. I don’t know what’s different this time around. Am I different? Am I simply more open to magically threaded story telling side by side with standard narrative? Am I just having more fun? Or maybe I matured as a reader, had more experience with fantastical writing and thusly became more open to a mixture of styles and narratives. I almost feel like I am catching more in the story than I did on my first few reads, getting the symbolism and parallels more. I certainly hear the voices of the characters in my mind when I read, except of course they are the voices from the movie. 😀

From the fingertips of Eugenia S

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Thoughts so far

It had been hard to predict what to expect from a sequel to a book like Unorthodox. Often enough memoirs leave the reader at the last page with a nice sense of closure. You think, aha, so now she is out of her prison, her life can begin, she is free to be like me, here is her happy ending. The end. What is unique in a well crafted sequel is the ability to pick up right at the point where the original stopped off and create not a new chapter but an entirely new story. I can’t say that Exodus reads well as a stand alone book, because without the context of the original, the struggles in the sequel fall in the category of why should I care? But as a “What Happens Next”, Exodus has been a trove of intimate information that i felt was missing from Unorthodox. Unorthodox was about breaking out of prison. So far Exodus is solely about the person Deborah Feldman is now that Satmar affiliation does not define her. Its the ultimate identity search. I’ve been enjoying the journey of discovery right along with Deborah.

From the fingertips of Eugenia S

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So far the winner is

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Methinks this shall be the next review after all. I am about 65 pages into the book and quite interesting so far. It’s a very different feel from Unorthodox. What I mean by that is the book feels less rushed by the necessity to capture everything in Feldman’s life and has so far presented a very micro look at both her life post the break from Satmar and certain specifics about her past that were previously just barely touched upon. Look for lots of psychoanalysis in my mid-read thoughts and subsequent review. Feldman is certainly undergoing a hell of a lot of therapy.

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A little touch of childhood via the help of Sholom Aleichem

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A trip to a new bookstore turned a mundane day of chores ( getting oil changed and tires replaced) into a trip of memory and excitement. I read Sholom Aleichem a lot when I was a child, his work was practically the only writing Jews in my area of the world had access to. I don’t think at the time I really had an idea of the momentousness of Jewish secular writing in Yiddish but now is a different story. For those who may not know this, Sholom Aleichem is the author responsible for Fiddler on the Roof, the story that is, not the movie or the musical. His stories about Tevye  described the dark and light world of the czarist era shtetl. There was not much dancing and lightness in his stories but nonetheless they were full of light and character. I learned about my Jewish roots from these stories without really seeing as a child that’s what I was doing.  I’ll always have a huge piece of my heart devoted to Sholom Aleichem, the father of modern-sh Yiddish literature.

From the fingertips of Eugenia S

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Next review is hard to handle

I am driven by so many emotions while reading Three Minutes in Poland that I fear I may not be able to review it adequately. My heart is breaking with every page I absorb and I fear sounding dramatic and broken. I want to cry and scream and yet I am resigned to the reality of history. Without that reality there would be no book, no story, no heartbreak.

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Next up to review – Three Minutes in Poland: Discovering a Lost World in a 1938 Family Film

Check out this book on Goodreads: Three Minutes in Poland: Discovering a Lost World in a 1938 Family Film http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20613824-three-minutes-in-poland

Maggie Anton is moving down the list! I read just the intro to Three Minutes in Poland and my gut reaction screamed, you must read it now, don’t hesitate.

Expect lots of gushing, crying, and sadness.

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