Book Club Picks: The Zookeeper’s Wife

So as you all know I started a book club last year. I have fallen behind with my posts, but I’m catching up. Only two more after this and I’m back on track.

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time one member chose:

The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman

The member had seen the movie and wanted to read the book afterwards. And we all know how that goes:

Now I haven’t seen the movie but I did enjoy the book.

It is a non-fiction story about Jan and Antonina Zabinski who owned and ran a zoo in Poland. They cared strongly for the animals, raising all kinds-sometimes even in their homes. Some animal babies grew up sleeping and eating alongside their son.

They had a beautiful complex and even some very rare animals that other zoos tried to get their hands on. But that all changed with World War II.

NO!

It is horrific to read the destruction that was unleashed on the people with the bombings, annd how the animals were in the cages and just decimated. Jan and Antonina tried to help as many as they could, and let them out but still many became casualties of war.

It really is sad

They lost many members of their animal family to that, some took off when the destruction started never to be known what happened to them, and the rest were all picked apart and sent to other Zoos. Those poor animals.

After the animals were gone, the Zabinskis used the zoo complex to help the Resistance against the Nazis. They stored guns and other ammunitions there, right in plain sight almost and were never caught. In fact the Nazis never thought the Polish were smart enough to do something that intelligent as they weren’t of Aryan blood. They sure showed those guys.

Then they started using it as a way station to help Jewish people, until they could move out of Poland. Now what was really interesting was that Jan’s father became so angry with the Christian church that he sent Jan to Jewish school instead. There Jan developed many friendships with all different Jewish people-bringing them food when they were receiving nothing and helping many in the ghettos. Because of those friendships he was asked and wanted to help the Jewish people, the two of them saving over 300 people.

Wow

It really is am amazing story and I think it is well worth a read if this is the type of story you are interested in.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: A Christmas Carol

For more non-fiction, go to Book Club Picks: The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

Book Club Picks: The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

So I have been trying to catch up with my book club book reviews, and I am almost there. Just three more (including this one) and I am back on track.

Alright!

So every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. We’ve been reading a lot of fiction books, so one of the members decided to choose a non-fiction book they had found at the library.

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan

During World War II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee; was home to over 75,00 people, used more electricity than New York City, and was shrouded in mystery.

What?

What was happening there? Why was it secret? Not even the workers knew what they were doing or “making”, as no product even seemed to come out.

Help me! I’m confused!

Women from all over the country came fresh out of high school, right out of college, when they had nothing, as a last resort, etc. These women enjoyed making their own money, living on their own, etc.

The book chronicles different women: races, to areas of the country, ages, etc; and gives each one’s story from when they start at Oak Ridge to when they close the city down.

Hmm…

Between the stories of the women there are the classified documents of the government and it shows the other side of the scientists who actually knew what was going on.

It turned out that all these men and women in Oak Ridge were helping build the atomic bomb, although none of them even knew it.

I didn’t really care for this book, and neither did my fellow book club members.

We all loved the parts about the women and their life stories. It was really interesting how they built this community, friendships, were willing to leave everything behind to work at Oak Ridge, etc.

One of the best parts was when one of the workers was dating a military man. She had to wait in line to buy everything, and because there was so many people and only so many supplies, if you didn’t get there early enough then you got nothing.

Her boyfriend used to get her soap and other important toiletries- something she found incredibly romantic as it saved her so much time. I thought it was super romantic as well!

*swoon*

Or the one woman who’s boyfriend kept asking her to marry him, but she would say no as she didn’t want to get married. He stopped asking her, and it upset her, so she told him to ask her one more time. It was really cute.

And there was another story about an African-American woman who used to have the guards bully her when she went to visit her husband (men and women lived in separate areas). One day she ran into some workers getting rid of some extra metal-something that was perfect to be a biscuit tin. After that she would make biscuits for her husband and give some to the guard-winning him over with her excellent cooking.

However, what we didn’t like was all the technical stuff about the atomic bomb. The way it kept switching back and forth was confusing and brought you out of the women’s stories.

That part was really boring as well.

It really brought the book down and I was the only one who was able to power through it.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: A Wrinkle in Time

For more non-fiction books, go to Book Club Picks: Sandcastle Kings

For more on atomic weapons, go to A Giant Metal Man: The Iron Giant (1995)

Darcy’s Dream Date

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (1940)

In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy has very particular guidelines as to who the perfect woman is. The perfect (accomplished) woman is one who has

“a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.’ Caroline Bingley…’All this she must possess,’ added Darcy, ‘and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

After reviewing this statement I have discovered that I am Mr. Darcy’s perfect woman.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

1)Knowledge of Music

I grew up in a musical house, although I cannot play any one instrument profusely. Here are some of my musical accomplishments.

  • The Afoxé: I love this instrument and have been playing it my whole life.
  • The Piano: I know how to play Hot Cross BunsRugrats Theme, and Chopsticks.
  • The Recorder: This is the instrument that I am best in. I learned how to play the Star Wars Theme, Hot Cross Buns, Three Blind Mice, Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me), and every song from Disney’s Pocahontas.
  • The Guitar: I know one very old hymn.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

2) Singing

I have sung my whole life. I absolutely love to sing along to anything playing that I know. I was in many musicals in high school; having little solos. The only bad thing is that I have an alto voice, which has never been prided on. Everyone always prefers sopranos in women. At least I have Motown to fall back on. Motown cannot be sung right by a soprano, they are just not able to belt out the tunes.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

3) Drawing

I took painting and drawing classes for two years before I switched to photography. Now I am not one of those geniuses who can draw or paint a perfect image from memory, but I do extremely well at drawing if I can see the image I am trying to sketch. Painting, I only do well at watercolors, or objects such as a room, plate, frame, etc. I also do very well in pastels and chalk. Cartooning is another thing I do well, as you don’t have to apply to realistic proportions. My main forte is in decoupage, collaging, and photography.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

4) Dancing

I am not the world’s best dancer, but my biggest strength is that I am a fast learner, and can be taught dance moves quickly. However I have been trained in certain areas.

  • Waltz: I learned this from the Sleeping Beauty’s collector edition DVD. It was very easy to learn
  • Thriller: Love the song and know almost the whole dance.
  • Flashdance: I know the whole dance, but am not as good as her.
  • Ballet: Was in a class for a few days before I transferred out, I was put there by accident. However, what I learned there will forever remain in my mind.
  • The Time Warp: Such a fun song!
  • Bollywood: I watch a lot and love to dance along.
  • Mash Potato: Such fun!
  • The Twist: Who doesn’t like to twist?
  • Square Dancing: A fun requirement everyone has to learn.
  • Line-Dancing: I love all types of music, country being one of them.
  • West Coast Swing: Unfortunately there weren’t enough guys so I learned the guy’s part instead of the girls.
  • Breakfast Club Dance: Not only can I do the feet thing, but I have Ally Sheedy’s dance down.
  • MC Hammer: Only Can’t Touch This, and not even all of that.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

5) Modern Languages

I wish I knew more languages fluently, but alas I am only bilingual (and even that some may not count.)

  • Fluent American: Not the same as English as we have a mix of slang from many different cultures and word’s that have multitude of meanings.
  •  Fluent English: I know the proper and elegant way to word things, along with a lot of English slang.
  • Some Spanish: My family is part hispanic and I have taken three years of spanish class. I know how to introduce myself (Me llamo es), say where I am from (Yo soy de), if I want to go somewhere (Yo voy, tu vas, nosotros vamos…), how to ask for things (puedo por favor; donde esta…), help (ayudame), the weather, how to say I am hurt or injured, can count etc…
  • Smattering of French: I know how to say hello, good-bye (five different ways), and a few other things.
  • Sign Language: I know quite a few words and the whole alphabet.
  • Danish: A few words here and there

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

5) Something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions

Got all those covered. Everything in my manner of doing things always brings support to what I am talking about.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

6) Extensive Reading

This is where I fit the bill most of all. I have been reading since I was a small child, and I READ ALL THE  TIME. I am never without a book, and devour them extremely fast, no matter the length. In fact I meet my goal of reading 365 books this year a couple of weeks ago. And I love to read EVERYTHING! Mystery, classics, sci-fi, horror, romance, historical fiction, non-fiction, biography, westerns, plays, novels, etc. I love the library, that spend as much free time there possible. One of my favorite things is to just go through the stacks and look at all the different books, choosing which I think will be best. I have too many favorite books and authors that I just can’t pick one. I really want a library like in Beauty and the Beast or The Swan Princess. I mean if Darcy has asked me to marry him in his rude, conceited way that first time; I would have considered saying yes because I would know he would have a fantastic library.

diewithbooks

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

7) Embroidery

I know that this isn’t technically something that Darcy said was attractive in a woman, but it was something that most people valued a woman knowing back then. I only know hand sewing, and that in itself is mostly subjects related to patching; but I embroider like a boss. I have been doing it ever since I was a kid, amd enjoy it immensely.

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

8) Cooking

Yes, I know. Only poor women or domestic help cooked at that time, but I’m proud of the fact that I am an extremely good cook. I can make anything, as long as I have a recipe, and am not daunted at trying new things. And for all the modern men out there, I make the best sandwiches out of every person I know. My older sister and I used to kid that I would make one very lucky guy extremely happy with that talent.

Well with all these accomplishments; along with filling many others that we value today, what guy wouldn’t want me? LOL

To see what you get go here

To see what you get go here

How many of you out there also fit the bill for Darcy’s Dream Date?

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more on Mr. Darcy, go to Mr. Darcy: Man of Dream
For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Flirting With Disaster
For more bookish posts, go to Never an Empty Bed
For more quizzes, go to By George He’s Perfect
For more on my thoughts of music, go to On the 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, & 1st Days ‘Til Christmas
For more of my favorite quotes, go to Novel vs. Reality