Archive for The Book Thief

2008 Reading Project

Posted in Reading List with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2017 by jaclemens

I joined Goodreads in April 2008 and began adding titles right away to my to-read shelf. These titles were the books I most wanted to read, foremost on my list, and yet some of them can still be found lingering in to-read limbo today. I realized that if I did not rectify this situation in 2017, I will be lamenting – not celebrating – my 10 year anniversary next spring!

Looking back on that first year, I read 44 books, many of them formative for my development as a book buyer. Three books by Michael Chabon (not my first, but it cemented his place as one of my favorite authors); three by Brandon Sanderson (ibid); The Book Thief; American Gods; Wicked; Reinhold Niebuhr and Isaac Bashevis Singer; and The Stress of Her Regard (one of my top ten favorite books), among other great reads. It was a tremendous year of reading for me, so it’s no slight on the books I didn’t get to in 2008.

Since then I have read plenty of books and added plenty more to my to-read list. From 2009 to 2011, I managed to move 20 more of my 2008 books from to-read to read (past tense), so it isn’t as if I forgot about the books that had earlier caught my eye. However, I have made no progress on that subset of books since re-reading The Stress of Her Regard in 2011. I wouldn’t say that I lost interest after three years – or that more appealing books intervened – but, for one reason or another, those books did not fit into my immediate reading plan.

In 2017, I will be reading 1-2 books each month from my 2008 list in order to finish the remaining 18 that have gone neglected for the last six years. I started my project in February with a pair of timely titles: 1984 by George Orwell and The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis. I plan to read a larger amount of new releases combined with other books that haven’t languished as long on my to-read list, but the 2008 books will provide the basis for my reading this year. I don’t anticipate writing a review for every book I read in 2017, but hopefully working through the books I wanted to read back then will help recapture some of the magic of buying and reading books in 2008!


The Book Thief review

Posted in Recommendations, reviews, Young Adult with tags , , on October 9, 2008 by jaclemens

Another thief book set during World War II, this was a terrific counterpoint to City of Thieves.  The protagonist is another teenaged thief, but she is German, she’s a younger, more accomplished thief, and she is a girl.  This is a children’s book narrated by Death.  You wouldn’t know it by looking at him, but Death has a catchy narration style!  The Book Thief is in a class of transcendent books that excel at every level.  It’s a wonderfully engaging children’s book, an historically significant view of the war as experienced by German civilians, and a superbly worded treatment on the power of words and books.  Zusak’s Death comes across like a member of Fall Out Boy: “I am an arms dealer/Fitting you with weapons in the form of words.” He doesn’t care which side wins, it’s just the business he’s in.  This story empties your heart, fills it up again, then smashes it flat as a bombed building.  Like the souls carried away by Death, young readers are in good hands with Zusak.