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Books for Feb. and The Book Thief

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Hmmm. Well. I sometimes really wish that I knew how to do a decent review of a good book. I'm about capable of, 'Well, that was good' and that's it - any more than that and I struggle for ages. This one, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, deserves better than I to describe it, but I'll give it a go.

The first thing to know is that the story is narrated by Death. There's only one problem with that and that, in two words, is 'Terry' and 'Pratchett'. But that's okay, there are shades of Pratchett's 'Death' but not too many and the book soon distracts you from it. The story is set during World War Two and concerns Liesel, a nine year old girl, who is taken to live with a foster family on the outskirts of Munich. The year is 1939 and they are the Hubermanns, Hans and Rosa (they have two grown-up children that hardly feature). Hans quickly becomes the centre of Liesel's world and through the eyes of Death you learn how a traumatised child begins to heal. You also hear about Rudy, her best friend, how the girl begins to steal books, how the family harbour a Jew in the basement, and the impact of WW2 on the family and neighbours.

I don't think I've read a WW2 book before that was from the pov of a German family, though I wouldn't swear to that. And it's a very small world. Hitler is often mentioned but you don't really hear many details about what's going on in the outside world. Which makes it extremely personal. You become very close to Liesel and you worry about all the characters in the book. The futility of war is brought home to you in the small details of everyday life in this very poor family. The author is stunningly good at making you want to weep - I did actually cry over the last few pages.

As you'll have guessed, I was very affected by this book. The style it's written in is unusual and might not be to everyone's taste. I don't have the ability to describe it properly but it's kind of conversational, you might even call it 'bitty' because you're fed bits of information in odd places so that actually you know part of the outcome way before the end. Which helps in a way because this is without doubt a tragic story. There are parts that are uplifting and give you hope for the human race but in the end it's nothing but very, very sad.

Would I recommend the book? Absolutely, without question. A fantastic piece of work. Likely to be one the best things I'll read this year I suspect.

Six books this month. A number I'm pleased with as it means I'm back to normal with my reading. Here be they:

1. Indian Summer – Will Randall
2. The Undomestic Goddess – Sophie Kinsella
3. Morality For Beautiful Girls – Alexander McCall Smith
4. The Novice – Trudi Canavan
5. The High Lord – Trudi Canavan
6. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

And I liked every single one of them. You can't ask for more than that, can you?


If you cried, I know I shall. Heck, I weep at the end of "Daddy Long Legs", silly old me.

(And really, I love your reviews, because, well, it's a real person writing them, someone who can just talk like a regular person instead of someone I can't understand who talks in vague roundabout ways and never seems to like anything...)

silly old me.

Not at all... I'm terrible with films or TV shows, news items too. It take very little to make me tear up - but not books so much. I don't know why that is.

and never seems to like anything...

Thank you for your kind words about my 'reviews'. :-) You are right about this though, these people often are very picky and hardly seem to like anything much.
Oh, I think your reviews are perfectly good! They give me a feel for the books you've read, and help me decide whether I'd like to read them myself - just what a good book review should do, I think! I don't need lots of "literary" dissection, it actually tends to put me off!

And I like the sound of this one alot. The cover looks gorgeous as well!
I just don't seem to be able to do literary dissection - a lot of what is written by the people who can do it never seems to occur to me. I just write about what I liked or what I thought was important. Glad it suits you. :-)

The cover of The Book Thief *is* gorgeous. There were two choices oddly enough, possibly because it's a YA book and, like the Potter books, they've supplied one for YAs and one for adults. I think this is the YA cover - whatever, it was the one I liked the best.
I just don't seem to be able to do literary dissection I'm so glad it isn't just me that feels like this. I don't seem to be able to do all the analysis and meaningful extrapolations either - but, like everyone above, I also enjoy your recommendations and have enjoyed several books you have mentioned!
I admire people who can do the analysis thing I must admit, but then I've always admired cleverness. But I suppose there is such a thing as *too clever* and there are times, when reading such reviews, that I lose the will to live. ;-) Glad you've enjoyed a few of the things I've recced anyway. I can see if we lived closer we'd be swapping bags of books on a regular basis. ;-)