Sunday, July 02, 2006

Death writes a book. (And it's beautiful.)

I put off reading The Book Thief for ages because I don't like to read books set during a war...which is strange because my favorite book, The Power of One, is set in South Africa during WWII. Roald Dahl's Going Solo about his reluctant draft & RAF service to the Crown is another favorite (Dahl's accompanying photos add so much to the text, but it would also be cool to hear respected actor Derek Jacobi do the audio version!), and I was deeply touched by the YA novel Kipling's Choice, set during WWI.

For the most part, however, war is just too painful and horrible a human chapter to enjoy reading about in bed at the end of the day, not to mention that shocking images keep me up at clearly, violent books are not my cup of tea. (Bethany thinks I'm weird because I can't even watch crime shows like Law & Order!)

Markus Zusak's The Book Thief is different, though. Narrated by Death himself, it's simultaneously ugly and beautiful and haunting and touching and, best of all...hopeful. I didn't weep until page 537. (This book made Charlie Gibson cry. And the author's father cried, too--which made him swear at his 30 year-old son.)

If you're even *slightly* interested in the book Kirkus Reviews calls "beautiful and important" and USA Today praises as "poised to become a classic," then I'm BEGGING you to watch this:

or hear this:

or visit this:

In a recent interview, the author (whose wife just delivered their first child, a baby girl named Nikita, on June 23rd!) was asked what he wanted to say about the book:

"I can really only say this: No matter what anyone says--whether they love the book or hate it--I know it's the best I could do. I don't know if I'll ever be able to write a better book than that. It's everything I've got, that book. All my other books are like a small piece of me, but this book is every piece."

Off to take Misha for a walk in the park,

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