The Tattooist of Auschwitz – by Heather Morris

31 01 2019

This book ticks a couple of my categories lately: books I see everywhere and so give in and buy, and books set in world war two!

The tattooist of Auschwitz is Lale (this is a true story, he really existed), a Slovakian Jew who ends up in Auschwitz and Birkenau as a prisoner. All the prisoners have jobs within the concentration camp and Lale manages to get a job tattooing all the prisoners numbers onto their arms as they arrive, a job that comes with a bit better treatment than the labouring that most do.

At its heart this book is a love story between him and a girl he meets as he tattoos her on her arrival, intertwined with the horror of life in a concentration camp. What really highlighted itself to me was just how trigger happy the guards were, the slightest thing and you could be shot dead – some even just while they popped to the loo in the middle of the night – horrifying.

One thing that really struck me with this book was only a tiny thing really, but I kept stumbling each time I picked it up to read some more and re-remembered that it’s all written in present tense – a little strange, but I got used to it by the second half!





Internet highlights – w/c 20th January 2019

26 01 2019

Hungry gerbil rescued by armed police in Derby…

Problems today’s kids just won’t understand.

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Numbers vs Maths

22 01 2019

I was always “good at maths.” At school, through til A Level’s it came to me easier than most other subjects, and I hugely enjoyed it – it wasn’t until university that it felt like a completely different subject that I just had no ability to do! I kinda assumed I’d just reached my limit, or I was an anomaly who just couldn’t handle the switch from working stuff out to proving stuff.

But on the way home tonight, I listened to this week’s Infinite Monkey Cage episode/podcast called “The Origin of Numbers.” During the last ten minutes or so, they said the following:

“I don’t know a single mathematician who’d say they were good at mental arithmetic.”

And it was like a revelation – I can do all the number bits, just the theory that I find hard. They talk about there being a distinction between numbers and mathematics.

They also talk about a condition called dyscalculia which they thought many mathematicians actually have, which is where you have problems with arithmetic. I feel like maybe I had the opposite to that!

So maybe, after all those years in education, I never was “good at maths”, I was good at numbers! I wonder if that explains why I am so into data, spreadsheets, processing, rather than any inclination at all to carry on in academia.

If you’re at all into maths or numbers, it’s a very interesting listen – go ahead!





Anne of Ingleside – by L M Montgomery

20 01 2019

After two years, I’ve finally finished the main part of this series of books! There are two more that follow, but their focus is on the children, no more “Anne of….”, so I sort of consider this a job done!

That said, even thought this is an “Anne of” book, the focus really is on the children – Anne and Gilbert have six children including a set of twins, all with their different escapades, and not a huge amount of time spent on Anne other than when the children take their problems to her to solve. For the most of the book, Anne has become a flawless woman with her days of escapades and learning about herself long gone – but there is a really nice moment near the end where we find she’s not perfect after all, and she struggles with something so completely relatable to us all, it’s nice to see she’s still got a realistic side to her.

Still very enjoyable, warm and fuzzy, and an easy read.

As with the previous books, this one still has some lovely one liners – here are a few of my favourites:

  • “‘Praying’s good. I lost a dime once and I prayed and I found a quarter. That’s how I know.'”
  • “‘Hasn’t the world got its face washed nice and clean?’ cried Di, on the morning sunshine returned.”
  • “‘God doesn’t make bargains, He gives… gives without asking from us in return, except love.'”
  • “‘If a minister preaches a sermon that hits home to some particular individual people always suppose he meant it for that very person,’ said Anne. ‘A hand=me-down cap is bound to fit somebody’s head, but it doesn’t follow that it was made for him.'”
  • “‘David is going to be married at last,’ said Miss Cornelia. ‘He’s been a long time making up his mind which was cheaper, marrying or hiring.'”
  • “‘The same summer will never be coming twice'”
  • “Anne knew quite well that this idea was absolutely unreasonable, but when was jealousy ever reasonable?”





Internet highlights – w/c 13th January 2019

19 01 2019

Museums fought over who have the best ducks.

Historical facts that mess up the timeline in your head.

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Internet highlights – w/c 6th January 2019

12 01 2019

Exercise bike that does your laundry.

Different profession’s euphemisms for “I don’t have a clue”.

Great ideas from hotels.

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Internet highlights – w/c 30th December 2018

5 01 2019

Train companies raise fares bang on time.

All schools to teach CPR and basic first aid.

Teachers who got the last laugh.

Brilliantly designed things.

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