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Showing posts from July, 2011

"The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

At the end of The Return of the King, I sat in the movie theater and sobbed. Loud, embarrassing sobs.

I loved the movies that much. See, each summer when I was a teen I'd re-read each of the books in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (and Little Women, hoping each time Jo would change her mind and say yes to Laurie), so the books meant a lot to me and I was blown away by how well the movies turned out.  Walking out of the theater, I vowed never to see another movie again (until the next Harry Potter movie came out).

Right now I feel I can never read another book. Not after reading The Book Thief. I got to the last few pages and just sobbed.

The book, as many of you probably know, is about a young girl (the titular book thief) and her family in a small German town during World War II. I have read many World War II and holocaust novels. This book, narrated by Death, is the most human. Ostensibly, it's about words: how reading and writing can change us, and how words can be used to c…

Harry vs. Septimus

Sometimes, I like the Septimus Heap series more than the Harry Potter series.
There I said it. It’s a secret I’ve kept from all but my kids for a long time. Don’t get me wrong: I’m wild about Harry. I’ve knitted Harry Potter bookmarks (in Gryffindor colors, naturally). I’ve thrown at least two Harry Potter-themed birthday parties, complete with a sorting hat I made. I’ve stood at line overnight at Barnes and Noble waiting for the next book to come out three times. I read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in one day.
But, often, I like Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap books (Magyk, Flyte, Physik, Queste, Syren, and the just published Darke) more. And I’m not entirely sure why. My current theory is that the Septimus Heap books are better written and, while also highly derivative, much more charming. The characters are human (muggles, even) and fraught with faults. Also, the Harry Potter books are, rightly so, about Harry. Everything is from Harry’s perspective. Sadly, we don’t see what happe…