I kept yelling, "You have to read this when I'm done, Toph!" Between sobs, of course.
World War II fascinates many people, myself included. I read a lot of Holocaust books as a kid and I remember the first time I asked my parents, "Why did he pick the Jews? Did he just wake up one day and decide they'd make the best target?" And then we talked about how life isn't fair, how we learn from the past, how bad things can happen to innocent people (and sometimes the bad things are so bad that other people can't believe they're actually happening so they don't do anything to stop it), how even in the scariest of times heroes emerge who risk their own lives to do the right thing. There was an incredulous and scared fascination for me in every story.
I read The Book Thief this past weekend and by the middle I wanted to yell again, "How? Why?!" This one was so heart achingly good. The emphasis on the power of words, words can shake the world. Hans Hubermann, Max, Liesel, Rudy, Rosa, Death; each character essential and weaved together so well that by the end it was all too much and yet I never wanted it to be over. I love how Death was the narrator and guide. His description of the weight of a soul, the overtime he put in in Europe during the war, the souls that sat up to meet him in their last moments; thought provoking and perfect.
I'm well into my list of books I plan to read this fall, but this one stuck out so much that it got its own reaction post. It felt wrong to just move on to the next book on my list without looking back so here I am. Big sigh.
PS: Another favorite of mine about this era is Number the Stars. My mom had me read it as part of our home school history when I was young and I'm really glad she did. Books like these, they stick.