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The Coded Book Reviews Of Stefanie Dreyfuss

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Stefanie Dreyfuss, who died last week at the age of 96, found a refuge in books. She had also been a refugee from Nazi Germany who escaped in 1939 and lived for eight years in Shanghai, China, where she worked at a lending library in the Jewish ghetto. That's where she began to read deeply and devotedly and remembered almost every title she read for the rest of her life by awarding it a review with her own distinct code. Some books were RP - readable piffle. Some were DNF - did not finish. A G rating was good, different, holds my attention. WOT was waste of time. Her daughter-in-law Lauren Tarshis and author of books for children posted some of her mother-in-law's reviews on Twitter. She told BuzzFeed she experienced many reversals in her life. She was incredibly resilient and brave. I think that books were a great source of strength, reassurance, distraction and identity for her. Stefanie Dreyfuss might have put it in her own code - NBAA - not bad at all.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANDREW BIRD'S "LIT FROM UNDERNEATH") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.