Tag Archives: Markus Zusak

WWW Wednesday, 4-June-2014

4 Jun

SO MUCH PROGRESS!!! It feels good to participate in MizB’s WWW and be able to brag about it.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading: I’m making more steady progress on my NaNo. I’m about 3/4 of the way done with it and I’ve realized there’s a lot of filler I need to cut out. It will be an interesting revision process. I’m still on hold for The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson but I am next on the list. I’ll start on The Maze Runner by James Dashner again this weekend. I bet I’m done with the next section by the time I report back.. On audiobook I’m listening to The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian. It was the first book on my long list that the library had in non-CD-but-still-audio form. Go figure. My carpool buddy and I are still working on Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I’m not sure how I feel about it still and we go long times without listening to it so I’m not sure how long this will take! My physical book at the moment is an ARC; O, Africa! by Andrew Lewis Conn. I’m still trying to figure out the voice of the narrator and it’s making it hard for me to get into, but I’m excited about something rooted in the 1920s!

Recently finished: Two! I finished two books! The first is The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. This is for my informal work book club and I was the first to read it so I could pass it on. We’ll meet to discuss when the third woman has finished it. I also finished  Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan on audio. This was for one of my book clubs as well and I liked it a lot. The writing was a good mix of scientific fact and memoir. Look for reviews soon.

I’ve posted a review for I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak yesterday. Enjoy!

Reading Next:  It’s going to be A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers for my ‘edgy’ book club. This book sounds really cool so I’m excited to get started on it!

My goal is to finish reading my NaNo in the next week. What are your three Ws? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Review: I Am The Messegener by Markus Zusak (4/5). I still don’t know how this ended.

3 Jun

I won’t lie: I read this book because I loved The Book Thief. I don’t think that’s really a bad thing, but these titles were so different that it’s hard to compare them at all. I liked it, but not in the same way I liked The Book Thief. It was a different premise. Unusual. Enjoyable.

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Ed is no one special. He lives in a run-down shack with his dog and drives a taxi even though he’s too young to do so. He’s got his friends: Marv and Richie and the beautiful yet untouchable Audrey. So why is Ed receiving messages? Who decided that Ed should be the messenger? They come written on aces and Ed suspects it’s his friends whom he plays cards with. No such luck. The aces guide him to people who need his help. Sometimes it’s something little like an ice cream cone. Sometimes it’s something big, like letting himself be beaten up. Whatever it is, Ed has to deliver his message until there are no more names on his lists.

I liked the originality of this story; it came as something very fresh and new. It’s nice to read a book about people helping each other instead of tearing each other down. I have to say, the ending was really confusing for me. I had to search Google to find out what had happened (and so you know, I am going to discuss it. You have been warned). I like that Zusak inserted himself into the story to an extent. But I was also hoping that he would have found an awesome way to bring everything full circle and felt a little cheated that he didn’t. The ending confused me so much at first that I walked away from it upset instead of inspired. I wish he’d done something more with it.

The characters came alive for me in the last section in particular. The people Ed had to help along the way weren’t very well-developed and didn’t need to be, but I was curious to see what would happen with Ed’s close friends. I loved Marv’s story and thought it explained his character very well. Zusak did a wonderful job at dropping hints to Marv’s secret during the whole story and tying them together at the end. I wasn’t as big of a fan of Audrey’s story, but I loved her character. I see girls like her far too often and I wish they could find the respect for themselves that they deserve.

The Doorman was my favorite character because of the way Zusak wrote him. I liked that he was personified in the way pet-owners come to think of their pets. I’m convince of my turtle’s personality and I can only imagine what dog owners imagine for their dogs. I listened to the audio version of this book and the vocal performer did a great job with the Doorman’s voice.

Markus Zusak

Markus Zusak

I could relate to Ed’s search for a purpose in life and I think many readers can. Being recently out of college, newly married, and an aspiring writer, there’s a lot in my life that’s up to chance and waiting to see what comes next at this point. It was refreshing to see a character who felt the same way and was contented to wait for life to come to him instead of the other way around.

When I decided to switch industries, I felt a lot like Ed did in the story. I had people around me that were supportive, but I felt like I was on my own to find something that would change me into a happier person. Ed’s journey to deliver the messages reminded me of this time of my life.

I loved the part of the book when Ed and his friends helped Father O’Riley bring people into his church. I’m Catholic myself and have been to shrinking parishes and they always make me sad. Frequently, it has nothing to do with the priest, as was the case in this vignette. It seems to me that many Americans (and evidently Australians s well) have lost their desire to have a faith-based community. There were a few details about Catholic mass and culture that I think Zusak missed, but it was overall a very realistic depiction of the current problems the Catholic church is facing. I loved that Ed was able to help.

The ending has to be my least favorite part. As I said before, it felt cheap to me and like Zusak didn’t have a good way to wrap up the awesome story he wove together. I get that he wanted to talk about existentialism, but it was kind of a let down as the reader to know the whole thing is the author’s manipulation of a character’s feelings. If we’re all players in some big author’s game, when do we get the message that our ability to control our own futures is out of our hands? Will God show up on my doorstep the way Zusak showed up on Ed’s? Probably not, so why is Ed so lucky?

Because I don’t want to get into existentialism, I’m going to talk about the theme of love. The most difficult relationship for me to process was the one between Ed and his mother. It struck too close to home with a good friend and his mother. My friend’s mother never seems to be happy with him, no matter what he does, much like Mrs. Kennedy. I know that my friend’s mom loves him, but it’s really hard to see. I wish my friend’s mom would say to him what Mrs. Kennedy said to Ed, “It takes a lot of love to hate you like this.”

Writer’s Takeaway: I’m not sure about this one. Zusak tries to do something different with the narrator, much like he does with The Book Thief, but I’m not sure how well it paid off this time. Inserting himself into the story is very original and was quite the plot twist, but it wasn’t the same as using Death as a narrator. It didn’t have the same umph. I think as writers we do need to test the boundaries of conventional writing and Zusak is a great example of this. This book is wonderful, but a good note that you won’t always hit a home-run with all of your readers.

Overall, very enjoyable and original, though I wasn’t a fan of the ending. Four out of five stars.

This book fulfills Foreign Country: Australia for my Where Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

Like this review? Let me know on Goodreads.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Book Review: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak | midnight coffee monster
Book Review: “I Am the Messenger” by Markus Zusak | The Scriptorium
I Am the Messenger, Markus Zusak | Baltimore Reads
Book Review – I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak | realizinggrace

WWW Wednesday, 21-May-2014

21 May

I’m so glad to have progress to report for MizB’s WWW after having so little last week. I think this spurred me into action.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading: I’m finally reading my own book! It’s the really really rough draft of the book I wrote for NaNoWriMo. It’s in rough shape, believe me. Hopefully I can gain some semblance of a structure and consistent characters when I do a re-write.

I’m on hold with The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. Someone put a hold on it and I didn’t know, so I have to wait three weeks to start back on it. Those bastards. I finished the second part of The Maze Runner by James Dashner. My first Read-Along post went up on Thursday last week. If you’re interested in joining, let me know soon before we get too far along! We’re just starting chapters 10-19 and will be done with them by 26-May. On audiobook I’m listening to Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan. It’s a true story about a reporter who was almost institutionalized while suffering from a rare disease. This is my book club selection for June. In a lovely turn of events, my carpool buddy agreed to try some audiobooks! After day one, she’s fallen asleep and I’m pleased. We settled on Brave New World by Aldous Huxley which she’s read and enjoyed and I’ll be reading for the first time.

Recently finished: Two books finished!  The Geography of Memory by Jeanne Murray Walker is an ARC I’ve been wanting to read for months. I’m glad I finally did. The memoir focuses on Walker’s mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s; a similar battle to the one my protagonist faces in my NaNo. I also finished I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak on audio. The narrator was great, but I’m confused about the ending. I’m not sure I really understood it.

Reading Next:  I’m going to take a jump on these ARCs. Next up is O, Africa by Andrew Lewis Conn. It’s set in the 1920s, so you can judge my excitement from that.

I’m feeling better about books moving forward. I see a bright light full of words and libraries. What are your three Ws? Leave a comment and let me know and also check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 7-May-2014

14 May

As anticipated, my carpool has slowed down my audio book consumption. It’s still at an okay pace, but nothing like it was before. I’m sad to say that my edition of MizB’s WWW will, for the first time, report little progress!www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading: I’m trucking through The Geography of Memory by Jeanne Murray Walker. I should be able to finish this before next week! It’s a bit slow right now. A little too much memory and not enough action. The flashbacks are long and seem disjointed. On my phone I’m reading The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. It’s still a slow drive, but I’ve been reading in very small pieces. I’m on m second part of The Maze Runner by James Dashner. My first Read-Along post will be up tomorrow so check back to read that. If you’re interested in joining, let me know soon before we get too far along! We’re just starting chapters 10-19 and will be done with them by 26-May. On audiobook I’m working on I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak. It’s nice that this audiobook is on my phone because I can listen to it while I do house chores.

Recently finished: Nothing new to report! I posted a review of The City & The City by China Mieville, but I finished it a few weeks ago. Hopefully there’s more progress next week.

Reading Next:  Still planning on reading my NaNo. I’ll get a new book club selection on Monday but I hope that doesn’t slow me down! There’s a Poets & Writers on my nightstand I need to read, too!

Expect slower progress from me in the future, unfortunately. I’m trying to figure out a way to balance this carpool and my book obsession. What are your three Ws? Leave a comment and let me know and also check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 7-May-2014

7 May

I feel more in control of my reading now. I hope it’s not a false sense of security. I’m glad MizB’s WWW forces me to deal with my obsession. www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading: I’m going to pick up The Geography of Memory by Jeanne Murray Walker today and get started on that again. I was really enjoying it so we’ll see where this goes. On my phone I’m reading The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. I’m slowly getting more and more into this one. Slowly. I’ve also started The Maze Runner by James Dashner. You can expect to see this on my list for a few months because it’s my first Read-Along selection. If you’re interested in joining, let me know soon before we get too far along! We’ll have read Chapters 1-9 by May 10th. I’ve finished the selection and now I’m working on writing some good questions to ask my fellow readers. On audiobook I just started I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak. The narrator is amazing and I’m really getting into it. I just joined a carpool so my audiobook usage is going to go down significantly but I’ll keep working on this one.

Recently finished: I finished Cabin Pressure by Josh Wolk. I posted my review of it yesterday. I still owe you all a few more reviews. I’m working on them, I promise! Work has been a bit hectic but I’ll have catch-up time this weekend. Last night I finished  The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. It was a really quick and fun read. I’m looking forward to the book club discussion.

Reading Next:  I still want to read my NaNo book, so that’s the plan! I’ve got to get that re-written this year.

You can see the numbers really are going down. What are your three Ws? Leave a comment and let me know and also check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!