Well it’s been a long time since I shared with you some of the books I’ve been reading as I’ve kind of had a bit of reading block these past few months and just couldn’t work my way through anything, until recently. I then devoured 3 books in just over a month, which is actually a lot for me. So here I am linking up with Quick Lit over on Modern Mrs Darcy again to share with you some short and sweet reviews of the books I’ve been reading lately.
The Rings of My Tree: A Latvian Woman’s Journey by Jane E. Cunningham
Once started this book is hard to put down. I have read quite a few biographies by survivors of World War Two, mainly set in the Netherlands and mainly written by Jews or those trying to hide the Jews, but this book is different. Mirdza is not a Jew so this book does not follow the usual theme of holocaust horrors but instead highlights the journey of a young Latvian woman who is forced to flee her country in 1944, not because of the threat of the Nazis, but because of the invasion of The Red Army. I had never before considered the double threat that eastern Europe and the Baltic States faced with both the Nazis and the Soviets fighting to claim their soil. The end of the war did not bring freedom to Latvia it brought a new regime that would be in power for many years to come. I could feel Mirdza’s anger and anguish as she faced life as a displaced person, an incredibly fascinating account particularly in light of the current refugee crisis that is happening today in Europe. The story is a wonderful reminder that “where there is life, there is hope.”
The Earth is Singing by Vanessa Curtis
Continuing with the theme of World War Two and Latvia this fictional story is inspired by the authors own Latvian Jewish heritage. The story starts in June 1941 when the Nazis “liberate” Latvia from the Soviets and swiftly put their anti-semitic plans into place. As told by Hanna, an ordinary fifteen year old girl who also happens to be a Jew, life is about to change drastically. This book is beautifully written, incredibly thought provoking and yet horrific at the same time. This book highlights the pain that is felt when your own community seem to have turned against you, a fresh perspective that is not always explored in other books set in the same era. As with reading all books detailing the holocaust it is hard to comprehend how some people can treat their fellow human beings in such a harsh and evil way. This book is very detailed which is why I also recommend it with a brief word of warning: do not read this book before going to bed! The story follows the historic events of the Rumbula massacre which is incredibly disturbing. I’ve been reading books about World War Two and the holocaust since my mid teens but never before have I read of an event quite so wretched. Despite the horrors, this is a story that should be told.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organising by Marie Kondo
As a self confessed neat freak, books about decluttering and organising always appeal to me as I’m always looking for new ways to fine hone my system. However, I’m also a bit wary of these books as some I’ve read in the past have been so basic they’ve just not offered me anything new. I’m pleased to confirm though that The KonMari method however, does have a lot to offer even the tidiest of people. Marie Kondo is a cleaning consultant based in Japan and by the sounds of it works with some hardcore hoarders. This book is not really about everyday tidying up (which is really just putting things back in their place) but rather about the one-off decluttering and organising that will put your house in order. The first step is to work your way through her suggested categories and discard, discard, discard! Most of her clients discard at least two thirds of their belongings and are left with only the items that truly bring them joy. Her guidance of only keeping items that spark joy has become one of the main things that sets her approach aside from others, that and her folding and storage method for clothing, both of which I can confirm work really well in practice. If you struggle to keep your home tidy, desperately need to declutter or like me just enjoy organising your home then this book is definitely worth a read.