The Genius Under the Table by Eugene Yelchin

Subtitle: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain.

I thought this was terrific. My only complaint is that it was too short and I wanted more! I haven’t read Yelchin’s other books, but I know he is an esteemed author who has won a Newbery Honor award. And I know the criteria for being a Newbery winner is being an American author, so I automatically knew that his story would end eventually with him moving here and becoming a citizen at some point.
Everything about this was SO fascinating. It’s just hard to believe that people lived like that and that they thought it was ok. Or, if they didn’t think it was ok, they couldn’t do anything about it.  Before the Berlin Wall came down I was pretty fascinated to imagine life in Communist countries and would have absolutely loved to read this book about someone around my age at the same time.

Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Carey Gilbreth

I LOVED this book when I was a kid. And it’s one of those books where certain things in it stuck with me. Whenever I see someone with elbows on the table I want to “Thump” them, whenever I hear boring prattle I want to say “not of general interest”, whenever Paul drives around a corner too fast I whisper in my head “not so fast, not so fast.” (It turns out that last one I never could remember where it especially came from, and it was in this book, which delightful to see. ) Sadly, neither of the kids or Paul has ever read it.
We recently took a trip to Virginia and this was the perfect opportunity to get everyone else in the family to have the same frame of reference as me. To my delight, they all enjoyed this very much (audiobook, of course.) and I was THRILLED to hear it all over again as it’s been quite a while. It really is a fascinating look at not just a large family, but the really the motion study business and Frank and Lillian’s careers.  And of course all kinds of interesting details about the time period.

Anyway, we all liked it a lot and hopefully we’ll listen to Bells on Their Toes next.