Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Somewhere in the world it's read-a-book day

So, I found out that today is read-a-book day...

Don't think a lot of people in this corner of the world know that (or particularly care) which leaves me a little sad 'coz books are so much fun. Anyway, one is supposed to make time for a little fun reading today. You can even make it a family affair by reading to or with your kiddies (now that ought to be an enchanting sight).

Every day is pretty much a read-a-book day for me and my fun reads have to: have lots of humor, unforgettable characters, give me a reflective peek into the human psyche, make me hold onto my pants as the tale takes me on a fantastical ride and lovingly top it off with a shot of pathos that will make my dark & twisties hooooooowl.

To honor this beeeautiful day, I've decided to let myself get all bubbly (again) over a couple of books that have me reaching out towards them and lovingly gliding my fingers along their spines every time I walk by the book case.

*The Book Thief by Markus Zusak*
"I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn't already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race -that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant." narrates Death, in The Book Thief.

I'll be honest. The first time I saw this book on the bestselling lists, I was a touch hesitant to try it, fearing (yes, I can be a chickeny arse) that since the book is set in Nazi Germany, it would be such a sad read, I wouldn't have the heart to finish it. Then someone told me, "But it's narrated by death. He's a little like Disc world's death and a really deep guy. You'll love him." So I got my hands on a copy and found it to be a beautiful, funny, sad, thought-provoking read...
The Book thief, is a girl called Liesel. She gets adopted by Hans Huberman (a gentle soul who ends up hiding a Jew named Max in his basement) and his potty-mouthed wife Rosa, who has an interesting way of expressing her love for Liesel.

The story evolves around Liesel's day-to-day life (that on occasion features a little stealing) as the second World war rages on...And the relationship she has with her parents, Max and other fascinating characters living on Himmel street; my absolute fave being Rudy, Leisel's best friend and hilariously crazy partner in thievery. Rudy is so obsessed with American athlete Jesse Owens, he paints himself black and runs the 100metres at the local field one night. And yes, Death moved me too, with his profound, sometimes troubling thoughts and I so hated him for the job he had set out to do...

*On Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta*
"My body becomes a raft and there's this part of me that wants just literally to go with the flow. To close my eyes and let it take me. But I know sooner or later I will have to get out, that I need to feel the earth beneath my feet, between my toes-the splinters, the bindi-eyes, the burning sensation of hot dirt, the sting of cuts, the twigs, the bites, the heat, the discomfort, the everything. I need desperately to feel it all, so when something wonderful happens, the contrast will be so massive that I will bottle the impact and keep it for the rest of my life." Taylor's thoughts in On Jellicoe Road.

I usually have trouble describing this book to my friends because it's not enough to simply tell them what the book is about. I want them to know exactly how I felt reading this book and I need the right words to do that. Words that will do it justice. For it was a beautifully intense, heart-rending read that left me all achy inside...

So I tell them it's about this cool, bad ass girl called Taylor who was abandoned as a baby on Jellicoe road and has been raised in Jellicoe school...

I tell them it's about the kids in this school having territory wars with the visiting cadets (from a millitary school in Sydney) and the kids from town (the townies). The wars have been waged for years so it's a tradition of sorts (picture being at war with your rival schools. You each have your territories -with boundaries and rules already in place- which you've fought for and laid claim to over the years & the enemy tries to invade your territory lay claim to a strategically important tree without getting caught. Kids are ambushed, kidnapped, even given a beat down and it's all pretty cool fun). And Taylor gets to be chosen as the leader of the Jellicoe kids in the territory wars...

That in between, there are these flashbacks (which are from a manuscript that Taylor finds at her mentor's house) that run parallel to Taylor's story, narrating the tragic story of five close friends, all walking wounded. Three were the only survivors of a car accident along Jellicoe road that claimed their parents. The fourth one was the boy who came riding by on a stolen bicycle and rescued them from the wreckage and a fifth who encounters them much later, becoming part of their little circle...a story that ambles along eventually interweaving itself with Taylor's story...

And then there are the deliciously swoon-worthy male characters. There is the cool & wise Chaz Santangelo, leader of the townies and the oh so beautifully flawsome Jonah Griggs; leader of the Cadets... *sigh*

Enough swooning. Do have a fab read-a-book day people.

Mob wendos,


PS: Say, what fave reads shook you up inside or left you all happy as a kid, teen & as an adult? Yes, I do want to know. My to-read list needs serious updating.


  1. if you like fantasy and even if you don't read a series of books called a song of ice and fire by george r.r. martin. they're huge and intricate with some of the most memorable morally ambiguous characters i have met.

    I also read this book called blindness by Jose Saramago, its about a south american country whose inhabitants start to go spontaneously blind, its also about the tenuous hold that humans have on society and the rules that keep it going.

    The gospel according to biff by christopher moore is an extremely funny account of the life of christ as seen through the eyes of his childhood friend Biff.

    Bonfire of the vanities by thomas wolfe, amazing exploration of racial and economic tension in 80's new york. he fleshed out even the minor characters making them come alive with conflict and an abundance of humoour.

    that's just a few i've read from the past year.

  2. Of course I love Fantasy books.Can't get enough of them :-) That's the book series from which the beautifully addictive 'Game of Thrones' is based on yes?...

    Will be sampling Blindness & especially The Gospel according to Biff (Christopher Moore is hilarious)

    And yes, Bonfire of the vanities is an aaaaamazing classic. Thanks for the recommendations :-)

  3. I have had your blog on bookmark but always been procrastinating to read, kumbe there is so much I need to catch up especially the book reading part. Now I have two titles to search ;o)

  4. And oh, I had forgot the most interesting book I read this year was Caught stealing by Charlie Huston, I even try sometimes to write like him, yeah he influenced me that much... :-)

  5. yer it's the one Game of thrones is based on and they did an amazing job adapting it to the screen but the books, when i was reading them it's all i could do for a month, it even changed the way i talked

  6. I recommend "The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club" by Charly (yeah, we that tight) Dickens. Mr. Pickwick is one of my favorite characters and his misadventures are hilarious.

  7. Thrillers make my day I simply adore the suspense and the cliffhangers. Please check out 'A weed in Paradise'

  8. Cold Turkey, yeah where did she go? :-( ..happy new year!..maybe that will bring her back!

  9. Hey come back, someone misses you :-/

  10. How now I was not following your blog? Done.

  11. @ Ghafla, hadithinjoo & US 2012 electional Novel: Thanks for dropping by. I promise you, I'm never gone this long. So please feel free to visit more often :-) I just added your book recommendations to my to-read list

    @ Wayward Foe, Mackel 9, Shiko-Msa & Cold Turkey: Missed you all heaps and a thousand apologies. Took a mind trip outside the galaxy and got distracted by the sights and sounds ;-) But I'm back now. How's January treated you?

    1. Yaaay she is back, well my January experiences can't fit in a comment box... ;-)

  12. shantaram is an amazing book.