Thursday, 10 July 2014

Let's talk about books: The Book Thief

Hello everyone, I thought I'd write about something different today and share with you one of my other hobbies which is...reading! Yep, take me to a bookshop and I will be your best friend. This is going to be the first post in my new series where I share with you some my favourite books and the books I'm currently reading. If you didn't already know I'm a bit of a book worm, and over the last year or so my book addiction has grown. Whether you are looking for something new to read, wanted to read a book for a while or are stuck in a reading rut then I hope I can help.

The Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany during World War 2 and tells the story of a young girl called Liesel who was living with her foster parents. One of the most interesting features about the book, which I have to admit I was a bit sceptical about, is that the book is narrated by ...Death. He follows Liesel around throughout her life on Himmle Street and it allows the reader to gain an insight into how difficult it was growing up in one of history's most horrific times. Although it may sound very dark, the nature of the conflict and situation is juxtaposed by Death's personality and humour which is often very satirical. This adds an element of lightness to the plot. The book also explores the close relationships Liesel forms with her foster parents, her best friend Rudy and the Jew who is living in her basement.

Death is essentially trying to understand the human race as much as they are trying to understand themselves, he questions the motives of the likes of the German leaders and even innocent children who have been brought up to know nothing but the teachings from their time in the Hitler Youth. To me it really highlighted the corruption of the time and gave a fresh approach to a very well told story. This in turn provokes you as a reader to questions your own morals and question what you already know of the war. 

When reading it I felt great empathy to those who were sheltering in basements during the bombing, really should I be feeling this towards people who were members of the Nazi Party? who would readily kill or punish anyone who had opposing views to them. Another question it posed to me as a reader was I in fact any better than them if I did not feel compassion towards these people? Death does an exceptional job of asking all of these questions in an unobtrusive way. Another one of my favourite parts of the book is how Death describes the colour of the sky and this is carried on throughout the entirety of the book. The colour of the sky depicts the atmosphere and more often the cause of death. In a way it is tragically beautiful.

Zusak's talent and way with words is very apparent in this book, his style of writing is so refreshing and very powerful. As you read on, you begin to understand the sheer power of words and language, particularly in Nazi Germany. Without giving too much away, the character Max is an excellent example of this. If you want a quick read this is probably not the book for you. I would take your time reading it, giving yourself time to understand the meaning behind Death's choice of words. To me, The Book Thief has become one of my all time favourite books and I would recommend it to anyone, but be will cry. 

If you are interested in finding some new books you can find me here on Goodreads. Here you can see what I think about the books I've read, what I'm currently reading and also what books I want to read! (This website has helped me so much in finding new books)

Charlotte x

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Thursday, 3 July 2014

Birthday Trip to London

Hi everyone! This Tuesday (July 1st) I turned 18 and to celebrate my birthday I visited London with my bestfriend. I've never actually visited the city itself so I was so excited to explore it and visit all of the tourist attractions. For once I didn't feel out of place photographing everything! We only visited the city for a day so we tried to pack everything in and visit as many of London's most popular attractions. After hopping on the underground, we made our way to Trafalgar Square and looked around the National Gallery. For as long as I can remember, it has been one of the places on my bucket list. I really want to go back and spend a whole day there and look around all of it. It reminded me of when I visited the Louvre in Paris, but this time I could read and understand the descriptions of the paintings because they were in English. Next time I visit the Louvre I will definitely invest in an audio guide.

(The signs said no pictures but ..I couldn't resist because the architecture was so beautiful)

Buckingham Palace 

Another highlight of my day had to be going on the London Eye. After watching the new years eve fireworks in London on tv every year and seeing the iconic wheel in the background, I've always wanted to go on it and experience a birds eye view of London.

After going on the London Eye we made our way back through the city and we stumbled upon this book market and buses which had been turned into food stations selling frozen yoghurt, coffee and cakes.

I had such an amazing day, I wish we could have stayed longer. After living in a relatively small town all of my life I've never fully experienced the buzz of a busy city such as London but now I understand why so many people love living in the city, it really does make you feel alive. There's always something to do and new people to meet, there really is never a dull moment. I'd love to hear about your experience if you've ever visited London in the comments below!

Charlotte x

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