The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
What a splendid book! One that I feel every single person on earth should read, honestly. I wasn’t able to get into the book initially, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. One of the best books I’ve read in quite some time.
The story is set in Nazi-occupied Germany in the 1940s. During this turbulent time, a little girl called Liesel Meminger is brought to the home of foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann. She watches her brother die on the train journey over to what will be her new home, and her mother walk away from her, helpless. It is from her brother’s graveside that she steals her first book: The Gravedigger’s Handbook. She doesn’t know how to read, though. With her Papa, Hans Hubermann, Liesel begins to learn to read, and she begins to love the process. In the course of her journey, she steals more books, including those from Nazi book burnings.
The Book Thief is a pleasure to read, for its gripping plot, the kind of language used by the author, and the style of narration – it is a story narrated by Death after all! It will surely keep you turning page after page, into the wee hours of the night, I’m sure. The book is beautiful because it is hopeful, in spite of the gory subject it caters to. The events described will break your heart and make you wonder about how humans could do such things to each other, but at the same time, it is a celebration of humaneness. It shows the humane side of war in a poignant manner, and that is what I loved about it. It is one of those books that stays with you forever, once you have read it.
I did wish the author had thrown more light on Liesel’s life after the war – I would have liked to read about that, too. A sequel would be great!
Do grab a copy of this book as soon as you can!
The Secret Lives Of Dresses – Erin McKean
The Secret Lives Of Dresses is the story of Dora, who seems to be stuck in a life that is going nowhere, and her grandmother, Mimi. After the death of her parents in an accident when she was just a child, Dora has been entirely brought up by Mimi. Her love for Mimi is full of friendship and respect. Hence, when Mimi has a sudden stroke, Dora rushes back home from her college. She regrets the fact that she never wore any of the vintage clothes Mimi has been painstakingly collecting for her in a closet. Her grandmother had class – after all, she owns a vintage clothing store! Dora decides to wear one of those outfits while she visits her grandmother in hospital, thereby setting in motion a series of events that will change her life.
It was quite a predictable read, but a fun one, nonetheless. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the spirited Mimi and the people in her life, the dresses in her store and the stories behind them. It is a great book for when you need something light and relaxing to soothe your frayed nerves. Quite well written, with some beautiful moments thrown in. I would have loved it if the characters were etched more in detail than they are. And, oh, I would have loved to see pictures of all the vintage dresses in Mimi’s store, and the people who wore them. The book would make a great movie, actually!
Don’t Sing At The Table: Life Lessons From My Grandmothers – Adriana Trigiani
I have read quite a bit of fiction by Adriana Trigiani, and have loved most of her books. When I came to know of her first attempt at non-fiction, Don’t Sing At The Table: Life Lessons From My Grandmothers, I was tempted to get my hands on it immediately. I didn’t regret my decision. The book, a memoir about Adriana’s grandmothers – Viola and Lucy – turned out to be a beautiful read.
As the name suggests, the book contains the lessons that Adriana learnt from her two grandmothers, both of them very solid, practical, hardworking women, full of life and determination.The lessons span various aspects of life, including finance, marriage, work, maintaining a house, and raising kids, sage advice that has stuck with me even after a few weeks of having finished the book.
Adriana’s love and devotion for her grandmothers is evident in the book. You can see links between the life stories of her two grandmothers and some of the characters in her stories. The book made me long for the kind of bond that Adriana had with her grandmothers – to talk endlessly with them, to learn from them, to share life with them.
It is a lovely, simple book that will warm your heart and give you practical wisdom, straight from the mouths of grannies.
Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts about them?
What are you reading at the moment?