Books bring me joy

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Commentary by Carla Howie

Books bring me joy. There. I’ve said it. I am a book geek. I’ve maintained a log of every book I’ve read since I was in high school. Something magical happens when I hold a book in my hand. I can feel my eyes scan each line on a page and instantly, the words transform in my mind. One of the first things I did upon moving here was to find a book club. Luckily, a previous co-worker and lover of books as well, introduced me to a long-standing women’s book club. We recently read “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. It tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster child living outside of Munich during the rise of the Nazi party. One of her first possessions is a book, stolen at the gravesite of her younger brother. Although she has not yet learned to read, her foster father uses it, “The Gravediggers Handbook,” to calm her back to sleep when she is violently awakened by nightmares of her brother’s death. As the years proceed, Liesel takes whatever opportunities befall her to collect more stolen books. It is often from the mayor’s wife, who maintained a whole library of books; when Germany’s neighborhoods were forced to burn theirs. This book was brilliantly crafted for the young adult reader, but that didn’t stop my tears from flowing. If it’s not recommended reading in the schools, it should be. Magic happens when a book touches your soul.

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