“You could approach this several ways. I’ll probably list my favorite childhood books with maybe a paragraph about each book: why I loved it, how old I was when I read it, where I got the book, etc. You could also just pick one childhood favorite and review it as you would any other book. Or, if you’re fast, you could make up a meme other weekly geeks might like to use.”I decided to pick a specific childhood favourite of mine and write about it: Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl. Between the ages of 9 and 14 I must have read it at least once every year. Probably more. And I know, one of the pillars of Holocaust literature does not sound like the most common reading material for a girl so young.
The thing is, at the time the book did not feel heavy. I'd go as far as saying that it did not sadden me. The knowledge that she had died did, but I didn’t know the horrifying details until later. I’d read the book again and again to evoke her – it was her company I craved. I was a lonely child, and she felt like a friend. Anyone who’s read the book knows that, despite the dreadful circumstances in which Anne Frank lived, there is a lot in it that is normal, or as normal as it can be. She lived in hiding, in constant fear of being caught, and yet – and this is what’s so striking – she still experienced many of the same emotions girls her age experience. There was a lot about her I identified with – her curiosity, her enthusiasm for books and stories and writing, her tempestuous relationship with her mother, her first love, her daydreams, her desire to become a writer. She inspired me keep journals, something I did obsessively in my pre- and early teen years, something that got me through a lot.
I loved her. In a way she was like an imaginary friend. Except she was real, and she had died a particularly cruel death at age 16 because she was Jewish. I think that having read her diary so often and so young is one of the reasons why I have such a big interest in Holocaust literature. The book taught me at a young age that unbelievably cruel things are done to innocent people. To good people. To people full of potential. And – how can I say this without sounding silly, or presumptuous, or incredibly insensitive regarding those who indeed have a personal connection with Holocaust – it made WW2 feel personal in a way. Because inside my head she was my friend, and she had been killed. What I’m trying to say was that it taught me compassion, and it made me realize at an emotional level that those who had died were real people, and not just numbers.
Despite its bleak topic, I can honestly say I have fond memories of this book. Two years ago I revisited it after a number of years away, and it made me smile and it made me cry and it made me feel as close to her as I did as a child. What made me pick it up again was realizing that one of my very favourite albums, Neutral Milk Hotel’s In an Aeroplane Over the Sea, had been inspired by Anne Frank’s Diary. So I’ll leave you with “Holland, 1045”
The only girl I've ever loved
Was born with roses in her eyes
But then they buried her alive
One evening 1945
With just her sister at her side
And only weeks before the guns
All came and rained on everyone
Now she's a little boy in Spain
Playing pianos filled with flames
On empty rings around the sun
All sing to say my dream has come
And it's so sad to see the world agree
That they'd rather see their faces fill with flies
All when I'd want to keep white roses in their eyes
Kim tagged me for the Blogging Tips Meme she created. This meme is extremely useful to all of us, and plus, if you answer it you will be entered to win a $15 Amazon giftcard. Isn’t that extremely generous of Kim? So come on everyone, share your tips!
My tip is this: make your blog as easy to navigate as possible. Nothing frustrates me more than coming across a blog I really like but in which the only way to access the content that is not on the first page is to press the “older posts” button repeatedly. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
How can you make your blog easier to navigate? Well, first of all, a search box is very useful. Secondly, I’d suggest having links to your archives and your tags in your sidebars – these don’t necessarily have to take lots of space, since you can choose to display them as a drop-down menu. For detailed guides about how to do this and much, much more (including how to add a horizontal navigation menu (aka tabs) to blogger, which I've recently done!), consult Tips for New Bloggers. They have the best advice, and I wouldn't have been able to do half the things I did to my blog without them
Mrs. S tagged me for the 6 Random Things About Me Meme that’s been going around, but I’ve been sitting here for 10 minutes and can’t come up with one, let alone six, things worth sharing. So I’ll apologize and leave it for another day.
And finally! The 11th Edition of the Bookworms Carnival is up at Scotter Chronicles. The theme is Urban Fantasy, and there are lots of yummy posts to be discovered. The next edition of the Carnival will be hosted by me, and the theme is fairy tales. Tomorrow I’ll post the official info page and tell you all the details.