Mrs Ashwell also had a very productive reading time during the Christmas break and thoroughly enjoyed the books she read. The first is:
“Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. Born a poor black tobacco farmer, her cancer cells – taken without her knowledge – became a multimillion-dollar industry and one of the most important tools in medicine. Yet Henrietta’s family did not learn of her ‘immortality’ until more than twenty years after her death, with devastating consequences …Balancing the beauty and drama of scientific discovery with dark questions about who owns the stuff our bodies are made of, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is an extraordinary journey in search of the soul and story of a real woman, whose cells live on today in all four corners of the world. “A fascinating, harrowing, necessary book”. (Hilary Mantel, “Guardian”). “A heartbreaking account of racism and injustice”. (“Metro”). “A fine book…a gripping read…The book has deservedly been a huge bestseller in the US. It should be here, too”. (“Sunday Times”).” NielsenBookDataOnline
and the second is:
“In the winter of 1991, at a concert in Krakow, an older woman with a marvellously pitched violin meets a fellow musician who is instantly captivated by her instrument. When he asks her how she obtained it, she reveals the remarkable story behind its origin…Imprisoned at Auschwitz, the notorious concentration camp, Daniel feels his humanity slipping away. Treasured memories of the young woman he loved and the prayers that once lingered on his lips become hazier with each passing day. Then a visit from a mysterious stranger changes everything, as Daniel’s former identity as a crafter of fine violins is revealed to all. The camp’s two most dangerous men use this information to make a cruel wager: If Daniel can build a successful violin within a certain number of days, the Kommandant wins a case of the finest burgundy. If not, the camp doctor, a torturer, gets hold of Daniel. And so, battling exhaustion, Daniel tries to recapture his lost art, knowing all too well the likely cost of failure. Written with lyrical simplicity and haunting beauty and interspersed with chilling, actual Nazi documentation, “The Auschwitz Violin” is more than just a novel: it is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of beauty, art, and hope to triumph over the darkest adversity.” NielsenBookDataOnline
Two extremely powerful books – they sound absolutely fascinating, I will put them on my reading list. Mrs Ashwell is currently reading The hare with amber eyes by Edmund de Waal, winner of the Costa Book Awards Prize for Biography.