Burn, Read, Rewrite: TFiOS, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, & The Book Thief

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We’ve definitely done some hard rounds of this game, but none has been as hard for me as choosing between these wildly popular and incredibly good YA novels. Seriously, even as I’m typing, I’m still changing my mind on what my choices are going to be. To play along you say in the comments which book you would read (your favorite), rewrite (second favorite/one that you might want to change something about), and burn (least favorite). As always, I love to hear people’s different reasonings and rationale for their choices.  Continue reading “Burn, Read, Rewrite: TFiOS, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, & The Book Thief”

Marry, Date or Dump: The Book Thief

book thiefThis Monday’s Marry, Date or Dump is going to take a little bit of imagination with the ages to make the characters comparable, but I still wanted to use The Book Thief this week because it has three male characters I would love to marry. Hans Hubermann is to honorable and gentle, and seems like one of the best fathers ever. Max Vandenberg is so intelligent, creative, and brave. And Rudy Steiner is one of my favorite characters. He is so lively and funny and original. My favorite moment in the book is when he paints himself black to me more like Jesse Owens. I’m having trouble deciding between these characters myself, so I’m excited to read in the comments who you would marry, who you would date, and who you would dump. Also, has anyone seen the movie yet? It’s gotten underwhelming reviews, but I think I will still see it eventually. I’d love your thoughts! Continue reading “Marry, Date or Dump: The Book Thief”

The Book Thief: A Holocaust Novel with a Twist

There is an incredibly amount of hype and acclaim surrounding The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak and it is all deserved. It is successfully conceptual in the best possible way. It is an innovative book for young people (although I think it was more literary fiction than young adult fiction) about the Holocaust – which is not small feat.

The book is basically a series of narrative lyric poems, following young German orphan Liesel Meminger, living in a poor neighborhood outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. The twist, besides the poetic quality, is that the book is narrated by Death.

Liesel deals with the tragedy and lack of control in her life through an impressive career of stealing books. Seeing her grow up, watching her neighborhood transform through the stages of WW2, and hearing the viewpoint of death camps, conditions for Soviet soldiers, and the Normandy invasion all through the lens of Death is fascinating. It is strange twist on the omnipresent narrator.

The characters in Liesel’s life are richly imagined and complexly explained. A particular favorite is her best friend, who after the 1936 achieves neighborhood fame by covering his entire body in coal dust and pretending to be Jesse Owens.

Without giving any spoilers away, I will say the book contains a lot of the traditional elements of holocaust fiction (i.e. main character realizing Jews are not the enemy, etc.). What is nontraditional, aside from the POV, writing style, and structure, is the theme of the importance of words, reading, writing and books. The books in Liesel’s collection, ranging from a grave digging how to guide, to a banned book stolen from a bonfire, to a handmade account of a Jew – all have symbolic and thematic significance.

My only criticism is that while the book is beautiful, I didn’t find it engaging. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it.