Thursday, January 30, 2014

Markus Zusak was just named the 2014 winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award. Established in 1988, the award honors an author for significant and lasting contributions to young adult literature. Zusak's novels include FIGHTING RUBEN WOLFE, GETTING THE GIRL, I AM THE MESSENGER and, of course, THE BOOK THIEF.
Kristan’s recent post about the movie adaptation of THE BOOK THIEF inspired me to move this novel to the top of my TBR pile. And ever since I popped into Barnes and Noble and bought a copy of it a couple of weeks ago, I have been entrenched in a series of obsessive reading sessions that begin around midnight and last into the wee morning hours. Which makes me think of Liesel Meminger and her papa. Which makes me smile. It’s sort of undeniable: This is a book begging to be read by candlelight.

In my case, I settled for the dim glow of a cell phone.   

There is too much to say about how good and heart-wrenching this story is—the blog post would never end—so, like Liesel, I’m simply going to focus on the words. Below are some of the passages I starred as I read. If you haven’t cracked open THE BOOK THIEF yet, perhaps these lines will entice you...

When the train pulled into the Bahnhof in Munich, the passengers slid out as if from a torn package…p. 25

In Liesel’s mind, the moon was sewn into the sky that night. Clouds were stitched around it...p. 57

Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain…p. 80

It was a Monday, and they walked on a tightrope to the sun…p. 249

The leaf was dry and hard, like toasted bread, and there were hills and valleys all over its skin… p. 323

The last thing I wanted was to look down at the stranded face of my teenager. A pretty girl. Her whole death was now ahead of her…p. 337

Outside the sirens howled at the houses, and the people came running, hobbling, and recoiling as they exited their homes. Night watched. Some people watched it back, trying to find the tin-can planes as they drove across the sky…p. 372

And, finally, the line that inspired sobs:

Liesel came out. They hugged and cried and fell to the floor…p. 548

Man, this book wrecked me. But in a good way. It’s the second book in a year that I’ve felt compelled to hug. Except that in the case of THE BOOK THIEF, I didn’t hug the book so much as cradle it in my arms.

How did you feel after reading THE BOOK THIEF? We'd love it if you shared some of your favorite lines and moments, or ideas and characters from this novel...or from any of the ALA award winners.


Kristan said...

Oh Ingrid, this is like poetry. Thanks for reminding me of how special his writing was.

Sadly I think the only other ALA award-honored book that I've read is ELEANOR & PARK (note to self: remedy this asap!) but that book really moved me too. The language wasn't poetry, but the characters and their relationships were a bunch of tiny earthquakes.

Emma said...

I have semi-mixed feelings about The Book Thief - in terms of the foreshadowing and my lack of empathy for most of the characters. But Zusak is certainly a brilliant writers, and he's definitely one of my favourites. Thank you for the reminder!

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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.



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The Bitter Kingdom
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The Raven Boys
Mind Games
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Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
The Fault in Our Stars

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