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My friend and I were talking about books the other day. We frequently swap favorite titles.

Anyways she used a phrase that I just ADORE and am totally stealing… she said that some books are like dark chocolate. They have a depth. You chew on them more. You savor the complexity.

So… my set of Twilight novels? Junk food. Delicious junk food. There’s a place for all kinds of reading! 😉 No shame in indulging every once in awhile.

But back to the good stuff.. I couldn’t get that phrase out of my head, and I want to share a really amazing “dark chocolate” type book with you today. I just finished it last night with a contented sigh and a billion thoughts rolling around in my head.

One of my seniors last fall (hi Rebecca!) was using this book as one of her props for our session. When I asked her about it, she said it was probably her favorite book of all time.

So I wrote it down because when a book-lover says the word favorite, you should totally pay attention! 

First of all Markus Zusak does NOT disappoint. I certainly don’t want to spoil anything for you so I’m not going to say much. Besides the fact that this is a really interesting exploration of the power of literacy… the power of words.

It also does a fantastic job of creating some really memorable characters who tell some really important stories from that time.

 

 

Plus, Death is the narrator and in the most fabulous way. He asks questions I’ve asked… when I lived in Germany and fell in love with the country and the people, I felt their mingled pride and pain. I wondered about the sweet old women in my village. What they had seen, who they had lost. And mostly I wondered if they deserved the pretty narrow-minded stereotype I grew up with from history class. 

Death says it well:

“Did they deserve any better, these people? How many had actively persecuted others, high on the scent of Hitler’s gaze, repeating his sentences, his paragraphs, his opus? Did they all deserve to die? The children? The answer to each of these questions interests me very much, though I cannot allow them to seduce me.”

I remember walking down the streets of my village after hearing our 86 year old Oma tell me her family’s home in Morlautern had been burned by incendiary bombs. That her father came back broken from his time as a POW in Russia. That another friend’s grandfather never spoke of what he saw until his deathbed, where the whole family wept together.

 

 

There is a painfully beautiful mess of things to understand about the German people, the Jewish people, the Holocaust, and the effects of that era. Having been to Dachau on a day where it seemed like the clouds were leaking tears, I know you can ever understand it all. 

But it certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

Also, it’s just a really good book. So check it out! 

 

 

So to recap, I highly recommend all these books in the genre of WWII era fiction:

Not fiction, and so so good but a little more haunting:

And totally nothing related to this post, but I did mention I love ’em: