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Review: The Diary of a Young Girl

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The Diary of a Young GirlBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to The Diary of a Young Girl, written during the 1940s by Anne Frank. Many are first exposed to this modern-day classic during their middle or high school years, as a way to read a different type of literature from that of an ordinary novel. In this diary, young Anne express her thoughts (both positive and negative) over a two-year period during which her family and friends are in hiding during World War II and the Holocaust. For most of us, this is one of the few ways we can actually read or hear the words from someone who was actually there and went through this, especially if you don’t know anyone who was alive during this time period in the 1930s and 1940s in Germany and the surrounding areas. I read this in my 9th grade English course, and I remember disliking it a lot. Not because of the way it was written or published, but due to the topic. I dislike anything about that time in history. But I later re-read it and had a different level of appreciation for the value a book of this type can bring. Unlike The Book Thief, it’s raw and natural in its words. But where I love The Book Thief because of its story, I found this one a bit harder to digest. It’s not this extraordinary novel by any means, at least to me, but given how it came about, what happened to her and the way she expresses everything, it is definitely a great book. Everyone should read some passages from it at some point in their life.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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365 Challenge: Day 28 – Scottish

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Scottish: containing roots from Scotland

There are lots of famous Scottish people I admire: Gerard Butler, Ewan McGregor (one of my favorite and most versatile actors), Annie Lennox, Sean Connery, Robert Burns… there are tons more, but I only picked the few I easily recalled and that I actually know things about or have seen things they are in. For example, Tony Blair is apparently Scottish, but I only know of him as a former PM for the UK. I couldn’t tell you very much about him, so I didn’t list him. But I guess I just did. Oh well.

As we finish the fourth week of the 365 Daily Challenge, it’s time to cover the last major ethnic and genealogical heritage within my DNA. Irish, German and English were the first few, and now we’re gonna chat about my Scottish roots. Based on my research through Ancestry.com, I’m around 12.5% Scottish, mostly stemming from my mother’s side of the family. There are 4 families from Scotland, out of 32 branches, focusing on the ones who immigrated from Scotland to the U.S. And those names are: (1) Robertson, (2) Wallace, (3) Hector, and (4) McGregor or McSwegan. I am not certain which is the correct last name because there are two marriage certificates when James Robertson married Margaret around the turn of the 19th into the 20th century. Both are New York marriages, both have all the same details for addresses and parental information, except on one certificate it shows her name as McGregor and on another, it shows her name as McSwegan. I can only assume it is the same woman, filled it out twice for some reason, and she was married once before my 2x great-grandfather, but I would likely need to go to Scotland to get more details. Some day!

So let’s talk about Scottish roots and stories. I love the accent. I love Outlander (who doesn’t)! I love Mary Queen of Scots. And I’ve started reading a new cozy mystery series with lots of potential. For those not familiar with my book reviews, check out the links to see another side of me. And when I Love Lucy went to Scotland in her dream, I loved it! There is so much rich culture and history in the country, beautiful landscapes and fantastic substance, I wish I had more Scottish blood in me.

But when I looked up the top ten traits of the Scottish, this time using a cross between Quora, Huffington Post and Answers.com, I had to wonder how much of these things are true: at least when it comes to me. Here we go, lasses and lads:

1 – Pale / Freckled / Ginger

  • We covered this one under Irish and English, so I’m not gonna repeat myself. I am. I was tempted to post a picture of an attractive red-head… but too many to chose from, so you get a bottle of soda!

  • Score: 1 out of 1.

2 – Violent

  • We covered this one under Irish, so again, I’ll skip it. I’m not.

  • Score: 1 out of 2.

3 – Sports-Lovers

  • We covered this one in the last few. I’m not a big sports guy. Who runs around on a field and chases balls purely to say I caught it in the end?

  • Score: 1 out of 3.

4 – Drinkers

  • We covered this one under German, Irish and English. The whole world seems to be. And while I drink a bunch, I wouldn’t fit this definition.

  • Score: 1 out of 4.

5 – Kilts & Bag-Pipes

  • I think kilts are gorgeous. I think they should be worn in the right setting. If you’ve got strong calf muscles, definitely flaunt them. If not, skip it. I’ve never worn one, but I’d like to and I’d ROCK it. But since I haven’t, I can’t claim it.
  • I find the sound hypnotic. In the funeral scene in my book, “Watching a Glass Shatter,” there’s a passage about bag pipe music that moves a character to tears. Writing it also moved me to tears. It’s a bit lyrical. You should read it here; it’s in the beginning of chapter 1, but read the whole thing. (Oh, how bad was that plug!). But I’ve never played one, nor been in the physical presence of one. So that’s a no for me sadly.

  • Score: 1 out of 5.

6 – Cheap

  • The word used was miserly, but I don’t agree. When I think of miserly, I think of Shylock from Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice.” No… perhaps a little cheap is what they mean. And there’s a small part of me that is a bit cheap. I do spend money, and sometimes way more than I should, but my initial reaction to something is usually “and how much will that cost me?” I should give myself a few points to account for that…

  • Score: 1.25 out of 6.

7 – Haggis-Lovers & Poor Diets

  • I have never eaten haggis. Most people aren’t even sure what it is. I looked it up to be certain, as I knew it was the stomach of some animal. It’s sheep. And while we’ve covered my obsession with cookies, you also know my diet is generally healthy. So epic fail here.

  • Score: 1.25 out of 7.

8 – Can’t understand them

  • The accent is alluring. Charming. Exotic. Sensual. Rich. Many of us get chills when we here it. I’d probably do anything under the right circumstances, if someone spoke to me with an authentic Scottish accent. And yes, it can be a little hard to understand the person. Although not quite the same, people sometimes have a hard time understanding me… claiming I mumble and speak too softly. I suppose they are correct… it’s not that I slur, but since I’m quiet and shy, I tend to not speak too loudly unless in a work situation. So… I’ll give myself a few percentage points for this, but not a lot.

  • Score: 1.5 out of 10.

9 – Loch Ness Monster

  • While I love the concept of the Loch Ness Monster, and it’s used so often in books and film, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist. Though it would be cool if it did! And I am not a monster, so I get nane. (none, in Scottish)

  • Score: 1.5 out of 10.

10 – Homophobic

  • Hmm… I don’t think I agree with this being a trait of the Scottish. But it showed up in 2 of the 3 places I looked for the “top 10” traits, so I had to include it. I’m just gonna go with… if you’re reading this post, you know me, or you live in the modern world, then no… this is ridiculous. I don’t think Scots are, and I am certainly NOT! Quell hypocrite!

  • Score: 1.5 out of 10.

How ironic… 1.5 out of 10 is 15%, which is roughly how much Scottish I have in me. I wonder… did I just work that math out purposely, or are these true and accurate tests for my DNA structure and personality characteristics. The world will never know…

365 Challenge: Day 14 – German

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German: containing roots from Germany

It’s the 7th day of this week’s challenges, which means it’s time to choose a physical characteristic; and in keeping with the theme of discussing my nativity, ethnicity and heritage, you should know that I’m about 33% German, although my Ancestry DNA test seems to think I’m more around 10%. I think it’s just lying to me. Science can’t always be right, can it?

Based on the last names and documents I’ve located going back to about 1800 on most branches of my family tree, close to 50% of people seem to have emigrated from Germany or a pre-Germany state that was part of the German empire. I think of a few of them were probably from Eastern Europe or Scandinavia, so I sort of merge those with the 10% I saw from Ancestry DNA. That said, something is still not adding up based on known facts, DNA and available documentation. Therefore, I’ve settled on about 33%. Someone is lying about their home country, or someone may have had an affair and passed the child off as her German husband’s kid… I’m not sure, but I love a good scandal!

And I have one in my German side. A great-grandfather’s last name was as German as they come: Mück, possible Müeck originally. But when he emigrated to the US in the 1870s, it was translated on some documents as Miick. He married and had 3 daughters, but later suspected his wife was actually moonlighting as a prostitute. He claimed the younger 2 girls weren’t his and divorced the first wife. He managed famous boxers in NYC around this time, and suddenly one day, he disappears and changes his last name to Reynolds. He then marries another woman, an Irish one this time, and has 6 more children. But he’s no longer involved in boxing and has become a big-time beer brewer. I wish I knew the real story behind all of this, but there’s some scandal doing on there. Unfortunately, there are strong physical traces between him and subsequent male members of that branch, including me, so I know the German roots are real on that side!

As a fun sidebar, just like last time with the 4 Irish stereotypical traits, I found 9 German ones from a new site called “FluentU.” Let’s see how I compare:

  1. Direct
    1. Yes, for the most part. I often say what’s on my mind, but I always use a filter.
    2. Score: 1 out of 1
  2. Love rules, organization and structure
    1. I invented rules and now I can’t live without them. I’m crazy when it comes these things.
    2. Score: 1 out of 1
  3. Punctual
    1. Yes, and punctual to me actually means a few minutes early.
    2. Score: 1 out of 1
  4. Love soccer (football)
    1. Not a sports guy.
    2. Score: 0 out of 1
  5. Well-insured
    1. This one was odd… so I am going to say probably not, I tend to only buy what I need.
    2. Score: 0 out of 1
  6. Distant
    1. Unfortunately, yes… most people would say I can be a little cold and distant about things. I know how to remove my emotions when I need to.
    2. Score: 1 out of 1
  7. Love beer
    1. Eh… if it said wine, I’d agree. But I only drink beer from time to time and not very excited about it.
    2. Score: 0 out of 1
  8. Always making bread
    1. I love bread. I eat it all the time. But I rarely make it. Let’s split it evenly.
    2. Score: .5 out of 1
  9. Love sausage
    1. Not so much. I’m more a red-meat guy. Skirt Steak, Filet Mignon, Tartare, Beef Wellington…
    2. Score: 0 out of 1

And keeping with the statistics game from last time, my score would be: 4.5 out of 9, which is 50%. See… all the records I’ve found are correct. Take that, Science and DNA!

Review: The Book Thief

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The Book Thief
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars to Markus Zusak‘s The Book Thief.

Liesel is the heroine — of so many things. Such a young girl, so intelligent in ways many of us aren’t even as adults. It’s one of the few books that actually provoked a tear or two from me.

At first, I was not interested in this book. My book club selected it. I only knew what the book jacket said (before I used Goodreads) and as soon as it said it took place in Germany in World War II, I had that nasty pit in my stomach that I would be suffering through reading about the tragedy of the Holocaust. While it had no direct connection to my family (we’re not Jewish and all of my Germans had long been in the US since the mid 19th century), I just can’t read or watch anything about this particular nastiness. I think it’s heartbreaking to think about what people suffered at the hands of…. nevermind. You get the point.

So here I am having to read this book, putting it off until the day before Book Club meets… I finally relinquish my attitude and dive in… then I never stopped. I read it that entire evening skipping dinner, ignoring my ringing phone and letting the poor dogs suffer with no attention. It was that amazing.

I want a copy of that book within a book. I want to hold on to it forever for Liesel. I want to know more about her and the future and her family and everything.

Read it. Enjoy it. Pretend it’s you. Pretend you’re there watching. Just live and breathe with it while you read it.

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Review: Our Daily Bread: German Village Life, 1500-1850

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Our Daily Bread: German Village Life, 1500-1850
Our Daily Bread: German Village Life, 1500-1850 by Teva J. Scheer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 stars to Our Daily Bread: German Village Life, 1500-1850 — a quick and informative read for anyone researching German family history.


Story

This is a fictional account of what happens to a German family in a small town several hundred years in the past. It’s meant to be an aide for people to understand what life was really like — perhaps helping genealogists understand how records are recorded and where to find missing information.


Strengths

1. It’s a quick but compelling read — you really feel connected to the family and cry with their tragedies.
2. It covers many generations and forces you to think about your own family history.


Weaknesses

1. It is simple (but so was life back then) which means if you want to get into more detail, you have to go elsewhere.
2. There’s only 1 of them! I want to know more.


Final Thoughts

Get the electronic version – it makes it easier. I got both (one was free) and definitely felt this was a good start to an e-reader version.

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