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Search tags: Death-and-dying
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review 2016-09-09 05:51
Two of a Kind
Mischling - Affinity Konar

To be a mischling carries the connotation of being a half-blood, a mongrel. And so with this epithet we are introduced to Stasha and Pearl, twin girls with blond ringlets and Jewish heritage whose best protection before the cattle cars was their fertile imaginations, their Zeyde’s intellectual games and pastimes, and their fragile mother’s drawings. When they arrive at Auschwitz, their mother quickly grasps that their duality is desirable and, in desperation, hands them over to the lunatic evil of Joseph Mengele, believing that to be their one chance at life. As the girls join his “zoo” their identities begin to separate through their different coping strategies and the horrors to which they are subjected. They must constantly fight to remain as much alike and to hold on to as much of their humanity as possible.

 

The subject matter of this book ensures that it will not be for everyone, however those who venture within will find both an important view of a horrific part of history as well as a testament to the spirits of even the smallest beings who endured and survived. The strengths of the book are in the quirky but engaging writing style, and in the carefully drawn characters of the children.

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review 2015-05-16 23:15
Water Damage
The Book of Speculation - Erika Swyler
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

Simon Watson, a librarian, is the stable one in his family, or so it seems. His sister, Enola, is a tarot card reader who travels with carnivals, as did their mother. Simon has always taken care of Enola, from working after school as a teenager to feed and clothe them both, to driving through the night to rescue her from one situation or another. But then a strange book shows up on Simon’s doorstep, and his life begins to crumble. He loses his job, his house begins sliding down the cliff it’s perched on, and he becomes obsessed with the history of his family put forth in the book. Afraid that his sister will drown herself as have all the other women in his family, he frantically researches the past, desperately hoping to prevent a deluge of misery.

 

The strengths of this book lie in the ebbs and flows of the two stories: one the traveling carnival of the past, and one Simon’s present. The characterizations both of the people and of the bodies of water they are connected and drawn to are striking. The strangeness of the carnival settings is engaging as well. Those who enjoyed Water for Elephants or The Night Circus would also enjoy The Book of Speculation.

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review 2015-01-03 18:36
Death's Waiting Room
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?( A Memoir)[CANT WE TALK ABT SOMETHING MOR][Hardcover] - RozChast

Accurate, funny, and heartbreaking. A little window into what unfortunately awaits.

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review 2014-10-29 00:00
Life Lessons: Two Experts on Death and Dying Teach Us About the Mysteries of Life and Living
Life Lessons: Two Experts on Death and Dying Teach Us About the Mysteries of Life and Living - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross,David Kessler A book with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross as one of the authors, a psychiatrist who incorporated near-death studies in her practice. The contents are by no means morbid or depressing, just lessons we ought to incorporate into our living, while healthy and well. The writing style is anecdotal and the tone reassuring. It addresses topics that any one of us could have at some stage in our lives. Psyche struggles are put into perspective. Any seemingly 'taboo' subject is made more common when you realize that so many more people think / feel the same way you do, but like you, are hesitant to bring up the matter, and thus feel that no one understands. The book addresses 14 different topics, so it's not too in-depth, but has enough to make you think and (re)evaluate your life.
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review 2014-09-30 00:00
On Death and Dying
On Death and Dying - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Assigned at university, noncompelling, grim, not sure I finished it, short as it was. It felt very much as if even my death would be administered and staged by a tedious bureaucrat. In bringing up this book, I see that the author was also an early pioneer in the hospice movement. You only have to go over the border to Northern Ireland to see charity cups in restaurants, where 20% of donations go to a children's hospice or two. There's something extremely sickening and Anglo-Saxon efficient about a centrally managed institution where parents pay to explicitly send their children to die, while also watching packs of other strangers die. God, that splits my infinitives. Yeah, I'll be skipping the "Acceptance" stage, if the Kubler-Rosses (but I really shouldn't drop the umlaut here) of the world are defining what "Acceptance" means. Luckily, stages in death, as in life, appear to be transparent bunkum, if George Bonanno is to be believed. Further readings will tell.
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