As I browsed my shelves for a book for today’s post I had absolutely no idea what I was looking for. I just kind of stared blankely at it until something popped out. That something was one of the best books I’ve ever read, and one of the books I really think everyone should take the time to absorb, Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi (yes it’s a Holocaust book, yes it will be sad, but it is an amazing memoir told by someone who really has something to say and it’s actually beautiful).
I read this book for an honors History project in my freshman year of high school and I absolutely loved it. I bought a copy and wrote all over it because that’s what I do with books I read for school (some may call it blasphemy, but I truly believe there is a lot of value in notetaking, and I keep every book I write in for future perusing (came in handy today)) (there are too many parenthetical comments in this post), and though I loved pretty much all of the book (it destroyed me for a bit, but in the good, strengthening kind of way and Primo Levi is an amazing writer) there was one line, one word, really, that stuck in my brain. Part of my honors assignment was to create art based on the book I read, and I ended up using the quote I’m using today in my art (I was going to use the piece I did for the graphic in today’s post but then realized that I’d been staring at my books for so long that it was dark out and I do not have the technology to take blog-quality pictures with non-natural lighting – maybe I’ll put an edit at the bottom with the piece once I’ve had time to photograph it in the light but no promises).
I think I’ve sufficiently built up the suspense to show you my graphic (I just bought a fancy new computer with all kinds of graphic capabilities but I have not yet figured out how to use them effectively so we’re still at my usual standard of graphic, but look forward to some things made with actual photoshop (!) and maybe even electronically drawn because I can theoretically do that though I must say drawing with a stylus is very different that with pencil/charcoal/pen on paper).
This quote can be found in chapter 4 of Survival in Auschwitz, which is titled Ka-Be, and it is said in the context of Primo Levi describing the conditions and prisoners in the Auschwitz (for lack of a better word that isn’t in German) medical ward. It’s devastatingly sad, but I’ve gotten something from that sentence that is unique. I’ve long had a love of words in other languages that don’t translate to a single English word, and “heimweh” definitely fits that category, but there’s something else in this word that just . . . Fits. I don’t quite know how to explain it, and everyone will take their own meaning from any quote they see, but I’ve always considered this quote hopeful. (Many people are doing a double take, but stay with me for a moment.) After much thought I’ve decided that the reason that this one word and the concept behind it are so comforting is that it reminds me that humans are capable of so much, even in the worst and darkest of times. The Holocaust was arguably the worst event in documented history, and certainly fits my definition of hell. Having established that these men, living dismal conditions and housed in a place specifically designed to break down their will and fight and their humanity itself, are actually in hell (or purgatory or whatever you want to call it), I find it so astonishing that they are able to feel and express and discuss such a complex feeling. In dismal conditions people can still convey feelings I’ve never been able to explain in my language (another point is that I have experienced heimweh extensively and could never figure out how to explain it as a child so maybe I’m just reassured that others share my emotions, but I really don’t think that’s the whole size of it). I think the existence of this word speaks volumes about the human will, no, determination, to survive, and that’s something that I got from the entire of Survival in Auschwitz. This word, and by extension this phrase, gives me such faith in humanity, and in a world where I can log into my Facebook page and see reports of two murders and one instance of torture by people my own (teen)age without scrolling down that’s something one can really use. So while I know this post is making some of you angry and some of you sad, I would encourage you to hold on to it and think. Survival in Auschwitz was so painful to read, and I hurt for days after finishing it, but it’s one of those rare occurrences that I can use to define my life so far as “before” and “after.” I hope that with this post I have given just one person a feeling similar to mine, because this book and quote were truly important in shaping who I am.
That got a little soapboxy, but as you’ve probably gathered I have very strong opinions on this topic. Thanks for hanging in there, and I really do encourage you to read Survival in Auschwitz. By the way, the text in the graphic is superimposed on a picture of the Auschwitz concentration camp that I got here.
Have a happy Sunday and I hope I haven’t depressed you too thoroughly,
Welcome to our third week of Line Catchers! Book quotes abound and as readers we all have our favorites. This is where Line Catchers comes in, where we hope to bring you some of our favorite lines from books, movies, or songs we enjoy.
Another book quote this week, I loved The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss not just because of his wonderful play with words, but because as a musician, his words ring clear and true. Lately, I’ve been devoting my spare time to my flute and solo I picked out for this this last year, senior year. A harder piece than any other before I’ve learned to appreciate even more fully the time that people devote to their crafts, whatever it be. Especially those of exceeding patience; the teachers, the artists, the musicians, and yes, the writers. Do what you love and you’ll enjoy life a whole lot more, right? Practice is a necessary tool and as you go about your days this week don’t forget to give some time to that which needs your attention!
Have a wonderful week
Today it’s my turn to take the proverbial wheel and run Line Catchers for the week. In case you missed Tally’s post last week, Line Catchers is where we pick a quote from wherever catches our eye, make it pretty (though Tally’s much better at that than I am) and post it with a quick little explanation/analysis. We post them on Sundays and they’re pretty awesome (or they will be when we have a larger sample set).
My Line Catcher for the day is a quote I find both comforting and scary, but overall I think it’s a pretty peaceful phrase.
Since hearing this quote for the first time on the internet I’ve learned that it comes from the movie “Men In Black” which I haven’t actually seen, which I know is probably bad because I might be taking this quote WAY out of context, but I’m going to risk it because I really love this thought.
I’d mostly like to focus on the first two lines and the last line, because I think there are many other things we’re going to discover in our time than the rest of the quote limits this idea to. In fact, I’ve made a second version that may be even more out of context, but I’m really trying to illustrate my point.
I’m one of those nerds who adores science and I’m pretty up on current scientifically accepted facts (I’ve got that the earth goes round the sun and that humans weren’t actually gorillas, but shared a common ancestor, and so on), so I would expect to be completely terrified by the though of something huge the entire human race has missed, but I also really love scientific discovery and how we aren’t done learning about our universe or those beyond, how there are still mysteries all around us. And I think this quote, though I’m pretty sure it’s from a dude trying to explain to someone else that there are alien squid things hanging out all over the planet (or something like that), explains how the things we accept as cold fact may be completely off base. And though the thought is unsettling, I like it.
by Alethea Kontis
Rough and tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she’s the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world.
Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, “Did romance have to be part of the adventure?”
As in Enchanted, readers will revel in the fragments of fairy tales that embellish this action-packed story of adventure and, yes, romance. Excerpt
Sept 22 – LAUNCH
I wrote them. And I cried. And I sent them in. And my editor was touched. And then somewhere between then and publication, they fell through the cracks…
– Video Rant on Debz Bookshelf
The plan is for the Woodcutter Sisters Series to encompass 7 books — one about each sister. That’s always been my original plan. The publisher’s plan was for Enchanted to be a solo book…INTERVIEW
Hero is another excellent installment in the Woodcutter Sisters story and a mandatory read for anyone looking for an antidote to the typical princess story. – REVIEW
What was the first fairy tale you remember falling in love with? I started reading when I was three and was crazy about reading by the age of five. When I was eight, my French grandmother gave me a giant copy of unexpurgated Grimm and Andersen tales. I mark that date as The Beginning of The End…
– The Grandfather Pirate on Living a Goddess Life
– Meet the Inspiration Part I on The Wonderings of One Person
I was a normal kind from a REALLY NOT NORMAL family. My biggest feelings of inadequacy came from comparing myself to my parents and siblings and everyone else and just not measuring up…
Sept 26 – Review on Shannon’s Blog
Coming from a large family, I liked the way the author not only made the heroine one of many siblings, but managed to include all her brothers and sisters… It wasn’t just an interesting biographical fact that Saturday came from a large family; it actually mattered to the story.
My little sister, Soteria, always asks me who she is in the Woodcutter stories, but it’s hard to say. She and I were so close growing up–if I am every single one of my characters, then she is always my sister in every scene.
My 8-year old daughter loves Alethea Kontis. She’s never read one of her YA books, but she knows her as “Princess Alethea” who hangs out with Mommy at book festivals. Alethea lives and breathes fantasy, fairy tales and girl power, and it always pours out of the page. The second book in her Woodcutter series, Hero, is out, and this one has all the trademark spunky heroine and swashbuckling (there are pirates!) fantasy adventure you will find in her books. I was fortunate enough to grab a few moments with Alethea to ask her a few questions…
– Review of Enchantment on Colorimetry
What a deliciously fairy tale filling read… with just enough light-hearted fun, deeply dark antagonists, magic straight out of real fairy-tale-dom with real fairy god mothers… and characters that carry their faults around like real people that accidentally fell into the story.
– Alethea at Waterworld Mermaids – “Last Minute Wonder”
I can’t even call it procrastination, because it was more like Self-Imposed Ninja Boot Camp…
…clothes may be an expression of who you are, but they are not the definition.
I think that this series is really good at setting that fairy tale tone with the writing style, being a hard core lover of fairy tales, it makes the books perfect for me. I also love how she weaves in the different stories and pieces it togther like one of Fridays quilts.
– Interview & Review at Tressa’s Wishful Endings
Alethea: I have been accused many times of “cramming all the fairy tales into one book like it was some sort of challenge”–and indeed, it sort of started out that way.
I found Hero to be a creative and exciting work of fantasy. The highlight of the book was the exploration of gender roles, and the romance, which was based very much on the idea that people’s differences can complement each other.
– “The Big Idea” John Scalzi’s blog
– My Bookshelf on Mel’s Shelves
I was intrigued with the summary for this book. I come from a family of 7 daughters (and 2 sons). I line up with daughter number 4, Thursday, who ran off with the Pirate King and sends trunks of gifts back home, haha! – Review of Enchanted
– Did You See? on Cu’s eBook Giveaways
Last but not least I must thank the members of my very large family… thank you for keeping my feet tied to the ground while I reach for the stars. You are my heart, and I love you all more than these humble words can say.
– Review at Books for Kids
I love the way she writes. Her characters are vibrant and full of life. Saturday is a fabulous protagonist. I adore her strength and her stubbornness, her fire and her fight. I love the way she solves her problems (with her brain) and the way she carries out her plans (with her strength).
– Review of Hero on Colorimetry
The scene with the lake is burned on my memory forever: Surrounded by icy walls, with water so clear you can see that the lake is deep, so deep you don’t know how deep, heated from molten lava within the mountain. It’s amazing. I want to go there!!
– Meet the Inspiration Part II on Bookmarks
…So you see, I didn’t just have family members growing up. I had legends. I may have been destined for greatness, but only because my family set the bar SO HIGH.
Oct 7 – Character interview with Saturday Woodcutter at I Smell Sheep
Troubadour: I’m here today with Saturday Woodcutter, sixth of the seven Woodcutter daughters, and sister to the Queen of Arilland. Princess Saturday, could you tell me–
Saturday: Call me “princess” again and I punch you in the face.
In my teen novels, I retell the classic Grimm and Andersen (and a few others’) fairy tales. I don’t regurgitate the exact same sequence of events–though as they’re public domain, I suppose I could. I prefer, instead, to fill in the blanks I feel the original authors left.
In real life, we have families. Some of us have REALLY LARGE AND OBNOXIOUS families. And though we feel alone sometimes in those awkward middle school years, we’re never really alone-alone.
Even when we want to be.
There’s that saying that“it takes a village to raise a child” — well, in the publishing world, books are the author’s children. And it takes a village to raise them, too…
The first thing that jumped off the page at me was the author’s style. It’s playful, fun, and fresh filled with an out-of-this-world yet grounded fairy tale experience. I loved it… Review
AK – Beloved is a parallel novel to Hero, chronicling the adventures of Friday and the rest of the Woodcutter crew back in Arilland, in the tragic aftermath of the appearance of Saturday’s “impossible ocean.” Apprentice seamstress Friday becomes a leader of the children (because that’s Friday’s thing), and gets caught up in trying to break a curse involving seven swans, a mute girl, and the need to weave seven shirts out of stinging nettles.
I’ve always loved all the bird-tales (“The Goose Girl” is my favorite) and I have to say…I am SO IN LOVE with writing this book. Beloved is such an appropriate title.
It was a sad road that led Peregrine to his mother’s bedside…
All in all, Hero was like a tapestry of fairytales interwoven together: vibrant, fun, humorous, tragic and100% magical. I strongly recommend this to readers who love fairytale retellings and fantasy. – Review
Oct 11-15 – GRAND FINALE
Sept 22 – Oct 17
Fairy Tale Gift Basket (US only): Signed copies of both Enchantment and Hero by Alethea Kontis plus swag!
I would save this post for Tuesday but Bookmarks is taking part in the Uprising Blog Tour (look at day 1 and day 2 for a taste of what’s to come), which is exciting and will be more interesting than what I have for you today. There are a couple new(ish) pieces of information I’ve been stockpiling for you, including the Divergent movie, Suzanne Collins, and the last book in the Delirium trilogy, Requiem.
Firstly, Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games and The Underland Chronicles, has admitted to beginning another YA series! There’s not much information on it besides the fact that it’s being considered a real possibility, and she says she’s focusing mostly on adapting Mockingjay into two movies.
Second, casting is out for The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Divergent by Veronica Roth. Cool enough when said like that, but interestingly, they both feature the same actress/actor duo. Shailene Woodley will be playing Hazel in the upcoming TFIOS movie and Tris Prior in Divergent, while Ansel Elgort will play Augustus Waters in TFIOS and Caleb Prior, the brother of Tris, in Divergent. [Mini Divergent/Insurgent spoiler to follow] An interesting acting shift will have to happen to go from backstabbing brother to sweet awesome love interest. [You’re safe now]
Third, Lauren Oliver’s Delirium trilogy was completed a few weeks ago, with final book Requiem finishing things off. Though I haven’t managed to finish it yet (sorry!) I’ve heard some disappointing things about the last installment. Apparently the ending wasn’t as impressive as many people had wanted . . . Make up your mind for yourself, I’d say.
Lastly, remember I’ve got an author interview with Jessica Therrien ready to go for Tuesday, which you definitely don’t want to miss.
Hope you enjoyed the surprise post,
PS: This was my 70th post! Crazy! Thanks to everyone who’s been reading Bookmarks and especially Tally, who is also about to celebrate her 70th post, I see. Plus, Bookmarks’ 9 month anniversary is just around the corner!
No real post today, just a quick shout out and some useful information.
As you’ve probably realized, I really like Jessica Therrien’s books. I think I’ve done two posts on Oppression? Yes? This is because it’s an awesome book. Now you have a chance to see for yourself. If you go here and fill out a quick form, Jessica Therrien will give you a copy of Oppression in exchange for an honest review. It’s awesome if you have a blog like us and can post on there, but even if you don’t you can post online reviews to Amazon.com, Goodreads, and the Barnes & Noble website. Sadly, I can’t take part in this awesome opportunity because I have already reviewed and raved about it on every platform available. But it’s not too late for you!! The book is so good that when you finish you’ll want to go post about it. Plus, the next one’s coming up . . . Just in time to put on your Christmas list.
Notice it’s December? Yes? You know what that means of course. NANOWRIMO IS OFFICIALY OVER!!!
And I won! Last Friday actually, which was super-exciting. I just haven’t had a chance to brag ’cause I’ve pretty much been a zombie since then. Why? Get this, I challenged myself to a 24 hour write. Except for 5 hours when I fell asleep, the document was open and I wrote(ok I procrastinated a couple of hours too)… I ended up with 15K, which is more than twice my highest word count for a single day ever. Not bad for a slow writer.
I feel lost without NaNoWriMo already. What am I to do with myself??
The good thing- I’ve yet to finish my story, so I’m excited to keep writing this one too. The better thing? Bookmarks will go back to reviewing. Still not done with Breadcrumbs(how smart of me to start a book during NaNoWriMo) but I should finish it. Next book will be one that I’ve been anticipating for a long time. It’s sat on my bookshelf for several months but I’ve been pretty nervous to read it. I have high expectations for it. Maybe review for that one on Thursday. And… new page soon! See you tomorrow!
So excited for December