Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Best Book I've Read This Year

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Historical Fiction

This is, no question, the best book of the year for me.  That's quite an honor considering I have met my goal of reading 200 books (so far!).  This book has an unfortunate title (with Fifty Shades of Gray--these two aren't even distantly related literary cousins!).

Fifteen-year old Lina lives in Lithuania.  One day, Soviets invade her home, arrest her family and send her to a Siberian work camp.  The trip is tortuous and they all barely survive.  The conditions are brutal but Lina's stubborn persistent connection to art and her hope in love keeps her safe, and alive.

The writing style is haunting and lyrical and beautiful.  The narrator seems so detached from the writing and yet is through this detachment that one realizes the special kind of horror that is in the story.  I have read many Holocaust books but none quite like this.  It is unique for many reasons but the purpose of singling out a professor's family really hit home for me.  Getting rid of all the people who know better is the worst kind of evil--the destruction of knowledge.  This book should win all kinds of awards--nothing else this year even comes close!

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