#ATSOReadathon

READ THE WORLD – Czech Republic: How I Came to Know Fish by Ota Pavel

How I Came to Know Fish is Ota Pavel’s memoir of his childhood in Czexhoslovakia, fishing with his father and his Uncle Prosek on the peaceful rivers and ponds of his country. But everything changes when the Nazis invade – Pavel learns to steal their confiscated fish back from the SS while his family still tries to provide for him and his brothers.

How I Came to Know Fish is a very short book, just over 130 pages long it’s a simple story about an innocent childhood and how that changes during war. It’s kind of a love story about fishing and will strike a chord more with those who love to fish and know the ins and outs of the best way to catch different fish.

While I was not particularly interested in the fishing part of the book (mainly as I have no real knowledge or interest in fishing myself) it was still well-written and accessible for fishing novices like me. It was when the memoir was more about how life was like in Czechoslovakia when the Nazi’s invaded that the story picked up for me. Patel recounts events quite bluntly, things like the fact his father and brothers were ordered to go to work camps is almost a passing footnote. As a Brit when we learn about World War II in school we largely learn about Britain’s part in the war, Nazi Germany itself but very rarely learn about the countries the Nazis invaded and how they controlled the people there.

Seeing how things changed for the Pavel’s, a Jewish family, even in subtle ways like the fact they were no longer allowed to keep pets was truly eye-opening. And also, atrocities like the massacre of the village of Lidice, an event I’d never heard of but Ota Patel could see the smoke from the ruins of the village from his hometown affected whole generations.

If you like a simply written story about a family, their love of fishing and how life can change during war then maybe pick up How I Came to Know Fish, it won’t take a lot of time to read at all.

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All The Short Ones Readathon TBR

All The Short Ones is a month long readathon hosted by Jessica at Novel Cravings. The aim of the readathon is to read as many of your short unread books, those that are 300 pages or less, during the month of March – they can also be novellas, poetry collections, comics and graphic novels.

I head of this readathon via Kristen’s Twitter when she shared her TBR and I thought it was a great way to get reading more books. I’ve nearly finished reading Hiding in Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah so once I’ve finished that these are the books I’ll probably be picking up.

all-the-small-ones-readathon-tbr

At 157 pages there’s Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut, a classic I’ve been meaning to read for ages, How I Came to Know Fish by Ota Pavel has 136 pages and would count towards my Read the World Project as would Nineveh by Henrietta Rose-Innes (236 pages) and The Fencing Master by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (212 pages). Then I have some comic trade paperbacks – Saga Volume Six by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan, Mockingbird Volume One: I Can Explain by Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk and Ibrahim Moustafa and The Fix Volume One: Where Beagles Dare by Nick Spencer, Steve Lieber, Ryan Hill and Nic J Shaw. I have more unread graphic novels that I can pick up if I manage to read all these and/or fancy something a bit different.

I’m looking forward to seeing how I do. My main goal is to read at least four of these but really, I’ve got near enough the whole month so that, and more, should be doable.

There’s still time to sign up if you’re interested in taking part – you can do so here and sign ups close on the 7th. You can also use the hashtag #ATSOReadathon on Twitter and Instagram to see others progress and to share your own.