Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book reviews: Thievery, Love and Oskar

You guys! Exciting news, I can get a Seattle library card now. But the bad news is that all the libraries are closed from now until Monday. Wah wah (that's the Debbie Downer noise if you didn't know). Until then I'm stuck reading whatever books I can find that I have with me, which is limited. Such is life. Enjoy my latest book reviews. 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I'd seen this around on various twitter feeds and book lists and decided to pick it up. It's narrated by Death and written about a little girl, Liesel, in Nazi Germany after she is taken in by foster parents. Her real father is/was a Communist and her mother essentially disappears after taking her to the new home. Her career as a book thief begins with the burial of her younger brother and continues through late childhood and adolescence. This book really really excellent. You fall in love with Liesel's foster parents, her swearing mother and her endlessly patient and loving Papa. I love the perspective that Death brings and the way its written. It's almost as though Death gives away major plot points before they really happen in the story and the whole book is written to explain how they come to be. I highly recommend this book. 
All There Is by Dave Isay

This is another StoryCorp book. I reviewed Listening as an Act of Love awhile back (you can read it here) and wanted to pick up this book. It's another quick read (it took me an afternoon) and holds more poignant stories from real people. These are all focused on love, some on love lost or love found. Many will bring tears to your eyes, like the couple that both have multiple sclerosis and found each other later in life. This is one I could say you should pick up to read over a cup of coffee at home on a rainy afternoon.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

I had never been really drawn to read this book. I very vaguely knew it was about a kid who lost his father during 9/11 and that it was made into a movie with some controversy. A friend here in Seattle had it and highly recommended it so I decided to give it a try. It was really different than I thought it would be. Its narrated by Oskar Schell, an 11 year old living in New York City who is dealing with the grief of losing his father on 9/11. He is an interesting child who is teased by kids in his class and constantly invents things, like fanny pack parachutes, when he can't sleep. After finding a key in his father's closet he embarks on a journey to find the lock it matches which takes him all over the city and introduces him to a variety of people. I love the chapters that are written from Oskar's perspective. There are also some written from other people in his life that honestly, I didn't enjoy as much. The whole book I just wanted Oskar to deal with his grief and be able to live a healthy life. Thankfully there is some resolution to the book which gave me hope for the rest of his childhood, and even though he's just a book character it did make me feel better. It's really raw so I would say pick it up if it appeals to you, if not, skip it. 

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