LBC read for March: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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22.2.2013 -I first knew about this book by seeing a man reading it on the train home from Leeds to Bramley about 4 or 5 years ago. I am always nosy when I see people reading on the bus or train incase it’s a future read. I tried reading it when I first got it but I don’t think it was the right time. I did put it on my 33 to read this year and put it into the ‘hat’ and it was my second book for reads at bookclub. Hopefully this one will go down better than Revolutionary Road (I love that book!) I have roughly two weeks to read it and I know that sounds a long time but I don’t want to rush it, plus I have loads on at the moment and I really want to enjoy this book I’ve looked forward to it for ages. so here’s a start of a review or thinkings of the book. Warning there maybe *SPOILERS*

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What an opening!!!

 Blurb from Amazon

Book Description

The internationally bestselling story of a young German girl who steals books, of her family and the Jewish boxer hidden in their basement as they struggle to survive in Nazi Germany when the bombs begin to fall.

Amazon Review

‘The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak was the best-selling debut literary novel of the year 2007, selling over 400,000 copies. The author is a prize-winning writer of children’s books, and this, his first novel for adults, proved to be a triumphant success. The book is extraordinary on many levels: moving, yet restrained, angry yet balanced — and written with the kind of elegance found all too rarely in fiction these days. The book’s narrator is nothing less than Death itself, regaling us with a remarkable tale of book burnings, treachery and theft. The book never forgets the primary purpose of compelling the reader’s attention, yet which nevertheless is able to impart a cogent message about the importance of words, particularly in those societies which regard the word as dangerous (the book is set during the Nazi regime, but this message is all too relevant in many places in the world today).

Nine-year-old Liesel lives with her foster family on Himmel Street during the dark days of the Third Reich. Her Communist parents have been transported to a concentration camp, and during the funeral for her brother, she manages to steal a macabre book: it is, in fact, a gravediggers’ instruction manual. This is the first of many books which will pass through her hands as the carnage of the Second World War begins to hungrily claim lives. Both Liesel and her fellow inhabitants of Himmel Street will find themselves changed by both words on the printed page and the horrendous events happening around them.’

“***HERE IS A SMALL FACT***

You are going to die 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall. ***SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION*** This novel is narrated by Death. It’s a small story, about: *a girl *an accordionist *Some fanatical Germans *A Jewish fist fighter *And quite a lot of thievery Another thing you should know: * Death will visit the Book Thief three times . . .”

Opening lines of the book:

Here is a small fact: You are going to die.

 I am in all truthfulness attempting to be cheerful about this whole topic, though most people find themselves hindered in believing me, no matter my protestations. Please trust me. I most definitely can be cheerful. I can be amiable. Agreeable. Affable. And that’s only the A’s. Just don’t ask me to be nice. Nice has nothing to do with me.

““***A SMALL THEORY***
People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and its ends, but to me it’s quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations, with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spat blues. Murky darknesses. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.

“Usually we walk around constantly believing ourselves. “I’m okay” we say. “I’m alright”. But sometimes the truth arrives on you and you can’t get it off. That’s when you realize that sometimes it isn’t even an answer–it’s a question. Even now, I wonder how much of my life is convinced.”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief  -Goodreads

“The consequence of this is that I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both. (Death)”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief -Goodreads

“So much good, so much evil. Just add water.”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief-Goodreads

“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.” 
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief-
Goodreads

“It’s a small story really, about, among other things:

* A girl
* Some words
* An accordionist
* Some fanatical Germans
* A Jewish fist fighter
* And quite a lot of thievery”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief-Goodreads

 I’m loving this book so far. I’m not even past the introduction. I’m fascinated by the layout and the quotes and how it’s been styled (graphics side of me coming out) hence why it might take a couple of weeks, because I’ll keep stopping and writing stuff down, might do some drawing to.

26.3.13

I was struggling to read this book. After so long of wanting to read it the first half of the book took me two weeks. I’m not quite sure why. It was my choice for bookclub, the pick of the month out of the hat and I was determined to finish it. And I am glad I did. I sat down the evening before bookclub and had what looked like three quarters of the book to finish, I wasn’t sure I could do it.

still a chunk to read
still a chunk to read

The next morning I was a wake from 6 and sat on the sofa and just read. I went out to get a bacon and sandwich to give myself a break and then continued. I class myself as a slow reader and was shocked to finish the book by 1pm. I was blown away by it, I even had a small cry. I haven’t been lost in a book like that for ages. Sometimes when we’re forced to do something we don’t always enjoy it. This was just magical. Apparently it’s going to be made into a film. One I think I have to avoid. Sometimes I hate it when they make books into films as it changed your idea of the characters.

One day I hope to re-read this and capture the magic again and hopefully find more. At bookclub I was learnt something new. I wanted to give this more than 10. I was able to give it an 11 after an introduction of ‘the spinal tap moment’ think that’s right, still not sure what it means. But this book just blew me away.  Like ‘The Silver Sword’  I recommend you just read it. obviously if you don’t like anything about the war, or anything slightly depressing it’s not for you. But Death is an amazing character and tells the story well.

Thank you for reading

xxx

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