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“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." – Roald Dahl

Archive for September, 2016

words are everything

My gut wrenches and my heart aches when I see people who just taste words but can’t spit them out. I understand perfectly that there are diseases that destroy the life of the host and their loved ones weep constantly. How does that matter if you have no way to express your pain? To me, deprivation of words is the greatest pain. To speak is to share ideas and to tell stories with imagination. Stories have the power to inspire, to make a mark in history. The power of words is emphasized in this alluring tale of “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. For one child is sinking in the bloodshot red ocean of war, and words are keeping her afloat. Whether it is Liesel and Max in turbulent war times, or me in the present age, words are equally as important and enchanting.

Liesel learns to read years later than usual, taught by her beloved step dad, Hans Hubberman. Well, contrary to the fact, she understands quickly that words mean everything. Living in the harsh world of Nazi Germany, the Germans “enjoyed a good book burning, all right-which gave people who were partial to books the opportunity to get their hands on certain publications that they otherwise couldn’t have” (Zusak 84). The reason for that is explained, as follows; Hitler controls the German population with words. Words of hatred toward the Jews, words of praise toward the “superior race” of Aryans. If a man can control, several countries with the power of words, I am willing to bet my entire life’s savings on the fact that words are powerful. Hitler burned all Jewish publications solely because the words in the texts meant something, something meaningful. The story revolves around literature, and books that literally help Liesel survive throughout her life while bearing the guilt brought from hiding away the Jewish Fist Fighter, Max Vandenburg in their house. Appropriately, Max hides out in the basement, only with cans of paint, a stuffy mattress, a dull light illuminating the small room and parchments full of words that keep him sane. He arrives to the house with a single book in his hands, Hitler’s’ Mein Kampf and deliberately paints over it, with passion to show that words of friendship and love can overcome words of hatred. Max develops the story of The Standover man and shows Liesel that he values their friendship by saying, “the best standover man I’ve ever known is not a man at all…” (Zusak 205) because she was standing over him when he first arrived. Not only that, but when he wrote his second short story, he described Liesel as the “best word shaker of her region because she knew how powerless a person could be without words” (Zusak 445). That I believe is the true meaning of the story, words are influential and they are essential if one wants to be heard.

Books are my anchor to happiness because while moving around the world constantly, stories and characters can be carried in my hands. I suppose people around the world have the same mindset, because people often say that books, do in fact transport you into another world. I can say without a doubt, that I still have my favorite books from five years ago right by bedside shelf. Which is more than I can say, about the contacts of my closest friends from five years ago. My infatuation with books started at a early age, around three to four years old as I would flip through the glossy pages of every magazine I could find lying around the house. I would force my parents to read out the words and explain them to me. Throughout my life, I had this desirable dream that I would own a bookshop later on in life, only for my personal enjoyment of reading and I wouldn’t sell a single book.

Honestly, I would still love for that to happen.

Reading made me excel at all sorts of fields, I got better at debating and explaining my thoughts. Acting was a personal favorite of mine, as the words just flew out of my mouth in a flurry of emotion. Although, I was never very good at writing. Which I hated. Nonetheless, I marveled at the different ways we use words and finally, found a character that valued them as much as I do.

Up Close and Personal with Death.

Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief has undeniably the best characterization of death, I have ever read. Understandably, Shmoop also agrees with me. Zusak’s book revolves around the events in World War II and who’s better to remind us of when humanity collapsed than death himself. Death is dark, witty and intriguing and perfectly depicts destructive situations with a touch of dark humor. Zusak’s depiction of death, enhances the story of the Book Thief as well as intrigues the reader to the very last page. We find the most astonishing fact as well, in this fascinating interview that “even death has a heart” (Zusak 242).

As a reader, I was speechless towards the thoughts that death gave us in little snippets throughout the book. Which includes, when he describes Death’s appearance, and asks us to “find yourself a mirror” (Zusak 307) which made me drop the book from the clutch of my hands, and stare at the wall pondering that death is in every one of us. We all look like death, as we will one day die. Death’s characterization is the main reason of The Book Thief’s success, Death was the reason I could not put the book down.

~~~~UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL!

In Up Close & Personal this week! An exclusive interview with Death himself! Death explains his dreams, his daily life and how he got along in World War II. 

Excerpts include!…

How Death actually looks like, “I don’t have those skull like facial features you seem to enjoy pinning on me from the distance. (Zusak 307).  

The chance to meet Death!…”It suffices to say that in some point in time, I will be standing over you, as genially as possible. (Zusack 2). 

Up Close & Personal explains all and much more!

Bibliography

Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. Print. 

storymatic; they’d never get along.

STORYMATIC.

(keywords; tunnel and bookworm. lets be honest, tunnels aren’t the most interesting thing, so bear with me.)

~~~~~

“You are such a bookworm, we don’t even need the useless book!”

“If you weren’t such an uncultured idiot, then you would realize how important this book is. Now shush.”

A sort of screech came from said “uncultured idiot”, as he whined in frustration and glared at his infuriating classmate he had been unfortunately, been assigned to work with for their next architectural essay. Situated in a state library, behind shelves of books ranging from literature classics to chocolate cake recipes. Two extremely finicky characters, Hazel and Joshua stood face to face discussing-no yelling at each other’s ideas. It was not that the ideas were horrible so to say, both of them were just too ignorant to listen to each other.

Taking a turn to examine the shelf and adopting a high fake amiable voice, Joshua says, “For our first assignment we will be learning about tunnels, class. Not buildings. Not bridges. But tunnels.” Completing the imitation of their Professor, with wild hand gestures and an exaggerated sneer. “Oh! Joshua, you will be partnered with the most prissy ignorant creature to research with. Good day!”

Hazel paying no attention at all to his rant, started searching vigorously for the book that would be the end  of this situation. After pausing and receiving no reaction, Joshua steams in silent anger and debates pulling out his fiery red hair.

Joshua was utterly convinced that it was Professor Zenya’s mission to make his university life unbearable, like traveling through a desert with a scorpion at his tail wherever he went. Only this time, instead of a scorpion it was a know-it-all bookworm, and she wasn’t following but she pinching his foot at every single step.

And.

The fact that she was determined to spend every single second in the library. Instead of realizing there were billions of websites available on the internet. Honestly, it was as if she was an old grandma who couldn’t tell the difference between the desktop and an actual desktop. Like she’d retch and hiss if she got too close to a computer. Hazel was practically a denizen of the library and Joshua was dragged along with her to research the Thames Tunnel.

Looking around he spots a colorful, image filled book. “Thames Tunnel; Other Fascinating Tunnels” sits forgotten and Joshua grabs it with a sharp swipe even though it is more imagery than informative, it’ll do.

“-Good day!” Hazel had about enough with this whiny horrible excuse for a partner. If he would just realize that the plenty of books they had, were more reliable than the internet, then they would be on their way. But no. No! Completely ignorant to the situation, being the epitome of stubbornness, he insists on the Internet. Bleh. She thought they had finally made a truce when they decided on the Thames Tunnel as the project base and finally agreed on something but hope was squashed down like a whoopee cushion.

Glancing around, she spots a red cover with the title, “Shield Tunneling Concept; Thames Tunnel”. She grabs it in salvation and internally cries with joy from the thought of getting out of there.

“I found it!” they chorus.

“What, the book?” she stops, confused.

“No, a kangaroo. Of course, it’s the book!”

They find each other grasping a book and slowly their faces curl into grimaces.

“How can we use that?” His face contorts with disgust.

She narrows her eyes challenging him and says, What’s wrong with it?”

“Well for one, it’s too thick, a 600 page book. How can we finish it by tomorrow?” Joshua stares ahead aghast.

“What about yours? It looks like a kiddy informative.”

“At least we’d have something!” he retorts.

Honestly, it’s like your six years old.” She states with an irritated grumble.

“What does that make you! Sixty?!”

Ahem.” An angry figure stands in front of them, they were never going to get this done.

no pain, no gain.

The author, William W. Jacobs believes that in order to gain, you must initially feel the pain. This is portrayed as the characters in the story are bewitched by a talisman called the monkey paw’s which grants three wishes. When the White’s discover the paw, they exclaim with fervor: “God, we’re going to be rich and famous and happy” (Jacobs 2). They wish for two hundred pounds, but as a result they get the money as consolation for their son’s death as he got “trapped in the machinery”(4) where he works. Basically, what this signifies is in order to move and acquire something, you must lose something else. In this example, it is definitely getting the money because the son dies. Ironically, the son is the one who requests to get the money to “finish paying for the house” (2). Evidently, the author has created this theme to support the atmosphere of a suspenseful gothic story which has the theme of an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, where to get something, you must give something back.