Friday, August 13, 2010

Reading Update

Book #43 of the year was The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. This is a story about Nazi Germany narrated by Death, and yet it still manages to be uplifting. Ultimately it's about the power of words, for good and evil. I've been seeing this one on the book blogs for a while and I'm glad I finally read it.

Book #44 was a reread - I know I have read it at least twice before, and maybe three times. The copy I have now was given to me by my husband the year before we got married. It's The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis.
There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

Book #45 was Sphinx's Princess, by Esther Friesner. I picked up this book because I and several of my students enjoyed Friesner's books about Helen of Troy, Nobody's Princess and Nobody's Prize. This one is about Nefertiti, also blessed/cursed with great beauty. I enjoyed it, though not as much as the Helen books.

Book #46 was Graceling, by Kristin Cashore. Katsa, the Graceling of the title, is a remarkable heroine. Cashore does a marvelous job of writing friendships, and the friendship between Katsa and Po is just exactly right (though it takes a turn which, in my opinion, makes this book a little mature for my middle schoolers).

This post is linked to the August 14th Saturday Review of Books.


Janet said...

Never read Four Loves, but someday I will. I have a recording of him reading the excerpt you have here.

I tried reading The Book Thief last year and couldn't get into it.

Glad to learn of the Esther Friesner books. They look like possibilities for us at some point.

hopeinbrazil said...

I've had Book Thief on my TBR list for a long time. Hope to get to it soon.

It was great to meet you at Wilmore Campmeeting.

Unknown said...

Thank you for posting that excerpt from Four Loves. It speaks directly to a hard situation I am experiencing now.


Tricia said...

My oldest son had The Book Thief and 2 to 4 other books with "Thief" in the title all sitting next to each other on his shelf. He'd done it intentionally. I kept meaning to take a picture, with a caption along the lines of "what are we teaching this child?" Anyway, I should read that one.