Welcome everyone to my first post for the Monday meme of It’s Monday, what am I reading, as usual I’m checking in with Sheila over at Book Journey
So what am I reading today ?
Remember the book Wraiths by a local author Una Darcy well I started that and I’m loving it so far. It’s such a wonderful treat to read about areas that are right beside me and I mean literally right beside me. The Lough Lene is up behind my house and Fore is in our parish. I’d recommend anyone to download a copy from amazon, at the moment it’s only available as a download for the kindle and I hear from Una herself that another book is nearly finished and continues on from where this one ends !
On audio I’m also listening to The House at Riverton by Kate Morton.
Last week I was reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I can’t tell you how much I loved this book, for me it was amazing and just like the story it’s amazing the power words and stories have to affect you.
I have my review here, warning it does contain spoilers so scroll down quickly if you don’t want to read them.
Very rarely do I bestow 5 stars on any book but when I do it’s not only where I think it has earned it but also because it deserves it, this is such a book.
If you are looking for a book with a happy ending or everything turning out right then this is not the book for you. It is not a sweetness and light book but that’s not saying its morbid and dark either because it’s not!
This book showed a side of Nazi Germany that we don’t often get to see. The side of the everyday ordinary German, who’s not a Jew or a Communist or a fanatical German, just ordinary, trying to get through each day in a war torn country and who are as much at risk as the Jews or Communists of the time.
The book is narrated by Death an ingenius decision by Markus Zusak I think. Not only do we get Liesel’s story but also we are subjected to Death’s thoughts and observations on human’s which are very insightful at times. He has a fascination for humans.We see how Death is obsessed by colours and sees them all around him. We see the care and attention he shows to each and every soul he collects. We know he hates his job but also sees how necessary it is. How could you dislike such a character who has been given this great personality. I also really loved the dry sense of humour Death was given.
Death tells us the story of Liesel from 1939-1943 from a book she wrote and one with which he has kept with him for many years. As he tells us the story we are often interrupted by his thoughts and he often offers spoilers. I can see how this would annoy some but I found this dis-jointed style suited the character of Death.
But it’s not only Death who I found to be a great character. I found all of Zusak’s characters to be well develped and interesting. From primary to secondary characters.
Liesel is a young Communist girl who get’s fostered in 1939 by the Hubermanns. She learns how cruel life can be. We see her learn to read and in the end she loves and teasures books. We see how in the face of danger she shows great kindness and courage. She learns to love fiercely those in her life despite all that is thrown at her.
Hans and Rosa Hubermann are two characters so full of integrity and courage. Who despite the dangers to themselves take in not only a Communist girl and love her like their own but also house Max the fist fighting Jew. They become to Liesel real and true parents.
Rudy Steiner, the boy with hair the colour of lemons. Rudy was my favourite character of all. He and Liesel became fast friends and he remained so through everything never wavering. He loved her and all he wanted was a kiss from her.
Max the fist fighting Jew who came to live in the Hubermanns basement because of a long ago promise that Hans made. I loved that there was no such thing as not honouring his promise and so Max came to stay with them. He and Liesel became firm friends and he gave her the gift of more words and storys with The Standover Man and The Word Shaker.
I could go on about the other characters as well, Frau Diller, Frau Holtzapfel, Tommy Mueller. Suffice to say Zusak created characters that were real and you ended up caring so much about them and what happened to them.
I can’t end this review without speaking about Markus Zusak’s great way with words. It’s poetic and lyrical. We get painted pictures in our minds of Death the haunted figure, fascinated by colours and drawn to children, children’s games of football in the street, we can even imagine Rudy painting himself black to race like Jesse Owens. Such vivid images and all from words on a page.
Some, for me, memorable quotes;
“A small fact:
You are going to die….does this worry you?”
“Please believe me when I tell you that I picked up each soul that day as if it were newly born. I even kissed a few weary, poisoned cheeks. I listened to their last, gasping cries. Their vanishing words. I watched their love visions and freed them from their fear.”
My favourite passage;
“She leaned down and looked at his lifeless face and Leisel kissed her best friend, Rudy Steiner, soft and true on his lips. He tasted dusty and sweet. He tasted like regret in the shadows of trees and in the glow of the anarchist’s suit collection. She kissed him long and soft, and when she pulled herself away, she touched his mouth with her fingers…She did not say goodbye. She was incapable, and after a few more minutes at his side, she was able to tear herself from the ground. It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on…”
My favourite quote;
“A SMALL PIECE OF TRUTH
I do not carry a sickle or scythe.
I only wear a hooded black robe when it’s cold.
And I don’t have those skull-like facial features you seem to enjoy pinning on me from a distance. You want to know what I truly look like? I’ll help you out. Find yourself a mirror while I continue.”
Lastly, in this book we are shown how for Liesel the power of words and books can change lives. I think everyone can relate to this. This may have been one of the best books you have read or it may not have been but I’ll bet that at some stage you’ve read or will read a book whos words will affect and change you!
This for me as you can gather was a 5 star book ! ( I will put in place this week my star ratings on the blog, I need to move those over. )
I also finished on audio Harlan Coben’s The Woods.
I’ve not done my review on this book yet and will have it next week for you.
Now that you’ve seen what I’ve read and will be reading this week, tell me what have you ?