City of Women by David R. Gillham

Monday, August 6, 2012

Title: City of Women
Author: David R. Gillham
Pages: 385
Genre: Fiction, Historical, 1940's Berlin
Publisher: Amy Einhorn/G.P. Putnam's Sons (Penguin)
Pub. Date: August 7, 2012

City of Women tells the story of the women left behind in the city of Berlin in 1943 when the majority of the men are off to join the war efforts. Sigrid Schroder lives with her meddling and critical mother-in-law while her husband, Kaspar, has gone off to war. But even before he left, Sigrid had been having an affair with a man who she now thinks about more than her husband. This is scandalous enough as it is, but her illicit lover also happens to be Jewish.

Sigrid is a good German citizen, though she isn't always quite sure what is true and not regarding Germany's place in the war. But then when she's at the cinema one day, her favorite place to spend time, she is thrown into a scandalous situation by the young girl who nannies the children downstairs from Sigrid. The mysterious antics of this young girl irritate and anger the fairly proper Sigrid but ultimately leads her to the biggest realizations she has about what is really happening in the world.

Sigrid later becomes faced with the decision to shelter Jews and others who need to hide. She's horrified at the thought of defying the rules as well as the missions of the city's men but also horrified at what she slowly realizes is happening to these people when they are found by the Gestapo... especially when it becomes personal and she believes she may be hiding the family of her secret lover.

I loved this book. The writing was beautiful and engaging and really created a sensuous atmosphere that I immersed myself in every time I opened the book. It was about community, friendships, betrayals, daily life and its sensualities, moral arguments from personal and political viewpoints, and danger. It demonstrated the strength and courage of some of these women but also the cattiness of many of the women. It's about women living in a really difficult time and place and having to make some very difficult decisions. City of Women is up there with one of the best of the year for me so far.

July in Review

Friday, August 3, 2012


Reading and Reviewing
I posted the following reviews this month:
Only one of those was actually read this month. The only other book I read in the month of July that I have not yet posted a review for is City of Women by David R. Gillham. I'll post that one in a few days.

My reading has slowed significantly lately because my focus has been on so many other things. While it isn't conducive to blogging, it's been sort of nice. I tend to be an "all or nothing" thinker at times which is not healthy, and I, unfortunately apply it to my hobbies. So it got to the point where I viewed everything as cutting into my reading time including work and even social engagements and interactions. That's sort of ridiculous! So it's nice to feel free and like I've given myself permission to just enjoy other things. But along the way I've had a lot going on so I haven't been reading much at all. Not to mention I've had reading ADD lately... I've started and not finished so many books not because the books aren't good but because I find something else I want to read even more! I'm reading several books, but the one I've focused the most on lately is Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain which I was soooo excited about. After several days I'm only halfway through!

So the other things I've been focusing on are largely work... I go through phases where I'm all caught up and feel fine relaxing and reading, but I also go through phases where the work is really hard to keep up with. I'm also registering soon to take my licensure test for the state of Florida so once that is scheduled I'll be spending a lot of time studying for that! I also have begun focusing a lot on my health and well-being which has included signing up and actually going to the gym. I'm doing pretty well and while I have some informal goals I'd like to achieve, my main goal is to stay active and just be healthy! 

So along with this new take on reading, I've also sort of changed my "philosophy" again. With wanting to do other things, I have even less time to read all the wonderful books out there so it's even more pertinent that I read what I absolutely want to and not feel pressure to read new books. I sort of envy my husband this... he reads so many randomly interesting books, some classics, some new, etc. and there is no pressure to read the latest and greatest. I'll keep trying to aim for this, though it's so hard to battle the temptation of new releases!

Les Mis...???
Earlier this month I mentioned trying to take on Les Miserables... somewhere along the line I actually forgot that I was reading this. So I haven't even looked at the book in a while. I think I'll still keep plugging along when I remember to, but it isn't something I'm going to completely focus on. Maybe I'll be able to get it read by December in time for the movie... maybe not. ;)

Anne of Green Gables read-a-long
Not too long ago, Kari at The Five Borough Book Review mentioned wanting to re-read the entire Anne of Green Gables series and maybe doing an informal read-a-long. I read Anne several times as a child/adolescent. I just adored that book. But I never did read the entire series, so I agreed to read along with Kari, reading about one book a month starting in August. I can't wait to get started!

That's about all I've got for this month! I'm still reading your blogs but have been getting behind in commenting. In fact, sometimes I read and then go to do something else and have to remind myself it would nice to post the actual thoughts I had in my head as a comment, LOL.