books

The Book Thief

How many times have I found myself transported to another place, and another time? How many times have I imagined living in a different world, a different era? But I would never wish to exist in the time of The Book Thief.

Specially not on Himmel Street.

The Book Thief is my book #14 for 2018. I took my time with this one, reading just a few pages a day. Towards the end, I wanted to keep reading. All the while knowing…

That I may not have the courage to live in that harsh reality of wartime Germany. I don’t know that I have the heart to survive it.

Liesel Meminger had to say so many goodbyes at a tender young age. All because of words. Words. Words. Words that planted seeds of fear and hate. Words that started and fueled a war. Words that ripped families apart. Words that sent home thousands of souls earlier than they had to.

Is it coincidence that I read Markus Zusak’s masterpiece at this very season? There is a lot happening in our country, and in the world today. And once again, words are at the center. Words that are once again being shaken and used to distract, confuse, instill fear, and instigate hate. Words that are rewriting history, and shaping a new reality.

But it is also Words that helped Liesel cope. Words kept her alive. Zusak weaved for us a beautiful tale of humans that existed in that time. He forces us to remember that where there is ugliness, there is also beauty. And that kindness continues to persist in a world full of hate.

No, I would not wish to have lived in that time, in that place, but I would have been fortunate to have known the likes of Liesel, her family and her friends.

They are a reminder that there are Hans and Rosa Hubermanns out there who are willing to care for the lost and forgotten. That no matter the danger, it is right to repay kindness with kindness. There are Rudys, who are true friends, and this one shows us that boys can grow up to be decent young men who will give their all. And there is Max, who held on to hope even when it seemed that all is lost, and who never failed to show gratitude in every way he could.

So I also know that now we have a choice – do we allow the words of modern-day Fuhrers to shape our world, or will we use our words to spark hope, spread kindness, bring joy, and inspire change?

22/100

A Week in Winter

Visiting Ireland is high on my travel goals; reading A Week in Winter gave me a strong reminder NOT to forget. Maeve Binchy once again transports us to a wonderful place in her last novel, published posthumously.

Why do I love reading her books?

Hope. It always seems to be at the core of her stories. Hope that if you put in the work things will get better.

And that it’s never too late to make a change. That it’s always a good idea to take a stand for your dreams, and follow your heart.

It also helps that her stories are set against such a beautiful and idyllic background. Do you also see the movie in your mind’s eye as you read a book? That happens for me a lot, which makes reading Binchy titles such a delight. She has a way of painting beautiful pictures with her words. I guess when you grow up around amazing landscapes, you also learn the words to describe them well.

17 of 100

Bella and Edward: Twilight

I guess it is no surprise that my topic this week for the Online Book and Movie Online Fan Club is about the first half of the Twilight Saga. I have mentioned too many times on this blog (as well as over at my other blog) that I have picked them up, and was surprised that I did actually find them entertaining.

You see, I was prepared not to like Twilight.

I first had my hands on an actual copy of the book from some of the girls at work. I didn’t read it at the time – it didn’t look like any book I would usually pick up from the store. I had then read from different people’s blogs their various Twilight experiences. More of them liked it, but there are those too who found it lame. This was the most interesting review critique of Twilight that I’ve read; it’s what convinced me to go on and read.

I read Twilight twice. And I decided that I liked it enough to move on to the next. I must admit though, I didn’t particularly like learning the story from Bella’s point of view. The first chapters were dragging – I felt that the author was trying too hard to setup the climax. It got more interesting though from the middle, until the end. That made sense to me after visiting Stephenie Meyer’s website.

I don’t like Bella. I felt like she was self-centered the way she treated Charlie and her new friends (were they really her friends?). Then I realized she wasn’t self-centered, no not selfish. She was just so unwilling to like anybody, so unwilling to care. So bent on having a miserable time – on punishing herself. How many times did she mention tuning out while her new friends were around her? It annoyed me. If she didn’t want their company, she should have just said so.

Could there be really anyone as clumsy and accident magnet as she is? I am used to being called lampa. I’ve never been into sports as a kid. I’d trip and fall a lot, and that’s why I have scars all over. I hardly ever really enjoyed PE in school – I welcomed any way I could get an exemption (which wasn’t easy to get). But I was not/am not an accident magnet.

Back to Bella. I felt the author’s conscious effort to paint a picture of Bella that would be such a mismatch to the perfection that Edward was. But I could also see the hints of personality and traits that would make her his perfect fit. Strip Edward of his immortality and Adonis features, and I guess they would be a match. They complement each other.

Anyway, from the first book, Twilight, these are my favorite quotes, both uttered by Edward:

For almost ninety years I’ve walked among my
kind, and yours… all the time thinking I was complete in myself, not
realizing what I was seeking. And not finding anything, because you
weren’t alive yet.

and

just because we’ve been… dealt a certain hand… it doesn’t mean that
we can’t choose to rise above — to conquer the boundaries of a destiny
that none of us wanted.

The first one is so cheesy, but the second is inspiring, I guess. Makes me remember the line: Rage against the dying of the light. Did I get that right? Haha.

It wasn’t really the love story of Bella and Edward that I particularly liked in this book. It’s how the Cullens have bonded together. It’s how they’ve all of a sudden worked to protect Bella – not necessarily for her sake, but out of love for Edward. If I had one person who would do that for me – protect who/what I loved because they couldn’t endure seeing me without that love – I’d consider myself very lucky. I think I only really appreciated how deep their bonds are after reading this:

Alice interrupted this time, touching my cheek with her cold fingers.
“It’s been almost a century that Edward’s been alone. Now he’s found you.
You can’t see the changes that we see, we who have been with him for so
long. Do you think any of us want to look into his eyes for the next
hundred years if he loses you?”

Anyway, I could go on really. But it’s time I stopped myself.

So Alfred is reading Twilight now. He likes it – not because of the lovey dovey stuff, but because he likes vampire stories. I know he will enjoy New Moon and Eclipse even better. I’ve been trying to convince him to drop the book because he’ll go so much faster if I just told him the story. We can even go chapter by chapter if he wanted. Hehe. Looks like he’ll be reading this through from cover to cover though. Go for it my love 🙂 

Online Book and Movie Club at Muthahood Crib Now, go visit other players at the online BAM fan club HQ, or start by reading what movie Detter recommends. 

Until the next Twilight post. Oh, and I might read the last book tomorrow.

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