Three Good Reads

I’ve been doing a lot more reading than writing in the past months. Vision problems that required eye surgery and before that, severe arm pain that led to hand surgery made using a keyboard challenging. (I’m running out of body parts for surgeons to work on.)

I’ve read so many great books in the interim but for fear of sounding like Mrs. Fidditch with a start-of-term reading list, I’ve winnowed the list down to three favorites. (This was a challenge!)

The Mischling by Affinity Konar is a gripping, brilliantly written story of Mengele’s twins experiments. Not for the faint-hearted, but there’s more than enough courage, love, and caring to offset the tragic. Pearl and Stasha are the twins whose alternating narrations let us look into not only the worst of us but more importantly into the best of us. Many of the minor characters are real. “Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.” I read this one twice–once for plot, once for writer’s craft–and I can see a third reading in my future.

Another book you must read if you’re a fan of historical fiction: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. The four main characters take turns narrating their harrowing and for some fatal time as WWII escapees aboard a ship meant to hold thousands fewer. The author explores themes of bravery, cowardice, fear, and overcoming adversity. If you’re a fan of World War II history you will love this telling. The only fictionalized parts are those dealing with the personalities of the four narrators. Everything else is based on well-researched fact.

I just finished The Mischling by Affinity Konar for the second time. This is a gripping, brilliantly written story of Mengele’s twins experiments. Not for the faint-hearted but there’s more than enough courage, love, and caring to offset the tragic. Pearl and Stasha are the 14-year-old narrators who let us look into not only the worst of us but more importantly into the best of us. Many of the minor characters are real. “Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.”

A good friend recommended A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. I hesitated; I rarely like books that have been translated, nor am I a fan of a story of curmudgeons who are  determined to do themselves in. But I gave in to my friend’s urgings and I am so glad I did. Ove’s story had me from the get-go. He is funny (though he doesn’t know it); he is caring (though he would deny it); and he is faithful (despite his reluctance to be a friend). Read this. You’ll be glad you did.

Future entries–about travel, books, or whatever–are entirely dependent on how well Tylenol works on any given day.

In the meantime, keep reading!

 

Author: Judy Westergard

Retired English teacher, self-taught painter, inveterate reader and still lovin' my Kindle!

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