Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mischling

by Affinity Konar
April 9-May 6, 2017

What to say about a Holocaust story that involves the children tortured by Mengele? How can one say a book like this is "good?" How can it be classified as entertaining? Informative, yes, but not an inkling of leisure. A monumental, heart-breaking chore.

Admittedly, I knew very little about Mengele's "zoo" and his horrific experiments on children. And I do believe it's important to keep history in the forefront because events like this should never be forgotten nor repeated. But to make a novel "artsy" in describing the events and circumstances around Auschwitz just doesn't sit right with me. At times the descriptions of torture were so graphic I found it nearly unbearable. Sickening even.

I honestly think subjects like this are best left to history books. Historical fiction told poetically is not the type of reading anyone can or should enjoy.

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Underground Railroad

by Colson Whitehead
Mar 19-Apr 9, 2017

Oprah and her magical ability to gain followers to anything and everything she likes or touches (Midas?!). It's been a while since I've read an Oprah-acclaimed book, but this one had been receiving plenty of praise on its own. This may be a terrible thing to say, but I think I am burned out on books about slavery. Granted, this one focused more on the escape than the day-to-day life on a plantation, but it was still difficult reading nonetheless. Cruelty followed slaves everywhere. I'm astonished by the endurance and will to live that these people unfailingly kept up. To read about Cora's burst of luck only to have it stripped away more brutally each time made me truly wonder how she even wanted to live any longer. Terrible thoughts. And thus the burnout on the subject matter. It's exhausting.
“Freedom was a community laboring for something lovely and rare.”
Overall an interesting direction taken by Whitehead – and actual underground railroad. But the storyline was a bit jerky and presented in ways that weren't as successful as they could have been.

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