Crackliture- I was feining.

"That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and then that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive- and all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment."
- Juliet Ashton "The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"

Did you know that I majored in History?

I love just about all history, but have a few areas that really interest me. Colonial America and World War II {specifically the Holocaust} being two that have captured my interest completely.

At USC, I took a class on the Holocaust taught by a Rabbi. It changed the core of who I was.

Not only did we have survivors come in and speak, we actually studied how such horrific events could come to pass. The seeds go back farther than you could imagine. How an average man, rejected from art school, could start a political movement in the back of a bar that would grow into the loss of more than 12 million lives.

The ramifications of WWII are mind-boggling. I am fascinated and inspired by the stories of survival, of friendship, of doing what was right even in the face of dire consequences.

In my studies, I have read books on Nazi propaganda to a story of French Huguenots who started their own "underground railroad" of sorts, saving one Jewish life at a time. I have read books that have given me nightmares for weeks. Books that have made me seriously consider my personal character, inner strength and resiliency. Books that have me questioning humanity and books that have me celebrating it.

Today, I finished a book that had me laughing out loud, and weeping in silence.

"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" is now one of my favorite treasures.

Comprised of letters.. yes, just letters, this work of fiction paints an amazing picture of life during the German Occupation in Europe. You do not have to know a single stitch of history to love this book and it's fascinating characters. The humor is snarky, the relationships are tangible, the writing is perfect.

Based on a small Channel Island, Guernsey, that spent FIVE years occupied by German troops with NO contact to the outside world, this book tells the story of a group of neighbors who looked to literature for distraction, for conversation, for camaraderie. The events of WWII and the time directly after unfold naturally as they tell of their lives- this book is not about the war or the Holocaust. It's about these "ordinary" people who lived through an extraordinary time.
It tells of hardships not always mentioned. Of details not often discussed.

As I read, I turn down pages when I find a sentence I love or a passage that moves me.

In this book, every 3rd page has a crease.

When I finish a book I am grateful to have read, I close it and caress the back cover.

This is my way of saying goodbye friends.

And, thank you for your story.

Comments

Donnetta said…
I was actually going to Barnes & Noble today. Now I'll be picking up something else.

Beach Music by Pat Conroy is my all time favorite fiction book. Throughout this fictional story, you get a very real glimpse of how the Holocaust affected not only those who lived it but the children of those survivors.
Rebecca said…
I have to pick up that book. I love reading about that era also. It is amazing how people survived. Shocking.

I will have to check it out. Also the book that Donnetta just left in her comment.

Did you ever read Night by Elie Wiesel? I couldn't put it down. It was great.
A great fictional one, was the True Story of Hansel and Gretel. by Louise Murphy. I cried through the whole book.
Unknown said…
great post - have you read the boy in the striped pajamas? its so moving i couldn't believe at first it was a kids' book!
This is the second "review" I've read of that book this month. It sounds like I'm going to have to pick it up. Terra over at Tales from the Nightstand does book reviews and she enjoyed this one, too. Thanks.
Heather said…
Yep, I'll have to read it! Will it make me cry, though?
Unknown said…
I love how you said you close the book and caress the back cover after reading a good book. It is always sad to finish a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing this one with us. History is interesting when put to us in a personal manner. Have a lovely weekend.
Unknown said…
I love how you said you close the book and caress the back cover after reading a good book. It is always sad to finish a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing this one with us. History is interesting when put to us in a personal manner. Have a lovely weekend.
April Greer said…
Wish I had taken the interest in history when it was being taught to me...now I play catch up on the details. By the way...I absolutely love that I've found a friend that loves to read. You were so missing before.
Jen said…
I am a bit of a history buff myself and this sounds like a book I would love.
Unknown said…
Okay I will add this my list of must reads!
Kim said…
I love a good book. I will have to get this one.
Casey's trio said…
Thanks for the suggestion. I am always looking for a little crack hit in the form of a book:)
Christina said…
Sounds great. Thanks for the suggestion!
Pseudo said…
I was at my bookclub last night and we were having a hard time selecting our next book. Next month I am bringing this suggestion. Thank-you.
Juliet Grossman said…
I love the term "Crackliture." Perfect! Now there is a word for it....

I know you are thinking, "Just what a busy woman needs!" but please take it as a compliment that I just tagged you in a "Six Random Things" meme here:

http://thanksgivingfeast.blogspot.com/2009/03/tag-youre-it.html

Happy weekend!
i am always looking for a good read, something to stir my soul. thank you for this recommendation, i imagine after reading your post {which gave me goosebumps} that this book will do just that.
Rhea said…
Wow, this book sounds intriguing and amazing! Your passion speaks through your post well. I will put it on my list of must-reads!

Thanks, Tiffany!
CaraBee said…
That has been on my to-read list for a long time. I reserved it once at the library but couldn't get there in time to pick it up and they sent it back and charged me a $1. I know I was in the wrong, but I was so irritated that I got mad at the book and have only just decided that I am ready to read it again.
Swirl Girl said…
Is this post a metaphor for something???

are you leaving us??

say it ain't so, Tiff.
Mimi said…
I'm totally getting this. I love book tips.
Unknown said…
Oh, a new addiction? Hm, I am now contemplating purchasing this book!
KatBouska said…
What a coincidence.

I need your address now too. Pronto.

I was OB.SESSED. with learning about the Holocaust. I later learned that kids who lose a parent at young age often have a fascination with it because they feel like they can relate to the pain. Anyways, I read lots too...on a much smaller high school girl kind of scale. I would have LOVED if they offered a class like that in college. I have a hard time reading such heavy stuff now...it seems after having kids my heart can't handle such grim thoughts anymore. I'll definitely get that book though!!
Anonymous said…
I have read that book and just waiting for my book club meeting since it's this month's feature. It is so good. Glad someone else thought so to.
Anonymous said…
I have read that book and just waiting for my book club meeting since it's this month's feature. It is so good. Glad someone else thought so to.
Juliet Grossman said…
My favorite mystery author, Elizabeth George (whose mysteries are mysteries, yes, but so much more than the typical, with deeply developed characters and intricate, elaborate plotting - each one is its own little world) wrote one of her Lynley mysteries set on Guernsey touching on the island's WWII experience -- A Place of Hiding. Excellent book and fascinating to learn about a little-known part of history.

I keep seeing this potato peel society book everywhere and your post inspired me to add it to me library request/hold list.
Ash said…
You know I love snark - considered it added to my long list. E
Jennifer said…
Sound like a great book! If it's written anything like your beautiful style I'm sure it's great!! Saw your blog on the little chick widgit thing and wanted to stop by again and say hi!!
Rachel Lopez said…
Thanks for mentioning it again. I need to get this book. Maybe it can be May's selection?

Rachel
Shannon said…
I wish I could've had that class at college. I tried fitting in a Holocaust class my last quarter at Ohio State with a Jewish professor who I also had for German literature, but I couldn't work it into my schedule. Taking that class from a Rabbi and hearing from survivors must have been amazing.

Thanks for the book review. I'll have to check it out!
Stephanie said…
wasnt it the BEST book??? I LOVED IT!!!
Charles said…
If you are interested in reading about the Holocaust, try "Jacob's Courage: A Holocaust Love Story." Read more here http://jacobscourage.wordpress.com/ and a syllabus is here http://jacobscourageaholocaustlovestory.blogspot.com/.

Jacob's Courage is a tender coming of age love story of two young adults living in Salzburg at the time when the Nazi war machine enters Austria. This historical novel presents accurate scenes and situations of Jews in ghettos and concentration camps, with particular attention to Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. It explores the dazzling beauty of passionate love and enduring bravery in a lurid world where the innocent are brutally murdered.

Charles Weinblatt
Author, "Jacob's Courage"
Sam_I_am said…
That sounds like it would be such an amazing class to take. Unfortunately, I live in a place without diversity. My favorite class in college was World Religions and we visted a Synagogue, a Masque, a Hindu/Jain Temple and a Buddist Temple. It was a fantastic experience.
DiPaola Momma said…
It's kizmet deary.. we cook, dig kids, read like crazy, groove on History, like a good wine and Whine.. he he..

You need to come hang out here in DC for a weekend we could have some great fun at the Smith and etc.. HEY can you email me? I've got a super secret question I need you to answer.. woooo sounds all special huh? not much though
Lula! said…
Oh, you know I'm going to read it. And you know I'm going to send you The Forest of Hands and Teeth, too. I feel like if we all (and by "wel all," you know whom I mean!) haven't read the same Crackliture, then we haven't really read it.

Awwwww...
that was a total Lifetime Television For Women kind of thing to day.
Shannon said…
The era of WWII fascinates me, too. Watching films or reading books about it... it amazes me that we're even here. How my grandfathers survived the war to come back home...
Alison said…
I LOVED that book. Puffy pink heart loved it. It had sad parts but the overall mood was belief that human beings can make the world a better place by taking care of each other. I am so sad that the author died before she saw it in print--and that she won't be able to write any more books like this.
wenderful said…
I just picked this up at Costco last week, but haven't started it yet. I'm now excited to read it.
Have you read The Book Thief? Another of my favorites. Beautiful writing from the perspective of Death. Sounds creepy but it was excellent!
My husband is from Austria and his grandfather spent years in a concentration camp. His family has lots of fascinating stories of living in that area during that time, pre and post war.
nikkicrumpet said…
I completely get your love of a great book. I have authors who I read and feel almost like we are friends. To me reading a good book is like taking a mini-vacation. And how can you beat a vacation for around 8 bucks....free if you get it at the library.
Kimberly said…
Cool...maybe I will pick this up this summer. I don't have time to read anything besides blogs and
2nd graders homwork until then! :)
Live.Love.Eat said…
I just love your passion for crackliture. You make being a crackhead look good :)
Rachel Lopez said…
FYI fiends. I just bought this book at Costco for $11.99 hardcover.

I can't wait to get started.

Rachel
Anonymous said…
I like the quote at the top.
Works for blogging too.
"You'll read one blog. And then a sidebar will catch your eye and lead you to another blog. And then a linky somewhere will lead you to another blog. And so on..."
;-)
Shannon said…
Stopping by from SITS! I'm a rant and raver myself, hope to see you around!
Yet another thing we have in common. I've studied colonial America (Williamsburg is one of my fav destinations)and the Holocaust, too. The Museum of Tolerance is pretty amazing, isn't it? I've also been to a concentration camp and Anne Frank's house and that changed who I am, too.

I owe you big time for the guest post as my place. I've LOVED reading the tag lines.

I'm off to find the book you recommended.
kel said…
I just bought that book last week! Can't wait to start it!!
Aubrey said…
Just another book to add to my list. Now if I could only find the time to read all of them!
Rachael said…
My sister asked me last Friday if I'd read this book because she's reading it now, then it shows up here! I'm definitely going to check it out!
Aunt Julie said…
My daughter is taking a college course about the Holocaust, taught in the German dept. of the university. Tells the story from all sides, and, as you can imagine, it's not a pretty tale at all!
Anonymous said…
I will be checking out that book! Visiting from SITS.

Hi.
That's actually next on my list. Now I want it even more. Thanks.

New to your blog. Loving it so far!
debi9kids said…
I love history as well, esp WWII. I have always been so enthralled for the saqme reasons and have also been inclasses where survivors have come in and spoken and their outlook is just incredible. So very much can be learned by their examples.

Blessings.
Sarahviz said…
I love that you crease down the pages in your books - I do that too!
Kally said…
I love any kind of book as long as it captures me. If not then it makes reading a chore. I always feel when I start reading a book that I am making a commitment to reading it in it's entirety. This is a fabulous post and I love your sentence about saying goodbye to friends. This is exactly how I feel about a book or series I love. There are times I find myself slowing down when I near the end of a great book because I dread saying goodbye to these friends.
Cecily R said…
Ahhhhh, you and I ARE kindred spirits. I can get so wrapped up in books and characters that they stay with me long after I finish...I LOVE that about reading!

And now I have yet another book to add to my ever growing stack by my night stand!
3 Bay B Chicks said…
Such a great post, Tiffany. Thanks. You words about taking a class that changes your world really resonated with me. I took what sounds to be a similar class re WWII during my undergrad. One is never the same after such a class.

-Francesca
Rachel said…
there is no better friend than a good book. i read them over and over.
Alex the Girl said…
Since all the good comments have already been taken, I'll just say:

The Holocaust has always been something that has held me captive, even at the age of seven. I remember being frightened of something like that happening, and in my young mind, worrying that I was Jewish and Hitler's men were going to "get" me. It baffles me that there are people out "there" who claim that it didn't happen.
Ritch in Love said…
I have been facinated with WWII since I read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry at age 9? I love history and was a History major as well. I grab every book I can about WWII and devour them! From coffee books to biographies to fiction. I love them all. My husband rolls his eyes and says, "Glad I'm paying for a storage unit to house WWII!" hehe. Anyway, I've never heard of this book and I'm searching it on Amazon immediately!
Oskar said…
I would like to donate some notecards to the auction. My e-mail is totally not working today, so I'm contacting you this way.

www.mimiandfreinds.etsy.com is my shop that shows some of my notecards. I will be updating the look of the listings before the auction days. You can contact me at hoerauf@comcast.net.

Maybe someday soon I'll be able to access it *sigh*
i am the diva said…
That book sounds great... you should check out The Book Nook... it's a blog of book reviews done by every day lads and lasses. They're always looking for more contributors, and this was an excellent review... makes ME want to read it. :D


Little Rockstar's Mom
Ronnica said…
Oh, I want to read it! I actually was a history major too. I think it's a fascinating idea for a book...it's definitely going on my TBR list!

I'm sitting down right now to email you about joining the Book Nook!
Fashiongrail said…
Sounds like an great book! Always love a good book recommendation.
Visiting from SITS:)
I am new to your blog - I found your blog through Shannon at the NutHouse (during her Sitsication post) and I just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society for our book club. It was a great book! I loved the way it was written - so different from most books. Awesome read! I loved the characters too - all of them!
Your blog is great - glad I found it - Thanks Shannon!

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