This book was so layered and beautiful in its prose I almost couldn't believe it had been translated so well. The gothic feel of the story, the unforg...moreThis book was so layered and beautiful in its prose I almost couldn't believe it had been translated so well. The gothic feel of the story, the unforgettable characters, and the underlying love for books made this book wonderful for me.(less)
This has a slightly different feel from the movie, being narrated first by the mayor, and then by other characters, but the overall emotion and sentim...moreThis has a slightly different feel from the movie, being narrated first by the mayor, and then by other characters, but the overall emotion and sentiment is still there. It was a quick but great read.(less)
I took this book on a spring break cruise with 6 of my girlfriends. As we are all likeminded girls, we all had relatively large tomes propped up on ou...moreI took this book on a spring break cruise with 6 of my girlfriends. As we are all likeminded girls, we all had relatively large tomes propped up on our deck chairs while surrounded by mai tais and sunshine. While this is my idea of heaven, we certainly got our share of funny looks, and not just because my cover had two naked women on it.
I am a self-professed history novel buff, and this novel did not disappoint. Sarah Waters completely sucked me into a brand new world. I knew literally nothing about male impersonation or lesbianism in Victorian England, but I finished the book feeling like I had completed a course, in a good way! Nan, the main character, tells a tragic story, she begins the novel as an oyster girl, enters the glittering world of the theater with a girl she loves, and from there her real life begins.
This was my first Sarah Waters novel, though I have seen the BBC miniseries of Fingersmith, and I look forward to reading her other works. (less)
The Book Thief has been on my bookshelf and reading list for quite some time. I'd discovered it while looking through interesting audiobooks to downlo...moreThe Book Thief has been on my bookshelf and reading list for quite some time. I'd discovered it while looking through interesting audiobooks to download and I made a note of it. Soon, it began appearing on bestseller lists and book blogs so I determined to read it. I picked up a copy at the local secondhand book shop and brought it home. For some reason though, I didn't crack it open until 2 weeks ago, over 2 years since I'd bought it.
Before I say anything else about this book,I must say that it made me ache, both in happiness and sadness. Zusak has this amazing ability with words and metaphor. He would use an image or word that I would never have associated with another, and it would fit perfectly. His characterizations were at once incredibly simple and complex. I fell in love with all of the characters, but especially the protagonist, Liesel Meminger.
I loved the structure of this book. Narrated by Death, it is divided into several parts, and chapters within those parts. The prose is intimate yet strangely detached. We see into the hearts of the characters, but remain at a distance. This is, of course, because Death is not human. He is baffled by humanity, but yearns to save them, and redeem them. There was a moment in the book where Death describes picking up the souls of Jewish prisoners who have fled off a cliff, cradling them in his arms. I nearly broke down in the cafe where I was reading, and had to stop for a while.
This is one of the saddest books I have ever read. Tragedy washes over Liesel at every turn. But there is an unstoppable joy as well. Liesel discovers joy through reading with her Papa, stealing books and food with her best friend Rudy, and drawing with her secret basement-dweller Max.
The Book Thief is set in World War II stricken Germany, and the shadow of the war and the Fuhrer never leave the narrative. I think Zusak did a wonderful job of humanizing the people of Molching who were, on the surface, Nazi sympathizers. He showed that the ordinary people of Germany were both persecutors and victims, and ultimately, people who were just trying to survive and keep their families intact. I read in an interview that Zusak drew a lot from the experiences of his own family during the war, and that depth of understanding really shines through in the novel.
I'm so glad I finally decided to read this book. I don't know if it has changed my life or my ideas yet, but I do know that it has made me think about humanity, guilt, and the power of words to make life better.(less)
Island of the Blue Dolphins tells the story of a girl, Karana, who is left alone on her island home after her people leave and her brother dies. She m...moreIsland of the Blue Dolphins tells the story of a girl, Karana, who is left alone on her island home after her people leave and her brother dies. She makes a life for herself, building a home, befriending various animals, and surviving on her own for years.
I read this book many times when I was younger, and thoroughly enjoyed it every time. I was deeply impressed with the main character's determination to survive, and I was always invested in her story. Every time I read it I found myself rooting for her, and hoping that things would turn out well for her, even though I had read it so many times previously. (less)
The BBC adaptation of this book is one of my very favorite miniseries, and the original novel certainly did not disappoint me. Having read Sarah Water...moreThe BBC adaptation of this book is one of my very favorite miniseries, and the original novel certainly did not disappoint me. Having read Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet too, I knew that I would love the writing style and fiercely connect with the main characters.
Fingersmith tells the story of two girls in Victorian England. Beyond the fact of their shared gender, there is little to connect the two. Sue Trinder is born the daughter of a hanged murderess and is brought up in a den of thieves. Maud Lilly, on the other hand, is raised alongside her mother in a madhouse and then taken in by her perverse uncle to be his secretary in the pursuit of erotic bibliomania. The two girls are from different worlds, but are soon connected by the scheme of a con artist named Gentleman.
Sue is dispatched to the grand Lilly estate to become Maud's lady in waiting in order to eventually defraud her of all her money. As time passes though, the girls become friends and lovers. When betrayal eventually comes, it is not as expected, and the true connection between the girls is finally revealed in all its iniquity.
I found the twists and turns of this novel to be dark and delightful. Though I knew the story beforehand, I nevertheless read the book on the edge of my seat. I thought both Sue and Maud's voices to be incredibly compelling and highly individual. Sarah Waters is a wonderfully skilled writer and I greatly look forward to reading her other novels. (less)