Great Reading

2:34 PM

Within a span of 16 hours, I finished reading two of the best books I've ever read. Totally different types of books and yet, they contained great similarities. One similarity is that they were recommended to me by Mary Beth, a woman who apparently knows her books!

Around 12:30 last night, I read the final words of The Book Thief, softly closing the pages and sinking back into my pillows. My dreams all night were filled with snippets of characters and plot, my mind unwilling to let go of the book. It was a very powerful book, incredibly written. Set in Holocaust Germany, the book tells the story of a young German girl who captures the attention of Death. Death happens to be very busy taking care of souls, as is horrifically understandable given the massacre of Jews and other politically incorrect individuals during the late 30's and early 40's. However, this girl catches his eye and he keeps tabs on her, ultimately pocketing the autobiography she has penned to describe her own life during this period. We hear her tale with little inserts from Death's perspective. While heartbreaking, the book's writing and imagery literally lured me in for the long haul. On parallel tracks, we see the absolute worst of humanity and the absolute best.

Then, just a little bit ago, I wrapped up The Wednesday Wars, equally fantastic! This one was about a seventh grade boy living during Vietnam who gets stuck spending Wednesday afternoons with his teacher while the rest of his classmates split up to go to either catechism or bar mitzvah classes. As the lone Presbyterian in his class, he finds himself eye to eye with a teacher he realizes hates him. She really doesn't, as he discovers. What she does is challenge the pants off him. She gets him into Shakespeare - turns out he loves it. She teaches him how to run, how to think for himself, how to stand up for what's right and as any great teacher will do - she equips him with the tools to be truly great. The ironic thing is that the teacher's name is Mrs. Baker.

The teacher to whom I credit having the greatest impact on my life was also a Mrs. Baker. As a sixth grader, she essentially did for me what The Wednesday Wars do for the main character, Holling Hoodhood.

I will be adding both of these books to my personal library.

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  1. Please tell me when you read, I have trouble finding uninterrupted time. Maybe if I spent less time on the computer?!