Lale The Tattooist of Auschwitz
by: Heather Morris
The horrors of concentration camp life (from imprisonment, physical & sexual abuse, manual labor to illnesses & death in the crematoriums) during World War II are adequately portrayed in this historical fiction. We follow the lives of Lale & Gita most closely, although most of the third person point of view details Lale's life. Lale & Gita fall in love at the concentration camp, where life is not a guaranteed certainty from day to day. They both suffer illnesses, (typhoid) but are spared from the death wagon. As Lale points out, they all do what they have to do to survive; he becomes the camp Tattooist or "Tatowierer," even though it pains him to defile the skin of his fellow Jews (especially the women.) Lale is a good, determined man, though, & he is very resourceful; that is what allows him to make his escape from the Vienna camp.
"Work makes you free."
"Choosing to live is an act of defiance, a form of heroism."
"The twinkling of stars overhead is no longer a comfort. They merely remind him of the chasm between what life can be & what it is now."
My Rating: 4.5 or 5 stars! So good!!!
by: Rainbow Rowell
First of all, you can't help but love the protagonist and main character, Lincoln (the IT guy at a newspaper office) who still lives with his mom, but realizes it's time to move out & get his own place. And he hasn't had a serious girlfriend since college; Sam, who was an interesting, manipulative character comes back into his life after they separate too. He's also the guy that loves playing Dungeons & Dragons most weekends, although he occasionally goes clubbing with his friend Justin (looking for a girl.)
Lincoln doesn't love his job; while he thought he was going to be dealing with firewalls as the IT guy, he instead deals with flagging and reviewing inappropriate emails between coworkers. Checking these emails leads him to virtually meet Jennifer & Beth, and Lincoln ends up falling in love with Beth; he thinks she's so clever and funny. But she has a live-in boyfriend, who plays in a band his friend Justin loves, so Lincoln doesn't think there's a chance he will ever get with Beth. And how could he tell her he fell in love with her because of his writing? Wouldn't it seem like he was snooping on her personal life?
While everything goes a little topsy-turvy towards the end, I would say the story has a happy, albeit a surprising ending.
"Love. Purpose. Those are the things that you can't plan for. Those are the things that just happen. And what if they don't happen? Do you spend your whole life pining for them? Waiting to be happy?
"I didn't know love could leave lights on all the time."
Title: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
by: Lori Gottlieb
A fascinating backstory (Lori goes through broadcasting & medical school before she decides to become a therapist) leads to many insights and a successful practice as a therapist. While Lori's relationship with Boyfriend is how we're introduced to the story, it thankfully is not what the entire book is about & only gets referenced throughout in a relatable way.
The famous stages of grief are shared in the text: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, & acceptance and stand as a reminder of our humanity; everyone suffers grief in their lives. How you tolerate or cope with the grief is what makes you distinct, and some people need a therapist to hear them out and talk them through better life decisions.
She has a lot of interesting anecdotes and quite a few entertaining clients, & it's somewhat enlightening to see her start meeting with a therapist, while she continues her sessions as a therapist to others. I thought it was profound that many presenting issues that come up in a therapy session are rarely the root of the problem.
"There is a continuing decision to be made as to whether to evade pain, or to tolerate it & therefore modify it."
"No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it." - Einstein
"The opposite of depression isn't happiness, but vitality."
"Regret can go one of two ways: it can either shackle you to the past or serve as an engine for change."
"Sometimes people can't identify their feelings because they were talked out of them as children."
"Avoidance is a simple way of coping by not having to cope."
"You can't mute one emotion without muting the others. You want to mute the pain? You'll also mute the joy."
"Whereas Freud believed that people are driven to seek pleasure & avoid pain, Frankl maintained that people's primary drive isn't toward pleasure but toward finding meaning in their lives. ....
Between stimulus & response there is a space. in that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth & our freedom."
My rating: 3.5 (a pretty raw & real read; some language, especially when quoting her patient John.)
Title: The Happiness Paradox/Paradigm
by: Richard Eyre
Eyre outlines the keys to finding our happiness paradigm and on the flip side (there are two sides to the book) identifies those factors that keep us from finding true happiness. He presents control, ownership & independence are the three deceivers & the alternatives: serendipity, stewardship, & synergicity.
I like the idea that you start with the negative (paradox) side & then switch to the other side & end on a positive note, learning about how to create a happiness paradigm. It's one of the best self-help books I've read in a long time! And I love his tips for creating an anti-planner to combat the need to always stay busy & achieving.
"The deceiver of ownership refers tot he prideful form that forgets both the source and the nature of our gifts. The term stewardship is the accurate acknowledgement of where it all came from and whose it all is."
"The problem is that,in the big game of life, we try to control timing, but actually have so little ability to manage it. A whole, giant industry has grown up called "time management." But we don't actually manage time-- we only hope to manage ourselves within time, trying to make good use of our time & to spend it on important things."
"Stewardship is the understanding that we really own nothing & that things merely pass through us & through our lives-- things we can care for, take responsibility for & find joy in."
"Setbacks & failures happen more frequently & are more exposed to others than ever before. Everything we can't control & even everything we have to admit that we need, undermines our self status & can edge us toward discouragement & depression."
"Good askers are good listeners; they are willing to watch and wait."
"And the unfortunate thing is that most of the false paradigms that we carry with us and pattern our lives around were not consciously and analytically figured out personally by each of us; rather, they were adopted from the 'norms' around us."
My rating: 4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫