Tag Archives: Poland

I’m Feeling Restless


IMAG0102I am restless for change on my blog. I like the look of my blog as it is, but I need something new; perhaps with more color. Those that know me know that I use color in my house a lot. I once had a beautiful, bright red laundry room. Once people got past that it looked like someone was murdered in there, they liked it too.  I now have a lime green bathroom, I love it and so does my husband. He actually picked the color.

I like the look of this blog with the ability to use pictures that I have taken as a header. I think being able to share personal pictures allows readers to see a glimpse into who I am. Those are my terrified toes at the top of the Willis Tower on The Ledge in Chicago. I sat in those chairs while camping on the shore of Lake Superior. I climbed that rock to get a better view of the waterfall on the Baptist River in Northern Minnesota. Those waves crashed into shore for two days on Lake Superior fifteen feet from my tent. I felt like I was on the ocean…it was heavenly. I went all the way to Kraków, Poland to catch a glimpse of that painted car.


Let me explain before you think I’ve lost my marbles. I found another theme that I like, it’s grey. Yeah, I know that’s really not much color but the accents are in RED. I like it, I like it a lot. It has character. I fear that if I change my blog theme and I decide I don’t really like the new grey and red one, the theme I’m using now will be gone. I know, irrational right? I keep telling myself it doesn’t really matter because it’s just a blog. I know my anal retentiveness is flaring its ugly head but I can’t help it. I want my blog to look just right.

I like this theme but I need more color. I may just have to take the leap and change it up. If you are still reading my ramblings thank you. I suspect you will see changes here sooner than later.

Do you have a favorite theme?


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What Makes a Best Seller a Best Seller? – Part 1

I’m going out on a limb here to say I cannot believe Jodi Picoult’s “The Storyteller” is a best seller. I know this opinion is not a popular one if you look at her reviews on Amazon. “The Storyteller” is currently #1 on New York Time’s best seller list for hardcover fiction. I read this book and I’m surprised it is doing as well as it is. I physically cringed as I read reviews proclaiming “The Storyteller” is the best book ever. I am going to break my thoughts up into 4 smaller blogs (mainly because everyone is so busy and I like reading shorter blogs).

Let me first tell you where I get my viewpoint on this book. I studied the aftermath of WWII and the holocaust for a semester and at the end of the semester we went to Germany and Poland for 2 weeks. During those 2 weeks we stood in the redwood forests in Poland where Jews were murdered, we were led through Auschwitz-Birkenau by a man who survived Auschwitz as a child, we stood in the gas chambers and saw the scratches in the concrete from fingernails as people tried to claw themselves out, we walked through the ghettos and saw evidence of what transpired there not so long ago. There is still a presence there that is difficult to describe. It gives me chills to this day.

Arbeit Macht Frei translated means work shall set you free.

Arbeit Macht Frei translated means work shall set you free.

I read “The Storyteller” for a book club. I thought it sounded interesting as I have vast knowledge on the subject, however, I do not claim I’m an expert. Some of my book club went and saw Jodi Picoult at a reading and she spoke about how it became the book it is. She interviewed several holocaust survivors and a few other people. She spent 9 months doing research and writing this book. She said something that took me off guard and aback. She mentioned she was a cash cow and couldn’t go wrong. And that, my friend, is where she initially went wrong. In my opinion she is banking on her name to sell books. I got the feeling she thinks she can do some research and throw something together and call it good. People will buy it because her name is on it. Mind you, I know it isn’t easy to research and write a book, but if you are going to take on a topic like the holocaust you had better invest your time in extensive research and get it right. I know it’s not always possible to travel to the locations you write about. However, in this case, she should have traveled to Poland to experience Auschwitz before she wrote this book. She tweeted a couple of hours ago that her publisher took her to Auschwitz TODAY! “The Storyteller” was released February 26, 2013. She missed the mark here. I am going to walk you through the different areas in this book I think went wrong, areas she got right, and what she could have done to make it better; to give the reader the emotional draw that should have been there. Each person reads a book differently based on personal beliefs, experiences, and knowledge base. Yes, people can come to the same conclusion that a book is fabulous or horrid, but their reasons for making that claim differs based on what they personally brought to the table. Stop back to read the rest of the four-part series and if you have read the book, put your own two cents in.

I took this photo on my trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

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Researching a Story

I spent an amazing evening tonight at Wayzata Central Middle School listening to Jodi Picoult read from her new book “The Storyteller”. I must say she speaks eloquently and is a very engaging speaker. She finished her reading tonight by opening it up for questions. I listened to her explain how she does her research for her books and was very intrigued by the time she puts into developing an accurate storyline and characters. The subject of this book is dear to me because I studied the aftermath of WWII and the holocaust which ended in a two-week trip to Germany and Poland. Those two weeks were the best and the worst all at the same time. I saw sites like Auschwitz-Birkenau, Jewish Old Town, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the inside of a Stasi prison (I could go on and on) that left such a memorable impression that it instantly brings tears to my eyes and I can still smell and feel these places three years later. As I listened to Jodi Picoult speak I wondered if she was able to capture what it is to actually be there and experience something so horrific within this book. She did many interviews with holocaust survivors and the accounts she spoke of tonight fall in line with what I know from studying and experiencing such a place. As I left with my friends I confided that I wasn’t sure if I would be able to read this book all the way through in time to discuss it with the book club we are launching with this book. A book club that is filled to the brim with the people I studied and traveled with to Germany and Poland. The few in this book club that did not go with us on this trip know it just as much as those that went because of all the stories and memories and information we have passed on to them. I’m anxious and frightened to start reading. I want to see if she nailed what it would have been like to be there, to smell it, to live it and yet I don’t want my own nightmares to return. It took me a long time after I returned home to sleep peacefully again. The beautiful redwood forests in Poland contained such horror that it’s difficult to stand in among the trees and see their beauty and yet we tried. I have pictures to prove it. I have amazingly beautiful pictures of everywhere we stopped along the way but that beauty is really tainted when you know first hand what happened in these places when our Stasi prison guides’ father was in the Stasi prison and our guide through Auschwitz survived Auschwitz as a child. This will definitely be an interesting read and an even more interesting discussion afterward.

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This is a picture I took in Jewish Old Town in Krakow Poland.


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