The Book Thief – Marcus Zusak

Last weekend I made it my mission to finish The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.  No matter what else was going on, I was going to finish that book!

I’m not going to talk too much about the plot or the ending because I don’t want to spoil it for those of you who haven’t read it but, suffice to say, it is an amazing book and if you haven’t read it, you must do so immediately!

I think one of the important things to note is that it is narrated by Death.  Death tells the story of Liesel Meminger, the book thief.  When I described this to hubby, he asked if it was similar to Terry Pratchett’s Death character and the young girl in those books but I couldn’t comment because I’ve not read many Pratchett books!  (they are on my ‘to read’ pile).

Liesel lives with her foster parents in Himmel Street in Molching, Germany.  It is an engaging story, one in which you become very invested in the characters. You actually care what happens to them which is the sign of a good book in my opinion.  I hate those kind of books that lack depth and by the end you just don’t care what happens to the characters, you just want it to end.  This really isn’t the case with The Book Thief.  I ended up very invested, so much so that by the end of the book I felt like I knew them, I felt their pain if they were upset or hurt, I felt their successes and triumphs.

The star of the book for me were Hans Hubberman without a doubt.  I’d love to have known him and heard him play the accordion.  Predictably Max and Rudy were also firm favourites.  I loved the tale of Liesel’s friendship with Rudy.  Zusak captured the essence of friendship very well.

There was heartbreak too.  Death tells  you it is coming and for the last quarter of the book I was dreading what was coming next.  I knew something bad was going to happen but I didn’t want it to happen to these characters that I was so invested in.  Part of me wanted to put the book down and not read on, not read about the bad things that were going to happen but I had to know….and it made me cry!

Having read the book I definitely want to see the movie but I know it will be a weepie.  I’m not sure if it’s one to see with hubby or some girlie friends.

There are many things that I love about this book.  As I’ve already mentioned, the way Zusak captures the essence of the friendship between Liesel and Rudy, the way he brings the characters alive but also how he captures the family ties.  I adored Hans and the bond that he and Liesel shared.  Also, for me, it was nice to read something that focussed on the ordinary German people during the war, as with ‘Two Brothers’ by Ben Elton.

I googled to see if there really was a Himmel Street in Molching but Wiki Answers says not.  There is no city called Moching in Germany and the city is in fact based on ‘Olching’.  As such, there is no Himmel Street and in the book this is a reference to the 100 metre road that led to the Sobibor extermination camp – nicknamed Himmelstrasse.

All in all, an excellent book, one that I would recommend with no hesitation at all.

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The Depressed Cake Shop

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting my first Depressed Cake Shop pop up shop.

The Depressed Cake Shop first captured my attention when I read about it on a blog last year (I forget which one it was). Basically it is a pop up cake shop that raises awarness of mental health issuesby selling grey coloured cakes and baked goods which are much more appetising than they sound! All the proceeds go to a mental health charity of their choice.

What a fabulous idea and for a fabulous cause too! 

Today’s shop was held by students from Canterbury Christ Church University who had clearly worked hard on their shop.  The displays and the baking looked great.

Flyer for the Depressed Cake Shop
Flyer for the Depressed Cake Shop
Showing some of the goodies on offer
Showing some of the goodies on offer
Beautiful display!
Beautiful display!
One of the display boards telling everybody what the cake shop was about
One of the display boards telling everybody what the cake shop was about
Very tempting!  Along with the cakes there were leaflets on display highlight various mental health issues
Very tempting! Along with the cakes there were leaflets on display highlight various mental health issues
I love the idea of the Black Dog Bikkies...I'm sure Winston Churchill would have approved!!
I love the idea of the Black Dog Bikkies…I’m sure Winston Churchill would have approved!!
I loved the bi-polar cupcakes.  It really was as good as it looks..
I loved the bi-polar cupcakes. It really was as good as it looks..

Happy and Sad cookies

Each label had a different name for the cakes
Each label had a different name for the cakes
These are the two that came back to the office with me!
These are the two that came back to the office with me!

Perfect

As I’ve mentioned in my ‘blurb’, I love books!  I can’t resist them!  I adore the kind that you can  curl up with and immerse yourself in this imaginary world for hours.

Imagine how delighted I was when wandering round Sainsburys yesterday and I came across ‘Perfect’ by Rachel Joyce, author of ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’.  I adored that book.  I didn’t think it would be my kind of thing and I’m not sure how the book came into my possession (another purchase from a supermarket I think).  It was one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve finished it and you missing having it to read, a bit like Mark Haddon’s ‘A Spot of Bother’

I ummed and ahhed, after all, I have so many books to read already and I’d already spent a fair bit on books over the weekend (Tescos being the culprit that time!) but in the end, ‘Perfect’ had to come home with me.  I’m half way through ‘The Book Thief’ (what a glorious book!  I’d throughly recommend it!) so maybe Perfect will be my go to book once I’ve finished that.

A good book makes me very happy indeed…especially when it is accompanied by chocolate and a cat!

The Deaf Cat

Saw this whilst meandering through Rochester on Saturday and it made me smile

The Deaf cat
The Deaf cat

“Once there was a man who had a deaf cat.

It used to sit in his studio as he wrote.  

The cat wasn’t an annoyance or a hindrance.  

It was like the other ornaments around his desk.  

It was there to calm him, cheer him and inspire him.

Did it work?  

The writer’s name was Charles Dickens”

I have no idea if this is a true story but i love the idea of it, him sitting there working away with his cat for company, much like I often do.

Wonderful!

Perfect End to the week

This week has been a real mixed bag so I was pleased to see Friday evening and what better way to spend it than indulging in some retail therapy with hubby and finishing with dinner at Carluccios. I love good Italian food so this really hit the spot.

The highlights for me were starter and dessert.

Starter was Antipasto Supremo which is listed on the menu as a sharing plate but you can request an individual portion. Be warned fellow lards, even the individual portions are large:

Mmmmm!  Delicious but huge....and this is the individual portion!
Mmmmm! Delicious but huge….and this is the individual portion!

ANTIPASTO SUPREMO (TO SHARE)
Selection of the best from Italy. Bresaola, Parma ham, Buffalo mozzarella, ventricina & finocchiona salami, balsamic onions, tuna stuffed peppers, artichoke, courgettes, sundried tomatoes, olives, pancetta wrapped prawns and chicken liver pate

And the dessert, oh my god the dessert! I don’t normally like bread and butter pudding but this was absolutely amazing:

Bread and Butter Pudding Italian style!
Bread and Butter Pudding Italian style!

It goes without saying that next time you are in Carluccios, I’d wholeheartedly recommend giving the chocolate bread and butter pudding a go, even if you don’t usually like that kind of thing