Quotes from The Book Thief

I just finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It took me a while to get into it—the narrator is Death, so I didn’t really connect to anyone until Liesel started to take a stand for herself and became a character I rooted for, not just one I felt sorry for. Then I fell in love with this book, its characters. I’m not the only one, of course. It’s a bestseller and has won all kinds of awards, but I particularly liked the the commentaries and asides on storytelling. Like this one:

Of course, I’m being rude. I’m spoiling the ending, not only of the entire book, but of this particular piece of it. I have given you two events in advance, because I don’t have much interest in building a mystery. Mystery bores me. It chores me. I know what happens next and so do you. It’s the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest and astound me.

I especially love that last line. I often peek at the ends of books before I finish reading them.

Words had also brought her to life. “Don’t punish yourself,” she heard her say again, but there would be punishment and pain, and there would be happiness, too. That was writing.

Amen.

And also, I loved this line: “Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”

And: “I am haunted by humans.”

This was such a moving and powerful and heartbreaking book. But this is the second WWII book I’ve read recently and with all that’s going on in the world right now, I think I’d like to read a (moderately at least) happy book next. Any suggestions?

A Special Sunday for Hand Me Down

I have some exciting news to share: Hand Me Down was featured in four major newspapers today! It’s not exactly world domination, but I’ll take it! Each paper said wonderful things and I’m so honored to have my name and photo in such reputable publications.

  • I talk about the truth behind the fiction in Hand Me Down and how writing helped me reach that truth in this Salt Lake Tribune interview: A Debut Novel Finds the Truth in Writing Fiction.
  • Al Pierleoni The Sacramento Bee gives the book a shout-out and talks to John Lescroart about the Maurice Prize in Fiction that he founded and Hand Me Down won.
  • There is a great review in the Deseret News that says, among many other great things, this:

“Hand Me Down” is a gritty tale of a determined young woman who really wants to make a better life for herself and protect the little sister she dearly loves. It is also a story of triumph over desperation and the ignorance of those who live in the world of selfishness.

  • And, finally, there was a review in the San Francisco Chronicle that featured a color photo and lots of nice comments. The full review should be available online by Monday.

What a great day for me and my book baby! The timing is perfect as I’m set to do an event in Sacramento on Tuesday and one in Salt lke City on Thursday. (See my Events page for more details.)

I’m super excited and also super nervous about these two hometown events. I lived in each of these places during formative years and I expect to see people who knew me before I decided I wanted to be a writer; who remember the awkward girl I used to be. People I let call me “Mel.” It should be tons of fun. I hope you’ll join us!