My goal for several years has been to read 50 books in one calendar year – 52 weeks – but I have always fallen off the rails around 25 books. This year, I’m twice as determined. I will be posting short reviews of each book with my thoughts and any recommendations I received for the book as well as a link to purchase the book from Amazon, (though I recommend checking your local library first). If you have questions, leave a comment! If you want to follow my journey, find me on Goodreads.
Megan also recommended Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys while we were walking around Barnes and Noble during her visit; I picked it up without question after her simple synopsis that it dealt with relocation during WWII. I’m a huge history buff. I blame part of this on my older brother who often forced (haha) me into watching war movies such as Saving Private Ryan, The Dirty Dozen, and a million more. The rest I blame on Anne Frank’s diaries and pure curiosity. During college, I was most intrigued by art and literature during the early 20th century: the changes to these creative mediums were volatile and drastic, not to mention Hitler’s war on these new art movements, confiscating so many works that have still yet to resurface since WWII. I was fascinated and still can’t get enough.
Between Shades of Gray gives readers a glimpse into the deportation of Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and those on the border of Finland during Stalin’s reign in Russia. These stories are often lost amid stories from Germany and Poland which were vocally chronicled after the War. Stalin deported over 1.8 million people from northern European countries to labor camps in Siberia and though there was no prohibition to writing these stories after the War ended, they were rarely published due to their sensitive nature and simply out of fear of any repercussions from Soviet supporters and various governments.
Needless to say, Sepetys exposed another layer of 20th century history of which I was completely unaware. This novel resembles the writing style and story telling of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. (If you have not read The Book Thief, stop what you’re doing and go now. It is phenomenal.)
Goodreads rating: 4.36/5
My rating: 5/5
Days Read: January 13-14