By Markus Zusak
The Book Thief, A New York Times bestseller, is an extraordinary novel about the holocaust from the point of view of Death (or the death angel, I prefer) narrator of the story. At the beginning a young girl, Liesel Meminger, is taken to a foster home outside of
It’s 1939 and persecution of the Jews is ongoing. Zusak writes beautifully,
hauntingly, and convincingly bringing the characters and this time in history
to life. Each individual is real and unique. The relationship between Liesel
and her step father is a true parenting love story. Similarly, Liesel’s
friendship and companion in book thievery, Rudy, shows their childlike
playfulness in spite of circumstances. The holocaust reality, though
disturbing, helps us learn about that time. We must remember it and not let
anyone deny it happened. There is humor; there is love and caring, all in the
midst of tragedy. This is one of the best novels I’ve ever read. Munich
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
This a beautiful and poignant story of an ordinary man caught in a life and a marriage of dullness, deadness and pain. Harold and his ever critical wife, Maureen, have been married forty-five years and Harold has recently retired. They barely speak to each other and have shut out the rest of the world. Then Harold receives a note from Queenie, a friend he hasn’t seen in twenty years. He learns she is in a hospice and dying from cancer. This launches Harold on an impromptu walk six hundred miles to see her, believing the promise of his coming will keep her alive.
His journey leads to delightful encounters with people along the way and with the beauties of nature. Harold reflects on his life as he walks and experiences new things. He begins to hope and trust in others and in himself. There are surprising twists and turns in the plot and it is beautifully written with profound wisdom about human nature and the difficulties of life. This is a memorable, touching story.