Nick and I went to Barnes & Noble in Leominster today to buy our niece a birthday present, but one does not simply walk into Barnes & Noble and leave without buying a new book.
I mean, LOOK AT THIS COVER! How could I not buy it?
And besides, I got this GORGEOUS new bookcase yesterday, so I obviously have a lot of space to fill! But I digress…
The Librarian of Auschwitz was on a table display for new releases (it looks like it was originally published in Spanish in 2012, but the English version appears to have just come out in October). The cover art is what snagged my attention, but I actually picked it up because the title reminded me so much of The Book Thief, which I read (and loved) last March.
Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.
Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.
Even though historical fiction isn’t exactly my wheelhouse, I’m particularly excited to slot this into my TBR pile because I recently visited the exact setting of part of the book.
In June 2017, I had the opportunity to travel to the Czech Republic to play for the Team USA in the World Ball Hockey Federation‘s 5v5 World Ball Hockey Championship, where we won bronze.
It was an amazing experience, and it was my first trip to Europe, so I definitely checked off a lot on my bucket list.
Anyway, my team actually stayed right in Terezín, and after our bronze medal match, I walked all around the town over to the Terezín Memorial (also known as the Terezín ghetto.
If you ever have an opportunity to visit a concentration camp memorial site, do it.
Is it depressing? Yes. But it’s so humbling and such an emotional experience. I don’t think I would have been able to live with myself if I didn’t go while I was there.\
Don’t get me wrong, Prague was cool when we went for the day. But I knew I would probably never be in Terezín again.
All that said, I’m really looking forward to reading The Librarian of Auschwitz because — aside from the fact that it looks amazing — I’ve never been able to read historical fiction and really feel like I’m IN the story.
I obviously don’t mind using my imagination, but there’s something about being familiar with a book’s setting that makes it extra special to read.