Saturday, July 23, 2011

The beautiful blending of cheese whiz and coq au vin; Let’s discuss

Yes, I know, it’s been too long. Life keeps me rolling, but somehow I manage to crawl my way to a keyboard for one more blog. And what a fun one I have for you! It’s about the harrowing adventure of reading two completely different books at the same time! In it I will mention a forgotten book, an analogy to Kurt Vonnegut, how the cheese whiz at one point won out, and me crying at the kitchen table. And, if you have read one of the two books, that last sentence may also have a double layer of meaning to you. And so it begins.

So, I was browsing the YA shelves one day when I noticed a copy of Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief on the shelf. Now, this book has been on the radar for a while, and it always pops up in conversation, so when I saw it, I colored myself lucky and picked it up. The story is set in Germany during World War II, and the narrator is death, or the grim reaper, or some other sort of soul taking entity with an omniscient perspective and quite a bit of sass. Meaning, it wasn’t your average tell-the-story-the-way-it-is narrator. This guy gave you his opinions often, and added to the story in many ways. It kind of reminded me of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, in that the narrator becomes a piece of the story, not just a voice that tells the story. I loved that about both novels.

Meanwhile, as you’ve read in the past, I’m a sucker for the Pretty Little Liars series. And I was all set on it being over, when joy of joys, the author decided to continue the story after a pretty conclusive final book. So when a young patron mentioned that she wanted to read Sara Shepard’s new Pretty Little Liars installment, Twisted, I could barely contain my joy in front of said youngster. I put myself on hold for it and was excited to see Ms. Shepard even kept the same cover art theme for this one. Okay, so four hip rich girls are being stalked by someone claiming to be their dead ex-best friend. By the time the series supposedly ended, there was so much drama I don’t even want to spoil it for you. Needless to say, all was not wrapped up by the end, because now the girls are in their senior year of high school, and someone has started once again to stalk them via well timed texts. It’s all around good clean reading fun; a total escape from normal life and very enjoyable alongside something tasty that’s not quite good for you.

The Book Thief was enjoyable, just in a more lasting way. It dealt with friendship and hatred, love and injustice, and a girl in the middle of a war torn country, just trying to deal with life. When I first heard about the book, I thought the book thief was someone who was hoarding as many books as possible, to protect them against destruction, but it was more about a handful of books that were stolen, and what they meant to the book thief.

I got Twisted just as I was starting The Book Thief. And I can’t lie when I say that I was so excited to read it, that when I forgot The Book Thief at work, I started in on Twisted. I’m not usually a simultaneous reader, but I think the two books are just so different, that it was a pretty enjoyable experience. I finished Twisted first, and now must sadly wait for the next one. I just finished The Book Thief this morning while eating breakfast. My husband came in to the kitchen just as I was bawling over the last few pages. I’m just glad I didn’t finish it at work. Even though the narrator prepares you for the ending, it is nonetheless heartbreaking.

So there. A bit of a long blog for your months of waiting. I just grabbed some advanced readers, so hopefully I’ll be back soon with some “books from the future.”

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