>> Friday, August 17, 2012
TITLE: The Book Thief
AUTHOR: Markus Zusak
Boy, am I glad I joined my book club! I don't think I'd have ever picked this up if it hadn't been selected for it. I mean, a book about the residents of a German town during World War II, narrated by Death? But I absolutely loved it.
It's the story of a young girl, Liesel, living with her foster parents right outside Munich. Liesel expects the worst when she gets there, but finds two wonderful people, wonderful in non-soppy ways. We follow her during the war, as she befriends a young boy called Rudy and learns to read, developing a career as a book thief. It's all about people just living their life as best they can, but as the story goes forward, the war starts intruding more and more into their lives.
And it was just brilliant. The Book Thief has characters I really cared about and even some very funny moments, without ever making light of what was going on all around. It made me laugh and it made me cry, and it was great.
MY GRADE: An A-.
TITLE: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
AUTHOR: Robert Louis Stevenson
We try to keep things varied in my book club. We'd never read a classic, so we decided to do that for May, and someone suggested Jekyll and Hyde. Now, this book has entered our collective consciousness to such an extent that I thought I knew quite a bit about it, and what to expect. Actually reading it surprised me. It was quite different to what I expected, both in terms of what actually happened and the way the narrative was structured.
I liked the reading bit well enough, but what was best of all was the discussion at book club, which was fantastic, one of the best we've had so far. I guess that's why it's become a classic, not just because the premise was so influential, but because the telling of it bears so much discussion.
MY GRADE: A B (although I'd say an A for the entire experience of reading it and discussing it).