Before I Blogged I Read: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

There’s a lot of books I read before I started this blog in June of 2010 and I figured it might be fun to spotlight those! They won’t be an actual review because OMG YOU GUYS THAT WAS SO LONG AGO but I’ll just note a few things about it, if I enjoyed it and what my Goodreads rating was. So thus “Before I Blogged I Read…” was born. Because you know…I’m so original with my names for things. Check out PAST “Before I Blogged I Read” posts.

the Book thief by markus zusak review

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

(Amazon | Goodreads )
Rating: I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads
Date I Read it: January 2009

1. The Book Thief is one of my all time favorite books ever. I just reread it in October with book club and it still held up for me. While there wasn’t the rawest emotion of a new read, I still felt like I was punched in the gut. This book just has everything — the writing is phenomenal, it’s unique, the characters were so important to me and it wrecked me. 5 years later and I can’t say I’ve ever read anything like this book.

2. While this book is set during a war it’s not at all a war book. I do tend to enjoy historical fiction set during WWII but this book was way more than that and it makes me sad that people might dismiss it because of that. I love that the perspective was different than so many books I’ve read before — it focused on a normal German family during this time. So often I read books where it’s the Jewish perspective and I always wonder what it was like for just your every day people who didn’t necessarily buy in to everything Hitler was about.

3. Death was a most memorable narrator. I think this is why I can’t get this book out of my head after 5 years. Personifying Death and using him as a narrator for the book? Totally risky business but it paid off for me! SO MUCH. Very unique and very effective for me.

4. It is definitely a more slow moving book but very powerful and amazing. I like slow, more quiet books personally but I’ll be real: It moves slow. It does. And it might take some people a little bit to get into it but it’s WORTH IT. The payoff is big. It’s very character driven and these characters are AMAZING. Some of my favorite characters ever and that is what makes me so nervous about seeing it translated on the big screen. WHAT IF THEY DON’T GET THESE CHARACTERS RIGHT??

Favorite Quotes:

““I am haunted by humans.”.” 

“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.” 

” 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.”

 

 

Have any of you read this one? Did you like it/not like it? Tell me what you thought! Are you going to see it in theaters?? Book club is going this weekend! EEEE!

five-stars

Review: The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni

Book/Author: The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
Publisher/Year: Putnam Adult 2010
Genre: Adult Fiction (but I think it would have great crossover appeal for readers of Young Adult Literature)

The House of Tomorrow is about a teen boy named Sebastian who lives with his grandmother in this dome on top of a hill. His grandma is way into Futurism and the teachings of Buckminster Fuller and so he is certifiably an oddball character as he is homeschooled and has been brought up in a very unconventional, quirky way with very little interaction with other people and certainly not any kids his own age. This all changes when a scary event leads him to the Whitcombs who have a boy Sebastian’s age who on the outside is a punk loving kid with a bad attitude.

I wanted to love this book more than I did. This was the sort of book that was like, “Ok good book. Glad I read it. But I wish I felt more about it than I actually do…or probably should.” I think maybe it was the hype I had seen for it..I don’t know. I really enjoyed the character of Sebastian because he certainly could be King of the Oddballs and I think that anyone who really enjoys genuinely quirky characters would fall in love with him! I really loved the relationship between Sebastian and Jared because they are both such outcasts in their own way and have both understood what it is like to live a bit of a sheltered life. All of the characters were really lively in fact and I loved Sebastian’s interactions with them all. Even the briefest of characters were written with such extraordinary depth – like the record shop owner or the kids in the youth group. I loved how music just pulsed through this book – the love and appreciation for it, that first time discovery of music that is able to awaken every sense within you and the bond that a mutual love for creating music and listening to music can form.

While I thought the whole Futurism thing was interesting as part of the plot, I felt some of the book got bogged down by it while I was reading it. I felt like I was getting some info dumps that I just didn’t care about. I wanted to get into the heart of a story rather than learn about these teachings. Get past that first part that had a lot of the teachings and it gets much more interesting but they really did slow me down. I also felt like there was something deep and profound I was supposed to be taking away from the book, and while I did find a few nuggets, I mostly felt like it’s the type of book that could easily be one of those ones that are overhyped for how profound it is. Like, “omg look how deep I am!”

The Final Thought: The House of Tomorrow really was a good read but not the great read that I had hoped it would be. I am glad that I picked it up! There is something quite profound within the pages and Bognanni is a really great writer whose style I could see being really popular. It kind of reminds me of books like The Catcher in the Rye or like The Perks of Being A Wallflower with the characters and the coming of age story. If you love music (especially punk rock!) this book would be a really excellent read!

three-stars
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