Thursday, October 31, 2013

Peter Pan Part 3 and Nanowrimo: Growing Up

"Now we know so little, even with our special gifts, and the preaching of those most gifted is still so poor.   But when we have been made perfect and complete, then the need for these inadequate special gifts will come to an end, and they will disappear.
It’s like this: when I was a child I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I became a man my thoughts grew far beyond those of my childhood, and now I have put away the childish things." ~1 Corinthians 13:9-11~

The important moment passed (talking about something mentioned in this previous post).  Okay I'll tell you.  I....... started driving.  And I was terrified the whole time.  But I grew just 1/100th more confident. lol It's like that book, "Do Hard Things," which is a really good book and you should read it.  Doing stuff out of our comfort zones that are good for us will stretch us and strengthen us.  To be honest I'm still a little afraid to go to the dentist, but I'm used to it now and I go anyway. 
Boys have always intimidated me and they still do... but I'm trying to figure them out a bit more now.  In a way I am Rapunzel.  And I can NOT figure out how she got to be so comfortable around Flynn the moment they set out on the adventure.  In real life, we act differently to different people.  Everyone uses a different range of vocabulary, and sometimes in order for them to understand our polite meanings, we have to "speak their language".  This is what we do as we grow up.  When I first saw the 2003 version of Peter Pan when I was... twelve or eleven, I started crying because I didn't want to grow up.  It seemed so sad to me.

If you listen to the first minute and a half of this song, you'll get what I mean.  Listen while you read.  And I'll talk about this version, the 2003 one, of Peter Pan in another post.  But for a teaser, I liked it a lot.

 As a child I thought that to grow up...
1.  I wouldn't have any more fun.
2.  I would stop having faith (I do believe in fairies!  I do!  I do!) because of having to be realistic.
3.  There's something about childhood that's magical, and I thought I'd have to forget it.
4.  I would have to become mean and not have time to play with children.  But now I realize that we get to choose who we will become, and it's a very important thing to do while we are young.
5.  Growing up is a step closer to growing old and ugly(lol I know, but you're thinking it too I'm sure!).
6.  And it's another step closer to... dying.  I shall quote Death from The Book Thief here:  "When the time comes, don't panic."  ... don't be afraid.  God will give you the strength you need just in time, to quote the Hiding Place.  And all good stories must end, except the everlasting one, which is the best of them all. 
7.  I don't know... I felt like there should have been something else.  The thought of growing up just sounded boring and sad.
Now I remember.  The effects of seeing all the sorrow in the world made adults seem hard-hearted and cold to me.  And as we age we learn more about death and suicides.  And it saddens us and makes it harder to be brave.  When you think about it, being brave helps us to grow.  The word "brave" always made me feel special, and whenever I had to tell myself to "be brave," it then seemed easier to do.  To kill a roach, for me, is to be brave lol.  To walk in the dark is to be brave.  And then... so is driving.

 Being stuck young will only keep important things from happening.


There's the good stuff about growing up too.
1.  There's freedom to go where you like and spend your own money and live where you like and go into debt... oh well there's responsibility that comes with power.  Spiderman...
2.  You're moving forward and letting go of the past.  This is good too, though hold on to the stuff you've learned.  "Keep moving forward."  That's from Meet the Robinsons Disney movie.  It made me cry.
3.  When we grow up... we tend to fall in love.  And when that happens we tend to get married and have children to tell stories to.  Though staying single is good too, if you're hard at work somewhere.  Paul was single because he had a lot of work to do. 
4.  Growing up is something we've gone through since before the day we were born.  It's only natural.  It's like change, and time itself.  It's always ticking, everything's always changing, and if we don't keep up, we'll be left behind in the dust.  Peter Pan I think is different because he's the spirit of childhood.  In the stories of course he's real, but I'm still trying to figure out why he chose not to grow up.  He could have married Wendy.
Spiritual growing:
5.  In the Bible it says that becoming mature is a sign of growing up, and that innocence is like being a child, and that we should be both.  Becoming mature means to learn the difference between good and evil on the basics, and then deeper, and learning to make better decisions.  I know it sounds boring, but when I was trying to find wisdom years ago I thought it was as cool as searching for buried treasure.  There we go.  Wisdom is more precious than gold.  It's what makes us mature.
6.  You have more chance to help people.  I've always wanted to "save the world." lol Then I realized I could, one person at a time.  Listening helps a lot.
7.  Many decisions, many possibilities.  The Fox and the Hound is a good illustration of the process of growing up.  So sad too though... 

Nanowrimo!!!!!  Halloween!  I've realized Cinderella is sometimes associated with Halloween because of the pumpkin carriage (and it's important in episode 21 of Ouron High School Host Club, an anime, and really interestingly made into a symbol that shows up in the episodes after it too).  I'm going to be doing Nanowrimo if I can.  If you don't know what that is... basically it's an online, free thingy where you sign up and try to write 50,000 words in a month, specifically, the month of November, which is nearly upon us. (:
Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, "throw cares away!"
Thanksgiving, Turkey!  Homemade pie!  I love autumn and winter.  They're like the climax of a typical year.  And then new life comes back at Spring.  Ya see?  Constant change.

So... what do you think about all this?  Are you doing Nanowrimo?  What's your story going to be about?  In another post I might say what mine will be.
And here's a REALLY pretty song to end with :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Peter Pan Thoughts Part 2: Staying a Child

Peter Pan♡

"And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."
~Matthew 18:2-6 ESV~

Tonight I feel like Wendy did the night before she had to grow up.  It's an important moment.  Two forces pulling you in two directions.  And if you go forward, you can't go back ever, and if you stay a child, it's only delaying the rest of your story.
That story begins with once upon a time, you were born.  The end of that story is death and fleeing into eternity.  You get to choose what you do and believe between those two lines, the beginning and the end.  But it depends a lot what your motives are, whether it is good or bad to stay a child.
To stay a child from the world's point of view means...

    Side One of the Coin of Staying a Child (bad stuff first, saving the better for last)
 1.  To not learn to drive
2.  To not get a job
3.  To stay dependent on others if you're not going to Neverland and eating imaginary feasts to live off of
4.  To not grow mature but instead play games and be entertained every day.
5.  To not get married and have children
6.  To not take responsibility
7.  To therefore be selfish and uncaring of the fact that adults throw money at you every day at the expense of practical things they might have spent.

Those are quite dark and unlikable characteristics of children.  And that's what some people think of when they think of not growing up, and they look upon it unfavorably when you mention it.
But there's another side of the coin too, a Christian's point of view of childhood.  One of the reasons I fell in love with God was how beautiful he made children, and how he told his disciples that unless they became like little children, they wouldn't enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Because He and I have a common love, children, it was another reason for me to love Him, and not only because I owe my love to Him.

  Side Two of the Coin of Staying a Child
1.  To trust completely, without asking questions

This is a big one because when we become teens (in the Bible we would then be considered adults) we feel like we have to know the answer to everything.  We want to know the meaning behind something sometimes odd that our parents or God ask us to do.  But seeing isn't believing.  It's cheating.  Jesus said blessed are those who haven't seen but still believe.  But Thomas didn't believe Jesus was alive and said he would only if he saw.  Believing someone we know we can trust (and someone we should trust) is better than going by our sight.  Besides, people who are blind have to trust the people who guide them.  Their choices are either to try to find their way by themselves, and perhaps fall off a cliff in the process, or trust someone who can see.  And that's how little children are (of course not all of them, but I'm talking about the ideal child).

2.  To have a big imagination
Having faith is like having imagination in a way because they both happen in the mind.  Imagination is good because we're using our minds to create something, ideas, a story, a picture or world, that wasn't there before.

3. To have fresh eyes that look at the world in wonder
It's amazing, to learn what a pen is, what water is, by feeling it and touching it and using it, what words are and what they mean.  It's amazing to begin your story from scratch.  Another reason why I love children.  God has made amazing things.  The wind, the trees, the mountains so large.  And we're so small.

4.  They're okay with the fact that they're small (of course, they DO want to be bigger and look forward to that day), yet they don't worry about the future.
This is because they know that soon they'll be bigger, one day they'll be stronger, and they're content in the moment.  They believe in their parents, that their parents will take care of them.  They believe their parents love them.

5.  They have big dreams.
They don't care or even know that their dreams may be impossible.  The whole world to them is impossible, so a dream of theirs, to be a superhero, might not be as impossible as the world thinks.  I love this one quote from the movie Amazing Grace and I shall put it here now.  Benedict Cumberbach said it.  "We're too young to know that certain things are impossible.  So we'll do them anyway."

6.  They're humble.

7.  They have big faith.

That's why I vowed to myself to forever have a child's heart.  I hope you will consider it.  Choosing a path while we are young makes it easier when we're older to keep to it.

peter pan, susan jenkinAll the people who acted as Peter Pan in the plays and movies did grow up, and some of them were older than the character when they played him.  But Peter Pan doesn't grow up.  He still has all his first teeth.  He's the same size as Wendy in mind and physically, so the book says.  He's the spirit of youth.  Not teenage youth, but childlike, innocent youth.  He's the one who is surprised when something unfair is done, in the book, and every time something unfair is done, he is always shocked like it is the first time it has happened, for Peter Pan forgets.  That is why he likes to hear stories about himself.  So that he doesn't forget who he is, and, of course, because he's cocky.  Proud.  Because he doesn't grow up, I do wonder what I might find in his eyes if ever I did look into them.  An eternal-ness.  A pureness, though Peter Pan isn't exactly completely innocent, even in the book.
His ears would be pointed like a fairy's, for he's lived amongst them for a very long time now.  And I would want to give him a hug, and he wouldn't like that.  I'm too much like a real mother.  I'm already grown up in that way.  But every day when we're going another step further, we feel like we're growing.  Because the truth is, we're always growing up, always changing and developing our character.  And because this post is getting really long, I shall post the other half next time.
What say you on the matter?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Peter and Wendy Analization part 1: A Bit of History

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"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." 
~Romans 12:2~ The Message~

I've always wondered how Peter Pan remained young.  Perhaps the fairies kept him young, which would explain why, in the book, he was said to have a "fairyish" look, as if he was a fairy.  But I knew there had to be some story behind it all, so I dug deeper into the life of J. M. Barrie:

The first time anyone learned about the story of Peter Pan was when they went to see the play on the 27th of December, in 1904, in which a young woman played Peter.  Before the play began, some thought James M. Barrie crazy for having thought up the story.  A dog who was a nurse for children, who made their beds even, and even walked them to school!  A boy who could fly and not grow up!  A shadow that could be detached from its master.  Fairies and pirates and mermaids.  Some thought the play didn't have a chance of being successful, but it was.  Many enjoyed it, and some didn't.  The story had come from James' relationship with a bunch of boys who awoke in him a sense of adventure, and a reminding of something sad that happened long ago, when he himself was a very young boy.

James was the 9th of 10 siblings, and the eldest brother, David, was his mother's favorite of all.  Everyone was excited to see how David would be when he grew up, and had great expectations for him, while ignoring James a bit, who was only 4.  But David died on his 14th birthday, in a skating accident.  He would never have the chance to grow up now, and his mother was very heartbroken and hardly even noticed James, till one day when James went into her room dressed up like David, and pretended to be him, so that his mother might notice him.  He did this many times.

This made me wonder if Peter was like a ghost that had never fully faded away.  Neverland would be a little like heaven.  It would explain why in the book there was mentioned that Peter was said to have gone part of the way through that dark tunnel of death with children who had died, to comfort them on their journey to eternity (or something similar).  Things only mentioned in the book once I've been capturing lately.  It's very fascinating.  Although of course in the story Peter isn't a ghost, but a normal boy who simply decides not to grow up.

The edition of the book you see the picture of above is the very first version of Peter Pan I had read from the library.  It was a very special edition, hard cover with illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman, which made me forget about Disney's Peter Pan and led me to quite a different story, more fairy-tale-ish and dreamy and dark and filled with nostalgia.  It had characters that in my mind looked nothing like Disney's.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (1980). same lady that illustrated the saint George and the dragon kids book!My next posts about Peter Pan will be coming soon. :)  Narnia may have to wait a bit, for I have much more to say.  What do you think about Peter Pan?  Have you read it?  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chonicles of Narnia Thoughts Part 1 Comparing Beginnings

 "I, yes I, am the Lord, and there is no other Savior. First I predicted your rescue, then I saved you and proclaimed it to the world. No foreign god has ever done this. You are witnesses that I am the only God,” says the Lord."
~Isaiah 43:11-12~

Yes, the covers aren't that great a lot of the time (unless you have the newer version in paperpack), and that is probably what toned down my first opinion of the books, sadly.  I had read the books in a really odd out of order.  I did read the Magician's Nephew first though lol.  I can't remember the order I read them in but I didn't particularly want to read Prince Caspian because I had already seen the movie (I know, dumb excuse).

But the story was very important to me when I was 8, when my sister told me they were making a movie for the Chronicles of Narnia.  She was SO SO excited and I didn't even know what those were.  She showed me a trailer for the movie (it was the first one I think and only one minute long and only showed Lucy in the spare room, discovering the wardrobe and uncovering it from the sheet slowly, the fabric falling to the ground, and her looking up and smiling.  Fade to black.  Something in me lit a flame.  This girl was my age and it was instantly relatable to me.  A way into another world.  This was probably my first fantasy story in which someone went to another world.
Then the nine minute trailer came out and I wanted to watch it over and over again.  My sister (who was then 12) and I jumped up and down in excitement.
When we saw it at the theaters, my eyes were wide open the whole way through.  The ever so large screen, on which a giant, darkly carved wardrobe stood still and foreboding, and yet inviting.  Hide and Seek.  World war II.  The touch between a girl of earth, and a creature from a different world, which was so precious.  The talking beavers.  The tea and a lullaby.  THE SNOWY WOOD.  The lamppost, just standing there, like a gravestone in a graveyard.  The White witch, the hot chocolate, and the Turkish Delight (which I imagined was something like a cinnamon roll or funnel cake when I didn't know).  The lion.  The story, the music, it all made me cry.

But now though, is so many, many years later.  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was somewhat ruined in the movie.  Yes, it was entertaining, but it didn't make much money. was very silent for a very long time.  No news at all.  Soon we all forgot about Narnia.  Hunger Games took its place in our minds, and Once Upon a Time.  We minded our business, and it seemed like the future of Narnia was dead.  Just a few days ago, though, this all changed.

They're finally making the Silver Chair into a movie.
When I heard this, I wasn't so much excited, because I almost thought it wasn't real, or that I couldn't trust it, or that the movie wouldn't be very good, or that they really weren't going to make another movie.  But go on here and listen to the podcast.
They're all so full of hope, which gave me hope.  And the podcast is funny.
I went to my sister's room and nabbed a copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and began to read.  I've realized something about C. S. Lewis' style.  He did once say that The Chronicles of Narnia were a sort of fairy tales.  At first I didn't quite believe it.  But now that I've been reading the beginnings of all seven, I'm beginning to realize that it's true.  Here, I shall show you the beginning sentence of each of the books, in the order they were published.

"Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy."
~The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe~
Just like a beginning of a fairy tale!  Not all fairy tales begin with "Once upon a time," you know.

"Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, and it has been told in another book called The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe how they had a remarkable adventure."
~Prince Caspian~
Yes, this really is the beginning!  Just like LWW, but adding on to it.

"There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."
~The Voyage of the Dawn Treader~
Still following the fairy tale feel.  Why did he "almost" deserve the name?  Was there something good that redeemed him?  Or is what DID he deserve if not the name?

"It was a dull autumn day and Jill Pole was crying behind the gym."
~The Silver Chair~
Mmm... "dull" makes me think of the color grey, and tension has begun.  Who is this girl, and why is she crying?  Beginning a story with unanswered questions in the first sentence keeps one curious.  I'm beginning to like the Silver Chair more and more now.  Up till now, the beginnings of the stories were about ordinary things, life, and how things were.  But now, something is happening, and it pulls us in.  The beginning also tells us that this will be a darker story.

"This is the story of an adventure that happened in Narnia and Calormen and the lands between, in the Golden Age when Peter was High King in Narnia and his brother and his two sisters were King and Queens under him."
~The Horse and His Boy~
Even though it took me a while to get into this book, this first sentence does draw one in.  One wonders what happened in the time they were kings and queens, what they did as rulers.  It takes one off guard because it takes place before the end of LWW, before the Pevensies got sent back to our world, and yet it was written after the Silver Chair.
This book does have its funny spots though, and also its serious spots.

"This is a story about something that happened long ago when your grandfather was a child."
~The Magician's Nephew~
At first I thought this book was my favorite.  Continuing the fairy tale feel.  A lot of it takes place in Charles Dickens' London, which made it all the more enjoyable.  I'd wished the next movie they were to make was this one, as it would be really cool to see on the screen.

"In the last days of Narnia, far up to the west beyond Lantern Waste and close beside the great waterfall, there lived an Ape."
~The Last Battle~
The beginning makes you wary and sad.  "The last days of Narnia".  Mentioning Lantern Waste and the waterfall reminds us of LWW, and the beginning of Narnia.
And the mention of an Ape catches us off guard again.  Up till now, there haven't been many (if any) talking apes as characters.  What sort of ape would he be then?

Anyway, I'm off to rewatch the Narnia movies (well, go to bed first) and read the books and the guides!  My, there are a lot!
By the way, which is your favorite Narnia book?  My mind has been changing a lot so I don't know anymore.
Do you know that Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor) plays Puddleglum in the Silver Chair (BBC version)? 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Storytelling and Beginnings

"Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast.  I was thrust into your arms at my birth.  You have been my God from the moment I was born."  ~Psalms 22:9-10~

Oliver Twist (2005) (Widescreen)
(^ that's my favorite movie of Oliver Twist, from 2005 I think.  Rachel Portman did the soundtrack)
Before I say anything, I just came here from the future to say something that will hold some importance later in this post.  Do you know what a workhouse is?  Or was, I might say.  The workhouse was a word that would place a feeling of dread within anyone who heard it, in the time that they were known of.  Do not forget.  *zaps back to the future*

Recently I've been noticing how there's a big difference between authors such as C. S. Lewis and Andrew Peterson, J. R. R. Tolkien and Jeffrey Overstreet, and all writers in general.  Andrew Peterson writes big books, but the Narnia books are small, like the Snow Queen book.  How does an author know how long or short their story should be?  C. S. Lewis could have drawn out the beginning of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but he didn't.  He left it simply, like one of the Grimm Brother's fairy tales.

"Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy.  This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids.  The were sent to the house of an old Professor who lived in the heart of the country, ten miles from the nearest railway station and two miles from the nearest post office."
~The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe~

He doesn't show.  He tells.  C S Lewis, is a storyteller after all.  Few authors today would write a story like that, or begin one like so.
I'll put the beginning of another, more recent book here so that you can tell the difference.  *rummages through collection to find a book not by Charles Dickens*

"Great and golden, like an enormous, minted doubloon, the Caribbean sun presided over the waterfront.  Ships of all nations, from salt-crusted skiffs to stately galleons, bobbed on their moorings, each craft facing bow onto the harbour wall.  Children clambered and played upon the bronze cannons fronting the jade and aquamarine waters of the wide Caribbean Sea."
~The Angel's Command by Brian Jacques~ (an excellent book by the way, the second in a trilogy about the adventures of a boy who can never grow older, and his faithful black dog, whom he can communicate with.  The first book is called the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman, and tells the beginning of the tale.  I really enjoyed them)

This author goes right into describing the story.  You'll learn yourself what the story is about if you keep reading.  Except -- *checks the date on the copyright page* -- this book was published in 2003.  Not completely recent, but oh well.
Now I'll put the first sentence of Oliver Twist here to twist things up a bit (no pun intended).  But before I do...  *zaps to the past*  *zaps back* *dusts herself off* Now then.  Here:
"Among other public buildings in the town of Mudfog, it boasts of one which is common to most towns great or small, to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse there was born on a day and date which I need not trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence to the reader, in this stage of the business at all events, the item of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of this chapter."
~Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Big big difference.  Different cultures all of these previously listed authors came from.  Different ways of speaking.  Different fashions.  Words big and small.  Of course, I think Oliver Twist was written for an older audience because few except those who had rich families knew how to read.  At the time it was published, Lord Melbourn didn't like the book.  The young Queen Victoria however read it and found it "excessively interesting." (watch the movie the Young Victoria it's all about her, then watch Oliver Twist, the version I mentioned above)

We are told so much, to write like this, or leave out that, and all "rules" are intended to help us get by, but I think many may hinder us, by and by.  So let's start at the very beginning.  It doesn't matter if you write a long story or a simple fable, by "telling all" or "showing some", for don't they tell us in schools to show and to tell?

Because when one writes, one is free.
Or at least, you should be.
It's only the rough draft.
It's the fun part,
Where one may dance at will with words.

Write for yourself first.  Schreiben (German word for write) for fun.  Don't worry about putting God in your story.  For the longest time I myself worried and stuffed ideas of God into stories.  But then I learned something (at church).  God doesn't need us to defend him.  He defends himself quite well without us.  He wants us to witness, of course, and we should, but not always in our stories.  We shouldn't put a witness story in our stories just because we feel guilty without it.

Also, God's words are perfect and ours will never be.  So we shouldn't worry so much, but let go.
"Sigh not so but let them go..."

Sorry I think I got off topic.  I meant to write this post to ask a question and attempt to answer it.  The question was, "How can we tell whether or not to write a book like a fairy tale, short, simply, and much trimmed, like the Chronicles of Narnia books, or very long like a book by Charles Dickens?"
Remember.  The book will tell readers about you.  Who do you want them to see, through what they read?  The books you like to read will affect your writing in one way or another.
And don't worry about how long or short your book is.  Don't aim for a certain word-count.  Just tell us a story.  Focus on the story.

By the way, I'm reading a really good book on writing called "Writing Irresistible Kidlit".  I highly recommend it to fellow writers.  It's got stuff in it that a lot of other books on writing forget to mention.  I haven't finished it yet though.
Sorry for the long post!  Didn't mean for it to get so long.  I haven't been writing very much lately, so I guess it just... sort of... flowed out here.
Oh well.  See ya soon!  Oh and tell me what you think. :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book Review: The Book Thief

 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way." ~Matthew 5:11-12~

The sun didn't find me.  I was hiding in a closet, reading the Book Thief with a flashlight.  I was about to take the hand of Death, the narrator of this book, for he had offered it.  He told me he would show me something if I went with him.  My fingers hesitated at the edge of the page.  Should I turn it?  Should I plummet into the darker world under the thick cover of this book?  I knew it wouldn't be safe.  But I took a deep breath, and took his hand, and he led me down into the pages of the Book Thief.
I'm drinking bitter black Allegro tea as I write this. 
It's a very intriguing book.  Even though it's slow like To Kill A Mockingbird, there's something about it that made me want to keep reading.  I would have given this book five stars if there hadn't been any bad language in it, but there was a bit of it scattered evenly throughout, in German and in English. 
I liked the book because of several things.

1.  I'm part German myself and enjoyed learning some of the German words (minus the swearing).  Wort is word, and a few others.
2.  The narrator was very intriguing.  Yes, he is Death, but I could picture someone like Lemony Snicket (also known as Hugo's dad in the movie Hugo, or Watson in the dark Sherlock Holmes movies) or David Tennant or even Tom Hiddleston playing him.  The narrator never says whether he's a man or woman, but that's how I pictured him to be: with a long coat and sympathetic.  But yet humans haunt him.  He's afraid of us.  The book explains why.
3.  The characters contrast each-other wonderfully with lots of conflict.  You can really feel for the characters.
4.  It's about books, and words, and I'm a writer (though unpublished as of yet).  It does inspire me to write.
5.  It's heart-breaking, tearing, and then mends you little by little.  I love it because it shows how we humans can enjoy simple lives, and how we help each-other and how we heal.  Hans, at one point in the book, thinks being kind is stupid.  But it isn't bad either.  This is a book that really makes you think, so be prepared to.

At first, I, like a few other people, wondered why the book cover was of dominoes.  Then I got to one of the best parts in the book.  Rudy was lining up the dominoes with his siblings and together they would knock them down and watch the show.  The "beauty of destruction".  And once they're all tumbled down, someone walks in and comments, "They look like dead bodies."
It's amazing how one action causes another, and how we can't know what the future holds.  The cover does seem to fit the book when you think about it.
Today I went into the dark garage with a book light and finished reading the book.  Sadness and numb healing.  And the last words: "I am haunted by humans."
 I will most definitely see the movie coming later this year.  Maybe there's more hope I'll lose it and actually cry.  I was expecting to cry more than I did, but when the sad parts came, I felt numb as the narrator.  But I really enjoyed it and it inspired me to keep writing.
Have you read this book?  What are your thoughts of it?