Two book club books

>> 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.


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).


Marg 17 August 2012 at 10:59  

Isn't The Book Thief amazing! So clever and moving and nuanced! Have been waiting for news on Zusak's next book, but no sign of it yet.

Rosario 17 August 2012 at 12:33  

Absolutely brilliant. Have you read any others of his?

Susan/DC,  17 August 2012 at 17:17  

I gave a copy of The Book Thief to a friend of mine who teaches at a girls' high school, and she then had her class read it. Each of the characters, good and bad, are so fully realized that they've stuck with me even though I read the book several years ago. I loved TBT but haven't yet read anything else by Zusak (if only my TBR pile weren't so mountainous that even the books I want to read get buried).

Rosario 18 August 2012 at 08:48  

Susan/DC: I haven't read any others, either. I've had a look at the descriptions, and they don't really tempt me. But then, this one didn't, either. I should just make myself start one.

Marg 18 August 2012 at 22:57  

No, I haven't read any others yet. I own a couple, but haven't read them yet.

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