Monday, January 20, 2014

The Book Thief

I'm not sure what I'm expected to write on my blog, but I'm writing so I don't forget.  So here goes...

On Saturday I finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  I'm not sure why, but it was difficult for me to get started reading and to get going, but once I got into it, it was difficult to put down.  I suppose the difficulty was getting used to the narrator being Death.  I had to reread parts of the book because I kept seeing the book from Liesel's point of view.  I also think I finished reading it because I have to read it for class, otherwise I may have missed out on something wonderful.  I find books about WWII depressing and usually showing the negative side of people.  I found this book hopeful.

I wish I knew why the author wrote this book.  What was his motivation?  I guess I'll do more research. The one thing that does stick out for me though is "words."  Words were so important to Liesel, even when she could not read them.  Liesel wonders "exactly when the words started to mean not just something, but everything."  I read about words that "were smiled," flowed like "waterfalls", "burned,", "were thrown," were brutal.  I didn't quite grasp the word theme in the book until we learned more about The Word Shaker.  I know, it seems obvious, but that's when I figured it out and paid more attention to it.

The story of the words reminds me of learning about slavery when I was in elementary school.  I remember how important it was for the slaves to read and the fear that the ability to read would threaten slavery.  This amazing skill was kept from the slaves just as it was kept from Liesel and Hans and Rosa to a degree because of their poverty and lack of education.  The world opened up for Liesel when she realized the wonder of words.  I think of students I've taught in the past who were unable to read and once they learned, they couldn't wait to learn more.

Off to research Markus Zusak.  I'll write more once I figure out what I want to write.

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