Saturday, 6 August 2011

book two (and a little confession)

I think Kaylia and I have a little confession to make (and maybe, just maybe, an apology, too).

We don't know what we're doing.

But we want to keep trying. We want this thing to work--however small it works--and we want, more than ever, to talk books with you. (They're a pretty big deal for us both).

So if you want to persevere with us--please, oh please, do!--you might want to pick up the following. We're moving on, you see.*

We won't talk about it in depth until after September 7th. That's a whole thirty days (or so) to read and think about it.

Happy reading!

*But if you'd still like to discuss The Book Thief, feel free to leave comments. They will remain read!

**Also feel free to leave comments about other books you're reading! It's kind of my favourite thing to talk about.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


"Liesel would sit each day with her hands between her knees in the long legs of daylight. She wanted none of those days to end, and it was always with disappointment that she watched the darkness stride forward."

I find it difficult to say what struck me most about The Book Thief. I find it difficult to single out, to isolate or to disentangle the story's threads to illuminate one, perfect strand. So I won't. Instead, I'll talk about the many, many things that struck me--they are, after all, the things that stayed with me.

First? Liesel and Hans. I found them rather beautiful. What Hans gave Liesel, in reading, was virtuous. It was an escape and a form of empowerment. It was beautiful, so absolutely beautiful, to see her confidence grow and her spirit strengthen with this opening of a door. With it, she could learn about the world and about morals and about judgement. With it, she could distract and escape and shade herself--and others--from as much of the war as possible. Yet this power, I don't think, would have existed without the love behind it--behind those first, light days of learning. During those, it was less about the words and their education and more about the solace and the comfort he offered to a very lonely child. Because of him and his unrelenting support in the night, she vowed to make him proud.

I think a lot of Liesel's friendship with Max was based, too, upon her connection to Hans. Sure, I think she always wanted to give back her gift of reading--which she did, repeatedly, in those stone-cold basements and bunkers--but I think the relationship she forged with Max had an extra foundation. She saw the guilt Hans felt, the guilt and debt he felt he owed to Max, to Max's family and to his own, and wanted, somehow, to remedy it herself.

Learning to read empowered Liesel--it armed her with new weapons and choices. But those little lessons Hans gave--those stolen moments between Rosa's wrath and against their poverty--armed her with a much greater repertoire of knowledge. Knowledge of emotion and love and humanity--knowledge that her previous circumstances had so stolen from her.

Those pages without Hans--those pages when he was on his own, away from his family unit--so often felt unbearable to me. Liesel had the words, then--and accurately and cleverly and proudly so--but it was obvious, then, that so much was missing from them. As though, perhaps, the print had faded, a little. There was greater strain and greater effort needed.

There is so, so much more I could say--and that is just about Hans.

But it's over to you, now. Can we talk?

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Checking in

Hey all!

How is everyone going with the book? Loving it? Hating it? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Below is one of my favourite parts of The Book Thief, so I thought I would share it with you all.

"How about a kiss, Saumensch?"

He stood waist-deep in the water for a few moments longer before climbing out and handing her the book. His pants clung to him, and he did not stop walking. In truth, I think he was afraid. Rudy Steiner was scared of the book thief's kiss. He must have longed for it so much. He must have loved her so incredibly hard. So hard that he would never ask for her lips again and would go to his grave without them."

This part, especially, touched me. Because is there any love sweeter or more poignant than a love that is never realised? That is never spoken about between the two? Instead it hangs in the air, making the world a little bit brighter for both of them.

But I do so wish that Rudy had gotten that kiss before it was too late.

Monday, 20 June 2011

honest book-covers

Forgive me, please, that this isn't relevant to our current book.

But I thought this link was kind of funny. And that maybe fellow bibliophiles would enjoy it.


opening up

This is, perhaps, one of my favourite quotations from The Book Thief (and don't worry--it gives nothing away!)

"I have given you two events in advance, because I don't have much interest in building mystery. Mystery bores me. It chores me. I know what happens and so do you. It's the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest and astound me."

In parts, I fell a little in love with the honesty and the open-ness of Zusak's narrator--it had a freshness to it and, more than that, an identification. I liked that--I knew where I stood.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

just checking in

I finished The Book Thief today--and I won't go spoiling it--but I have to say this: a book has not broken my heart quite like this in a very, very long time.

Have you started reading it yet? If so, what do you think? (And if not, please don't worry. We have a long time ahead of us).

If anybody is in any way as excited as me about this whole thing--this whole act of reading, reviewing and gossiping together--please, won't you tell your friends? It would be great to get as many involved as possible.

Happy reading!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Let the Reading Begin!!!

Hello my fellow book club-ers. I hope you had a lovely weekend! The first book that we are reading is ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak, which I must confess I have read before numerous times. But it is a wonderful book and I hope you all love it as much as I do!

We were thinking that we would do one book a month, though are happy to change the time-frame if you think that it is too long/short.

So, here’s a little synopsis of the book that I found (without giving too much away!):

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier,
and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger and her younger brother are being taken by their mother to live with a foster
family outside Munich. Liesel's father was taken away on the breath of a single, unfamiliar
word - Kommunist - and Liesel sees the fear of a similar fate in her mother's eyes. On the
journey, Death visits the young boy, and notices Liesel. It will be the first of many near
encounters. By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single
object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left there by accident,
and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing
foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the
mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their
basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.

The Book Thief is a story about the power of words to make worlds. In superbly crafted writing
that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most
enduring stories of our time.


Now let the reading begin! Keep an eye out for the fantastic metaphors he uses throughout the story.

As I said, if you have something to say about the book as you are reading it, feel free to write a comment under the most recent post, or email me at happylookingkid(at)gmail(dot)com if you would like to do your post in this blog.