Books: I get on these Jane Austen kicks and I get the urge to read every Austen novel for the 12th time. The catalyst for the latest rampage is the PBS Masterpiece series of adaptations of Jane Austen novels that is currently running on Sunday nights. After watching the adaptations of Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, and Mansfield Park, I decided to read Sense and Sensibility again before watching the adaptation. I finished it on Friday, and discovered that Turner Movie Classics was showing the Emma Thompson adaptation of the novel on Sunday. I haven’t seen that version since it came out in theatres when I was in college. I had just finished a Jane Austen seminar, where we reading everything she wrote, including her juvenalia, which is hilarious, and her unfinished novels. Anyway, I remember watching the film at a theatre in Minneapolis, tears streaming down my face the whole time. It was awesome.
Crackers: It turns out that I don’t want to write about crackers today. Oops. I’ll just tell you about another book! A friend of mine lent me The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. It takes place in Germany during World War II, and is narrated by Death. It’s a long book (about 550 pages), and the friend who lent it to me is a bit impatient with long books. She said she hadn’t finished it, but she had a pretty good idea of what happened at the end. The main character is Liesel Meminger. She lives on Himmel Street (Heaven Street) in Molching, Germany, and her family (actually, her foster family) takes in a Jewish refugee, Max, who hides in their basement. The book is darkly humorous, and less painful to read than I had expected. The relationships between Liesel and her foster mother and father are funny and touching. It did drag a little--I’m not sure it needed to be 550 pages. And at the end--SPOILER (highlight the following text to see the spoiler)--everyone on Himmel Street, including Liesel’s parents, neighbors, friends, and soulmate, is killed by a bomb. Only Liesel, who had been in the basement writing, and Max, in Aushweitz, survive. It's a sad book, but definitely worth reading.