A father’s story

I knew that my University library held this book, but it had always been out when I searched for it so when I finally managed to grab it I was very happy. This is a non-fiction graphic novel which shows the authors attempts to get his father to tell him about his life during WWII and the hardships he suffered in Auschwitz. The individuals are animalised, with different groups being different animals (mice, pigs, cats), but they all show real-life events.

I actually enjoyed that Spiegelman’s father is quite unlikeable, he’s very determined and set in his ways and Spiegelman keeps trying to justify it through the Holocaust but fails as other survivors don’t behave in the same way. It shows that people don’t come out from an event perfectly reformed as a human, these individuals still have flaws and issues, but that just makes them more human.

As always, these WWII books are tough topics, and this book is no different. However, for me, I focused more on Spiegelman’s father post-WWII and his life now. I found it to be a really interesting aspect I hadn’t come across in this way before.

I’m very glad that I’ve read this book and I’ll be interested in more from Art Spiegelman in the future, WWII based or not.

Broaden your horizons

Another book I got at random out of my University library (see my last post), also from the Graphic Novel section. I’ve seen Persepolis mentioned on A Clockwork Reader’s channel, Hannah is Persian and this graphic novel is a memoir/autobiography from another Persian person and it talks about the war in Iran. Hannah mentioned in a video on her channel that she spoke to her elders about this book and they felt like it represented them very accurately so I felt like it was a good book to read to learn more about their culture as I knew almost nothing.

We follow Marjane Satrapi from her childhood all the way up to adulthood, in black and white comic strips that portray her living in Iran in the 80s as well as living in Europe as a Persian and how this impacted her. It’s a very powerful and interesting memoir which taught me a lot. There was so much that I didn’t know.

I read the bind-up of the four comics, but it does also come separately, and it was originally published in French also. I just found this graphic novel to be such a learning experience and I sped through it all in one day (when I was supposed to be revising for an exam!!! It’s fine 😉 I got a 64 in the exam) because I couldn’t put it down.

I recommend this book if you want to learn more about Persian culture and about living in Iran, and if you want any more recommendations about this sort of thing then I recommend you go check out the channel “A Clockwork Reader” on YouTube.

The birth of Leia, the birth of Carrie

A random charity shop find, I always look in the non-fiction section for anything new or unique or just random that jumps out at me. And this time, The Princess Diarist was that book! This is an autobiography from the late Carrie Fisher about her time as a starlet. It predominantly focuses on her time in the first Star Wars movie, A New Hope, and talks about how she got used to this fame and how the experience was. As well as about Harrison Ford ;P

I really enjoyed reading through this book, as always Carrie is blunt and honest, and makes you feel like she’s really being truthful with you and telling you so much about herself. I love the star wars movies, and I really enjoyed seeing her explain the whole process of becoming Leia, but I also learnt a lot about Carrie herself. About her life and her ambitions and her past. There is also a section of the book where photocopies of her diary entries are published, now of course these could’ve been written in the modern day, however, with Carrie Fisher’s reputation for being so open I honestly think she probably just published parts of her diaries! Of course there is information she kept to herself, and that’s her right, but she does tell us a lot.

This is a really interesting book to look at the movie business back in this time period, as well as the formation of Leia and the formation of Carrie Fisher as the badass woman we know and love. Definitely one to pick up if any of these topics interest you!

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

This was personally a difficult book to read. It was short and easy to read on a technical level. However, the content was… tough. This book is essentially a memoir of one of the most difficult times in Matt’s life, a time when he struggled with a deep depression. I knew this going in, however, what I hadn’t been anticipating was the emotions that the book was going to dredge up within myself.

I have been struggling with depression for just over a decade now, and I have made massive strides in improving my mental health in recent years. Yet this book still managed to bring me back to that place. So separate from the content, I would like to recommend that you only read this if you don’t have this illness or if you believe yourself to be strong enough. I don’t regret reading the book, and I was able to get back to my normal self in a couple of days, however, I wouldn’t want to not warn you in advance if this is something that might impact you.

Content-wise this is a very interesting account of someone looking back on their past self and seeing what they previously couldn’t. That life gets better, and that he’s still alive. It also may help those who don’t suffer from depression to understand the illness more, however, I can’t vouch for that myself. Definitely a book to consider if you’re healthy enough.


The Essential Spike Milligan, a review

This is the 3rd book I got around to in the 7in7readathon (which is still currently going and in which I am doing horrendously at!) and I really don’t think this was the best pick! Purely as this is a book I would’ve rather taken my time with, and not rushed through it in order to get onto the next book, as there’s a lot to think about. But, this was all my own fault so let’s get on with the review!

This is a collection of Spike Milligan’s work, before reading this I only knew of his children’s poetry and that’s why I picked this book up. However, unbeknownst to me he has written so much more in so many different areas and I am so glad to have been exposed to that. He wrote scripts for radio shows and television shows, adult poetry, memoirs from his time during WWII and more. It took me a while to get used to the scripts for the shows but eventually, I was ending up laughing out loud as I read them, like, literally!

His memoirs from the second world war were a surprise, as a lover of this time period, I didn’t even know he had served or that this book was going to contain anything from this era. Some of this was interesting, and some of it was purely heartbreaking to see the causes and effects of PTSD hit a man who shows so much humour and joviality to the outside world.

All these sections are broken up by some of his poetry for children, which I absolutely love! I love the tempo of them, the silliness which makes you smile and the way he makes the words rhyme in order to make you laugh. They are placed very well in order to provide relief from the more serious topics and I purely just find childlike joy from them!

If you want some quintessential, traditional British humour then definitely have a look into this book! I’m looking forward to being able to re-read this at a slower pace some time in the future!

My War Is Not Over

I got this book from a Goodreads giveaway and was so excited as I will read anything which is around the topic of WWII. Overall I ended up giving the book 3.5/5*.

I enjoyed reading this book, the first-hand experience provided by Harry Shindler about the horrors of the front line and the reality of war-torn Europe, along with finding out more about how WWII is still having an impact on families today. The book did become confusing at points, as there was no clear distinction between the two writers, either with different fonts or with title headings, meaning it could take a short while for me to realise that a section was from Shindler’s memories rather than Patucchi writing informatively about facts known about the time. If the difference between the two writers has been made more clear, the experience of reading this book would have been vastly more enjoyable and probably would’ve resulted in the book reaching at least 4* if not higher in my opinion.

It is definitely an important read, to ensure we don’t forget the atrocities which came from this war and how they still impact people to this day, with reverberations through time. It is also very interesting to those who enjoy the topic, just don’t expect smooth reading.

Second Generation, the story of a concentration camp survivor’s son


Firstly, I’d like to say thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eCopy of this graphic novel in return for an unbiased review. This graphic novel based around the Jewish persecution in WWII is a little different from other novels on the subject, not only is the art within drawn in a more humorous manner than usual, but the perspective is from that of the victim’s son. Second Generation tells the story of how Jews who suffered at the hands of the Nazis had an impact on their family around them once the nightmare of the concentration camps was far in their past.

It was so interesting to read how Michel interpreted his fathers’ experiences and how he felt alienated from his father due to his decision to withhold and disclose certain varying aspects of his life history, depending on the situation and the timing. It also affected what he and his siblings felt they could do in their childhoods, so not to affect their father. He mentions that he feels like he never had the chance to experience teenage angst because his fathers’ opportunity was taken by the Nazis, and despite this being a small issue it really impacts an individuals childhood experience and how their personalities are shaped. There was, for someone who has no family history of being affected by the Nazis, a surprising amount of impact passed down the generations to those who weren’t even born when the Nazis were in power. This was very sad but very interesting to learn about.

I really enjoyed this graphic novel, and although I am biased as I have a fascination with anything based around WWII I genuinely think this will be a book enjoyed by a large number of people and one that should be promoted more. A five star read for me.


Just Henry by Michelle Magorian

Just Henry is an engrossing book based around the time of WWII. The book follows the life of a young boy, with a father who died in the war, living with his mother, step-father, gran and younger sister and his days at school and his love of photography.

Due to the stigmatisation which was common in those days and enforced by his grandmother, Henry is tested when partnered with two boys in school as one is a bastard (born when his parents were not married) and the other has a deserter for a father. He also meets a woman whilst trying to get into an age restricted film at the cinema and soon becomes friends with her. Through help from his unlikely friend as well as from his mother, teacher and what he truly believes; Henry becomes friends with these two boys.

He also develops (see what I did there) a love for photography and through help from both his teacher and his unlikely friend he starts taking pictures and learning how to make the best of the limited number of photos.

This love of photography and his close new friendships turn out to be crucial during a plot twist involving his father, gran, sister and a lot of worry.

The twist within this novel will have you glued to the pages as Magorian again manages to reel the reader in and not let go, this novel will grab you from the start and you’ll love learning about life in the post-WWII period as well as seeing the changes which occur at this time and how the characters develop.

Recommended for:

Those who love the WWII era.

This is my favourite era in history, meaning that I fell in love with this book almost instantly. The plot is easy to follow but also interesting and seems to stick to the historical accuracy of the time. The book shows what life was like once the war ended and how the countries landscape was changed, not only physically but mentally as people adjusted to others who were different with more ease.

Age recommendation:

Young Adults+

This book is aimed at ‘young adult’ readers with language and themes which may be slightly too mature for younger readers but which is simple enough that it is understandable. I would suggest that the reading age is around 12+ although this will vary from person to person, and many adults will enjoy this book as I still love it myself after many years.

Sorry for not posting in a while, I’ve had a busy summer! I hope you are all having a great time while the nice(ish) weather lasts!

Comment what books you would like me to review next 🙂

Minus Me by Ingelin Rossland

This is an amazing book about a young girls life after she almost passes away at a diving competition. She is brought back by a mysterious boy who keeps appearing when she least expects it. This book will grab you with short, easy to read, chapters and an interesting plot with a major twist at the end.

I managed to finish this book in 2 hours whilst doing other things around the house, it is so absorbing and I would love to re-read this book a million times. Sadly I have an advanced publication meaning I have to return this to my book store where I work but I am contemplating purchasing the book once it is for sale in my store!

Recommended for:


This is very much a teen novel, I can imagine older readers finding the writing style too childish. However for those who like the teen style, such as myself, it is a very good book.

Age recommendation:


This book does have a plot which can upset readers, it made me cry and I’m an adult! So those giving to younger children should probably read this book first to ensure their child is ready to read it.

Comment what books you would like me to review next 🙂

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

This is an amazing heartbreaking story of two best friends in War time. The girls attempt to infiltrate France comes to a halt when their plane is hit by opposing fire and they cannot land. This book is split into two halves, one which focuses on “Verity”, who is captured by the Nazis, the other half focuses on the pilot of the plane – Maddie.

This book will draw you in and not let go until the very end, with one of the best plot twists I have read in a long time. This plot twist is unexpected and unpredictable, right until the moment it happens.

This book has so much detail crammed in that it is very hard to describe it without giving away the whole story! This is shown by the synopsis only being 4 lines long. This book is so good that I’m having to resist the urge to go back and re-read it all again!

Recommended for:

Those who like books based in WW2, action, drama and spies.

This book really captures the time period with Wein using many sources, which she references in the back of the book, to make the story-line as realistic as possible. This means that those who love this period in history (like me!) will thoroughly enjoy the book. There is a lot of action, drama and suspense within the story as well as an unexpected theme of spies which is integrated throughout.

Age recommendation:

Teens and up.

This book does have violent elements which are probably not appropriate for younger readers, however the style is suitable for both teens and adults alike who should vastly enjoy this book. As usual, if you are thinking about giving this to a younger child I would recommend reading it first so you can make your own judgments on whether the book is suitable for them. You may even find that you love the book yourself!

Comment what books you would like me to review next 🙂