Daily Archives: May 13, 2008

Book Give Away

UPDATE on this GIVEAWAY:

Katherine Center has been incredibly kind and not only did she send me an autographed book for the giveaway, but she also sent a personalized autographed edition for me to keep! Because of her generosity, I will also be giving away my review copy of her book … SO, one person will win an autographed copy, and one will win an un-signed version. So far there have been only a few people signing up! Please pass along the word to other bloggers!! Thank you!

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As part of the Thinking of Nat Challenge (see my post about this challenge), readers have been asked to give away a book in Nattie’s memory.

Katherine Center has graciously offered a signed edition of her latest novel – The Bright Side of Disaster – for me to give to one lucky winner here at Caribousmom. This book has been getting great reviews.

A brief synopsis from the publisher:

Jenny Harris always expected that she’d fall in love, get married, and have a baby–in that order. Now, very pregnant and not quite married, she actually doesn’t mind that she and her live-in fiancé, Dean, accidentally started their family a little earlier than planned; she’s happy to have so much to look forward to. But Dean–whom Jenny loves enough to overlook his bad facial hair, his smoking habit, and his total commitment to a cheesy cover band–is acting distant, and not in a pre-wedding-jitters kind of way. The night he runs out for cigarettes and just doesn’t come back, he demotes himself from future husband to sperm donor.

And the very next day, Jenny goes into labor.

In the months that follow, Jenny plunges into a life she never anticipated: single motherhood. At least with the sleep deprivation, sore boobs, and fits of crying (both hers and the baby’s), there’s not much time to dwell on her broken heart. And things start looking up. She learns how to do everything one-handed, makes friends in a mommy group, and even manages to give dating tips to her sweet, clueless father–who’s trying to court her sassy mother again, fifteen years after their divorce. She also gets to know a handsome, helpful neighbor–with a knack for soothing babies–who invites her out dancing. But Dean is never far from Jenny’s thoughts or, it turns out, her doorstep, and in the end Jenny must choose between the old life she thought she wanted and the new life she’s been lucky to find.

I think this is the perfect book for a give-away in Nattie’s memory – a story about a single mother with humor and heart.

If you’d like to be entered in the drawing, please leave me a comment on this post by May 22nd. I will be drawing a name on May 23rd…so keep an eye on my blog!

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The Zookeeper’s Wife – Book Review

One of the most remarkable things about Antonina was her determination to include play, animals, wonder, curiosity, marvel, and a wide blaze of innocence in a household where all dodged the ambient dangers, horrors, and uncertainties. That takes a special stripe of bravery rarely valued in wartime. -From The Zookeeper’s Wife, page 166-

Diane Ackerman is a poet and naturalist who has written a moving, true account of heroism. Set in Warsaw during WWII, The Zookeeper’s Wife is the story of Jan and Antonina Zabinski who managed the Warsaw Zoo and took advantage of the Nazi’s obsession with genetic engineering (to bring extinct animals back to life) to hide Jews within the walls and cages of the zoo during the Nazi occupation of Poland. Their story spans the years from 1939, with the invasion of the Nazis into Warsaw, through 1945 when Poland was liberated. Ackerman describes the terror of the initial invasion through Antonina’s eyes with a poet’s flair:

On the rare occasions she ventured out, she entered a film-like war, with yellow smoke, pyramids of rubble, jagged stone cliffs where buildings once stood, wind-chased letters and medicine vials, wounded people, and dead horses with oddly angled legs. But nothing more unreal than this: hovering overhead, what looked at first like snow but didn’t move like snowflakes, something delicately rising and falling without landing. Eerier than a blizzard, a bizarre soft cloud of down feathers from the city’s pillows and comforters gently swirled above the buildings. -From The Zookeeper’s Wife, page 59-

The Zookeeper’s Wife is large in scope, exposing the ingenuity and daring of the Polish Underground and Resistance movements in which Jan was deeply involved, and extending to the individual acts of bravery which happened daily within the confines of the Warsaw ghetto. One of the more touching stories which Ackerman brings to her readers is that of Janusz Korczak – a pediatrician and writer – who dedicated himself to the orphans living within the Ghetto. When faced with the choice to escape to safety, Zorczak instead boarded a train to Treblinka and certain death in order to provide comfort to the nearly 200 children being deported.

Anticipating their calamity and fright when deportation day came (August 6, 1942), he joined them aboard the train bound for Treblinka, because, he said, he knew his presence would calm them – “You do not leave a sick child in the night, and you do not leave children at a time like this.” -From The Zookeeper’s Wife, page 185-

Ackerman’s gift is in showing the beauty and courage of people faced with unspeakable horror. She weaves the story of the zoo animals into the daily challenges faced by the individuals who hid among them. The healing power of animals is evident, as is the amazing relationship which Antonina had with them.

This book was difficult to read at times – the cruelty of the Nazis, the devastation of the zoo and most of its animals, the personal stories which unfold. It is almost unbearable to contemplate – and yet, written with sensitivity and skill, the book also exposes the goodness which came from one of the most horrible times in our history.

Recommended;