Despite the fact that my love of lists, questions, organisation, and taking notes at book club is met with much hilarity, today, I’m glad of it. A reemergence of a social life and a trip to Barcelona over the weekend means that I’m only now getting around to looking at my notes from the Lausanne Book Club discussion on The Book Thief. Here goes.
Another new member this month in the form of fellow-Brit Gemma (welcome Gemma, and welcome back to the two Kellys… good to know we haven’t scared you off!)
Overall, The Book Thief was well liked by the group. There were a couple of “meh”s from those who felt that it didn’t live up to the hype surrounding it. There were complaints that the book was overwritten and some derision of some descriptions (something to do with Leisel’s eyes? I can’t recall)
The main topic of conversation was around whether the novel should be classed as a young adult novel or not. A quick read around the subject suggests that although it was marketed as a YA novel in the States (due to the age of the protagonist), elsewhere, it was marketed as an adult novel. The thoughts of the group were that the subject matter was a little too much for a young adult audience. While the age group should have started learning about the Holocaust and the 2nd World War, was this viewpoint too much? It’s clear that as adult readers, we were more aware of the depth of history behind the novel – and therefore understood nuances that a YA reader might not. A couple of people expressed interest in seeing the film to see which direction that takes – is it targeted at adults, or teenagers?
The style of writing (and the heavy reliance on foreshadowing) annoyed some, but was appreciated by others. There were questions as to what Death added as a narrator. Was it a heaviness and depth, or was the author just trying too hard?
The characters in the book were, on the whole, well rounded and likeable (or not, as required!) Rosa was seen as being the most real of all the characters – disliked at first but as the novel went on, her true spirit was revealed.
The main takeaway from the book was the power of words and how, if used in a malicious manner, they can cause deep harm. A lesson for all of us!
April’s book is The Art of Fielding by Char Harbach
Henry Skrimshander, newly arrived at college, shy and out of his depth, has a talent for baseball that borders on genius. But sometimes it seems that his only friend is big Mike Schwartz – who champions the talents of others, at the expense of his own. And Owen, Henry’s clever, charismatic, gay roommate, who has a secret that could put his brilliant college career in jeopardy.
Pella, the 23-year-old daughter of the college president, has returned home after a failed marriage, determined to get her life in order. Only to find her father, a confirmed bachelor, has fallen desperately in love himself.
Then, one fateful day, Henry makes a mistake – misthrows a ball. And everything changes…
As ever, I’ve set up a doodle for next month’s meeting – if you could let me know which dates work best, I’ll confirm nearer the time.
As ever, if you’d like to join our mailing list, have any questions, or just want a chat, you can get hold of the book club on firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @LausanneBC