The first book of 2020

  • It is the first out of 52 books planned for this year (though again I’m hoping to exceed. In 2019, I read 61 books).
  • Corresponds to the letter B of my #AlphabetSoupChallenge
  • Fits into the Icy category of my Book Bingo Challenge as some of it takes place in winter; one of the character freezes nearly to death
  • It has a strong friendship theme, a meaningful love, and fits into “written in first-person” – and what an interesting narrator it is. It’s the category I’m ticking off for this book for sure, the narrator is superb and original.
  • It also happens to be on the BBC list of books to read.

It’s the Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

It’s hard for me to do more than babble about this book. It was THE ONE. The one that speaks to me on so many levels. It’s written so well, has characters that strongly resonate and it’s thoughtful. Book Thief really shows rather than tells and has heart in the heaps. This is a great writer. It’s really a brilliant tale. A story like this only comes once in a million other reads.

It is snowing when Liesl travels with her brother to forster care.. it is white, but the colours of her world are to change drastically very soon. Death follows her at every step. But death has a heart too. 

This is an incredible book. Not only is narrator fascinating and you hang on to his every word, but the characters…the characters are done just right, with humanity they are due and most of all much love. They resonate strongly, I loved them all, Hans, Rosa (foster parents with much heart and love), Liesl, Rudy (Liesl’s charming best friend). Max (a Jewish boy).They live in Himmel – heaven…but soon the brutal reality of hatred-torn Germany and war catches up with this little corner, forcing the characters to face tough decisions.

Besides the beautifully developed characters, plot and events, there is much thoughtful material. About the power of words, among other things, and about one man who abused that power in so many hideous ways, leading to terrible carnage and tragedy. What can happen when we abuse the words? This resounds very strongly today. Max writes stories wthin the story for Liesl; they highlight the friendship but also the theme of words very strongly. I loved it, it’s really wonderful storytelling. There is also love vs hate theme done so beautifully it is breathtaking. Liesl and Max friendship is vital to this theme, as are actions of Hans and Rosa.

And all this is narrated by an ingenious narrator who has all the claim to omniscience and thanks to him we really can get to know what happened at various times and places – I absolutely loved that and I also loved how he prepared me for certain events. Moreover, the narrator is perfectly thoughtful as well. It’s incredible. Original but most of all well-done narrator who is very careful and deliberate but very humane in the end. A story like this comes only once in a mllion. The storytelling and writing is just so right in everything here, with so much love, there is so much finesse but emotion and feeling too. It’s the perfect book for me.

Excellent novel, excellent writing all throughout. characters to absolutely love. It is a fast and riveting read, with a lot of humanity in it. And a great read to start 2020. It was my first read of the New Year. and excellent, remarkable, moving, gorgeous, however heavy start. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I’ve read it on Kindle but have ordered the paperback anniversary edition. I wanted to move on and pick the next read, but I can’t.This was just The One book. I love it so much, it’s def going into my books of a lifetime shelf.

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