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20 March 2007 @ 12:27 am
February 2007  
Sorry this took so long to get up; I had it half written when I left for my spring break in Florida. So now it's going up. Enjoy!

As always, comments are awesome, as are book recommendations.


Books Bought:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Books Read:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
The President’s House by Margaret Truman
No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty

I don’t know if I was lazy this month, or just too busy, but I only really read one book. In the beginning of the month I had pulled all the books I wanted to read for the month from my shelf, made a list, put the titles on post-it notes, and drew from a hat, which order I was going to go in.

The only book from that list that I actually ended up reading was the one by Margaret Truman and I didn’t even finish that one. As for the Harry Potter book, I have a plan for that. You’ll see.

I think the reason I didn’t get a lot done this month is because I have a deadline for my novel to be edited, rewriting wise, and the deadline is getting closer, and now I have to haul ass to have it finished properly. Then, I’ll realize that more changes need to be made and then I’ll probably want to give up, but no matter. I’ve threatened to just sod the whole thing and abandon it, but I know some people that would be highly disappointed if I did that. And plus I work five days a week

But, no matter. I will most likely more than make up for it in March, because I’m going on vacation to Florida and will have plenty of reading time, what with the trip there, the trip itself, and the trip back. Also, if you have any recommendations for easy, breezy beach reads, I’d love to have them.

My plan for the Harry Potter books is to read one each month before the new one comes out in July. February to July is six months, there are six books, therefore I will be reading one each month.

I probably don’t even really need to read the books just that, for continuity’s sake, I’ll read them.

I have Sorcerer’s Stone memorized, the reason being is because when I got the first three books for Christmas of 1999, and I read them once a month for about a year, maybe more, then the fourth came out and fit that one into the month. Needless to say, I have books one through four pretty much memorized.

My thoughts on Sorcerer’s Stone: I know why I fell in love with the series in the first place. Still, 10 years after publication, I can see why this series caught on, slowly at first, but then grew into something huge, to the proportions that it is now (movies, dolls, video games, unofficial guides, etc.). The first book has the ability to capture the reader’s attention and make you feel sorry for this little boy with a horrible family and no parents, and then be transported – no, thrown – into this awesome magical world of giants, wands, and evil lords.

Who wouldn’t want to read about that kind of stuff?!

The plot (the sorcerer’s stone makes the Elixir of Life, Voldemort wants it to become human to kill Harry) is something that I could never have come up with, let alone put in all these little details, hints, references to ancient mythologies…it’s not some simple story. It’s researched and thought out and just…good. How someone could weave such an intricate web of details and make it so mind-bending. Ugh!

So that’s my plan. Read one book a month, and be all caught up in time for the release of the book. Ta-dah!

I got Margaret Truman’s book The President’s House for Christmas last year from my Dad and it’s the coolest book I’ve been reading. Seriously. Especially for someone like me who is a White House/Politics/History buff.

Truman goes through the entire history of the White House, the gardeners, the chefs, the West Wing staff, the women behind the social life of the White House, presidents…it’s so interesting to go behind the scenes of the most private house in the United States.

I especially liked the part when Truman went into great detail about the women behind some administrations and how oftentimes these women had a lot of influence on how the White House was run. Not only from a social point of view, like planning parties and the like, but also politically, sometimes this kind of influence bringing a whole administration down, or making it better.

There was a part in the chapter about women power about Woodrow Wilson’s second wife and how she was an overbearing, maniacal, over-protective woman who pushed away all of Wilson’s closest aides and assistants and gave him bad political advice because she was jealous of their close contact. She was a wonderful woman. Ha. She was partially the reason (maybe the whole reason) the Wilson administration failed spectacularly. Who knows?

I re-read Baty’s book because I’m currently re-writing and editing my National Novel Writing Month novel, and as it turns out there is a section at the end of the book that has to deal with re-writing and editing your month long novels. So I only read the end where he talks about editing the book. His methods actually work for me, alas; I am stuck on chapter six. Stupid chapter six.

So, the last book I read was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I wish that I could write a novel like that. Seriously. Only, however, I don’t think I could bring myself down to that level of darkness and depression for so long, to create something like that.

The narrator, if you can get this, is Death. And, the way I see him in the novel is not the Grim Reaper guy with the scythe: to me he’s a faceless, bodiless man…he’s just a thing, like a spirit. At first I thought it was kind of…odd that a novel would be narrated by Death, but if it was narrated by any other character (Liesel, Hans, Rosa, Rudy, etc.), I don’t think it would have worked as well as it did here. I suppose it’s because he has an un-objective view of things and sees things as they are.

His explanation of what he sees as he takes the souls of the dying is especially of interest: he sees in colors, and the sky. The next part is taken from page twelve that I found interesting:

“The last time I saw her was red. The sky was like soup, boiling and stirring. In some places it was burned. There were black crumbs, and pepper, streaked across the redness.”

This is what he sees when he takes the souls of the dying. It’s so different than actually seeing things for what they really are. But I suppose that’s how things go after you die.

The book really makes you feel for Liesel and the tragedies she suffers throughout the book, from the incident that puts her in a suburb of Munich, Germany, to the event that puts her back to where she started from. I’m being vague on purpose. Duh.

Liesel finds solace from the horrors of Nazi Germany in her stolen books and her reading lessons from her Papa. I can understand why she gets such comfort from her books: to me my books and the words in them are an escape from whatever is on my mind or what is going on in my life. During the air raids she used the words from her books to comfort not only her, but her neighbors.

Nazi Germany just sounds like such an unhappy place -- no matter if you were Jewish or German. Poverty, air raids, forced participation in the Nazi army...just depressing.

By the end of the book I felt really sorry for Liesel because of everything that happened to her during the course of her life. I was however, glad to find that she had a normal life, but the issue for me is survivor’s guilt, and whether she would have had it or not. I would have been riddled with it. I really didn’t want the book to end the way it did, but I think it was inevitable that it ended like it did.

I’m just absolutely amazed that Zusak wrote something this deep and with this much feeling. I would love to be able to write like this. I don’t have the patience or the mental capacity. I know that makes me sound like a dolt, or an unfeeling writer, or just a bad writer all together, but at least I am honest and know that I could never accomplish something to touching or dramatic.

Hey, at least I’m honest.

So, I spent a week in Florida and let me tell you, it was so much better than stinkin’ Upstate New York. And I bought books. And I got a lot of reading done because there was a lot of lounging by a pool.

Therefore, March will be chockablock full of reviews and recommendations and what-have-you.

Excerpt from The Book Thief © 2006 by Markus Zusak and Alfred A. Knopf Publications. No infringement is intended, and no money is being made from this publication. It’s solely for the purpose of entertainment.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: The Rocky Horror Picture Show