The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Summary ~ The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a novel of cruelty, poverty, and hope. Liesel Meminger is a young girl who has been placed in foster care by her mother. Liesel’s brother dies en route to their new home and this leaves Liesel traumatized, causing her to have terrible nightmares in the middle of the night. Liesel’s foster father begins teaching her to read on these nights to distract her from her pain. Liesel learns to turn to books for comfort. When the war begins, comfort becomes a rare state of mind, so Liesel finds ways to seek it out. Liesel begins to steal books in her efforts to deal with the cruelty of the world around her. The Book Thief is a complicated story of survival that will encourage its readers to think and to be amazed at how resilient the human spirit really is.

Breathless.  That is how I felt when I finished Markus Zusak’s engrossing, sad, yet beautiful novel The Book Thief.  It was just last night that I clicked through the last page of this book on my Kindle.  The tears wouldn’t stop and I was blubbering and gasping for breath.  Hubby woke up concerned about what I was so upset about and he couldn’t believe it was the book I was reading.  I haven’t had such a strong, ugly cry reaction to a book since I read Marley & Me a few years ago. 

The Book Thief takes place in Molching, Germany and focuses on a little girl named Liesel Meminger.  She must leave the custody of her mother and go live with a new set of parents.  Foster parents who love her in their own unique ways.  One openly and one in sometimes hurtful and curious ways.  Zusak’s story takes care with his story telling and as the book progresses the reader really gets to know the characters, tone of the times, the town of Molching and Himmel Street, the world of The Book Thief. 

I love this book!  For some reason I am drawn to novels set in WWII.  I don’t know why since it’s such a horribly depressing and evil chapter in the world’s history but the stories of human triumph, tolerance, hatred, risk and strength really draws me in.  I was especially taken with The Book Thief because of the lovely twists that make this story stand out against the previous WWII historical fiction books I’ve read over the years.  Liesel’s birth parents were Communists.  I thought that was such a fresh idea!  Silly as it sounds I really loved the moment when I figured it out and even mentioned it to Hubby.  The life that she gains when she leaves the care of her mother and joins the Hubermann household is full of love, friendship, adventure, common thievery and the magic that occurs when one learns to read and can be removed from the present and taken into a world apart.

I have discovered that a film is being made of this book.  I beg you (yes BEG YOU!) to read the book first.  Let the words create the characters, their appearances and the world they live in first.  Your imagination will take care of the rest. 

I had this book on my Kindle for a while now and I would like to thank Beastmomma for choosing it for our book club’s selection this month.  I think I would have read it eventually but now that I have I can’t imagine that I didn’t read it as soon as I downloaded it!

{Rating ~ 5 (billion) out of 5}

MIA in 2010

2010 turned out to be a very tough reading and blogging year for me.  I don’t know if it was the out of sorts feeling I had while Hubby was deployed for five months or what but I totally sucked at keeping up with things.  At times it seemed as if I had become a slower reader and was easily distracted by everything and anything.  I fell into the habit of only reading before bed and that never is a good thing for me.  I get tired and after only reading a few pages its lights out.  Book club should have helped but it really didn’t.  I only read (if I liked it enough) the selected title and didn’t read other titles in the second half of the year.  

Good news is I’m still in love with my Kindle and 2011 will bring an iPad 1 or 2 into my hands thanks to my folks generous birthday gift on the 1st.  I will download the Kindle App to whichever version of iPad I end up getting (waiting for the MacWorld 2011 conference to see if Steve Jobs introduces the 2.0) and that will allow me to read without the lights on when Hubby goes to sleep.  I don’t really like book lights.  I am off to a good start in 2011 though.  I finished my book club’s selection for Sunday’s brunch just last night.  I’m going to try to read one book of my choice for every book club selection this year.  That is my reading goal for 2011.

There were some fabulous books that I read in 2010 though and I have listed them below.  The scariest ones, all for different reasons, were Room, The Blue Notebook and Born on the 4th of July.  All very realistic stories inspired by true accounts, like Kovic’s retelling of his experience in Vietnam and the aftermath of the war back home, these books still haunt me.

The Postmistress and The Help are books that I will always recommend to the reader looking for a great novel to lose themselves in.  They are simply fantastic.  Others I listed made the list because they were either extremely unusual, Raven Stole The Moon, or made me laugh my ass off, My Fair LazyHow To Be An American Housewife took me back to Japan and made me miss the country, culture and it’s people all over again.  

I have also taken the liberty of listing my 20 favorite tunes of 2010.  I rediscovered Pop music last year and I am so thrilled that it’s laced with hot beats, fun lyrics, melodic melodies and strong construction.  Thank goodness!  Country music didn’t disappoint and the highlight for me was going to the CMA Music Festival in Nashville, TN last June with one of my best friends, Jesse.

What were some of your favorite reads in 2010?  Tunes?  Discoveries?  Please share them with me and any readers I still may have after being MIA in 2010!   

My FAV reads of 2010 (in no particular order)

Room – Emma Donoghue
The Blue Notebook – Dr. James A. Levine
How To Be An American Housewife – Margaret Dilloway
Born on the 4th of July – Ron Kovic
My Fair Lazy – Jen Lancaster
Raven Stole The Moon – Garth Stein
The Postmistress – Sarah Blake
The Help – Kathryn Stocket

 

My FAV 20 Tunes of 2010 (in no particular order)

F You – Cee Lo Green
Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida
Dynamite – Taio Cruz
Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
Paris (Ooh La La) – Grace Potter and The Nocturnals
1983 – Neon Trees
Undo It – Carrie Underwood
Lover, Lover – Jerrod Neiman
Put You In A Song – Keith Urban
Smoke A Little Smoke – Eric Church
Empire State of Mind – Jay Z & Alicia Keys
Bullet Proof – La Roux
All About Tonight – Blake Shelton
Raise Your Glass – Pink
Telephone – Lady Gaga & Beyonce
Colder Weather – Zac Brown Band
Crazy Town – Jason Aldean
Roll With It – Easton Corbin
Stuck Like Glue – Sugarland

Due to restrictons on videos from YouTube I am unable to share any of the videos I wanted to here on Planet Books.  Sorry Dude!