Tag: Beer

Markus Zusak – The Book Thief | Review

Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 560

Rating: 3.5*/5

 

Markus Zuzak - The Book Thief

Markus Zuzak – The Book Thief

 

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book and a lot of people say it’s their favourite, so I guess it was a little over-hyped for me. I thought it was fine, but it’s far from my favourite book. It’s not even my favourite war book. It’s not even my favourite Second World War book. But it’s okay.

I think one of the problems that I had was with Zuzak’s writing style. I had a lot of issues with the way he used language, and passages that I think were supposed to sound folksy and cute just annoyed me. I also didn’t like how it constantly stopped and started and how the narrative kept on being interrupted to have a stylised list of either what had just happened or what was about to happen.

Death as a narrator sounded good but didn’t really work out too well in practice. I had issues with how sometimes he could tell what people were thinking and doing and at other times he couldn’t, which left me confused by exactly how death was supposed to work.

 

Markus Zuzak

Markus Zuzak

 

There were bits of the story that I liked, but I also thought that it relied too heavily on the gimmicks and that it was about 200 pages too long. In fact, I thought that the central plot seemed a little too easy because apart from one isolated incident, it made hiding a person in your basement for a prolonged period of time seem pretty easy.

For me, all of this meant that I started losing interest, and then suddenly it felt like 80% of the plot came along in the last 20% of the pages. By then, it was too late for me and I wasn’t emotionally attached to the story enough to really care, although I do always like a bleak ending and so that helped. But really, I think it would have been a much more enjoyable book if it had been redacted and the gimmicks had been taken out.

I know that a lot of people love this book and I can respect that. It’s far from a bad novel, it’s just also not necessarily to my tastes. It reminds me in some way of The Night Circus, perhaps because I think the world building was good in both and because they both seemed to drag while I was reading them. But it was no better than the world building in other historical novels.

 

Markus Zuzak Quote

Markus Zuzak Quote

 

As historical novels go, I’d rank it between Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare on the low end and Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier at the top. The Book Thief would come smack between them in terms of both enjoyment value and believability, at least for me. But as for the characters who are at the heart of the story, I just didn’t particularly care for them.

All in all then, I have mixed feelings. There were bits that I liked and bits that I didn’t like, but most of all I’m just glad that I’ve read it and won’t have to read it again. But it has at least made me want to pick up the non-fiction book I have about Hitler’s failed beer hall putsch in 1923.

 

Markus Zuzak Quote

Markus Zuzak Quote

 

Click here to buy The Book Thief.

 


Bob Dylan – Chronicles: Volume One | Review

Title: Chronicles: Volume One

Author: Bob Dylan

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 296

Rating: 4*/5

 

Bob Dylan - Chronicles: Volume One

Bob Dylan – Chronicles: Volume One

 

This book is an interesting little read, because it’s Bob Dylan’s autobiography and the man has an impressive writing style that communicates his voice just as well as his songs do. It puts an interesting spin on the whole ‘celebrity autobiography‘ thing, because Dylan’s words have literary merit in their own right. In fact, didn’t he get awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature?

His writing style is reminiscent of (and inspired by) the Beat poets, who were active at the same time that Dylan was starting out. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a photo somewhere of Dylan hanging out with Allen Ginsberg. But Dylan’s voice is easier, more friendly – like listening to a friend as you sit around a fire drinking cans of beer.

It’s also interesting how he approached it. It’s a true memoir, jumping backwards and forwards through time as the author follows different trains of thought but maintaining a steady narrative throughout despite this. And I find it entertaining that it’s volume one, even though no volume two has been released to date. I wonder whether he’s still working on it, or whether this is the best that we’re going to get.

Overall, this probably won’t mean much to the average person, but if you’re a Bob Dylan fan – or a fan of music in general – then there are few better reads for getting such an intriguing insight. It’s fascinating to see behind the creative process and to learn more about what makes him tick. The Daily Telegraph went so far as to call it “the most extraordinarily intimate autobiography by a twentieth-century legend ever written”. I agree with them.

 

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

 

Click here to buy Chronicles: Volume One.

 


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