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The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane AckermanThe Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
Genre: Historical
Release Date: 17th September 2007
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw—and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes.With her exuberant prose and exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, Diane Ackerman engages us viscerally in the lives of the zoo animals, their keepers, and their hidden visitors. She shows us how Antonina refused to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her.

I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked up The Zookeeper’s Wife, but it certainly wasn’t this. I knew from reading a couple of reviews that this was a non-fiction account, but I wasn’t expecting the author to add so many fictionalised scenes and moments. It made for a very strange mixture.

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A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony BurgessA Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Genre: Classic
Release Date: December 1962
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

A vicious fifteen-year-old "droog" is the central character of this 1963 classic, whose stark terror was captured in Stanley Kubrick's magnificent film of the same title.

In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex—to "redeem" him—the novel asks, "At what cost?"

Why was it banned?

A Clockwork Orange was banned in some US schools upon its release on grounds of immorality – it was thought to contain too much sexual violence. Some of you might know that there is a movie adaptation of this book which caused even more uproar – upon the movie release, violent teenage gangs took to the streets of London, spurred on by what they had witnessed on the movie screen. Words are important, yo.

Why did you choose it?

So I picked A Clockwork Orange to read because it’s such a famous novel and has always been on my to-read list. I just needed a reason to get around to reading it, I suppose. Continue reading