The Volumes of Silence

Book Review of "Shtum" by Jem Lester. The best word to describe Ben and Emma Jewell's 11-year-old son Jonah is "shtum." That's Yiddish for silent, so in other words, Jonah doesn't speak. Mostly, Jonah lives in his own world. Of course, Jonah's diagnosis is obvious; Jonah is autistic. So far, the schools Jonah attended haven't … Continue reading The Volumes of Silence

Włodawa’s Wars

Book Review of "In the Land of Armadillos" Short Stories by Helen Maryles Shankman. If you think that yet another book about the Holocaust is just too much, when it comes to this collection of eight short stories, I'll have to disagree - both emphatically and respectfully. No, this book doesn't take place in any … Continue reading Włodawa’s Wars

Gambits and Pawns

Book Review of "The Death's Head Chess Club" by John Donoghue. SS Obersturmführer (1st Lieutenant) Paul Meissner's battle injury has taken him off the front lines, and put him in Auschwitz, assigned to bolster flagging morale in the camps. His superiors are skeptical about his chess club idea, especially if he's allowing officers and enlisted … Continue reading Gambits and Pawns

A Plot on a Plot of Land

Book Review of "Visitation" by Jenny Erpenbeck. When it comes to historical fiction, the years before, during and after World War II have become some of the most popular to write about, mostly because of the opportunity they give the writer to evoke strong emotions in their readers. Yet, with all the drama that this … Continue reading A Plot on a Plot of Land

When Souls Collide

Book Review of "The History of Love" by Nicole Krauss. Alma Singer is almost 15 years old. She was named after every girl in a book called "The History of Love." Alma believes that she can find the real Alma from the book. She doesn't know is who Leo Gursky is, that he was the … Continue reading When Souls Collide

The Painted Designs of Yemenite Jewish Women

Book Review for "Henna House" by Nomi Eve. Born in a remote village of the Kingdom of Yemen, Adela Damari moves through childhood, unloved by her mother, hated by her brothers and yet adored by her ailing father. His love won’t save her, because if he dies before she is engaged to marry, the Confiscator … Continue reading The Painted Designs of Yemenite Jewish Women

Beauty out of ugliness

Book Review of "The Butterfly and the Violin" by Kristy Cambron. Sera James has spent the last two years searching for the painting of a beautiful girl with her violin, which was painted in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. When she finds a reproduction in the home of William Hanover III, she decides - against … Continue reading Beauty out of ugliness