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The Book Thief

After finishing The Book Thief, I feel that I need to rework my entire rating system. I don't think I can give a 10/10* to a book - is there such a thing as a perfect book? But this one definitely ranks at the top of all that I've read this week.

I'm a sucker for WWII books. Not only that, but it's brilliantly done. Narrated by Death, books within books - a Bildungsroman (German for coming-of-age-story) of classic proportions. It has been awhile since I've cried in a book, but there were tears down my cheek through the last several chapters. It started with a single tear - the parade & the quote from The Word Shaker got me (if you've read the book). After that...there was no going back.

One of the things I enjoyed most about the book was the way the author builds tension. It isn't exactly foreshadowing - it's more of an insertion of blunt statements of things three steps further down. It works, though, because you're left asking, But how!? And why!? and even as your dread (or joy) is growing, you read faster and faster to fill in the gaps. For someone known to read the end of the story (or at least skim the last chapter to see which characters are there), it gives a sense of comfort.

So. Now that I've finished my fiction binge, I would rank my reads accordingly. Keep in mind that I thoroughly enjoyed them all.

4. The Secret Life of Bees
3. Eleanor Rigby
2. My Name is Asher Lev
1. The Book Thief

I've noticed some similarities. All four books deal with a young adult protagonist and the chaotic inner world of growing up. All four have some sort of spiritual content, an awareness (or a desire) for something more than just the world we see. All four deal with mother-child relationships (which is really quite common in a bildungsroman, which I would probably say all four are). Two of them deal, to some extent, with Judaism, persecution and genocide. I would give any of them to a fourteen year-old without hesitation.

I feel like I have just completed a weekend book bender. It's time for a rest.

*speaking of 10/10, this is the title of the first song on my soundtrack to the week. The only snag in my lovely vacation was when I somehow deleted all the music off my iPod...and although I haven't been able to listen to it for the past day and a half, Paolo is still circling through my head, proving once again that it was $10 well spent.


Lisa said…
I added The Book Thief to my reading list last week (just before I got your email!) and almost bought it the other day but decided I had too many other books in line first. It was recommended to me by a friend who had to read it for high school - apparently it's been added to the curriculum in some schools. After your review, I might move it up to next on my reading list!

P.S. I can't get over how quickly you read!!
Mavaddat said…
Beth, did you sync your iPod with iTunes on your new computer? If so, then that will erase your songs.

The reason is that Apple has this crazy policy that only one user can be associated per iTunes installation, so when you install iTunes afresh, it recognizes your iPod as a new device and erases everything to start from scratch.

If you connect your iPod to the old laptop and sync with the iTunes over there, it should restore the songs (at least, the ones you had on the laptop).

But I believe there's a way to get your new iTunes to accept your iPod songs.

Maybe this website can help?

At worst, there is software to restore deleted files, so you can recover it that way... Lemme know!
Beth said…
lisa - i think you'll love it. and it's amazing how much you can read when you aren't doing anything else with your day :D

mav - i don't actually have itunes on this iPod froze, and in my pressing buttons to turn it off/restart it, i apparently formatted it or something. all my files are on my laptop in vancouver, so i'll get them back later this week, thankfully!

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