Tear Jerker – The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

by Heather Morris

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Published 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

“He must transfer the five digits onto the girl who holds it. There is already a number there but it is faded.
He pushes the needle into her left arm, making a 3, trying to be gentle.
Blood oozes.
But the needle hasn’t gone deep enough and he has to trace the number again.
She doesn’t flinch at the pain Lale knows he’s inflicting. They’ve been warned – say nothing, do nothing.
He wipes away the blood and rubs green ink into the wound. “

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz and eventually made their home in Australia.

In that terrible place, Lale was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival—literally scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.

Lale used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that this position awarded him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. If he had been caught, he would have been killed; many owed him their survival.

Mel says…

I have been eager to read The Tattooist of Auschwitz since before it was released here in Australia. The Holocaust is such a dark time in human history and I feel that by listening/reading to the stories of the victims, that I am somehow paying my respects.

The incredible story of Lale and Gita’s survival over 3 years spent in Auschwitz-Birkenau, is absolutely mind blowing and incomprehensible.

Lale’s heroic, and sometimes ignorant, approach to survival ensured that many of his fellow Jews were able to fight of starvation and to work together to defy all odds and walk out of the concentration camp, when many, many people were not so fortunate.

From the recollection of the gas chambers, through to the shootings due to pure boredom by the SS guards, Lale recalls it all in this raw story, based on true events.

If you read one book this year, make it this one. It will send chills down your spine and make you appreciate how fortunate you are to not be exposed to such horrors.

Keep the tissues handy!

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

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Yoga Book Club – Yoga School Dropout by Lucy Edge

 

 Yoga School Dropout

by Lucy Edge

 

Published 2005

Genres: Non-fiction / Travel & Adventure / Spirituality / Memoir

 

“Today asana has been made into a photograph,’ he said. ‘There is no difference between this and gymnastics. We see calendars with photographs of someone balancing on a rock in handstand, the sun setting between their hands, yoga in front of waterfalls, even naked yoga. But asana is not a performance, asana is what happens in the posture and afterwards. A circus man can do many postures – this is not asana.’

Lucy decides to leave her advertising job in London behind for a spiritual and yogic journey through India. Along the way she meets yogis from all different walks of life, tries different lineages of yoga, receives teachings from gurus, and learns things about herself that she never expected to.

 

Janelle says…

I’ve been mostly AWOL lately due to starting a new life chapter as a yoga teacher which, what with all the training and the practicing and the teaching and the reading and the studying, has really put the brakes on my reading and blogging time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving it and am super happy…but I do wish I had more like 48 hours in every day sometimes.

The good news though is that my yoga buddies and I have started a yoga book club. This is good news because 1) it’s my first ever book club and I’ve always wanted to be in one, and 2) instant book blog material! So here we go.

For our first book club read we chose this travelogue/memoir about a woman who travels to India to find authentic yoga and her true self. I found I really couldn’t warm to the main character until right near the very end. She was not well introduced at the start so I felt no connection with her whatsoever, as the story jumped straight in to her leaving her metropolitan life and job in advertising in order to run away to the other side of the world. I spent a lot of the book wondering who this woman really was, what was her deal, and did she even care about yoga or was she just there to be able to say she’d done it?

I did enjoy the tour through yogic India and the different people she met along the way, both from Indian and Western cultures. The topic of how yoga is viewed and practiced in India vs how it is portrayed in the West came up a few times and was intriguing, and I continued to think about it and try to form my own opinions even after putting the book down.

I also thought that there were a lot of yoga terms and Sanskrit words used, which, if you had little to no knowledge of yoga philosophy, would likely have gone straight over your head and supremely frustrated you. I don’t think this book is friendly to those with only a mild interest in yoga, it’s written with a lot of assumed knowledge and I think that let it down in making it less accessible.

Overall, I wasn’t expecting to absolutely love this book but I thought I would like it more than I did. If you’re really into yoga and you’ve done some reading on the history and philosophy behind it, you might enjoy this if the premise sounds good to you. For everyone else, give it a miss.

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

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