Book Thief:Tops

At this time of year, you will read many recommendations for books to read.

Upon one such online list, I found the above book title. Intrigued, I ordered it from the library.
But when it arrived, I must confess I was rather taken back by its unprepossessing cover and its small print. I thought this not a book I am going to enjoy, so I put it further down the books to read pile.

But, how wrong, could I be, for right from the start, I felt engaged by the narrative and soon emotionally drawn into the story. The fact that it was written by Death, immediately got my attention. Set just before and during the Second World War in a small German town, where work was scarce and extreme poverty was the norm, it concerns a  12 year old girl Liesel Meminger, who lives with her adopted parents Hans and Rosa. Liesel cannot read and has only one book " The Grave Digger's Handbook," which she found on the ground at the burial of her brother Werner.
 Hans starts mainly at night,  to teach Liesel to read. She becomes increasingly desperate to get her hands on any reading material and hence the title of the book.

Because of the circumstances of the time, the story always has dark overtones, but is never mawkish. Indeed it shows the unquenchable human spirit overcoming and making light of food deprivation and lack of material resources. The book is broken up by little inset factual notes, which help the understanding of characters, present events and events to come.
Here is an example:


First stolen book: January 13, 1939

Second stolen book: April 20, 1940

Duration between stolen books: 465 days."

Markus Zusak 2005 p.89

Mr. Zusak tells the tale directly, without resort to emotional construction. Nonetheless we are soon drawn into Liesel's world, where the acquisition of any reading material is a victory for the primacy of words. Words so cherished that they are read and re-read time and time again, whatever the subject matter may be. 

A world where a stolen apple is a luxury and a basement  cold enough to stop a snowman from melting.

This book, of course leads readers  to consider the  present,  where libraries, shops, stalls and shelves groan with printed material  and information can be instantly delivered via radio television and internet. We have lost the value of these ordinary things and  take  them for granted.
 But in important areas our needs match those of Liesel; namely food, warmth, shelter and especially the love and care of our families and friends.

This book, I promise, will remain with you for a long time. Required reading for all.



I found out after reading " The Book Thief ' that a film has been made based on this novel.
Here is the trailer: Warning contains spoilers!


#TeamPlWDLFAGDPtsLast 6
2Forest Green Rovers20123534211339
5Grimsby Town2089341202133

Glory Be, as I write ( 14 /11 ) Cheltenham Town AFC are top of the National League with forty points. I can't remember the last time Cheltenham achieved this pinnacle  and as the pessimistic Late Brian Clough was wont to say: " Well I think we almost have enough points to avoid relegation. "

So well done the Robins and I hope ( D. V. ) to see them next Saturday when they play their near rivals, Forest Green Rovers.


As we get close to Christmas, I think it is a good time to renew acquaintances and bask in the warmth of human friendships.

Cheerio for now


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