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Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

The hardest thing about writing is … writing!

Surprised?

Well don’t be. It is such a common problem. Seriously, I hear it all the time, ‘I want to be a writer. I’m going to write. I will write.’ And each time the excuses become more and more elaborate and more and more creative and in some ways like a story in itself, with plot twists, dramatic scenes, interesting dialogue and a main character with huge obstacles to overcome. But you’re not like that are you?

People like the idea of writing and being published but very few are willing to work at it. Writing is a lonely toil and can be very frustrating. However, it can be therapeutic and fulfilling and an escape into a world that is only yours. Writing is a craft and the only way to learn the craft is to practice it. The answer is to find the time and to find the space and to write every day. There are no short cuts to success.

So, do it. Write for yourself, write because you need to, write because your idea is calling you, and write for your dream.

Remember that writers write and dreamers dream.

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It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

 

The Book Thief is by far the best book I have ever read.

Yes, bold statement, but true. And yes, in the grand scheme of it all, I am only a small reader in a worldwide pool of voracious readers, and have yet to even scratch the surface of the number of great books out there in Literature Land. But to date, it is ranked as my number one by a very long way.

It was the writing that captured my attention. When she looked up, the sky was crouching; … the words fell like injuries from his mouth; Her feet scolded the floor; Air breathed up her pyjama sleeves. They would each greet me like their last true friend, with bones like smoke, and their souls trailing behind.

Marcus Zusak, an Australian writer, gives a master class on how to write prose that is poetic, a narrative that is insightful, and he weaves a storyline that is every bit heart-wrenching from what we’d expect from a book based around Nazi Germany war times. However, hemmed beautifully amongst the dark veil that shrouds the story, Zusak brings light, and it shines wonderfully to lift our spirits, to guide us steadily, and to help us to the end of a truly captivating story.

Of course, there are interesting characters that you learn to love and some that you learn to hate, and a narrator, without giving it away, is simply to die for. These characters create a platform that teaches us the many layers and the varying colours of the human soul.

Liesel Meminger, the book thief, is the main character. Her brother dies on their journey to live with foster parents in a small country town in Germany, and she is alone to start a new life with nothing more than a book she stole at his burial. Through her life with her new family and friends, Rudi Steiner and a Jewish stowaway named Max Vandenburg, we learn about friendships and hardships, love and death, and about courage and hope in the midst of destiny, cruelty and adversity.

The Book Thief is masterful and eloquent. It is crafted with intelligence and saturated with creative genius. The story has power and the words are like dancing musical notes, blending wonderfully to create art that easily moves you. I was captured, touched, and provoked to feel—driven to tears and laughter within a single sentence.

If you’re a reader, then I urge you to absorb yourself in the narrative. If you’re a writer, then I beg you to take note of the style and technique and applaud the effort it has taken to create such a masterpiece. I highly recommend reading this book.

 

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Roald Dahl

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Whose book The Minpins was published in 1991, a few months after the author’s death in 1990?

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‘Hey, Dad,’ the boy said.

‘Hi,’ his father said, standing from his chair to embrace his son.

His father was a tall man, solid, with hands as big as baseball mitts—hands that had picked up his little boy and thrown him a million miles into the air, watching the tyke laugh and flail with glee before catching him. The boy smiled, remembering, and the man smiled too, perhaps with the same memory surfacing in his mind. There was safety and security in his father’s arms, a love expressed through action, and that had made up for all the absent days, the boy reflected.

His father’s smile was easy and his expression genuine, yet his hazel eyes were deep and serious and watchful as though every movement came under scrutiny, and maybe it did. His voice could command a room, if required to do so, and those large hands had been known to silence a disrespectful few, if also required to do so. He was old fashioned, moulded from old fashioned values and a man true to his word. This earned him the respect he required but it was his kindness and integrity to do right that made him a good leader and a hero in the boy’s eyes.

Excerpt (novel) – The Wish List – Grant Ackermann

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George Orwell

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Which author’s books include Coming Up for Air, and Homage to Catalonia?

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