I went on a week’s vacation recently, brought three books and read them all. It was great – lots of reading time – but sad because for first time, I didn’t bring enough to read.
The Daughter’s Tale, A Novel
The story begins as an old woman named Elise receives a phone call from a stranger about letters she found in Cuba, written in German. Elise meets her guests and is transported to the past, one she had spend the last seven decades trying to forget.
But with the letters, Elise, whose real name is Lina, remembers her life before the start of the Second World War, including with her beloved mother and father and her sister, Viera. Throughout the book, we learn how the Jewish family’s lives change over and over, each time Elise losing someone she loves as the war and hate spreads.
I don’t want to say too much in case I spoil it, but it was a fast read and enjoyable one, albeit awful and heartbreaking. The choices people had to make – I couldn’t even imagine.
According to the author, the seed of the idea for this book came from a woman named Judith, who was 14 months old when she and her family went on board the refugee ship St. Louis, which was turned away from Cuba, the U.S. And Canada (breaks my heart) before they arrived in France where they were sheltered by a Catholic family. Eventually, they were forced out of the home, into an internment camp before being shipped to Auschwitz.
The author writes one afternoon, just before everyone was thrown into “battered wagons bound for Poland, she found herself in the middle of a forest, holding her father’s hand. Her father came closer and whispered in her ear: ‘Look up at the treetops.’ For an instant, she felt alone. Suddenly, another firm hand, one she didn’t know, took hers. When she turned, her father was gone. She never saw him again.”
How to Hack a Heartbreak
How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway ($19.99, HarperCollins Canada) was completely different than what I was expecting. I was expecting a summer read – easy to read and fun – and it was, but it was also way more than that. It dealt with some pretty serious issues, including sexual harassment.
The story follows the story of Mel Strickland, an underemployed help-desk technician at a start-up company filled with entitled programmers. After one too man penis pictures from men she meets on dating app Fluttr, she codes her own dating app called JerkAlert, which allows users to share stories of terrible men they meet on the Fluttr.
“Soon Mel is filled with a terrible choice: one that could destroy her career, love life and friendships, or change her life forever.”
This Moment is Your Life (and so is this one), A Fun and Easy Guide to Mindfulness, Meditation and Yoga
In fairness, This Moment is Your Life by Mariam Gates ($24.99, Penguin Kids) wasn’t really a novel, but rather a guide for kids to learn how to “find comfort in this moment here and now.”
The book talks about mindfulness, what it is and various types of minds – negative, stuck and distracted. It offers exercises to help kids be in the moment and practise what they have learned. There are yoga poses with instructions and pictures.
I didn’t read the book from cover to cover and I am not convinced you likely need to. It’s a good book to pick up when your children – or yourself – may be feeling overwhelmed, read a chapter, learn about ways to stay in the moment, practice and then move one to something new.
A copy of these books were provided by Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Canada and Penguin Kids for an honest review. The opinions are my own.