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Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Review: The Book Thief

Image from the NY Times Book Review, published March 27, 2006.

In her review of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, New York Times reviewer Janet Maslin writes, ” “The Book Thief” is perched on the cusp between grown-up and young-adult fiction, and it is loaded with librarian appeal. It deplores human misery. It celebrates the power of language. It may encourage adolescents to read. It has an element of the fanciful. And it’s a book that bestows a self-congratulatory glow upon anyone willing to grapple with it.” [Full review]

The Book Thief is a rare work of literature indeed, dancing on the line between adult and young adult literature, yes, but dealing with topics of death, of hope, of loss, of ethics, and yes, of literacy. The narrator is death, the time and place Nazi Germany, a horrifying combination until you realize Zusak’s touch is both tactful and realistic. At times the narrator switches back and forth between his perspective and that of the characters, even interupting himself to provide a bit of clarification.

There are both breathtaking and heartrending descriptions throughout the narrative. Death describes colors using smells and vice versa. At points, it turns graphic novel as we read a books written for Liesel.

Not every moment in the book is spot on. It drifts here and there. But that does not at all hinder it from being one of the finest works of literature I’ve read, and among the most creative. For that reason, and so many others, I give The Book Thief and its celebration of the written word five stars.

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So…about the month of October…

When I started blogging in June, I knew there would be times when it was difficult to blog regularly, if at all, and I promised myself that I would prepare for that, and well, prepare you my dear readers for that. Fail. When September swept in with registration, a new series of projects, and a brand new schedule, I was prepared. I was not, however, prepared for the month of October and the host of emergencies, deadlines, and car repairs that would sweep me away.

I wish I could say that I have this grand collection of books to review, that I was quite literary during October in my hiatus- but I wasn’t. Other than randomly happening upon another book sale, I read only what was required of me, and at times, not even that. I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t wrap my head around a story.

This season has passed, thankfully. The emergencies are no longer emergencies but realities that I have adjusted to or problems that have been solved. And my schedule, though still incredibly full, finally has some kind of rhythm to it. In the next few weeks I will review what I did read, roughly four novels and two non-fiction books, and start to pick up some of my regular posts again, such as the Weekend Recap and Library Loot. Sorry that I ever so briefly fell off the planet.

 

 

 

Library Loot: October 24-30

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

After an incredibly long hiatus, I was back at my local library this week. Admittedly, it wasn’t a “for fun” trip, as I picked up a few titles for a class I am taking, but I was able to pick up one fun read on my trip, and for now, I’ll take it. 🙂 Here’s the loot:

Influencer: The Power to Change Anything by Kerry Patterson

This one is assigned reading for my Management and Church Administration course. It looks pretty interesting, so I am looking forward to reading it.

Other titles for class I took out this week:

Good to Great:Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Managing the Non-profit Organization: Practices and Principles by Peter Drucker

This weeks non-school, non-obligatory read is A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd, the first of the Bess Crawford Mysteries. If you’ll recall, I started with the third book in the series, An Unmarked Grave by mistake, and I am seeking to finally set things right. Although I am only a few chapters in, and know that I will not be disappointed with this choice!

 

 

Who?

Over at Callapidder Days they have begun the Fall into Reading 2012 Challenge. With all the excitement in my life, I’ve found that this year I cannot participate, however, I am following the Challenge, and especially, the questions posted. I especially liked the first question, so I decided to blog along.

Is there an author (or authors) whose books you are always watching for? Do you jump to snatch up the latest literary offering from certain specific authors? In other words, who are your go-to authors?

  • David Baldacci- I discovered his books one summer, and I read through everything he had written up to that point. Since then, I always pre-order his latest offering, a carry over from my grad school days when I could read more than one or two pages of a book for fun without falling asleep and it took me six months to read it. Now I still pre-order them, but save them for vacation. [Ironically enough, when I popped onto Amazon this morning, they notified me that Baldacci has a book available for pre-order. Pretty sure I’ve found my reading for Christmas vacation.]
  • John Grisham- Yes, I know. Judge me if you will, but I still read John Grisham. I don’t love his latest offerings as much as I did his original work, but it still worth it.
  • A.J. Jacobs- his non-fiction writing is witty, and tends to take an unusual approach.

Fun question. 🙂 So, who are your go-to authors?

 

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