It’s been another whirlwind week, where again I haven’t had much time for writing of my own choosing. Uni semester has started again and my writing activities have been limited to the writing of online responses and note-taking, as well as the usual teacher-related writing (shared reading programs and what not). Yet, when all seems lost, I have managed to finally start reading Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. I pretty much stayed away from the hype of The Book Thief when the movie was released, so many people insisted that it was a story that I would enjoy but I didn’t want the hype of the movie to taint my perception of the book. Sometimes I will see the movie before reading the book, so I don’t get frustrated with all the ‘bits’ that Hollywood left out, but in this case I am reading the book before seeing the movie. I bought the book about eight months ago, thinking that it would be a great holiday read, but of course something else caught my eye and The Book Thief was shelved until recently.
Image Copyright Markus Zusak
Whilst I have only just started reading, one thing I love about this story is the way that Markus Zusak describes how Liesel’s love of books came to be.
Her great love affair stems from one of the darkest moments in her life – the death of her brother and her separation from her mother. Even though Liesel cannot read, the book she ‘stole’ is a symbolic connection to her brother and mother.
Books have the ability to entertain, this much is true and a well written story will keep us entertained and enthralled page after page. However, Zusak has highlighted something which many of us book lovers are already aware of, whether we realise it or not. Through the character of Liesel (the titular book thief), Zusak shows us that books have the ability to elicit many feelings; books have the ability to comfort, to educate, to allow the reader to escape even for a brief moment.
Another story that highlights the importance of books and the ways in which they enrich our lives is The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce.
Image copyright William Joyce
Whilst this is a children’s picture book, it is a prime example of the way in which books influence and enrich our lives. A world without books, is a world that has lost its way and a world without colour.
If it isn’t already obvious, I am a great lover of books. My own love affair started at a young age, I assume. Like most children, I enjoyed listening to stories, my favourite part of kindergarten was shared reading time and of course, our weekly visits to the library to borrow a book. When I became a capable reader I was enjoyed books by Enid Blyton, particularly this one:
Image Copyright Enid Blyton
As I grew older my love of books grew and I enjoyed books written by the likes of Paul Jennings, Morris Gleitzman and John Marsden. I was always the kid that finished the class novel in a matter of days, rather than over the course of the term. Even now, I cannot stop myself from getting more and more books. My ‘to read’ pile is continuously increasing and I can’t help but get excited when my children bring home Scholastic Book Club catalogues.
Image Copyright of Scholastic
My passion for reading is most definitely rubbing off on my children. There’s no such thing as a ‘quick story’ for my children, multiple books are shared in one sitting, although sometimes my toddler also enjoys eating books (he has his own little stack of books that he is allowed to ‘read’ by himself for this reason). Sharing a story is one of the only times (besides when they are sleeping) that my boys will sit and stop doing laps of the house.
Over the years I have found that my love affair with books and reading has not diminished, in fact it seems that it has only increased, particularly as I began to embrace the writer within.
So now I am off to continue my great love affair by reading a little more of The Book Thief before my bedtime.
© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.