The Tattooist of Auschwitz

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity

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Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

One book that I read long time back and still remains in my memory. This book was suggested by my grandmother.

While working as the companion to a rich American woman on holiday in Monte Carlo, the unnamed narrator, a naïve young woman in her early 20s, becomes acquainted with a wealthy Englishman, George Fortescue Maximilian “Maxim” de Winter, a 42-year-old widower. After a fortnight of courtship, she agrees to marry him and, after the wedding and honeymoon, accompanies him to his mansion in Cornwall, the beautiful estate Manderley.

Mrs Danvers, the sinister housekeeper, was profoundly devoted to the first Mrs de Winter, Rebecca, who died in a boating accident about a year before Maxim and the second Mrs de Winter met. She continually attempts to undermine the new Mrs de Winter psychologically, subtly suggesting to her that she will never attain the beauty, urbanity, and charm her predecessor possessed. Whenever the new Mrs de Winter attempts to make changes at Manderley, Mrs Danvers describes how Rebecca ran it when she was alive. Each time Mrs Danvers does this, she implies that the new Mrs de Winter lacks the experience and knowledge necessary for running an important estate.

She is soon convinced that Maxim regrets his decision to marry her and is still deeply in love with the seemingly perfect Rebecca. The climax occurs at Manderley’s annual costume ball. Mrs Danvers manipulates the protagonist into wearing a replica of the dress shown in a portrait of one of the former inhabitants of the house—hiding the fact that the same costume was worn by Rebecca to much acclaim shortly before her death. The narrator has a drummer announce her entrance using the name of the lady in the portrait: Caroline de Winter. When the narrator shows Maxim the dress, he gets very angry at her and orders her to change.

Shortly after the ball, Mrs Danvers reveals her contempt for the second Mrs de Winter, believing she is trying to replace Rebecca, and reveals her deep, unhealthy obsession with the dead woman. Mrs Danvers tries to get Mrs de Winter to commit suicide by encouraging her to jump out of the window. However, she is thwarted at the last moment by the disturbance occasioned by a nearby shipwreck. A diver investigating the condition of the wrecked ship’s hull also discovers the remains of Rebecca’s sailing boat, with her decomposed body still on board.

This discovery causes Maxim to confess the truth to the second Mrs de Winter. He tells her how his marriage to Rebecca was nothing but a sham: how from the very first days husband and wife loathed each other. Rebecca, Maxim reveals, was a cruel and selfish woman who manipulated everyone around her into believing her to be the perfect wife and a paragon of virtue. She repeatedly taunted Maxim with sordid tales of her numerous love affairs. The night of her death, she told Maxim that she was pregnant with another man’s child, which she would raise under the pretense that it was Maxim’s and he would be powerless to stop her. In a rage, he had shot her through the heart, then disposed of her body by placing it in her boat and sinking it at sea. The second Mrs de Winter thinks little of Maxim’s murder confession, but instead is relieved to hear that Maxim has always loved her and never Rebecca.

Rebecca’s boat is raised and it is discovered that it was deliberately sunk. An inquest brings a verdict of suicide. However, Rebecca’s first cousin, and lover, Jack Favell, attempts to blackmail Maxim, claiming to have proof that Rebecca could not have intended suicide based on a note she sent to him the night she died.

It is revealed that Rebecca had had an appointment with a Doctor Baker in London shortly before her death, presumably to confirm her pregnancy. When the doctor is found, he reveals that Rebecca had been suffering from cancer and would have died within a few months. Furthermore, due to the malformation of her uterus, she could never have been pregnant. Maxim assumes that Rebecca, knowing that she was going to die, manipulated him into killing her quickly. Mrs Danvers had said after the inquiry that Rebecca feared nothing except dying a lingering death.

Maxim feels a great sense of foreboding, and insists on driving through the night to return to Manderley. However, before he comes in sight of the house, it is clear from a glow on the horizon and wind-borne ashes that it is ablaze.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic Violence is something that we consider synonymous to the uneducated people. But it happens every where, it is a vicious web from which it is difficult to come out of. There is a lack of self esteem on the part of the victim. Fear created in the mind of the victim so that she doesn’t have the courage to get out of it. The victim is isolated from her family and friends so that she isn’t able to run away from the clutches of her oppressor.

Some very good books written by authors like Rashmi Anand, KC Bernard, A Paris, Tehmina Durrani, Lundy Bancroft, Jane Corey, Sherry Lewis etc.

Most people have the question why does she stay with him? You will get your answers from the book ” Should I Stay or go” by Lundy Bancroft. It’s a vicious cycle which makes it difficult for a woman to escape. Most people say that stay for the sake of your children, the book “Trauma and Survivor Syndrome ” by Sherry Lewis will give you an insight to it. KC Barnard, RashmiAnand, Tehmina Durrani are themselves been victim of domestic abuse.

Some of the books that are an eye opener to domestic abuse are listed below :

Behind Closed Doors

Love by Deception: A harrowing true story of love and betrayal.
My Feudal Lord
Room 103: Nanakpura Thana
Trauma & Survivor Syndrome: Effects on Children Who Witness Domestic Violence
My Husband’s Wife
Behind Closed Doors

Walking with Nanak by Haroon Khalid

When the world is caught up with hatred against one another, Haroon Khalid along with his mentor Iqbal Qaiser takes a glimpse on Guru Nanak Devji’s life. His fascination with the life of Guru Nanak takes him on this journey. Being born and brought up in Pakistani Punjab, the birth place of Guru Nanak, he had heard of Guru Nanak being a poet and a great spiritual leader and founder of Sikhism always fascinated him, hence his journey began. A book worth reading.

Haroon Khalid’s lifelong fascination with Guru Nanak was reignited when he came upon Baburbani, a poem written by the saint. This, and the discovery that Guru Nanak spent a large part of his life in Pakistan, inspired Khalid to undertake a journey that he hoped would help him learn more about the revered founder of Sikhism.
In this wonderful paean to Guru Nanak, Khalid describes his travels across the length and breadth of Pakistan as he visits the many gurdwaras and other locales associated with the saint, delving into their history and musing about their place and significance in a Muslim country. But this book is not merely a story about gurdwaras, it is also a re-telling of the story of Nanak the son, the poet, the wanderer, the father, the friend. Sifting through the stories of his miracles and poetry, we emerge with a picture of Nanak, the man.
Also exploring the histories of all the subsequent Gurus after Nanak, the book traces the story of how a spiritual movement evolved into the institutionalized Khalsa of Guru Gobind Singh. Through the journeys of all the Gurus, the book describes how Nanak the poet became Guru Nanak the saint.

Educated by Tara Westover

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it. 

Education empowered her to look beyond the beliefs of her family into rational thinking. The role of education in her and her brothers Tyler and Richard helped them to recognize their father was confined in his beliefs and tried to control her and her siblings through it expect the three of them who educated themselves. I admire her resilience and strength. Her courage to fight against odds and still love her family. Lots to learn from her story.

Educated

The help

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women, mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends, view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

The Indian Summer

Intriguing account of India’s Independence and Partion

This book gives an insight to the freedom

Excerpts from the book:

IN THE BEGINNING, THERE WERE TWO NATIONS. ONE WAS A vast, mighty and magnificent empire, brilliantly organized and culturally unified, which dominated a massive swathe of the earth. The other was an undeveloped, semi-feudal realm, riven by religious factionalism and barely able to feed its illiterate, diseased and stinking masses. The first nation was India. The second was England.” 
― Alex von Tunzelmann, Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire

Whatever may be said about Mountbatten’s tactics or the machinations of Patel, their achievement remains remarkable. Between them, and in less than a year, it may be argued that these two men achieved a larger India, more closely integrated, than had 90 years of the British raj, 180 years of the Mughal Empire, or 130 years of Asoka and the Maurya rulers.” 
― Alex von Tunzelmann, Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire