Top Ten Tuesday: My Winter TBR

Winter TBR

 

My TBR stack is never-ending. Just when I think that I might be done buying books, some new sale happens and I end up buying way too many books! #booknerdproblems am I right? As part of That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday meme, I’ve written my own TBR list for the winter. Well, anyway, here is my current TBR list for the winter. At least until I hit the library and decide to add about a million more books to the list.

 

  1. Sometimes We Tell The Truth, by Kim Zarins – I just heard about this book the other day and I’m RIDICULOUSLY excited that it exists!!! It’s a contemporary retelling of The Canterbury Tales featuring teens each telling a different, sometimes fantastical story on a bus ride to Washington, DC. It looks fantastic. (Check out Kim Zarins’ site here if you want to know more).
  2. The Kiss Quotient – I’m hoping that this book fulfils my quirky romance quotient. See what I did there? Did you?
  3. The Boat People, by Sharon Bala – Not gonna lie. I picked this one because I loved the cover. Also, it seems like a timely topic.
  4. Damn Fine Story, by Chuck Wendig – Because when is it *not* a good idea to read something that Chuck Wendig wrote? That guy is a hilarious, awesome genius who I sort of, kind of worship. (He also has an equally hilarious blog).
  5. You Think It, I’ll Say It, by Curtis Sittenfeld – Because short stories are important, too. Don’t let the lame grade nine collection of short tales turn you off this genre!
  6. Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata – A book about a strange, alienating person. I like strange books.
  7. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue, by Mackenzie Lee – YES I know. I KNOW! I should have read this one ages ago. Boarding schools and not-so-gentlemanly gentlemen? YES PLEASE.
  8. Precious Cargo, by Craig Davidson – A little non-fiction is good for the soul, and since Craig Davidson has written some pretty excellent fiction titles, I think I’ll give this one a whirl. Bonus points for Davidson, because it’s about his time as a school bus driver. This sounds hella cool.
  9. The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman – I feel like this book will have a lot of the same whimsy and magic that Practical Magic had.
  10. Spoonbenders, by Daryl Gregory – Because who DOESN’T want to read about a family of psychics?

*Insert about five million, billion other titles here.

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Kid Gloves, by Lucy Knisley

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Lucy Knisley is one of my favourite graphic novelists out there. I have read and re-read all of her other books, so when I was given an ARC from Netgalley of her soon-to-be released book, Kid Gloves, I was extremely excited.  This instalment of Knisley’s autobiographical series follows Lucy as she embarks on a challenging journey into parenthood, rife with miscarriages, health problems and a near-death experience. It is a fascinating and heart-rending read.

A Perfect Blend of Narrative & Science

What I love about Knisley’s books is that woven throughout her personal stories are facts and histories relating to the topic that she is covering. In Kid Gloves, she examines not only her own struggles as a young woman trying to conceive and carry a child to term, but she also delves into the complex history and science of reproduction. I think that this connection between autobiographical stories and the wider history acts to draw the reader in. Even though Knisley’s narrative is personal, it begins to feel personal to the reader in this way too.

A Light Touch

There are moments in this narrative that will smash your heart, but there are also some hilarious episodes too. I liked reading the lighter anecdotes such as the one about crazy morning sickness (i.e. learning that Charlotte Bronte died from morning sickness! What?!?) This kept the tone of the narrative light, which balanced out the heartbreaking stories about her early miscarriages and the many other hardships that she faced. Reading Lucy Knisley’s books feels like talking to a good friend that you haven’t seen in a while and I think it is because  her writing is accessible. This is especially important if you consider that the message of her book–that health care for women isn’t necessarily in line with their needs–is an important one.

Read this Book! Read it! Why? Because it will change the way you view pregnancy and childbirth along with a million other fascinating ideas. Read it because her story will make you cry. Read it to fall in love with her art (it is beautiful). Read it to feel like you’ve just discovered your book best friend, because seriously, if you haven’t yet discovered Knisley, it’s time. Okay, good talk. Now go pickup a copy of Kid Gloves on February 26, 2019.

 

Have you read Lucy Knisley’s books? Which one is your favourite?

 

Note: I was given a copy of Kid Gloves in exchange for an honest review.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz: When Fact & Fiction Blur

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Recently, there’s been some controversy surrounding the bestselling novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz. While there has been some issue surrounding the many historical inconsistencies in the novel, what seems to be the biggest problem revolves around the author, Australian born Heather Morris who is (according to online sources) not Jewish. On Twitter, The Tattooist of Auschwitz has been described the book as “a sexed-up romance novel/memoir,” claiming that Morris has little true information about the real Lali Sokolov. The plot is Lali’s story and is based on the only surviving account of a Jewish prisoner employed in Auschwitz as a tattooist.

Fiction and reality are always blurred, but when it comes to controversial topics such as the Holocaust, how far is too far?

Truth or Fiction?

Truth is stranger than fiction, but how true do we need a story to be? Some would argue that works of fiction, while based on real stories are simply interpretations of a true event. Theoretically, a work of historical fiction wouldn’t *have* to be true. The Tattooist of Auschwitz isn’t exactly the first work of fiction to be written about the Holocaust. The Book Thief, Maus & The Boy in the Striped Pajamas are just three popular narratives centred around the holocaust. Usually, when I’m looking for information on something, my first inclination is to read a biography or to check out some journal articles, not fiction and especially not romance novels.

So when it comes to fiction, when is it acceptable to leave out the truth?

Entertainment or History Lesson?

The truth is that we don’t go to fiction just to be entertained. Literature teaches us even when we are not actively seeking a lesson. Through the lens of fictional characters we are better able to imagine the people who lived through important and often terrifying historical events and that sets a new precedent around historical fiction. We aren’t just imagining made up characters anymore. Or fictional places. It becomes a question of representation.

It has also been suggested here that being familiar with historical events through fiction helps us make connections and draw our own conclusions about past and present events. So if a story like The Tattooist of Auschwitz is supposed to give context to the larger narrative of the Holocaust, what is there to be learned?

 The Truth About Stories

When we are writing about sensitive topics, it is crucial that we respect the truth behind the fiction. There will always be a seed of truth in any fictional account. Perhaps this should inspire readers to delve deeper if they want to learn more about a topic? Even so, I wonder  just how mad we ought to get when delving into fiction for our truths.

 

Will you read The Tattooist of Auschwitz?