Through my years of going to the library, I’ve observed that some days I can’t find anything I want to read. And some days, it seems like the books practically throw themselves off the shelves at me. Those are actually not much more enjoyable than the days when I can’t find anything to read. And reading is a big part of my life. I’ve always read – history, science, politics, philosophy, science fiction, some fantasy, some other fiction – there aren’t many genres that haven’t interested me. I’ve spent many hours seeking my “next book”. I’ve found it in many ways – a new book by a favorite author, a continuation of a series, a new history book. But a few weeks ago, I found my “next book” in a rather extraordinary way. My wife is the librarian at a local high school. Some of the students started a book club earlier this year. After they finished their first book, they were trying to decide on the second. They went through several suggestions, without coming to a decision. Finally one student got up, walked over to the nearest shelf, and simply grabbed a random book. That became their next book, and they loved it. My wife decided to read it, and she loved it. She kept trying to get me to read the book, and finally I picked up a copy at the public library. And discovered that I love the book.
There’s something you need to know about this book. It’s “targeted” at the young adult/teen audience. I found my copy in the juvenile section of the library. But it’s one of those rare books that transcends age brackets. The book is “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. It’s a World War II story about a young girl in Germany, her foster parents, and the people of the small town outside Munich where she lives, narrated by Death. And it’s a fascinating book, one of the best fiction books I’ve read in a long time. Highly recommended.