Bookish Topic Tuesday – The Book Thief Movie

Bookish Topic Tuesday

The Book Thief Movie

So once again I’m sort of cheating when it comes to Bookish Topic Tuesday, since this is another movie post, but I don’t care. I saw this last week and I had to share my thoughts. I actually went to a special screening where Markus Zusak himself came afterwards for a bit of a Q&A, and a book signing, which was just amazing. The movie itself was really good I thought, though some people have criticised the ‘Hollywoodisation’ of it, I didn’t mind it.

Continue reading Bookish Topic Tuesday – The Book Thief Movie

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The Book Thief Movie Trailer

So today the first trailer of The Book Thief Movie was released, and I’m very excited for the movie, hopefully it is a good adaptation. It stars Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson (who isn’t Emma Watson, aka Hermione, like I first thought).

It is going to be released on November 15th in the US, though many other places aren’t getting the movie till next year, which is sad. No word on an Australian release date though….

The Book Thief – My Thoughts

Well what can I say, The Book Thief is definitely a must-read. In fact anything written by Markus Zusak should be read, and it is very, very unlikely that you could not like it. Zusak has amazing imagery, and his writing style and ideas are so unique that they in themselves make you want to read everything. Which is why you must read I am the Messenger/Messenger and look out for an upcoming book Bridge of Clay! But back to The Book Thief.

It’s a beautiful story. It’s well written, beautifully set out, unique, moving, emotive. I think it is something that can be read over and over, especially if you are like me and forget nearly everything! I must say that I really do love this book. I love Liesel, Rudy, Hans, Rosa, Ilsa and most of all Death. I don’t think the book would work as well, if it weren’t for every single character and event. It all works so well, every word has a purpose, which is fitting as it is about the strength of words.Words are not there just to fill up the pages, they are there because they have to be, and I’d really wish that firstly, more people would appreciate words, especially Zusak’s and secondly that there were more authors out there like Zusak. I think it is a bit of a paradox. Firstly, good books take time, and many authors love to pump out the books, not to say that this is a bad thing or leads to bad work, but some of the best books take time, and are planned out. The best authors plan out their work to a T, and perfect it. But secondly, it annoys us the reader, because we want more of their work NOW! But we just have to be patient and wait for their next great work, and sometimes it never comes like with Harper Lee.

There were so many moments that are the best. I don’t want to mention them, or else I forget one or go on forever. But the book is filled with magical moments that demand your attention and alter your emotions. It is a book that you won’t forget, sure I forgot the details but I never forgot how amazing it was, and at every opportunity I told people to read it. Seriously find a copy, and read it. Even better, buy it and support Markus Zusak, and buy more copies for your friends! It is a book that everyone should read MORE than once, so if you have read it before, I urge you to pick it up again, and recall its brilliance. Sure it isn’t action packed and fast paced, and it isn’t a ‘happy read’ but it is worth it.

I am really happy that I decided to re-read this, because I had forgotten so much of what happened, and forgotten how brilliant and amazing it really was. I think doing it in a chapter by chapter format, slowed down the pace, but allowed things to sink in, be further analysed and for me to connect with all the characters and form a bond. And this time I don’t think I’ll forget, and if I do, I have a good source of information to look at! I hope that you all have enjoyed this journey, it has been a long one, but the best things take time. Thank you for reading and joining the ride.

Tomorrow will be the start of a new project, that is very much connected to this one. I have hinted at doing something with it, but it’s going to be different, and to be honest I’m very interested in what is about to happen. It’s going to be different, but I hope you can join me for the ride.

The Book Thief – Epilogue – The Last Colour – Death and Liesel and Wood in the Afternoon

The Last Colour

Death and Liesel

We are now years later, but that does not mean the story is over. Death is tired. He is probably tired from all the work he has had to do during and after World War Two, but really Death’s work never ends.

A Last Fact

I should tell you that the book thief died only yesterday.

This once again shocked me, but for some reason I feel as though Death is talking in a different tone, than when he was discussing the forthcoming death of Rudy and others and to me he sounds different after the events past. Maybe he just sounds tired. Liesel lived to a very old age (so it was many years later) far away from Molching. She lived in Sydney, I’m not going to lie I was excited that she came to Australia. Sure Zusak is Australian, but it was unexpected. She was another soul, like Hans, that was ready for Death.

Her final thoughts were of her three children, her grandchildren, her husband, and all those she has met. Especially Hans and Rosa, and her brother, and Rudy. I think it would be interesting to have a story based around her life after Molching, and her children and husband, I wouldn’t want this to actually happen, but it is interesting to imagine.

But the story does not end there, there is one last tale to tell.

Wood in the Afternoon

We return to Himmel Street. Just after the bombing, and Liesel had no where to go. And it would be hard to think of what to do with her, everyone she knew is dead. Three hours later it was the mayor and his wife that turned up. If Liesel is going to live with Ilsa that would be a very interesting (though somewhat cliqued, it makes me think of Matilda) ending. For four days she didn’t wash, which I guess mirrors the beginning, where she refused to do so. Dreams haunt her again, but this time she doesn’t want to wake up, everything she has is in the dreams. She attended the funerals of Hans and Rosa and people talked about a strange girl that was there. Which is just so rude. These people probably meant nothing to Hans and Rosa. Did their daughter come? What about their son? Or was he too dead?

A rumour circulated that Liesel went down to the Amper River, when in fully clothed and whispered something about a kiss and a Saumensch.

Weeks and months went by, the war continued. Nothing was left at Himmel Street, no recovery could be sought from there. Recovery would take decades. There were two funerals for the Steiners, one straight after the bombing, and one when Alex Steiner returned home. I had forgotten about him, and that he was still alive. I’m sure this is the worst news that he could ever be given, at least he was given leave. Again, guilt creeps into the living. Alex thinks back to the time when Rudy could have gone to school, and he would still be alive today, but you couldn’t know that. The two survivors met, and I think the fact that they both were going through a similar ordeal, and had lost so much would probably help them, make them less alone.

Max

After the war, once Hitler had given himself to Death, Alex Steiner returned to his tailor shop. The only reason was, so he had something to do, it was better than doing nothing. Liesel joined him some times, but often they walked together.

In October 1945, a man arrived at the store, it was Max. I think that this news of him for Liesel is probably the best that has happened. I think Max is crucial in her recovery, in her survival in the world.

The Handover Man(the last chapter!)

Death has seen many things, the biggest disasters and the worst villains. But there are other moments. There are a small few number of stories that distract him while he works, just like the colours. They come in the strangest of places, miraculously, and Liesel’s story is one of them.

When he carried Liesel’s soul, he was finally able to do something he had been waiting for. He returned the book to her, the book she wrote. The words had faded, but they were still there. Liesel asks a powerful question. ‘Could you understand it?’ There were many answers death could have given. About beauty, brutality, that he overestimated and underestimated humanity. He wanted to talk to her about how one thing could be ugly and glorious, and words, damning and brilliant. But they were never said. He told her the truth.

A Last Note from Your Narrator

I am haunted by humans.

That is the end, there is no more, and our journey is complete. One last post tomorrow, and then we shall move on.

 

The Book Thief – Part Ten – The End of the World (Part Two)

The End of the Word (Part II)

Liesel’s black book is disappearing during its time with Death, but that is why he tells us the story. Because if you ‘say something enough times you’ll never forget it.’ We are now entering the territory where the words are no longer Liesel’s, but Death’s. And we will finally find out how Death came to know her story.

The bombs are dropping and Death is collecting the dead. This time it is the people we all know and have been ‘living’ with. First it is Tommy Muller, then his sister, then their mother. Only then do the warning sirens begin to sound. But it is too late.

A Rollcall of Streets

Munich, Ellenberg, Johannson, Himmel. The main street + three more, in the poorer part of town.

Very quickly, they were all gone. You easily get the sense that all is lost, and everything is over. Maybe that is the projection from Death himself, but the words are grim too. Frau Holtzapfel was nearly waiting for Death, asking him what had taken him so long. Frau Diller was fast asleep, her shop obliterated, and Hilter’s photo was thrown to the floor. Death stepped on him on his way out. The Fielders were all in bed, Pfiffikus was hidden up to his nose. And at the Steiners, Barbra, Kurt, the little ones and then Rudy. This is it!

Rudy was asleep with one of his sisters, nearly falling out as she took up the room. His arms were around her. And just like that Death picked up their souls. They died fast. Death has some unusual thoughts then. He wonders who was there to comfort Rudy when his life was taken, as he did with the pilot. But there was only him, who isn’t too good at comforting people. Death saw all of the contents of his soul, all the major events, and dreams. The major thing, imagining what a kiss with Liesel would taste like. Rudy makes Death cry.

This is not a happy moment, but the mood it is written in, is nearly disconnected and cold. And there is more to come.

It is the Hubermanns next. Hans first. His soul met Death, a sign of the best. Someone that rises up and says, ‘I know who you are and I am ready. Not that I want to go, of course, but I will come.’ And this is my attitude towards death. Of course I don’t want to die, but if I were, I would hope to accept it, and go willingly. I guess it is the last thing that we are in control of. Hans’s soul whispered Liesel’s name in the end, but Liesel wasn’t going to meet Death that day. Lastly was Rosa. I think it shows the calibre of Zusak, when in such a sombre mood and scene, he is still able to tactfully pull off some jokes. Rosa had a bigger heart than people would have thought, it was something you could tell about her. She cared about those she loved, and she would do anything for them, a quality that is important and revered.

The Last Luck

I moved from street to street and came back for a single man named Schultz at the bottom of Himmel.

Not sure I remember any Schultz, but he was the last, and with the LSE so close and saving Liesel and celebrating, it seems harsh. Again Death is curious, and this time it leads to something beautiful.

They pulled her out, and she immediately screamed for Hans. She ran, the sky was red, and it was snowing, not snow but hot ash. Everything she knew is gone. I find it quite satirical that in a time like this someone can say that it will all be okay. In that sort of situation, how can you say that everything will be fine? I guess it is try to comfort the person, and yourself, but can you really believe it at the time?

Liesel is so confused and lost, and in shock, and it is really sad, that she tells the man that they must save Hans and Rosa. But worst of all, that they must save Max. Then she recalled, and collapsed. She still was holding her book, her words. They walked past someone carrying Hans’s accordion case, broken and it acts as a wake up. She realises that they have been bombed. As she took the accordion case, she saw her first body. It was Frau Holtzapfel.

The Next Dozen Seconds of Liesel Meminger’s Life

She turns on her heel and looks as far as she can down this ruined canal that was once Himmel Street. She sees two men carrying a body and follows them.

When she gets to them, she realises it is Rudy. She tries to wake him up, as if he were sleeping, but he is not. She tells him that she loves him, but he will never wake up. She kissed him, but all it tastes like is regret of her chances that she lost.

The Next Discovery

The bodies of Mama and Papa, both lying tangled in the gravel bed sheet of Himmel Street.

I don’t know what is worse. Rudy’s death, or Hans and Rosa’s. It’s heartbreaking and emotional. I don’t know how Liesel will move on, restart her life. How can you, after everyone you loved died, twice. It took her years to move on from her mother and brother’s death, how long will it take for her to accept and ‘move on’ from everyone else. You can never fully move on, but I’m trying to say, regain normalcy and will to live and love.

Many Moments of Avoidance

Papa, She would not, and could not, look at Papa. Not yet. Not now.

I thought that Hans’s death would be the hardest. She loved them all, but Hans was different. He taught her so much, she loved him the most. She gave the accordion to Hans’s dead body. In her mind, Hans played the final tune. It ended, and it was over. She could finally say her goodbye. Though he will never leave her. She remembered the accordion but she forgot the book.

It was thrown away, but Death was there and collected her precious words. And all we have left now is the epilogue, it is nearly over. This was a really emotional chapter, but it was done in the best manner possible. Liesel has gone through a lot, and I think in the epilogue we will find out how she copes after this latest tragedy.

The Book Thief – Part Ten – The Ribcage Planes

The Ribcage Planes

Writing by hand is really tiring, and the little hand muscles get so sore so quickly. Thank goodness that we have computers these days so can easily and quickly type things, without the pain. ‘Words are so heavy’ once again a beautiful image. Eleven hand-written pages in one night is a fantastic effort!

Page 1

I try to ignore it, but I know this all started with the train and the snow and my coughing brother. I stole my first book that day. It was a manual for digging graves and I stole it on my way to Himmel Street …

The beginning of the book we are reading, seems such a long time ago, and the death of her brother was so long ago. Liesel fell asleep down in the basement, and in the morning Rosa found her. I really love Rosa! I love all the characters!

Liesel’s life is complicated and full of interesting things, that she is in danger of forgetting something, and it isn’t like she can just insert more words in-front of the ones she already has written. If she left something out, it would have to be worked in later, or left out entirely. Liesel has been consumed by writing, words have become even more important to her, I don’t know what would happen if she lost them, not again. This is a really elegant way to recount some of the things that have happened to Liesel in this book, really clever and quite unique.

Page 42

Papa sat with me tonight. He brought the accordion down and sat close to where Max used to sit. I often look at his fingers and face when he plays. The accordion breathes. There are lines on his cheeks. They look drawn on, and for some reason, when I see them, I want to cry. It is not for any sadness or pride. I just like the way they move and change. Sometimes I think my Papa is an accordion. When he looks at me and smiles and breathes, I hear the notes.

Liesel really does have a way with words, when words are that important to someone, I guess you know how to use them. Molching was bombed again, whilst Liesel was asleep in the basement, but Hans woke her up and took her to the ‘safer bunker’.

Page 175

A book floated down the Amper River. A boy jumped in, caught up to it and held it in his right hand. He grinned. He stood waist deep in the icy, Decemberish water. ‘How about a kiss. Saumensch?’ he said.

Clearly our ‘The Book Thief’ is different to Liesel’s ‘The Book Thief’. This is her story, but Death is our narrator and not Liesel. I wonder what this would be like if Liesel narrated. Clearly we wouldn’t know as much, and wouldn’t be able to travel around, but I wonder if it would be as interesting. I don’t think so. The main attraction is Death, Liesel’s story too, but without Death and his commentary and knowledge, the book wouldn’t work, at least as well as it does.

Liesel finished her book, with only a few dozen pages to spare. The book is divided the same way this one is, in 10 parts each titled after the book/story that played a part in the ‘part’. We learn that in 5 days, everything is going to change.

The Book Thief – Last Line

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.

That would be a superb end to a book, but of course our story continues, though for only 20 more pages!

The Book Thief – Part Ten – Ilsa Hermann’s Little Black Book

Ilsa Hermann’s Little Black Book

Yet again Liesel is returning to the mayor’s house for another book, but apparently this time, all is not well.

The Last Human Stranger, Page 211

The sun stirs the earth. Round and round, it stirs us, like stew.

The world can most certainly be an ugly place, but there is great beauty there waiting to be found, if we just go beyond the outer layers. The world deserves everything, however the people on it, we do not deserve all that much, especially how we treat the earth, and each other. Liesel has seen a lot of terrible things, and it easily brings her down. These things are hard to analyse and talk about, they are certainly not the happiest things to talk about, but there is no use avoiding death, and the horrors of life. Is it better to be naïve, that to be aware? I think it is better to know, than to not know.

I don’t know how Liesel will be able to get out of this dark place she is in. I mean it is only going to get worse, but how will she cope? Is the writing of her story her coping mechanism, kinda like Max who painted and wrote to keep alive and happy. I think there has to be at least one thing in our lives that we enjoy, and we have to do it often, and not let other things in the way. We are all too obsessed with our work, earning money, doing this, doing that, that we forget life and how to enjoy it. If you don’t have something that enjoy and look forward to, try to find one, if it is one that you can enjoy with good friends, even better.

Liesel has gone from sad, to mad. She tore out an entire book and I don’t want to make light of the situation, but that is a terrible thing to do, and I guess it is significant for her. Books and words have made her happy, and have been a main part of her life, especially in Himmel Street, and now they are her enemy. Words are powerful.

No one is home, and Liesel considers stealing some food, but she realises that she has caused them enough pain. So she writes a letter.

The Last Letter

Dear Mrs Hermann,

As you can see, I have been in your library again and I have ruined one of your books. I was just so angry and afraid and I wanted to kill the words. I have stolen from you and now I have wrecked your property. I’m sorry. To punish myself, I think I will stop coming here. Or is it punishment at all? I love this place and hate it, because it is full of words.

You have been a friend to me even though I hurt you, even though I have been insufferable (a word I looked up in your dictionary) and I think I will leave you alone now. I’m sorry for everything.

Thank you again.

Liesel Meminger

Liesel I am so proud! You calmed down, and realised what you have been doing. You have apologised and acted maturely and rationally. This letter is touching, and brilliant. And I hope that Ilsa sees how much you cared, and how much you are sorry, because I can. Clearly this is the last time that she will go back to the library, and is a major event. It just shows that we are coming to the end, and things are beginning to wrap up.

That was a truly emotive and powerful, and amazing passage. I cannot express how much I adore Zusak’s work, I want him to write so much more! And just because it was the last time Liesel would see the library does not mean it was the last time she would see Ilsa Hermann.

Three Days Later

The woman has knocked at number thirty-three and waits for a reply.

Ilsa was out of her bathrobe, which is a very symbolic idea, it almost appears as if she has moved on, and recovered, which is pleasing news. Ilsa tells her that she should write her own book because her letter was so well written. Liesel does have a way with words, she is The Word Shaker! She gave her a black book, to write her story in. But more importantly, she gave her some advice. ‘And please don’t punish yourself, like you said you would. Don’t be like me, Liesel.’

I really hope that Liesel takes her advice. Liesel has clearly helped Ilsa, in a way that wouldn’t have been possible if it were not for her. I really like these two characters and their troubled friendship. And their conclusion together, is really fitting. I don’t know if Liesel’s book will ever be read by Ilsa, I doubt it, but I don’t think that is important.

Thinking about it Ilsa saved her life, because without her book, she would never have been in the basement when the bombs dropped, so her gift is even more special. But Liesel now knows that words are important and special, and that they can bring sadness and pain, but also they can bring happiness.

Liesel began to write, and I don’t think that many people can really plan what they are going to write, it just happens, like this right now. The best ideas are sometimes the ones we didn’t even expect.

The Book Thief

a small story

by

Liesel Meminger

This, I think, is one of the best chapters, something that is said a lot, but really, truly, I love this chapter, it brings so many things together, and is one that ends on a ‘happy’ note.

I think I’ll leave it there, considering how close the end is, this is something that doesn’t need to be rushed.