Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Markus Zusak you are a word shaker indeed.....

The title of my blog should give away the fact that I love to read.  I love it so much that sometimes I feel like I am cheating on my family.  They understand that books are as much a part of me as breathing is for life, (at least I hope so) and some of them have become infected with the need for words and language as well.  My son keeps up with me at a pretty fierce pace and is always asking me for the next suggestion. 

Sometimes I read books that would be considered silly.  Other times I read books that require more thought and time.  No matter the type of book, for me the enjoyment is usually equal.  I love thinking about the writing style and the content.  There are times when I am impressed and times when I laugh and wonder how the book ever got published.  

Recently, I read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.   

I loved it.  I loved it.  I loved it. 

After finishing it, I had to sit and really think about it for a long time.  The story is set during WWII in Nazi Germany and is about a young girl who is sent to live with foster parents.  This girl, Liesel, finds her way among heartache, hunger, hatred, loss, but most importantly, love.  Sometimes this love is disguised and unrecognizable, but when she reflects back on her experience, she can see it for what it is.  The whole story is narrated by a very unlikely character, Death.  We are brought along with Death as he experiences, second hand, human emotions.  To me, he became a dear friend.    

I have read many comments of others who have read this book.  Some good, some not so good.  For me, the most fascinating thing about the book was also what was the most frustrating thing to those who did not like it.  It was the writing style Mark Zusak used. It was so new and refreshing that I followed my husband around the house reading bits and pieces hoping that he would hear the magic that was in the words.   

Here are a few examples:

Steam was rising weirdly from his clothes.  His hangover was visible.  It heaved itself to his shoulders and sat there like a bag of wet cement.....

Had he not lost his cigarettes to  Hans Hubermann, he wouldn't have despised him.  If he hadn't despised him, he might not have taken his place a few weeks later on a fairly innocuous road.  One seat, two men, a short argument and me.  It kills me sometimes, how people die......

"'My heart is so tired,'" the girl had said.  She was sitting in a chapel writing in her diary.
No, thought Liesel as she walked.  It's my heart that is tired.  A thirteen-year-old heart shouldn't feel like this......

The book thief did not retreat.  She took a few extra steps and sat down.  Her cold hands felt for her sleeves and a sentence slipped from her mouth.  "He's not dead yet."  The words landed on the table and positioned themselves in the middle.  All three people looked at them.  Half hopes didn't dare rise any higher.  He isn't dead yet.  He isn't dead yet.....

Liesel calculated that there were four more reading sessions like that with Frau Holtzapfel before the Jews were marched through Molching.  They were going to Dachau, to concentrate.....

Yes, I would recommend this book.  Maybe you will be as touched as I was.  Maybe you will have a crush on a narrator named Death like I did.  I know.  I am weird.


  1. Interesting. Speaking of crushes. It is a marathon of fictional crushes this week on my blog that all stemmed from this award that I received. I hope your drop in to check it out. There will be prizes of the button variety. And I did tag you a couple of weeks ago on HERE'S TO YOU THURSDAY. I don't know if you ever got that message. Anyway, hope you liked your dedication!

  2. I want to read it, too!
    Very interesting indeed.
    Death can be very sexy. After all, he so integrally linked to Life.
    Still, next time you have a torrid love affair with a fictional character please don't forget your blogged.
    We missed you!

  3. Fabulous review/commentary on a truly wonderful book. I keep intending to track down and read more Zusak but haven't yet gotten around to it.

  4. Robin, I am heading your way right now!

    Purple Cow, I will try to keep my head out of the clouds, but I'm glad I've got patient friends who will wait for me to finish daydreaming!

    Okie, Thank you. I'm also planning on reading more Zusak. I'm very curious to see if his writing style is always so intriguing.