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Horse Sanctuary
Horse Sanctuary
by Allison Milionis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.08
26 used & new from CDN$ 21.79

5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Book for All Animal Lovers, Dec 6 2013
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This review is from: Horse Sanctuary (Hardcover)
As someone involved in animal rescue, I found this book utterly compelling. But I believe it will appeal to all animal lovers, many of whom may not be aware of the animal rescue world, and in this case, specifically the world of horse and donkey rescue.

The horse world is full of horror -- animals discarded when they outlive their usefulness, or left to suffer from neglect and abuse, only to end up terrified in kill lots or shipped long distances without food or water to slaughterhouses.

Against this backdrop, heroic souls work to save as many as they can. The book highlights the personal stories of people who get involved in rescue, often giving up comfortable lives to do so, as well as many inspiring tales of individual animals who were saved through the efforts of their rescuers.

The photos are gorgeous and in many cases tell the story even better than the words do. Not a cheap book, but still worth every penny. It would make a great gift for your favorite horse lover, and I hope it will move other readers to get involved in the world of animal rescue.

A Stone for Benjamin
A Stone for Benjamin
Price: CDN$ 3.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Deeply Moving Story, Dec 6 2013
Author Fiona Gold Kroll began her quest with a photo and a misspelled name, and from those slim beginnings she determinedly sought to bring her great-uncle Benjamin's life and story to light.

Benjamin, his wife and children vanished in France during the time of the Vichy government in WWII and presumably perished in the Holocaust, but his surviving family members didn't know for certain what became of them. The reader is taken along on the author's journey -- both virtual, as she tracks down crucial information via the Internet; and physical, as she journeys to Poland, France and Israel. Bit by bit Fiona Gold Kroll uncovers the heart-rending details of happened to Benjamin and his three children. It's as if we're there with her, seeing what she sees and feeling what she feels.

As well as photos, the author includes copies of some of the documents she came across related to the family's fate, and I found these especially haunting. They make you realize how other human beings got caught up unquestioningly in the obscenity that was the Holocaust; how sending people to their deaths became simply a mundane part of their daily work lives.

In this very moving, well-written book, one writer honors and brings back to life a man and his family whose fate would otherwise have remained a mystery. In so doing, Fiona Gold Kroll reminds us of all the other lives tragically lost during this horrendous period of history.

Half-Blood Blues: A Novel
Half-Blood Blues: A Novel
by Esi Edugyan
Edition: Paperback
75 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting story, beautifully told, Nov. 26 2011
Esi Edugyan's novel was shortlisted for 4 major literary prizes and won one of them, the Giller Prize, for good reason. The story focuses on jazz musicians in Europe between the the two world wars, and sheds light on a fascinating but little known quirk of history: black Germans, the offspring of German women and African soldiers from French colonies who were sent to occupy the Rhineland after WWI. One of these, Hiero, is a musical genius and the plot revolves in part around him and his mysterious disappearance.

The narrator, Sid, is an African-American bass player playing jazz in Germany in a legendary combo along with Hiero. He's been criticized by at least one influential critic for not being very likeable, but that has surely never been a criterion for creating memorable characters in fiction. His "voice" is distinctive and I found him highly engaging, perhaps all the more so for his failings as a human being. These in fact turn out to be crucial to the story, which shifts from just before WWII to 1992, when Sid and the other surviving musician from the band travel back to Berlin.

Another reviewer complained here on Amazon that the book is littered with typos and errors: I don't think so. I suspect that person hasn't caught on to the slang and near-dialect the characters use, which subtly change depending on whether it's 1940 or 1992. (E.g., Sid often says "you" instead of "your," drops his "g"s on words like "going" in the earlier sections, etc.) As well, the author has stated in interviews that some of the slang is based on written accounts by jazz musicians of the period, and some of it, such as the nickname "boots" for Nazi soldiers, she made up. The writing flows along with its own rhythms and quirks, like improvised jazz.

All in all, a compelling read!

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