Tag Archives: World War II

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Rated: 5 stars

Read: June 23, 2020

Eight years in between readings I think, meant to be perhaps because I learned more in the ensuing years. Had accumulated more backstory of the war through several mediums, most significantly after having read The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, plus several fictions like Eye of the Needle by Ken Follet to more domestic locals in La’s Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith. Not least of which was my visit to Dover Castle, the tunnel tour.

It was heartbreak all over again, of course. It was damnation and redemption all in one told by the guy we all heard of, the one we’ll all have the chance to meet. The writing style took some getting used to then and even a little still now but I find I liked it because the use of similes, metaphors, and a technique I can’t quite pin down, they made paintings of scenes.

At the beginning of the book, the clinging, filthy, and bruised girl was in many ways similar to the end. She was still filthier, and battered and clung still to what she could. But she was different too.

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La’s Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith

La's Orchestra Saves The WorldRated it: 4 1/2 stars

Goodreads blurb

La Stone is a widow who, as the Nazi threat looms, assembles a ragtag orchestra in rural Suffolk in hopes of altering “the temper of the world.” She falls for one of her recruits, a Polish pilot with a suspicious past. But patriotism trumps passion, leaving La to worry if her life will always be “a play in which I have no real part.” In McCall-Smith’s quintessentially English world, perserverance, pots of tea and the power of music will show the way.
(Ellen Shapiro for People magazine)

Of all the books I’ve read concerning WW II I believe that this would be the first one I’ve come across where the protagonist is the furthest away from warfare and gore. What I mean is that I’ve seen through the eyes of the persecuted Jews and those (who weren’t Jews) close to them and I can’t recall ever reading from a Briton’s point of view. Personally, it’s refreshing to view things from another angle, to see how life carried on relatively far from the heavy rain of lead bullets, how the country side and its people were affected and how they were coping.

La’s Orchestra Saves the World is the story a young woman who suffered through heart break, then a war that brought about its own miseries but also turned out to be an opportunity for her to meet certain people who would shape the rest of her life. This is a story of how a woman’s quiet courage and music helped inspired hope in the townsfolk through the dark days for five years. It told me of the fright of risking loving again even if the other may not feel the same.

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Image via goodreads.com

Read: July 10th, 2011

My Rating: 5 Stars

Goodreads blurb:

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
From the Hardcover edition.

My Review:

Today, Sunday the 10th July, around 1:55 AM, I had finished the most beautiful book I’ve ever read. A book, though breathtakingly beautiful, showed mankind at its worst and its best. How? I have no words that could tell you. Maybe the words were there, but they weren’t enough, no amount of them could ever be.I couldn’t find one word that could that could describe the way this book made me feel as I burned through its pages full of life and death and as I read every single word it held so dearly.

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Filed under Books, Fiction, Historical, Young Adult