Tag: Nonfiction

Open Heart by Elie Wiesel

Author: Elie Weisel
Published: December 4, 2012
79 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Translated by Marion Wiesel

A profoundly and unexpectedly intimate, deeply affecting summing up of his life so far, from one of the most cherished moral voices of our time.

Eighty-two years old, facing emergency heart surgery and his own mortality, Elie Wiesel reflects back on his life. Emotions, images, faces and questions flash through his mind. His family before and during the unspeakable Event. The gifts of marriage and children and grandchildren that followed. In his writing, in his teaching, in his public life, has he done enough for memory and the survivors? His ongoing questioning of God—where has it led? Is there hope for mankind? The world’s tireless ambassador of tolerance and justice has given us this luminous account of hope and despair, an exploration of the love, regrets and abiding faith of a remarkable man.

Kim’s Review:

Elie Wiesel was one of the great heroes of the 20th century! His books have affected and touched so many people and his life has been an influence for good for so many years. He passed away 2 years ago and y’all know I’ve been on a Holocaust literature kick this year. This book is a short and easy read . . . but emotional like you would not believe! I finished reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas right before reading Open Heart, so I was already emotional. Elie Wiesel’s death popped up in my Facebook memories a little while ago and all the criticism and attacks made me angry and nauseous all over again. So, reading Open Heart again was actually more meaningful and emotional for me than the first time I read it.

I’m a strong believer in historical education, especially Holocaust education; reading how Mr. Wiesel questioned his teaching and writing, the information he conveyed, whether or not he said too much, killed me! His impact on the world should never be questioned or dismissed, and yet when he believed he might die, he did just that. I just wanted to cry . . . which I’ll admit, I did.

Another thing that struck me, was the idea that he acted like this was his first brush with death. Some would probably say that sounds ridiculous, considering everything he survived as a young kid; I found it refreshing and inspiring. He said that, in the Jewish tradition, he tried to live and focus on life and not death.

This book shows the mind of an inspirational, unselfish, and brilliant man and causes us to think about many things that either never occurred to us, or that we would rather not think about at all. Overall, I think everyone should read this book, especially now that Mr. Wiesel and many other Holocaust survivors have passed away. It’s encouraging, informative, emotional, heartbreaking, and inspiring all at the same time!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses

Authors: Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella
To Be Published: Tomorrow, July 10, 2018
352 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 28-July 1, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:
In I See Life Through Rosé Colored-Glasses, the bestselling mother/daughter pair is back with another hilarious and heartfelt collection of essays about the possibilities and pitfalls of everyday life.

Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella’s delightful essays are sure to strike a chord with every woman. Their nine book series is among the best reviewed humor books published today, and has been compared to the late greats Erma Bombeck and Nora Ephron.

Jessica’s Review:
I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses is the ninth collaboration between mother/ daughter team Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella. In these collaborations they share about the hilariousness that is their everyday life. We get both hilarious perspectives of life from the ‘younger generation’ and the ‘older generation’.

Through these essays you get to know both Lisa and Francesca. If you have read all the collaborations you know them and their family very well. They come from a big Italian family and we get to see first-hand what that is like.This is the first collaboration I have read and I would love to read more! I am a big Scottoline fan, so I feel I now know her more as a person. Francesca writes a column every Sunday in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

There are lots of laughs and a little sadness in the essays they share with us. Every mother and daughter will enjoy this collection of essays. You can see Lisa and Francesca have a very special relationship: They are each other’s number one fan. Go ahead and start reading these books now, you won’t regret it! Bring this with you to the beach, it is a perfect beach read!

Thank you St Martin’s Press for granting me an arc copy via NetGalley!

Pre-Order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

Author: Katherine Applegate
Illustrator: G. Brian Karas
Published: October 7, 2014
40 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: June 10, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

In a spare, powerful text and evocative illustrations, the Newbery medalist Katherine Applegate and the artist G. Brian Karas present the extraordinary real story of a special gorilla.

Captured as a baby, Ivan was brought to a Tacoma, Washington, mall to attract shoppers. Gradually, public pressure built until a better way of life for Ivan was found at Zoo Atlanta. From the Congo to America, and from a local business attraction to a national symbol of animal welfare, Ivan the Shopping Mall Gorilla traveled an astonishing distance in miles and in impact.

This is his true story and includes photographs of Ivan.

Jessica’s Review:

This is the sad, but true story of Ivan the gorilla. It has a happy ending and is aimed for younger children.  Ivan was taken away from his family as a baby in the Congo and grew up in Tacoma, Washington. He became a shopping mall spectacle to attract shoppers. He lived in a cage at the shopping mall for 27 years!

Finally, after protests Ivan was sent to Zoo Atlanta where he lived the rest of his life. He lived to age 50. In the wild gorillas live into their 30s. Ivan passed away in 2012.

I am from Georgia but never really knew Ivan’s story: Now I want to learn more about him.  This children’s book is a great introduction to Ivan and his life before going to Zoo Atlanta. The illustrations do a good job of helping to tell Ivan’s story.

There is an ‘About Ivan’ section in the back that gives basic information on his life and includes pictures.

To find out more about Ivan, Zoo Atlanta has a section of their website dedicated to him.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK