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!





The Book Thief – by Markus Zusak

22 08 2018

I nearly gave up on this during the first 100 pages, but it was so worth persevering!

The narrator of the book is Death, and that’s what made the beginning so strange, I got into it once it settled into a more normal narrative, with Death’s thoughts and opinions just popping up from time to time.

We’re in Germany during WW2, Liesel arrives at the home of her new foster parents who are in one of the poorest areas of town, she spends her time helping her Mama collect and deliver laundry, and playing (and a bit of stealing) with Rudy from next door. She’s known as The Book Thief because that’s what she does. For example, at one point there’s a Nazi rally in town, and a bonfire of all sorts of propaganda, but she realises the books at the bottom aren’t burning, so she sneaks in and takes one. At the start, she can’t read, and so with these books and help from her Papa, she learns, but it’s a habit she continues!

I won’t go any further as I don’t want to give spoilers but as I say, once it settled down I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it!