Anyhoo, I've decided I'm starting a weekly thing on Friday (or on this case Monday) where I'll review a book that I absolutely love, that's been a favorite for a while. A book that I'd give a 11/10. A book that I'd be happy to spend the rest of my days on a deserted island reading. A book that I've reread and reread and reread because I love it to death so much. Heck, a book that is the reason I love reading.
Be prepared for muchos gushing. And proclamations that if you haven't read a pick for Friday Favorites, you're living an unfulfilled life.
Today's pick is The Book Thief. Let me tell you, this is one of the best books I've ever read in my life. Words can't even describe it's brilliance. And if you haven't read it yet, you'd better get yourself to a bookstore like there's a lion chasing after you or something. (Okay, I'm bad a similes). But I thought I'd attempt to talk about the greatness of this book anyways:
To take a quote from the Book Thief directly, it's about:
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
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak is a beautiful novel. Upon reading it, it’s no surprise that it is has garnered numerous accolades including New York Times Bestseller and the Michael L. Printz award. The Book Thief is a novel that stands out from all others, with wonderful writing, lovable characters, and a heart-wrenching story.
The novel is narrated by Death himself, who proves to be more afraid of humans then we are of him. It’s wartime, and Death is busier than ever carting off souls to heaven. But he’s inexplicably fascinated by one Liesel Meminger, a young girl living with foster parents in Nazi Germany. From the night Liesel picks up The Grave Digger’s Handbook, she harbors a love for words and books. It’s no surprise that she takes books where she can get them—stolen anywhere from book burnings to the mayor’s house.
Haunted by nightmares of her dead brother, Liesel finds comfort in her Papa, a silver-eyed man who might just be the most endearing character in the book. He is always there for Liesel—teaching her to read every night, keeping her secrets, and playing accordion for her. The Book Thief has a whole host of lovable characters: Mama, who is a a "small wardrobe with a coat hung over it" and insults Liesel at every turn despite having the biggest heart imaginable; and Rudy, Liesel’s best friend who is hopelessly in love with her. Rudy is at his most memorable when he paints himself black to be like Jesse Jackson, or when he asks Liesel—as he does many times throughout the book, “How about a kiss, Saumensch?”
As the World War II rages on, Liesel’s family falls on hard times. When her Papa takes in a feather-haired Jew named Max and hides him from the Nazis, Liesel finds another friend who encourages her love of words. But the war and the Nazi regime create danger for Liesel and her family—and they may not be able to live through it unharmed.
The Book Thief has the kind of brilliant writing that readers can only marvel at—the kind where you go back over what you’ve just read and read it over again. Zusak’s writing is intensely lyrical and poetic, and each page of the novel holds a beautiful description.
Some of my favorites:
"The secret sat in her mouth. It made itself comfortable. It crossed its legs."
”'The last time I saw her was red. The sky was like soup, boiling and stirring. In some places it was burned. There were black crumbs, and pepper, streaked among the redness.”
“I am haunted by humans.”
"The sky was dripping. Like a tap that a child has tried its hardest to turn off but hasn't quite managed."
"Papa's eyes started corroding"
"His tie is a pendulum, long dead in its clock."
"By the time I was finished, the sky was yellow, like burning newspaper. If I looked closely, I could see the words, reporting the headlines, commentating on the process of the war and so forth. How I'd have loved to pull oit all down, to screw up the newspaper sky and toss it away."
Really, I could go on forever. I could quote the whole book, since it's entirety is so wonderfully worded.
The ending is devastating, but once read, The Book Thief is unforgettable due to its haunting beauty.
NOW GO READ IT!