Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Book Thief - Book Review

After one brief attempt a couple months ago, I decided to tackle The Book Thief again. It was one of the three books chosen to read for the college book club, so I resolved to work through it even though it’s not a book I would typically read. 
Actually, that is one of my reading goals this semester, to read more classics or books that are a bit deeper than the Young Adult new releases. I’ve done pretty well so far. I’ve read Fahrenheit 451 and now The Book Thief and I have plans for others. 

The Book Thief follows the life of ten year old Liesel and her experiences in Nazi Germany. She is sent to live with foster parents in Molching, and has difficulties with the cultural changes taking place around her as well as her own coming of age. The plot reaches defining moment when her foster parents take in Jewish fugitive, offering him shelter in the basement. Of course, as the title would suggest, Liesel has developed a habit of stealing books. Liesel and the Jew, Max, bond over their need for stories, as a way of healing and discovery. 

It seemed like I was stuck in the first quarter of the book for a while, but I could have predicted that would happen. With the magnitude of the storyline, it needed enough time to really set up the characters, and the plot. Once Max appeared in the basement writing stories on ripped out pages of a Nazi manual, and Liesel began taking books out of the mayor’s library, I found myself turning page after page.

Markus Zusak is a very talented writer, making the world of Nazi Germany a vivid, living place. The turmoil of violence, mislead innocents, and brave, young souls. This amazing work had me up into the middle of the night so I could finish Liesel’s story. With so many stories about the pain and suffering of World War II, The Book Thief is a wonderful reminder that a thread of hope was always woven within as well.

Monday, February 9, 2015

words on assignment

Why is it that I can write so well on school assignments? I search Pinterest and find pictures overflowing with inspiration, but the school assignments are when the words seem to just fill the screen. Adjectives, descriptions, and meaning just evolve and appear. I'm not quite sure what that means, or how I should even use that information. Should I focus on more analytic writing? Focus on the informative, less of the creative?

Maybe it is the scare of the deadline. Take tonight for example. I sent in one of the last special assignments four minutes before the deadline. Four minutes. I push myself into a panic, even though I had all week to work on it. I procrastinate, blaming work or being on campus, as the reason to why I've had to wait until now. But really, maybe deep down I know that my best writing is in the heat of the moment, when my thoughts have to written down fast, when they have to pour out like hot lava onto the page. When I have to send in the assignment before the words have time to cool, to solidify. 

How to I translate this into my creative writing? The potential of actually finishing a story seems unattainable, out of my grasp. I can write the beginning, no problem, but once I have to think about a conclusion, and end, I freeze. The lava flow screeches to a halt. Sometimes I can see the end, but it is shrouded in fog and mist. It's not that I don't want to finish the story, but maybe I'm worried that I'll mess it up. That the ending won't do the story justice. Ending are my problem, at least for now.

For whatever reason, my schoolwork is bringing out my creative side this semester. It's strange but I'm thankful to have the words flowing again, even if it only for school assignments.