Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May Book Review by Ted

Well, as Nancy told you in her blog, we have moved to " God's Country" from the stormy plains of Kansas to the snowy, icy lakes of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Going home in a manner of speaking since both my wife and I were born and raised in Michigan, just not so far north. Or west either for that matter---we are now living in Iron River which is almost as far west as St. Louis, Missouri. I never thought about that until we actually were looking at maps. Anyway, we are settling in, including spending a day+ in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer.
Can you tell good fiction from bad fiction? If it is all fiction, what is the difference? As I told you before, I shop in bookstores and am often attracted by the title of a book. If the title catches my eye, I'll probably pick up the book and consider it. On my last trip to a book store, I saw a title " There's a Blond Sleeping in My Bed!" I had to quickly pick it up and check this out. Imagine my surprise when on opening it, I saw it was really "Goldie Locks and the Three Bears"!!!! Good fiction or bad fiction?
That little story was fiction and an attempt to catch your attention for this month's review: THE LAMPSHADE. You decide if it was good or bad. I bought The Lampshade ( A Holocaust Detective Story from Buchenwald to New Orleans ) from a book club. Author is Mark Jacobson who has several other books to his credit. Being a history teacher among other things, I am also a person who had relatives in the Nazi concentration camps. Am I Jewish? Not that I have found proof of, though there is some family, word-of-mouth tales that say it may be. But I had cousins in Poland who were confined to Auschwitz --at least one died there and one was born there. They were Polish - professional people who were considered too important for the Nazis to allow to be free. So I am intrigued by all that the camps stand for. I bought the book and spent some time reading it. It took me a while to decide whether it was fiction or fact, but the pictures convinced me it was fact. For those who have no background about these camps, a brief, very brief, description: these camps were places of great inhumanity of man against man, based on the slightest whim of those in charge. The actual happenings numb the mind and I think that's one of the reasons (not necessarily the main one) for the denial of these happenings today. " WE CAN'T BELIEVE THEM TO BE REAL!" Surely they are propaganda, lies by the victors, etc. I have no doubt they existed; they were horrible; the stories are real....12 million died, half because they were Jewish (A religion, not a race). Therefore The Lampshade exists as a story and as a real thing. The fabric of the shade is skin--human skin.........It appears in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and the author comes into ownership- in part- of it and sets out to learn the truth about it and what it is or is not. I stop here because: 1) I do not want to upset anyone. 2) I do not want to recommend for you to read it, unless you have a real reason to. It is not a work to entertain you. It is a piece for research, not curiosity. 3) I can not truthfully say the content is all fact or all fiction. I believe he tells what he was able to figure out about the lampshade, but there is no provable conclusion. Why review it? My excuse is, I read it. Someone took the time to write it and deserves the acknowledgement for his work. It took a lot of time and effort to research and write. I wish to acknowledge his ability and the fact that he did all that he did and then wrote about it. I, as you can tell, am still somewhat befuddled on how to describe it. I could not read it cover to cover, it took a couple weeks with pauses between readings............So if you are intrigued, read it...I'd be very interested in hearing about your reaction to it.
Next month hopefully a lighter offering.

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