February 27, 2013

The Book Thief and Harrods

"She said it out loud, the words distributed into a room that was full of cold air and books. Books everywhere! Each wall was armed with overcrowded yet immaculate shelving. It was barely possible to see paintwork. There were all different styles and sizes of lettering on the spines of the black, the red, the gray, the every-colored books. It was one of the most beautiful things Liesel Meminger had ever seen.
With wonder, she smiled that such a room existed!

The quote above is from the book I recently read 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak. It's set in the backdrop of Nazi Germany and tells the poignant tale of a little girl, Liesel, who lives just outside Munich. She steals books, learns to read and in the process discovers the power of words and language. It's the story of a little girl who lives a life clouded with danger, threat, bombs and uncertainty, yet still manages to enjoy the little pleasures in life; such as close friendships and reading. The book has an unusual narration - the narrator is death. It does take some time to adjust to the narrator, and there were times I was slightly annoyed by the narrator because it spoils the ending. However, the book is  compelling and just utterly heart wrenching. I cried like a baby while reading through the final chapters. There were times I needed to put the book down and just stare into space and try absorbing everything. On a fun note - some of the sentences were in German, translated as well, but I was able to understand the German! Yay for that! 

I personally also really liked the book because I share almost the same kind of enthusiasm that Liesel felt when looking through books, or finding a new book. Just admiring them, and touching them and smelling them! Old or new, I love the smell of books. I do read, but not as much as I would like to. But I love stepping into bookshops and just going through the books - even the ones with topics that don't interest me. 

We were in London a couple weeks back, and went to Harrods. Umair decided to go check out the Men's section. As for me, instead of going to the HUGE multi-storied women section filled with shiny designer bags, clothes, shoes, I found myself gravitating towards the bookshop. Yes, I checked out the Harrods bookshop at Harrods. Books > Fashion. Shiny leather bags don't give me the kinda joy a leather bound book with shiny pages would (don't get me wrong, I still love shopping!). At Harrods, I found a book called 'Romantic English Homes' and decided to buy it because it had beautiful pictures of adorable English homes. And home decor + shiny pretty book = naima's ultimate heaven. Anywhere we go, we try buying a little something something as a souvenir (however we've missed quite a few places, including Paris!). This book was the perfect memorabilia and it's the perfect coffee table book! 

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