Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Book Thief

Yesterday I finished reading The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. I highly recommend this book. Written for a young adult audience, this book was a quick read but entertaining and interesting. Zusak's narrator is death, but this death is not evil. This persona of death has feelings and a soul. The story chronicles the life of Liesel Meminger near Munich, Germany during World War II. It's the story of a young girl and how her penchant for stealing books, something she can't resist, enriches the lives of those around her. Very touching, well-written, and told in a way that brings life to a dark period in time, this book is a wonderful read.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History by Donna Tartt: The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.
In this brilliant debut novel, Donna Tartt gives us a richly textured and hypnotic story of golden youth corrupted by its own moral arrogance.
Richard Papen had never been to New England before his nineteenth year. Then he arrived at Hampeden College and quickly became seduced by the sweet, dark rhythms of campus life — in particular by an elite group of five students, Greek scholars, worldly, self-assured, and at first glance, highly unapproachable.
Yet as Richard was accepted and drawn into their inner circle, he learned a terrifying secret that bound them to one another ... a secret about an incident in the woods in the dead of night where an ancient rite was brough to brutal life ... and lead to a gruesome death. And that was just the beginning ...

When the book opens, you know immediately what has happened. The author then takes you back to the beginning of the story and fills in the details and series of events that lead to the climactic event. It started off a bit slow for me - I got bogged down in the beginning chapters because I felt it was overkill on the classroom lecture (maybe that particular classroom lecture doesn't spark my interest). Anyway, the story and plot did pick up after a bit and then I found that I was enthralled with the story. Think Dead Poet's Society gone bad. Anyway, after the culmination of the event, for me, the story just stopped. It's like reading pages and pages about a drunk person just staggering around in a stupor, day after day with no real concept of time passage. That's what I felt like I was reading. Honestly, I couldn't get through the book because it just no longer grabbed my attention. Don't get me wrong - I love description and character development, but I felt that so much of it was based on the "event" and that after the event concluded it just trailed off....