Tag Archives: WWII

#17 Stasiland – Anna Funder

21 Feb
Stasiland - Anna Funder

Stasiland – Anna Funder

Goodreads rating: 4.14/5 (2,000+ ratings)

My rating: 7.5/10

First Published: December 5th, 2003 by Text Publishing

Genre: Non-Fiction, History

Stasiland is about people who resisted the surveillance state of East Germany, and about others who worked for the Stasi – the secret police of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

Stasiland is written by Australian woman Anna Funder, who lived in Berlin in the late 90s and interviewed a variety of people from both sides of the GDR regime. She used classified ads to get in touch with former members of the Stasi, who she interviewed extensively. People such as those who helped to build and plan the erection of The Berlin Wall, a television presenter and host who was famous during the GDR regime, and a resistor who could have started WWIII!

I didn’t realise when I started this that it was not a fictional novel. I went into it thinking it was a novel about someone living in that time, but then shortly realised that it wasn’t!

I really enjoyed this book. It was really easy to digest and understand, even though I didn’t fully understand to begin with what the situation was after WWII in Germany. there was a map at the beginning of the book of both West & East Germany, and a smaller one of Berlin and the wall – this really helped me in reading and understanding this book.

I found that the theme of Stasiland reflected George Orwell’s 1984 which is scary! I can’t imagine living in a place that is so highly regulated. I know these places exist, but it sounds terrible!

I highly recommend this book. It’s short, interesting, captures attention quickly, and best of all, is TRUE!

Bits & pieces

  • Winner of the BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize
  • Stasiland is being developed for the stage by The National Theatre in London.

Past reviews

‘Anna Funder explores, in the most humane and sensitive way, lives blighted by the East German Stasi. She allows ex-Stasi operatives an equal chance to reflect on their achievements, and finds—to her dismay and ours—that they have learned nothing.’
— J. M. Coetzee

‘Your book STASILAND: TRUE STORIES FROM BEHIND THE BERLIN WALL struck me like no other in the last five years. It is fascinating, entertaining, hilarious, horrifying and very important.’
– Tom Hanks

‘Informed judgements and historical background are communicated with deceptive ease. Targeted at a broad audience, Stasiland is compelling reading.’
– 
Sydney Morning Herald

-H-

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WWW Wednesday

13 Feb

W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. 

TO PLAY ALONG, JUST ANSWER THE FOLLOWING THREE (3) QUESTIONS:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

_________________________________________________________________________________

What are you currently reading?

Currently I’m reading The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey. I’m up to page 65 and haven’t really got into it yet.

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle - Monique Roffey

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle – Monique Roffey

What did you recently finish reading? 

I just finished the True Blood Omnibus 1 by Charlaine Harris, which is comprised of the first 3 books of The Southern Vampire series: Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, and Club Dead. I’d already read the first book separately, and you can find my review here.

True Blood Omnibus - Charlaine Harris

True Blood Omnibus – Charlaine Harris

What do you think you’ll read next?

The next book i’ll read is Ken Follett’s latest novel, book #2 of The Century Trilogy, Winter of the World. I loved the first book in this series, Fall of Giants, so am looking forward to reading this although I’ve heard mixed reviews.

Winter of the World - Ken Follett

Winter of the World – Ken Follett

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on any of these books, although no spoilers please for the ones I haven’t read yet!

-H-

Teaser Tuesday

8 Jan

Today is 42degrees celsius in Sydney, one of the hottest days on record! It’s crazy!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

Rules
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser

Book: Stasiland by Anna Funder
Page: I’m currently up to page 37. My spoiler is from page 157.

‘You have to understand,’ he says, ‘in the context of my father, and of the propaganda of the Cold War – the GDR was like a religion. It was something I was brought up to believe in…’

Stasiland - Anna Funder

Stasiland – Anna Funder

#7 The Bronze Horseman – Paullina Simons

17 Dec
The Bronze Horseman - Front Cover

The Bronze Horseman – Front Cover

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find my copy of this book, so have taken this image from Google Books. This is the same edition of the book that I read.

Goodreads rating: 4.39 (11,100+ ratings)

My rating: 7/10

Why it’s on the list: Earlier this year, I went into Dymocks on the corner of Hunter & Pitt Street in the CBD and they had their top 50 books (or something like that), and you could buy 3 for the price of 2. I ended up buying this, Freedom, and something else I can’t remember.

First published: April 2nd, 2001 by HarperCollins

Genre: Romance, Drama, Historical Fiction

Set during WWII, originally in Leningrad, Russia, is a story of love and loss in a time of war. The Bronze Horseman starts on 22nd June 1942, the day that Russia enters the war, and main character Tatiana Metanova meets the mysterious Red Army officer Alexander Belov. Just shy of 17, Tatiana is naive and innocent when it comes to love, dating and sex. Unlike her older sister, Dasha, who ends up dating Alexander.

The war in Russia continues, and many people close to Tatiana die due to starvation or injuries. The main challenges she faces are, obviously, war and hunger, but also the struggle of suppressing her feelings for Alexander, and eventually the obstacles that keep them apart.

loved this book, and found it hard to put down. The first half, about Tatiana’s life in Leningrad, was long but so interesting to me. I love anything set in the world wars (particularly Europe in WWII), and the suffering her family endured was terrible. Later in the book, Tatiana and Alexander are finally having a life together, and this part dragged on for me. Basically there was a whole few hundred pages of Wake up. Have sex. Eat. Have sex. Swim. Have sex. Eat. Have sex. Tatiana do household duties. Have sex. which can get a bit tedious.

However once they are then separated again, you realise how much you miss their boring days of sex, eating and sleeping, and how badly you wish they could go back to that time in their lives. There are lots of hurdles, changes and issues that arise for Tatiana and Alexander, and the ending of this book is sad. However, there are 2 more books in the series, which are on my List.

A great thing about the edition I read, was that it had 2 maps in the cover. One of Russia and surrounding countries, with all the cities that are mentioned/visited in the book. And one of Leningrad, so you could see where Tatiana’s family lived, where she worked, and could track what was happening during the war. I’m a big fan of maps in books that have a lot to do with the geography of a place, so I definitely found this useful.

I highly recommend this book. You really get drawn in, and I personally really loved Tatiana’s character. Not so much Alexander’s, because I personally think he’s a bit of a pig, but she is lovely.

-H-

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