OK, this bimonthly wrap-up is still not exactly on schedule, but it is not as late as the first one. See, I’m getting there. Eventually. And the next blog entry is already in the making: a bookshop crawl from my recent trip to London, yay! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First things first:
The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
‘The Book Thief’ is about a girl, Liesel, who is living with her foster parents near Munich during WWII, and how she learns to read, and how reading (and stealing books) helps her to endure this horrific time.
Now, this book was a bit difficult for me. The first half or even more of it was really long-winded, so that it was not exactly easy for me to pick it up again each time I had laid it down. And it also took me the whole first half of the book to get accustomed to the writing style, which was a bit… different. It contained disruptions of the story every few pages to forecast the rest of it. Or to summarise facts. Or to throw in random bits of information. It is an interesting concept but can also be very annoying at times.
That said, I kind of made peace with the book in the second half. The story itself was actually quite lovely and I liked the idea of death as a narrator. I also enjoyed the way that single books were appreciated in this novel. As something precious – an attitude that I feel gets gradually lost these days with more and more people buying tons of books they will never actually read… but that’s a whole different topic!
by Grady Hendrix
The book starts off as a description of a typical working day of Amy, an employee at the fictional IKEA analogue Orsk. She clearly does not like her job, but her sarcastic and slightly bitter tone make this part of the book quite fun to read. But then odd things happen overnight in the store, so that Amy and a few coworkers stay after hours. And this is where the uncanny part begins…
Even though the story itself might not be revolutionary in the horror genre, the setting in a big retail box gives it an interesting angle. I was actually creeped out by it. And when I entered an IKEA for the first time after reading this, I definitely felt a bit uncomfortable.
The greatest asset of this book is its design, however. It comes in the shape of an IKEA catalogue, featuring item illustrations and pithy descriptions – although the furnishings towards the end of the book are probably neither comfortable nor decorative, ha.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
by Karen Joy Fowler
This is a book that you should definitely read without knowing too much about it, which luckily I did (my purchase decision was solely based on the back cover text – and, yes, the cover design, too…). So, I will keep this short.
The book is about a girl who never quite fitted in and now, at college, still doesn’t. We learn that she is missing a sister who had been taken away in dubious circumstances, and in the course of the story we slowly uncover their unconventional family history.
The main character Rosemary was witty and believable, the story was moving, and I really enjoyed the read. In part, that is also due to the fact that a topic is raised in this book that is research-related and that is very important to me. I hope I can elaborate on that sometime soon.