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NEELIXNKES's Photo NEELIXNKES Posts: 6,386
12/6/12 1:07 P

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I have two chapters left and hope to finish it today. I had to put it down as I wasn't feeling well and this one takes more concentration than I have been able to give it. I agree SHESMITH1 that Antonina's pregnancy seemed very disjointed and the time elapsed seemed like forever during those chapters. I also wish there had been more inclusion of the actual journal entries.

I didn't look at the reviews on goodreads before starting this book but they appear to be pretty mixed.


~Deb


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12/3/12 3:54 P

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Finished it. By the end I was wishing the book was a publication of Antonina's journal (like Anne Frank's diary and/or Elie Wiesel's Night), rather than someone else's edification of her journal. I think it would have been more real, more poignant.

I did learn a lot about Warsaw's involvement in WWII, and high-lighted a lot of items I want to follow up on. I guess those things alone might define a successful book, regardless of the ease (or lack of) of readability.

Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. A. Einstein


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11/30/12 4:32 P

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I'm 3/4 of the way through, but my kindle died and my charger is at the beach :( I think DH's Blackberry charger will fit it - will give it a go. I would like to finish it for the sake of finishing it.

I have to say that I have found it a very tedious read. The story is intriguing, but the writing is just too much. I think the author has packed several books into one. I found myself questioning my memory about things that I thought happened earlier, but became buried in minutiae, then would come back into mainstream topic as if it had been the main theme of every page since last mentioned. That probably doesn't make sense - an example: Antonina's pregnancy. She was on bedrest, then she was out talking to German soldiers, then she was back on bedrest, then she walked in the snow to her relative's for a bath. Between all those episodes, I questioned if I had confused characters and someone else (one of the Guests) was pregnant instead. That was the longest recorded pregnancy I've ever read about! :)

Anyway, I do like the story, just not the writing style....

Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. A. Einstein


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KATOFORNOW's Photo KATOFORNOW Posts: 644
11/28/12 12:57 P

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I started the book once I got it mid month, then got busy and forgot all that I had read so started it again...then took it with me when I went away for thanksgiving but never took it out of my suitcase!
so.. I may give it a go yet again and not sure I'll finish by the end of the month..what..two days left? I can read fast once I do get into something so we shall see.

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MICHELELYNN777's Photo MICHELELYNN777 Posts: 4,792
11/28/12 9:16 A

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Sadly, I am only 25% through the book. Not looking good to finish by the end of the month. I agree with Krystal~not my favorite genre. I wish I could skim read like Neelixnkes, but I am one of those people who has to read every word~lol! It's always good to challenge ourselves with something different, though. I will keep reading to see how the story ends.



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NEELIXNKES's Photo NEELIXNKES Posts: 6,386
11/27/12 8:14 P

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I'm about halfway through with the book now. I have found at certain points I am just skimming but I am interested in finding out what happens. I told my DH that I thought he might enjoy the book as he always interested in learning about the WWII era. It is unusual that the book flips from being like a Dr Doolittle atmosphere to being heavily impacted by the war. I was sad that they lost Badger and Morys.

~Deb


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11/27/12 12:35 P

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I am just about finished with the book now. I am glad I went out of my normal comfort zone when I suggested the book, but know that I may not return to this type of book again in the near future, simply for the sake that its taken me all month to get through it, so I know my mind isnt really into it. However, I have enjoyed getting to know the family and see how things play out.


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GLORYANDME's Photo GLORYANDME SparkPoints: (24,823)
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11/19/12 9:21 A

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DR1939 I'm sure your visit to Poland most certainly helped make the story come alive for you. To actually have been in the country where the book takes places is so fascinating. I liked when we read "Growing up Amish" and the author talked about places such as Lancaster, Dutch Wonderland, Hershey, PA . . . I was familiar with them all and liked that I knew of and had been to these places. I felt more connected to the book because of that.

I have been slowly making my way through this book and am enjoying it. At times it is a little too descriptive for my taste and I will skip over a paragraph or two. I found it quite disturbing when the German Vet, who promised to help Jan, selected certain animals that he wanted for his own zoo in Germany, then brought his drunk friends to the zoo and went on a so-called hunting expedition . . . shooting and killing many of the others while they were caged. Such brutal times. I can only imagine the sadness that Jan, his wife and son must have felt since these animals were family members to them.



Edited by: GLORYANDME at: 11/19/2012 (09:31)
If you want the people around you to change,
change yourself first.



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11/19/12 7:37 A

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I've gotten up to chapter 20something (read last night before bed and forgot to check which chapter I was on). Is definitely a sad, heartbreaking tale, but I am also interested enough to keep reading. At times I get a little eh with it and don't want to continue, but I'm so far into it I can't just stop :)

Krystal
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MICHELELYNN777's Photo MICHELELYNN777 Posts: 4,792
11/15/12 9:04 A

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Just finished chapter 6. Reading about all the animals killed or displaced is already heartbreaking and I am not looking forward to the cruelty that is sure to come from the Nazi's toward the Jewish people and those who help them. I want to read to see what happens, but it's hard to make myself pick it up knowing it won't be pleasant.

I saw one description of the book that said “A lovely story about the Holocaust might seem like a grotesque oxymoron. But in The Zookeeper’s Wife, Diane Ackerman proves otherwise. Here is a true story --- of human empathy and its opposite --- that is simultaneously grave and exuberant, wise and playful. Ackerman has a wonderful tale to tell, and she tells it wonderfully.” --- Washington Post Book World

So, I will keep reading...



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NEELIXNKES's Photo NEELIXNKES Posts: 6,386
11/14/12 7:09 P

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Finishing up another book and will hopefully have this one started soon.

~Deb


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11/14/12 11:47 A

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Although I don't often read the end anymore, I believe that knowing the outcome is not the goal in a novel, rather it is how that end came to be.

 
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KATOFORNOW's Photo KATOFORNOW Posts: 644
11/14/12 10:36 A

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Haven't started yet either but hope to today; so have not read any comments as of yet though did notice there are some spoiler alerts and thank you for labeling them spoiler alerts..greatly appreciated. However, when a book or movie gets tense I sometimes go online and seek out spoiler alerts and read them, and at times, rarely, I read the end of the book before finishing! horrors, I know. As a former librarian I should know better, but I figure life itself is fraught with unknowns so I allow myself to read the endings at rare times..always hoping for 'happy ever afters'!

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SIGNAL38's Photo SIGNAL38 Posts: 1,714
11/13/12 8:53 P

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I haven't started reading it yet. I have a few other books I was reading but I'm almost done with them now. I hope I can get into this book...other posts say it's slow at first but I can't start a book and not finish it so I should be okay.

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11/10/12 8:09 P

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ALERT--Potential spoilers! I have finished the book and enjoyed it.

About 8 years ago I spent 2 weeks in Poland, one week in Warsaw at the Warsaw Agricultural University and another week split between Zakopane and Krakow. We had a "touristic" tour of Warsaw on one of the days plus some of us who were not as busy were taken around town one day by our student "handlers." We visited the Old Town along with numerous other sites. At the Old Town we were told that when the Germans retreated they bombed everything to the ground. I have postcards showing that. This wasn't just the result of the war but a deliberate effort to leave Poland bare. They set explosives in the buildings as they left. We walked through the largest park in Warsaw, Łazienki Park. Most of the palaces that existed prior to WWII had been destroyed but the Belvedere Palace still stands. Our guide showed us the holes that were drilled for the explosives. They were not ignited because the Russian Army arrived quicker than expected. We saw the momument in the ghetto area that was mentioned in the book. One of the most interesting things was a plaza showing the Home Army going down into the sewers and then coming out. As they exited the Germans were there to shoot them. Unfortunately we were not taken to the zoo. On one of the weekends we spent a day at a forest preserve outside of Warsaw. I don't think it was the one mentioned in the book. We were not told anything about the animals, only about the trees and plants. We had a meal in an old hunting lodge with a painted wooden ceiling. It was very impressive.

Zakopane did not show any evidence of destruction but we had no guided tour of the area. Everything was very new although quite rustic. The Old Town area of Krakow (our hotel was inside the walls) was original. The German officer who oversaw Krakow during the war worked hard to keep the Old Town safe and did not destroy it as he left.

As you can probably guess the book resonated with me.



Edited by: DR1939 at: 11/10/2012 (20:10)
 
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OFF938's Photo OFF938 Posts: 881
11/10/12 10:00 A

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Now I've read about the hunting expedition. Hope I can take the brutality portrayed in this story. To read about fictional brutality is one thing, but to know that it really happened to real people? So distressing!

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OFF938's Photo OFF938 Posts: 881
11/9/12 8:47 P

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Just reached the part where they are being visited by their Nazi "friend." Am scared to see what happens next!

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GLORYANDME's Photo GLORYANDME SparkPoints: (24,823)
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11/9/12 1:18 P

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Picked up my copy . . . only had a chance to read the first 5 pages. Hopefully, the weekend will bring me more time to read!

If you want the people around you to change,
change yourself first.



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ALIHIKES's Photo ALIHIKES Posts: 1,467
11/8/12 11:33 A

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Very interesting book so far. the first part was a little slow-- I skipped ahead and wow it is really gripping. Really heartrending and inspiring.

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OFF938's Photo OFF938 Posts: 881
11/7/12 8:42 P

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Starting to get into the meat of the story. Wow!

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11/7/12 9:04 A

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Library emailed me and I can pick it up tonight!

If you want the people around you to change,
change yourself first.



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OFF938's Photo OFF938 Posts: 881
11/6/12 8:37 P

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I'm all caught up in the story of the blitzkrieg being inflicted upon Poland. I cannot imagine having to live through that. Some of the descriptions are heartbreaking.

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KSCHRAUT's Photo KSCHRAUT SparkPoints: (46,254)
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11/6/12 1:34 P

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Picking up pace now. Had to pause for a bit cause another book I had out from library was due today so I finished that over the last two days and picked back up with Zookeepers Wife today.

I will admit, when I suggested this book, I knew it would be something new to my normal reading list, so I know it is probably going to take me a little while to get through it.

That being said, I am really enjoying it and gives me a new perspective on some history I learned throughout school, etc.

Krystal
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SHESMITH1's Photo SHESMITH1 SparkPoints: (44,561)
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11/6/12 8:26 A

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Through 3 chapters - this book is making me slow down my reading. Initially I was a little perturbed by all the words, finding them unnecessary and requiring me to read and reread certain passages. Then I decided to treat it as poetry, and appreciate the author's talent at description. This is making it much more enjoyable.

Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. A. Einstein


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SIGNAL38's Photo SIGNAL38 Posts: 1,714
11/5/12 11:18 P

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My copy arrived in the mail today. Will start reading it tonight. emoticon

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OFF938's Photo OFF938 Posts: 881
11/5/12 8:27 P

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I've made it to the 5th chapter. I am amazed at Jan's vision - he truly envisioned so many things about how a zoo should be structured and managed that we take for granted today. I haven't even gotten to the part about their war efforts and I am already in awe of this couple!

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MICHELELYNN777's Photo MICHELELYNN777 Posts: 4,792
11/5/12 9:47 A

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Just finished chapter 1. Agree with OFF~lots of description of the setting, still getting a feeling about the characters and adjusting to the writing style. Looking forward to the story unfolding.

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OFF938's Photo OFF938 Posts: 881
11/4/12 5:35 P

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Character development still in its infancy. Interesting but am still getting a feel for style and context. Looking forward to getting into it more once I get home from dinner with friends.

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OFF938's Photo OFF938 Posts: 881
11/3/12 7:23 P

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Picked up my copy this afternoon. I will get started on it either tonight or tomorrow. Just 40 pages left of my current book, so timing couldn't be better!

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MICHELELYNN777's Photo MICHELELYNN777 Posts: 4,792
11/3/12 9:36 A

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Available to pick up at my library today~now I know what I will be doing this afternoon while hubby is golfing :)

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NEELIXNKES's Photo NEELIXNKES Posts: 6,386
11/2/12 3:18 P

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It's on hold for me, just need to swing by the library and pick it up.

~Deb


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KATOFORNOW's Photo KATOFORNOW Posts: 644
11/2/12 3:05 P

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got it, too...but have another book discussion group meeting wed and just rec'd 16 pages! of questions to go through for that discussion, so that's what I'll be doing first.

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KALIOPPE's Photo KALIOPPE Posts: 570
11/2/12 4:29 A

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Got it. Will start reading tonight.

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OFF938's Photo OFF938 Posts: 881
11/1/12 9:27 P

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The library had quite a few copies available so I am hoping to have it by Monday. I'll catch up as quick as I can!

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KSCHRAUT's Photo KSCHRAUT SparkPoints: (46,254)
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11/1/12 8:56 P

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Started reading it tonight. Just got to chapter 3, but so far I'm liking it. It's a different kind of book from what I normally read, which is part of the reason why I suggested it. Can't wait till everyone starts reading :)

Krystal
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"Teachers are not in it for the income...
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"It's not about the number of times you fall down...
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SIGNAL38's Photo SIGNAL38 Posts: 1,714
11/1/12 3:53 P

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"The Zookeeper's Wife" was available on paperbackswap.com, so I requested a copy today. My request was accepted and mailed already! I saw "The Language of Flowers" at Target today, so I bought it to read until "The Zookeeper's Wife" arrives. emoticon

Edited by: SIGNAL38 at: 11/1/2012 (18:25)
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GLORYANDME's Photo GLORYANDME SparkPoints: (24,823)
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11/1/12 3:52 P

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Put in my request with my library. Doesn't look like there is a wait for it.

If you want the people around you to change,
change yourself first.



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11/1/12 10:50 A

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Got it today! Will start reading tonight after work!

Krystal
Worcester MA - EST
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"Teachers are not in it for the income...
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"It's not about the number of times you fall down...
it's about the number of times you get back up."


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KALIOPPE's Photo KALIOPPE Posts: 570
11/1/12 10:44 A

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Count me in. I'm going to get it today.

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11/1/12 8:18 A

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Heading out for a walk and will swing into library to see if I can pick it up :)

Krystal
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"Teachers are not in it for the income...
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"It's not about the number of times you fall down...
it's about the number of times you get back up."


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MICHELELYNN777's Photo MICHELELYNN777 Posts: 4,792
11/1/12 7:59 A

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Requested a copy from the library. Hope it comes in soon!

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11/1/12 7:31 A

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For the month of November we will be reading "The Zookeeper's Wife" by Diane Ackerman, which was suggested by Krystle.

Post any and all discussions, comments and questions in this thread! Looking forward to everyone's participation. Sounds like a great read! emoticon




If you want the people around you to change,
change yourself first.



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