Friday Free For All

Hello.   How long has it been since I treated you to a random spouting of whatever is on my mind?    I think I could yap for many words this morning AND still keep it about books.     Got LOTS to say, it seems, and of course, all my sentence/thoughts are TOO LONG for Twitter.  😛   Besides, sometimes yelling into the Twitter void is loneliness-inducing.    I’ll say something and no one reacts.   So I just fell silly.   Like I’m in a room full of people shouting something (not) profound; everyone keeps right on talking.    Even worse, is the feeling that everyone stops for just a silent second to glance at me and then resumes talking.   Twitter CAN be intimidating, admit it. (yes, I do know that I should just jump in and react to someone else’s tweet – gotta be a friend to have a friend…)

See?  I’ve already rambled on and have barely even started.

I am now reading Night by Elie Wiesel;  inspired by my finishing The Book Thief (and the fact that Night is less than 200 pages, who am I kidding?!)       I have a confession.   Of course, I knew this book was about his time in the Nazi concentration camps but I didn’t realize it was about his crisis of faith.    I don’t know why this gives me pause, but it is sobering and somber and quietly dread-full.       I think I might have to seek out Viktor Frankel’s Man’s Search for Meaning as a counterpoint/companion read next.   How did I get on a Holocaust themed book run?

On a lighter note, I decided I could very well pop in an audio book to help Jen celebrate her Audio Week Extravaganza!    So I’m halfway through listening to Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson and I am IN LOVE with the setting!    What a wonderful NYC book!   I’m fond of this book already; fond of the main character and her family.

Which brings me to a question that you may want to address in a comment if you so wish:     Does it intimidate you to see the HOURS of LISTENING on an audio book case as compared to a book’s page count?     It does me.      So, when I saw that Suite Scarlett is NINE hours, I thought “OK, quite do-able.”    and yet, I *know* that I can read about 50-60 pages an hour and could if I wanted to convert a book reading time to hours, but I never do.

On similar note (maybe), I downloaded the audio of The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace and the key-card doesn’t tell me how many hours it is.   WHY do you think I assume it is many?   Many like is LOTS?    I’m scared to look up the page count…    I was about to write another sentence with a form of the word ‘intimidation’ in it and that’s just silly.   I have to get over what that word means!

Which reminds me of that quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

I am hoping to put together a pre-discussion post of  questions for Franny & Zooey – I suppose, I should write a review, too – and just wanted to let you know that I ended up liking it very much.    Not what I was expecting to after the first 40 pages.   In fact, I may have to re-read the Franny section.    I didn’t do a good job of taking notes so I might have to re-read the whole thing…   oh well.

I’m also reminded that I need a button.  and a note in my sidebar.   And I want to thank Florinda for sharing the link to the kickoff in one of her announcement posts!

AND.     For August 10, I hereby announce the book will be Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

Maree is hosting a discussion/readalong of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods on July 10th, too.   I got the book! I’ve been saying I need to read some NG for years now.

Jenny over at Jenny’s Books will be celebrating Diana Wynne Jones (an author I had never heard of until I started to read Jenny’s blog which you should read, too) – check out her announcement of that special week here.   I want to read Howl’s Moving Castle or Eight Days of Luke.

Have I also shared that we are planning on vacation for July 10th (the F&Z discussion) and it is extremely possible that I won’t have internet access on that date?!?!??!?!?     I’m sticking my head in the sand and refusing to acknowledge this possibility.   DRAT IT ALL.    I can’t go and tell the Hub to cancel vacation because I screwed up and scheduled an internet chat, now can I?     Well, I wish I could but he’ll just turn around and ask me how much money I’m making on this blog-thing and ha-ha…   I’ll see what I can do.   Maybe I can get that I-Pad thingy figured out by then?   It’s on my list of to-do’s before July 4th.

What else, what else?    I had a brain full of topics to address!  Where did they go?

I received Making the Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa, MD from my new-friend-from-BEA Esme at Chocolate & Croissants (thank you!) which she was so wonderfully generous to send me because I was complaining that I couldn’t find this book in LARGE PRINT.    (The one she sent isn’t in large print, either – I don’t think they printed an LP edition.)   My desire was that I wanted to get this for the library at the HOME FOR THE AGED where I volunteer and the residents prefer Large Print.     (It’s the largest Large Print library on the southcoast of Massachusetts!)

Finally, I leave you with a photo of a DOG named Oscar.


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Re-Reading The Book Thief

Some more thoughts…   The Book Thief by Mark Zusak, Alfred A Knopf New York 2007 (imprint of Random House Children’s Books).  Originally published in Australia 2005 by Picador, an imprint of Pan Macmillan Pty Ltd, Sydney; 550 pages.

Since this is a re-read and not even one that I had picked for the Re-Reading / Flashback Challenge but one that I picked up again because my IRL bookclub chose it for this month’s selection, and now having rambled into some kind of extensive sentence of which I cannot seem to grasp a good way to wrap up, may I point you to my original review  thoughts post on the first time I read this awesome book?      From eleven months ago…

I STILL love this book.

I have not been the kind of person that re-reads books.    This was partly due to my being much more motivated to read new-to-me books — all those classics that I’ve always thought I *should* read or hot new titles that beckon with pushy enthusiasm.    I never read for “comfort.”     I hate to know what is going to happen.

But then I re-read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I had always adored my first-read experience with CS Lewis’  The Chronicles of Narnia and  I wanted it fresh in my mind when the movie came out.

I was so disappointed.   I can’t remember what exactly I was disappointed by but do know that it had lost its magic.   I was then shattered and so sad.   I felt that I had RUINED my memory of the joy of discovering the world of Narnia.      I vowed never to re-read a book again.

Until I decided that such a stance was silly.

And along came this year’s re-read challenge and I thought I would try the concept again.

AND…   The Book Thief. I still think it is full of awesomeness.     And I bawled my eyes out.

[from early in the book, page 80:]

She was the book thief without the words.

Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain.

[updated about five minutes after posting this post to add that I’m just now reading Zusak’s thoughts at the end of the book and I’m crying again!]


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Book Thief

Review  tbtbmz The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Alfred A. Knopf 2005, 550 pages.   Winner of a bunch of awards including the CFWP** for 2009.

FIVE PIEs.   Five WHOLE Pies, not mere slices.   This book is some kind of awesomeness.   You may have noticed that the last few reviews (or blabberings) I have presented were also for books that I bestowed the Five Pie Rating to and I will stick by those.   But of these three books (all this month, too), I adored The Book Thief the most.

I can’t review this.   Ich habe keine ahnung*  how to start this.   I made the mistake of reading other reviews here in lit-o-blog-o-sphere.     So let me introduce you to this book with other’s words.

The Koolaid Mom at In the Shadow of Mt. TBR loved this book and shares lots (including a companion post of excerpts) of why she loves this book:    “… Zusak writes with a poetic beauty that captures the way children take in the world around them.  He often crosses the communication of the five senses”.

I so agree!     What made this book amazing to me was how the author created a physical world of sensations with words and descriptions counter to their flat lettery two-dimensional black-and-whiteness.     He gave taste and shape to the words and their meanings; like stumbling and pouring out a different dimension of the universe.      The narrative is creative and sensation-able.

I knew I wanted to read this book after seeing tons of praise for it.      The Book Lady has also read some of these ‘it-will-change-your-life’ reviews but wasn’t quite as impressed as the hype lead her to expect to be.     She still enjoyed the book but “would have liked a bit more complexity” and less bluntness, more subtlety from Death, the narrator:    “Instead of foreshadowing or hinting at events to come, he flat out tells us what’s going to happen”.
Personally, I didn’t find this style at all off-putting.     It worked for me and made me eager to keep reading;   a page-turner throughout.      Softdrink, too, found it a bit long – and I admit that when I realized the page count exceeded 500, I was hesitant!   I’m so not a chunkster-reader.    But I sailed right through this.

The Bookfool was braver than I;  she admitted that she was intimidated to review this but did a wonderful job! In  her summation, The Book Thief is a thought-provoking book, full of stunning imagery and, in my opinion, technically perfect with not the slightest deviation in tone. It’s worth talking about, passing around, setting up on the good shelves for a future reread; and it has just rocketed to the top of my list of best books read in 2006.”

Well, this has rocketed to the top of my list of best books read in 2009.     I highly recommend this.   If not on YOUR tbr, put it there.   If it IS on your tbr, MOVE IT UP.

And, since I keep editing this post and finding more reviews to read, I’ll add just one more thing:    Serena of Savvy Wit and Verse and Anna of Diary of Eccentric are coordinating the challenge War Through the Generations and they post bits of reviews from submissions.   So, click here for even more thoughts, enticements, and critiques of The Book Thief.

* Ich habe keine ahnung –>   I have no idea.   or…    I have no NOTION.   I only took a bit of German in high school.    Knowing a smattering of the language and being of German heritage might be more reasons I loved the book.    Zusak sprinkles some German words into the text but almost always immediately defines it for the reader.   Without disrupting the flow of the narrative.

** CFWP = Care Five Whole Pie