Book #61 was City of Thieves by David Benioff. The back of the book reads:
During the Nazisâ€™ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughterâ€™s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.
By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.
The great thing about this novel is that it taught me a lot about what life may have been like in Leningrad (and other parts of Russia) during World War II. The not-so-great thing is that I started listening to this without really reading anything about it, so I completely thought that it really was based on the author’s grandfather. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed to find out it wasn’t the case! But, true or not, this was a great story. Something as simple as the search for some eggs for a wedding cake turns into an adventure that changes Levâ€™s life. Kolyaâ€™s â€œvoiceâ€ was fantastic as he vacillated between being funny, serious, and cocky. Thereâ€™s a lot of sadness here, some of it explored and some of it glossed over. Benioff was smart to frame this as a grandfather telling his story to his grandson, because he made me believe — in Lev and in happy endings.
Audiobook length: 8hrs 29min | Approximate word count: 68,000
Used in these Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge 2009;