What if there were no printed books?
I found this statement in one of my emails:
“Start the discussion. Pose this question to a friend at your kids’ soccer game: What if we woke up tomorrow and there were no printed books–how would that change our lives? Then tell that parent to get their kids a copy of The Book Thief. If they haven’t read it yet, they’ve been missing out.” –Marilyn Dahl, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers
I did read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and told everyone I knew along with their mother, brother and sister to read this fascinating book. During World War II, Liesel, a foster child placed in a home outside of Munich, has developed a longing to steal books. Book burnings by the Nazis do not even stop her from taking a book from the burning pile.
She and her foster father share their loathsome taste of the family's daily intake of pea soup and their joy of stories. She begins to share her collected stolen books with her foster father who in turn secretly teaches her how to read in the basement. The bomb raids go off and she finds herself sharing her collection of books with neighbors and the Jewish man hidding in their basement.
Death is the narrator for what is happening to Liesel and her family members. War time is busy for Death, but Death is compasionate about this little girl, her foster family and all that surrounds her.
This is not just a story of Liesel and her love for books. It is her desire and the love and fear all around her that moves Liesel to try to protect what she holds dear. This is a story where Death describes humans as being so ugly and so glorious.
Another book that I found interesting about people’s enthusiasm for books is The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. There are some people in the world who cannot read, yet possess a love for the story. Some hide their illiteracy and find ways to get others to feed their lie. The truth, many times, comes home in ways we never expect it to appear.
In The Reader, a 15 year old boy finds himself in love with an older woman. They have a ritual after he arrives from school. One part of that ritual involves him reading and reading to her. Eventually, she disappears from his life. Many years later, as a law student, he runs into her again – only this time she is on trial for war crimes. It is post World War II. He connects with her again through recorded tapes of his readings that he sends to her jail cell. This truth of her illiteracy will be reveiled in the end. This is a story of guilt, the Holocaust, love, abuse, and judgement that is told through the love of the book.
What good is the printed book? These books are based on a story of many printed books, yet the amazing thing is that they have both been made – or will be made into movies! Imagine that! What do you think about printed books versus electronic books? Which do you prefer?
Summer is upon us now. What do you plan to read and maybe share with friends and family? Have you read a book about other books? Or What ‘cha Reading?