RED book 7: The Book Thief – Markus Zusak


Well the awesome power of RED means I’ve finished another book that I’ve previously stalled on, which is obviously a good thing.

The Book Thief is a novel narrated by Death and tells the story of a young girl, Liesel Meminger growing up in war-time Germany. As the story begins she’s taken to live with foster parents as her mother can no longer cope and her ill younger brother dies on the way there. We follow Liesel, her best friend Rudy and her new Papa and Mama as she learns to read, to love books and grows up. Her new family are poor and not exactly sympathetic to the Nazi regime they’re living under, so life is hard I guess, though through the eyes of a child this is just the way the world is.

This was a weird one for me. At any individual point when I was reading it I was aware of how well it was written. The characters are vibrant and engaging, colourful and alive. The use of language is clever and playful. And yet I really had to push myself to finish it. I had a sense of plodding through it. Partly I think this was because the story exists as a series of anecdotes about a girl growing up, and whilst some of these are major events and part of a bigger story – both in terms of what was going on in the world but also in terms of her life – a lot are just little incidents that illustrate what that life was like – hard, joyous, confusing, exciting and so on. I suppose after about half way through the book I wanted more of just “the story” and less of the illustration.

I would recommend this book though because I do think it is well written and it has the power to move you. It’s light in places but not a light read. I was just thinking that you could write the same story without the need for Death to take a role as an actual character, but then I think he’s there to underline a point.

7/10 – A well-written book that may be a tough read for some, but worth it I think.




So that was 7 books in January, well ahead of schedule. I’ve stalled a little in that I haven’t read very much in the 4 days since I finished it – a paltry 14 pages. I guess that makes it nice that I’ve got a bit of a lead on the target. I was aware when I started this new regime (and remember I started unofficially back in November) that the possibility existed to ‘burn out’ by reading too much too quickly and then just needing a break. I am still wary of that – I’d rather read 50 pages a day every day than hit 50+books but have weeks off at a time. Well I say that but it’s nice to feel like I’m doing well at something…

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About shuggie

My name is Shuggie, Paul or LatePaul depending on where you know me from. I work in computers (databases) and occasionally write about softw
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