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By Chance Alone
By Chance Alone: A Remarkable True Story of Courage and Survival at Auschwitz | Max Eisen
20 posts | 14 read | 47 to read
In the tradition of Elie Wiesels Night and Primo Levis Survival in Auschwitz comes a new memoir by Canadian survivor More than 70 years after the Nazi camps were liberated by the Allies, a new Canadian Holocaust memoir details the rural Hungarian deportations to Auschwitz-Birkenau, back-breaking slave labour in Auschwitz I, the infamous death march in January 1945, the painful aftermath of liberation, a journey of physical and psychological healing. Tibor Max Eisen was born in Moldava, Czechoslovakia into an Orthodox Jewish family. He had an extended family of sixty members, and he lived in a family compound with his parents, his two younger brothers, his baby sister, his paternal grandparents and his uncle and aunt. In the spring of1944--five and a half years after his region had been annexed to Hungary and the morning after the familys yearly Passover Seder--gendarmes forcibly removed Eisen and his family from their home. They were brought to a brickyard and eventually loaded onto crowded cattle cars bound for Auschwitz-Birkenau. At fifteen years of age, Eisen survived the selection process and he was inducted into the camp as a slave labourer. One day, Eisen received a terrible blow from an SS guard. Severely injured, he was dumped at the hospital where a Polish political prisoner and physician, Tadeusz Orzeszko, operated on him. Despite his significant injury, Orzeszko saved Eisen from certain death in the gas chambers by giving him a job as a cleaner in the operating room. After his liberation and new trials in Communist Czechoslovakia, Eisen immigrated to Canada in 1949, where he has dedicated the last twenty-two years of his life to educating others about the Holocaust across Canada and around the world. The author will be donating 100% of his royalties for this book to registered charities that promote education and humane causes.
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Every Friday night as tradition dictates, my husband recites the following blessing to our children before we sit down for Shabbat dinner. “May God bless you and protect you. May God‘s face shine toward you and show you favor. May God look favorably upon you and grant you peace.” These words are the last Max Eisen will hear from his father as he placed his hands upon Max‘s head through the barbed wires of Auschwitz. 👇🏼

Cinfhen After being separated from every immediate family member (a total of 60 innocent souls) Max is the only one left to give testament to the evils he witnessed & experienced.
With bravery, brains & a bit of “luck” Max was able to persevere the death camps of Auschwitz and live through the 1945 Death March. His account of endurance and strength will move you.
Cinfhen Thank you @TrishB for another wonderful book 💋 #InfiniteTissueRead 3mo
TrishB He was a brave soul ♥️ 3mo
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marleed Beautiful review. 3mo
Cinfhen As the years go by, fewer and fewer survivors are left to tell their stories @TrishB @marleed I‘m passing this book unto my son who will be traveling to Poland with his senior grade to learn about and view the remains of Auschwitz and other concentration camps from a survivor. 3mo
Mollyanna I‘m tearing up just reading your review! 😢. It‘ll break my heart a thousand times, but I‘m stacking it. 3mo
Cinfhen Tissues are required @Mollyanna but knowing Max survives and seeing him publish an award winning memoir does make this book more bearable to handle. ❤️ 3mo
Cathythoughts Beautiful words in your blessing ♥️ 3mo
mrp27 I heard a survivor speak last April in LA at the Museum of Tolerance and it was hands down the most visceral, profound experience I've ever had, I was ugly crying. When the speaker was asked why she choose to tell her story that is what she said, fewer survivors are left and for those that don't believe it happened. Her name was Eva Brettler and she was a child survivor. 3mo
Cinfhen I‘ve heard a few survivors speak and each time their story is slightly different and I learn something more. It‘s a privilege and honor to hear these first hand testaments @mrp 3mo
Cinfhen Thank you @Cathythoughts ✡️💟☮️ 3mo
LeahBergen Oh, I CRIED when this won Canada Reads this year and they telephoned him live to tell him he won. 😭😭😭 3mo
Cinfhen Oh, that would have set me off in tears too @LeahBergen 😭 3mo
JennyM Your review has made me cry, so I can‘t imagine the book. Beautiful words, Cindy ❤️ 3mo
TrishB I‘m glad the book is travelling with your son ❤️ 3mo
Hollie I really need to read this ASAP! 3mo
Cinfhen You really should @Hollie and I still want to read a book you mentioned a long while back 3mo
Cinfhen Thank you so much @JennyM 😘😘 3mo
Centique Beautiful review 😰 and paired with beautiful photo 😍🌸💕 3mo
Cinfhen Thanks so much @Centique are you guys getting ready for summer holiday soon??? 3mo
Centique @Cinfhen we‘re just about to hit school holidays at the end of September. We‘ve got a small holiday planned at the bottom of the South Island. Spring temps will be about 65 Fahrenheit down there? Will be super pretty though 🌲🌳🌷 3mo
Centique @Cinfhen we don‘t usually get hot here until December. Christmas by the pool with strawberries and champagne (if I‘m lucky!) 3mo
Hollie @Cinfhen yes! You definitely should 😘 3mo
Suet624 💕💕💕 3mo
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Then he said, "If you survive, you must tell the world what happened here. Now go." This were the last words spoken to Max Eisen's by his father before he was led away for the gas chamber during the Nazi's selection process in 1944. This book is written to fulfil his father's final wish. It's a poignant yet inspirational read.

Rating: 5⭐

For my full review please visit https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2857316479

Suet624 💕💕💕 5mo
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Politics is a mess at the moment. History tells us that when politics is a mess, people die.
Remain vigilant, challenge bigotry, don‘t remain silent.
I feel so much for Max, what a story he had to tell, so humble and using that experience to try and teach others. Never forget.

Emilymdxn Great message for us all to keep in mind. I love literature as a form of bearing witness in terrible times 💖 7mo
Cathythoughts Great review! I have it stacked already 7mo
JennyM 👊 💥♥️ 7mo
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Never forget people, it‘s sliding this way at the moment.

DGRachel Terrifying. 😭 7mo
Bookwomble With May gone, the contenders for unelected leader of the country are an unappetising bunch 😕 7mo
TrishB @DGRachel exactly 😔 7mo
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TrishB @Bookwomble and even further to the right. 7mo
Velvetfur I thought this when reading the book about WW1 and finding out how it happened. Scary similarities with today. Scary how those in charge just don't learn from past mistakes, and don't care about it all happening again. 7mo
Bookwomble @TrishB Sadly so, and what feels worse to me is that some of them aren't even that right wing per se, they just see pandering to the right as a route to power, the consequences be damned (as they might well be). 7mo
TrishB @Velvetfur the people in power are never the little people that will suffer. 7mo
TrishB @Bookwomble exactly! It‘s the bring in power that counts, not how you might then use that power for good. 7mo
GingerAntics People should be more alarmed than they are, honestly. So many people think we‘re exaggerating when we say things like this. I‘m with you 100%. 7mo
TrishB @GingerAntics I‘ll just carry on ranting in the corner! I really don‘t want to be saying I told you so though. 7mo
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A reminder today, filled with sadness looking at the ballot paper today. At least three candidates from far right parties/groups. So depressing, spreading hatred and racist bile.

Lindy 😔 7mo
JennyM It was the exact same in the Aus election a few weeks ago. It‘s so sad, and scary that this is where we are 💔 7mo
Leftcoastzen 😟 7mo
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Itchyfeetreader Agreed. I was also disheartened by how many independents had put themselves on the ballot for me but I had not heard from them nor could I find out about them 7mo
TrishB @Itchyfeetreader Tommy Robinson is standing in my area! It‘s horrible 😔 7mo
TrishB @JennyM feels awful 😔 7mo
TrishB @Lindy @Leftcoastzen fighting the fight everyday!! 7mo
Itchyfeetreader @trishB heard@many of my family on the subject. I am hoping the outcome puts him firmly back in his box (edited) 7mo
Leftcoastzen Right on ,sister!👍💪👏✊❤️ 7mo
TrishB @Itchyfeetreader hopefully 🤞🏻 7mo
TrishB @Leftcoastzen 😘❤️ 7mo
CarolynM I know just how you feel 😡😔😢 @JennyM it was only a few days ago, it's just the heavy hearts that make it feel like weeks! It was bad enough here, must be really hard for you. I have a friend living in Townsville, she was nearly in tears over her ballot paper. 7mo
AmyG It‘s a very scary world we live in. All we can do is fight the good fight. 7mo
teainthelibrary We got some racist pamphlet through our letter box - right across the top it said ‘ENGLISH JOBS FOR ENGLISH PEOPLE‘. Have to say, as an American living in the UK, it makes me feel a little unwelcome and also a bit anxious that I might get accosted by these people at work or something. Meh. 😭 7mo
Freespirit Feeling for you. Seems it's a world wide phenomenon😪 7mo
JennyM @CarolynM goodness, it was only last week wasn‘t it! I think I‘ve tried to block it all out. 7mo
Tamra Puke 7mo
Tamra @teainthelibrary ugh though here it would say the same but for “American people.” It‘s all so disgusting. 7mo
batsy The spread of far right/fascist sentiment is sad and frightening 😟 I'm grateful that there are so many of us who find this appalling and absolutely unacceptable, though ✊🏽 7mo
marleed Breaks my heart that this behavior is normalized. 7mo
TrishB @teainthelibrary I find that offensive and I‘m English! 💔 it‘s not all of us as you know. 7mo
TrishB @CarolynM @AmyG @Freespirit @Tamra @batsy @marleed @JennyM I take some heart from what Suba says in that I find it uplifting that so many of us are carrying on fighting back. 7mo
teainthelibrary @TrishB definitely not!! It just makes me wonder where these people@are hiding at 😂 7mo
TrishB @teainthelibrary behind their keyboards and balaclavas! 7mo
Weaponxgirl Normally I wouldn‘t condone such behaviour but do you want me to get you a milkshake? 😉 7mo
Weaponxgirl But on a serious note, it‘s terrifying atm. The guardian had a article about how racist attacks have gone up since the brexit vote and these people now feel emboldened to air these views and Harass people publicly. I‘ve noticed on the bbc a few times recently that they have been trying to be more “balanced” on certain issues and are going in a direction I‘m not all to comfortable with as it is normalising awful views. 7mo
TrishB @Weaponxgirl 😂😂👍🏻 7mo
TrishB @Weaponxgirl I agree, on the platform of free speech we are letting this become acceptable. It is terrifying and I worry where we‘re all headed. 7mo
Weaponxgirl @TrishB I just think about people like Jess Phillips, she has been amazing recently. When talking about the school protests in Birmingham she answered a statement about her opinion with “it‘s not my opinion, equality is the law and we don‘t get to pick and choose “ bloody love her and people like her give me hope (edited) 7mo
TrishB @Weaponxgirl exactly!! She‘s been great. 7mo
Itchyfeetreader 38,000 I am heartsore. 7mo
TrishB @Itchyfeetreader it‘s all a frightening mess 😱 7mo
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March Wrap Up!

March felt like a slow reading month, but it ended up being consistent with my totals from the last couple of months. I read 16 books in March (6 physical, 5 ebooks, 5 audiobooks). My favourites this month were the tagged book and The Kite Runner.

#MarchWrapUp #MarchStats

BookishTrish How was Shout? 8mo
StephanieMarie March felt like a slow month to me too! Glad you were able to meet the same totals :) 8mo
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candority @BookishTrish Shout was a 4-star read for me! I listened to it on audio, and it was great to hear the author‘s words in her own voice. It delves into her home life and upbringing, her experiences after Speak was published, and broader social commentary about sexual assault. It was short and well worth the listen/read! 8mo
candority I loved By Chance Alone @thereadingowlvina! It was told primarily chronologically from Eisen‘s childhood to now, and being a Holocaust memoir, it was obviously very difficult to read at times. He had some very unique experiences, and I appreciated learning about Barrack 21 (the surgery ward) at Auschwitz-Birkenau, as well as his post-liberation experiences. I would highly recommend it! 8mo
candority @StephanieMarie I hope April is a better month for you! 8mo
thereadingowlvina @candority Sounds like a really good read! Thank you! I'll definitely read this 🙂 8mo
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Great job! 📖💖 8mo
candority @thereadingowlvina I hope you enjoy it! 😊 8mo
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The well-deserved winner of #CanadaReads2019, By Chance Alone is an incredible memoir of strength, resilience, and gratitude. The author, Max Eisen, was only fifteen when he arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and as with all survivor‘s accounts, the horrors he experienced there are incomprehensible. Stories like his are so important, especially as anti-Semitism in on the rise and the voices of Holocaust survivors fade away. #CanadaReads Full review ⬇️

candority www.goodreads.com/review/show/2745371324 8mo
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The new floof is just one of many reasons I didn‘t read as much this month. #EarlGrey

kamoorephoto Wait...new kitty???!! 8mo
BookishTrish @kamoorephoto We got a rescue kitty two weeks ago. He‘s very kittenish 8mo
kamoorephoto I‘m so happy for you!!!!! 8mo
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I wasn‘t able to read them before our country‘s annual battle of the books, but after religiously watching the debates last week, I can‘t wait to dive in!

MayJasper Sounds fascinating. What is the annual battle of the books? 2mo
KarenJMcLean It‘s called Canada Reads and it‘s done by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (AKA CBC). 1mo
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This post contains spoilers
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By Chance Alone was selected as the winner of #CanadaReads2019. This is a Holocaust memoir written by a survivor who now spends his time educating others about the Holocaust and the importance of remembrance. While the other entrants were worthwhile books, By Chance Alone is the well-deserved winner.

This truly is a book everybody should read.

TrishB So on that recommendation I‘ve brought it!! 9mo
Blueberry I hadn't got to see the last episode yet. Please consider using the spoiler tag next time. Thanks. 9mo
Penny_LiteraryHoarders The news that this was the winner is everywhere and all over the place, being promoted and celebrated since the announcement. 9mo
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Melissa_J @Blueberry my apologies. I didn‘t think about that (obviously). I will definitely be careful in future since I hate spoilers myself. I‘ve updated the post to indicate spoilers. It may not help you but hopefully someone else who hasn‘t watched show won‘t be spoiled. 9mo
Melissa_J @Penny_LiteraryHoarders I got the news via an email from Indigo LOL 9mo
Blueberry Thanks 😀 8mo
Penny_LiteraryHoarders @Melissa_J so I wouldn't feel bad. It was EVERYWHERE no fault of yours. 8mo
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I‘ve finished all of the #CanadaReads shortlist and I‘m backing this book to win. Suzanne I adored - even more than BCA - and will revisit time and again, but I think this memoir is more in line with the theme. My remaining three order is: Brother, The Woo-Woo, Homes

StephanieMarie I have Brother and By Chance Alone tied for first (I can't decide between them), then Suzanne, Homes and The woo. I do think though that Suzanne might surprise me because Yanic Truesdale seems very well spoken and I think he will defend it well 9mo
CouronneDhiver I‘m so impressed that you‘ve read them all! I have a hard time keeping up with prize announcements. Lol 9mo
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I've now read all the Canada Reads books, and I'll be rooting for them in the following order:

By Chance Alone
The Woo-Woo

SUZANNE was my favourite by a big margin, but Holocaust education is more important than ever so I want to see BY CHANCE ALONE win. I liked HOMES but I don't feel strongly about it as a contender. I borderline disliked BROTHER (it was a syntax thing) and I couldn't finish THE WOO-WOO. #CanadaReads

Penny_LiteraryHoarders The Woo Woo was truly the only one I never intended on reading when I saw the lists. A bit saddened to see it make the shortlist over The Boy on the Beach! (I've only read Brother from the shortlist.) 9mo
xicanti @Penny_LiteraryHoarders I felt bad about bailing on such a personal story, but it didn't work for me at all. I kept my hold on The Boy On the Beach even after it wasn't shortlisted, so I'm curious to see how I feel about it. So far, I've gotten a lot more out of the longlisted titles that didn't make the cut than I did from either of the bottom three on my list. 9mo
wordzie Awesome 🙌 9mo
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Everyone should read this Holocaust memoir. Max Eisen's prose might not sparkle, but his story is a vitally important look at what happened seventy years ago and what we must never, ever forget. I'm beyond grateful to him for sharing it with the world through this book and his work as a speaker.

Honestly, I don't know how the Canada Reads panelists are gonna debate against this. It means that much. #CanadaReads

Insightsintobooks What is the Canada Reads debating against? I've been wanting to read this, but my library doesn't have it. 10mo
xicanti @Insightsintobooks each of the five Canada Reads panelists defends one book at the expense of the other four, either in general terms or by comparing two or more of the titles. They usually divide their focus between arguing why their book is the best and pointing out the other books' failings. 10mo
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Max has a very powerful story to tell. I‘ll just say, you should read this book because, “We must all be alert to the dangers of hatred, speak out against discrimination, and defend the openness and fairness of a free and democratic society with rules of law to sustain it.” Never forget.

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Max Eisen was fifteen years old when he and his family were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. By war‘s end, he was the only member of his immediate family left alive. This is Max‘s story, told in his own words. While the writing is basic, the story is not.

By Chance Alone is one of the five finalists for #CanadaReads2019 and I don‘t even have to read the other finalists to know that this is the book that all Canadians should read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Melissa_J Just realized that I entered this as a blurb and not a review. 10mo
Cinfhen That‘s a beautiful review!! I read a sample chapter and agree about the writing but I had a sense that Max has a story worth sharing & hearing. Thanks for tagging me. Waiting for my library copy❤️ 10mo
LeahBergen I haven‘t read any of the contenders yet but I‘ve been rooting for this one since they were announced. 👏🏻👏🏻 10mo
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TrishB Great review 👍🏻 10mo
Cathythoughts Sounds very good ! Stacked 10mo
ElishaLovesBooks Definitely stacking! Would this be good for middle school age children? 10mo
Melissa_J @Cinfhen hopefully you don‘t have to wait too long for a copy. 10mo
Melissa_J @ElishaLovesBooks I think it would depend on the maturity level of the child given the subject matter. If I consider my daughter, I think the age she‘s at now (just about to turn 13) is perfect. 10mo
Melissa_J @ElishaLovesBooks ok, I just had to look up middle school ages as there are no middle schools in my daughter‘s school board - the high schools are grades 7-12. So based on middle schools being graded 6-8 I would say the book would be appropriate for the 7s and 8s. 10mo
ElishaLovesBooks @Melissa_J Thank you! I look forward to getting my hands on it! 😊 10mo
Cinfhen I‘m so happy to see so much support for this book. Are you familiar with it @Hollie ???? 10mo
Hollie @Cinfhen no, but I‘m going to have to find it and check it out! 10mo
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Today‘s reading adventures look remarkably similar to yesterday‘s, except I‘ve opted for a different book today. I am really struggling to settle on a book. This book is working for me, and is the only one of my current reads that has grabbed my attention. Given it‘s a holocaust memoir, however, it‘s very hard to read for long stretches. #CanadaReads2019

LeahBergen I was going to ask if you‘ve moved since yesterday. 😆😆 10mo
JacqMac Working my way through this one today, too. Taking lots of sadness breaks. 10mo
Melissa_J @LeahBergen barely 😂 10mo
Melissa_J @JacqMac for subject matter alone I don‘t know how any of the other four books can beat this one. It‘s a subject that absolutely everyone should read about. 10mo
Mccall0113 I've been struggling to pick a book and stick with it lately. 10mo
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#CanadaReads2019 shortlist

I did have one of these on my TBR already. The others I not sure I'm interested. But 4 of the 5 have 4+ stars on Goodreads.

NataliePatalie Dang. I haven't heard of any of these! 10mo
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The #CanadaReads2019 finalists have been announced. I‘m not very good at reading the selected books, at least not in time for the debates each March, but this year I‘m going to make an effort to read a couple in advance. I‘m starting with the tagged book.

Anyone else planning to read along?

See below for a link to the five finalists and their defenders ⬇️

twohectobooks I always miss out on Canada Reads. The only winners I‘ve read were Nikolski (2010) and The Orenda (2014), both way after the fact. I‘ve read various nominees too, but also way after the fact! 10mo
LeahBergen I have Brother sitting on my shelf. 🙄 10mo
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Max Eisen‘s story is an important reminder of what can happen if intolerance is allowed and how easy it is for people to do what is safe rather than what is right. We are losing the voices of those who survived the holocaust. It is so important that it not be relegated to something long forgotten in the past.

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Just came across this book~ sounds like an important read for anyone interested in the Holocaust. Eisen has toured the world, educating people about the horrors he endured at the hands of the Nazis.
International #Holocaust Remembrance Day. January 27 is the anniversary of the liberation of #Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp.

Crazeedi I have read and studied this for many many years, toured the holocaust museum this summer. Recently I've had to read and then take a break, my heart is not able to handle too much at a time. #neverforget 11mo
Melissa_J This one was just announced on the #CanadaReads2019 long list. Hopefully it makes it through to the final five. 11mo
Cinfhen That‘s actually where I learned about this book @Melissa_J what a great list!! Lots of interesting choices 11mo
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Cinfhen I agree @Crazeedi sometimes it becomes too much to bare 💔💔went with my kids to Yad Vashem ( Holocaust Museum in Israel) our guide was a survivor 😪 11mo
TrishB Stacked 💔 11mo
CouronneDhiver Really?! Wow. What a remarkable experience @Cinfhen 11mo
Cinfhen Our guide was so feisty @CouronneDhiver she was probably in her mid 80‘s- she was originally from Austria - her parents were in academics she had 3 brothers and two sisters they all perished, along with all her aunts & uncles and grandparents. She said one other cousin survived. She was the youngest and her non Jewish housekeeper took her and hid her at great risk. Her housekeeper was listed in the Righteous Amongst Nations List. 11mo
CouronneDhiver God bless her. That‘s such a sad story. Truly. 😢 11mo
Crazeedi @Cinfhen a few risked their lives, and God bless each one who did. I have a book that lists the righteous among the nations. All about the memorial Yad Vashem. We must teach our next generations what evil can accomplish if good people don't stand 11mo
Insightsintobooks I don't have this book yet, I added it to my TBR. I'm reading Night today. 10mo
Cinfhen I requested this book from library @Insightsintobooks Good luck with Night. It‘s such a heartbreaking story to wrap your head around. 10mo
Melissa_J I just bought this one. I haven‘t read many survivor accounts, but I think it‘s important to do so. I‘ve been to Mauthausen in Austria, and the emotions the visit evoked have never left me. 10mo
Cinfhen I read a sample chapter @Melissa_J and I was a little disappointed 😔 the writing was very pedestrian, bland. Hope it gets better. Keep me updated...thanks 💕 10mo
Melissa_J The book made it to the final five of Canada Reads. I started it last night so I‘ll keep you posted. 10mo
Cinfhen Oh good!!! What else made the list???!! 10mo
Cinfhen Thanks for sharing the link @Melissa_J I‘m actually interested in reading a few of those!!! Especially 10mo
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