The Book Thief

by

Depending on which way you may want to go, you could choose a book that will help you escape the mood you’re in. Or you might prefer to find a book that matches your mood.

 

With our current political climate, I’ve been thinking a lot about the amazing story in The Book Thief.

 

Have you read it?

 

Admittedly, it’s another selection in my reading list of books intended for a young audience. But I don’t care. As I’ve said before, a compelling, exquisitely written story will win me over every time.

 

The Book Thief tells a heartbreaking yet beautiful story of poverty and war, as seen through the eyes of children. But as bleak as that sounds, it’s also a hopeful story about the redemptive, healing power of empathy, kindness, compassion, and everyday bravery. I’ll admit it: I cried throughout this book and found myself sobbing at the end.

 

The thought I was left with when I’d finished reading it, as I wiped away tears, was how much better off the world — our communities, the larger world, ourselves and those we interact with — would be if we simply chose to offer each other kindness whenever possible.

 

By now, you may have figured out why the message of this book has been stuck in my head for the past few days.

 

Now — here — the ugliness of bullying, racism, misogyny, homophobia, and raw hatred for “others” has been let back out into the wide open. And for many of us, our first reaction to the news was shock and despair.

 

But perhaps this moment is our call to try harder and be more vigilant in confronting ugliness.

 

To paraphrase a popular saying, “Be the good you want to see in the world.”

 

Volunteer, donate to worthy causes, speak up against hatred.

 

And practice kindness.

 

Always.

 

In your world, in your community, with your family and friends.

 

And, most especially: kindness to yourself.

 

Remember to take a deep breath, or two, or three. Foster calm and peace in your daily life. Look for the light in the darkness.

 

Be kind.

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Welcome to the online home of The Novel Cat, where reading, relaxing, and snuggling with cats are a way of life. I’m Jennifer, and I help too-busy-to-read bookworms and those who want to be readers maximize life’s simple joys — like reading a good book — by helping them create quiet spaces (mentally and physically) inspired by the habits of cats, who are masters at finding joy in life’s small details.

“The only important thing in a book is the meaning it has for you.”

W. Somerset Maugham

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

Cicero

“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.”

Marcel Proust

“Standing there, staring at the long shelves crammed with books, I felt myself relax and was suddenly at peace.”

Helene Hanff

“What a happy woman I am, living in a garden, with books … birds, and flowers, and plenty of leisure to enjoy them!”

Elizabeth von Arnim

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”

Neil Gaiman

“The art of reading is … an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us; when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind.”

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

“When I … looked round at the familiar bookshelves, and could hear no sounds but sounds of peace, and knew that here I might read or dream or idle exactly as I chose with never a creature to disturb me, how grateful I felt to the kindly Fate that has brought me here and given me a heart to understand my own blessedness.”

Elizabeth von Arnim