This post is dedicated to the victims of the election massacre that took place in Maguindanao.

I was supposed to read another book to wrap up my World War II Challenge, but that will probably have to wait until next month, as I found another couple of books for this Challenge, lent to me by my book club friend Mike (thank you, Mike!).

I’ve only really started venturing into graphic novels recently but the critically-acclaimed Maus by Art Spiegelman is  something I’ve always been interested in, although I haven’t seen it in the local book stores.  While I’ve been acquainted with Art Spiegelman’s work in the Little Lit series, I’ve always wanted to read his masterpiece.

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Sarah’s Key


A few months back, I signed up for the War Across the Generations World War II Reading Challenge, because I’d read a lot of Holocaust-themed books this year, and had a bunch more waiting in mye in months, and after the flood TBR.

I realized I haven’t read anything for the challenge, and after the flood left my TBR (arranged in order of priority) in wild disarray, I spotted Sarah’s Key (#151 for 2009) in one of the stacks I was reshelving and I was reminded that I had two more books to read this year, so I decided to make some headway in completing the challenge.

Continue reading “Sarah’s Key”

WWII Reading Challenge


Because of the Holocaust phase I seem to be going through this year I managed to get a head start in the War Through the Generations WWII Reading Challenge, without setting out to accomplish it.

Thanks to Anna, who commented on one of my reviews to let me know about the challenge.

The War Through the Generations WWII Reading Challenge runs from January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2009.

Here are the challenge rules:

To participate in the WWII Reading Challenge, you must commit to reading at least five books throughout the year.  We plan to read more than that, and feel free to do the same!  The books can be fiction or non-fiction, and they can be about any aspect of WWII.  WWII should be the primary or secondary theme, and it doesn’t matter whether the book takes place during the war or after the war.   Children’s literature is acceptable!  (Please visit the WWII Reading List page for some recommendations.)  You can count books you are reading for other challenges, so long as they meet the aforementioned criteria.

You can decide which books you’d like to read right away, or you can choose them during the course of the challenge.  However, when you sign up, we ask that you set a reading goal for the challenge.  At the end of the challenge, those who met or exceeded their reading goals will be entered in a drawing (prizes to be announced later).

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‘Twas a dark and scary Night

For some reason, I’ve read a lot of Holocaust-themed books in recent time than I ever have my whole life. Not that I’m fascinated with the Holocaust — it’s not a very happy theme, and it’s hardly light reading, but it does inspire stories of the greatness (or debauchery) of the human spirit.

BM friend Aloi recommended the book Night by Elie Wiesel a few months back and I was mentally kicking myself for having given up the copy on BookMooch. Sometime later, I managed to dig up a turtleback copy (ugh, but still a mass market paperback inside) in a bargain bin at Book Sale and I made up my mind to read it this year.

All the Holocaust books I’d read before could not have prepared me for Night — it was like watching the Holocaust documentary “Genocide” (which I watched in sophomore year in college, and to this day I still can’t erase the image of thousands of emaciated white bodies being dumped into wide open pits from my mind, or the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I think about it) all over again.

Continue reading “‘Twas a dark and scary Night”

Feline Holocaust

Book #35 of 2009
The Last Black Cat by Eugene Trivizas

Historically, black cats have always been associated with witchcraft and superstition — a black cat crossing your path is often seen as a sign of bad luck.
Eugene Trivizas (known as the J.K. Rowling of Greece, like Cornelia Funke is tagged to be the J.K. Rowling of German — I don’t know why they keep comparing authors like that) builds on this widespread belief in his young adult novel, The Last Black Cat.
Originally written in Greek (transl. by Sandy Zervas), The Last Black Cat is a fast-paced mystery adventure concerning the intermittent disappearance of black cats on a Greek island. A sinister organization called The Guardians of Good Luck has infiltrated the government and brainwashed the people to blame all misery on black cats, inciting them to wipe all the black cats out of existence.
One by one the black cats disappear, until the protagonist, an unnamed black cat, must thwart the organization’s evil plans and evade the angry mobs because he is the only black cat left, and he refuses to go out without putting up a good fight.
The book tackles a theme similar to Zizou Corder’s Lionboy series: the discrimination against a certain type of cat. It was only after I finished the book that I realized I was reading another Holocaust book (*groan* I think I’ve just about filled my Holocaust quota for the year), with black cats as the victims. Filled with lots of cheeky cat puns (excellent for cat lovers), the book clearly drives its point an unconventional but critical manner, often graphic — not suitable for young children for violent content.
Trivizas seems to have really thought his metaphor through, as it draws parallels that hit the issues spot-on, but intelligently blends it into the text so that it is still an enjoyable read.

I loved the last passage in the book, which sums up the story’s sentiment quite well:

Everything is so tranquil, so peaceful…

How can all this have happened? I wonder and try to convince myself that never, ever will something like this happen again.

Deep down in my heart, though, I know that here, on our island, like anywhere else, cats forget, people forget, and it won’t take much for the madness to begin all over again…

The book design also deserves special mention; the lino-cut stamps of black cats throughout the book were the perfect touch to the chapter headings, echoing the graphic theme of the story and the stark emotions of the narrator.

my copy: trade paperback, mooched from the UK

my rating: 4/5 stars