Tag Archives: The Book Thief

I’m a Book Pusher*

24th April 2012

*Sing to the tune of “I’m a Girl Watcher.”

It has come and gone! World Book Night America was a huge success on my end. I added bookmarks to each of the books just for fun. I made them from a tutorial I found on Pinterest.

My mom and sis met at my house at about 4:30, made ham sandwiches and packed them, and set out.

  • Stop 1: The downtown library.

My downtown library usually has a good number of homeless people roaming around. Today, of course, no dice. Apparently, the library has reorganized its tables, so the homeless people who used to sit at tables all day in the stacks don’t feel comfortable doing that anymore. There is also a big green space next to the library, but no one was there. I was able to give my first book to a homeless woman sitting with her things, looking at a few books. She was a bit wary, but she thanked me for the book.

  • Stop 2: The bus stop.

My sis suggested this stop as the area had a lot of people waiting for buses. Two women were glad to accept the book, and a third person approached us, so we knew he was interested. We talked briefly, and the highlight was when Mom said: “Don’t worry, this isn’t religious!” and then wished the ladies “a blessed day.” ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Stop 3: Man sitting by himself near the bus stop.

This man was so sweet. We gave him two sandwiches and the book, and he looked at us and said, “Really?”

I don’t even know if he could read, but there is a really poignant scene in The Book Thief where Liesl doesn’t know how to read but treasures the book anyway. I think Mom was near tears. Meag (my sis) was yelling in the car for him to eat the sandwich.

  • Stop 4: Park across the street from the bus stop.

This park has two giant oak trees with branches reaching the ground. There were two men sitting beneath them. One man wasn’t interested. The other was asleep. Mom left a sandwich, and they came away.

  • Stop 5: A park across town

This park was gold. Young families were out playing in the beautiful weather. Individuals were sitting at picnic benches studying. People were walking their dogs. My sister approached a young family eating a picnic dinner with their baby. The woman pointed to the baby and said she didn’t get much time to read. We told her maybe when she was up feeding the baby she could enjoy it. The man was interested, though, so we gave him a copy.

Several of the families on the playground were excited to get copies. One man told us he loved to read and was excited to get a free book.

An older woman was walking her dog and was curious what the book was about. We told her, and she took a copy, but a minute later, she called to us. She said she wasn’t sure she could read it because her dad was in World War II, and it would make her think of him and make her sad. She also talked about visiting the place where Anne Frank hid and said she thought it would bring back some upsetting feelings.

A middle-aged man was really excited about the book and told us his family all loves to read. He was very curious about the book, so it was fun to get to talk to him a bit. Since we all three read and loved the book, we each kept jumping in with more information. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Stop 6: Retirement Home

So Meag and I decided to see if they would allow us to give books here. We walked right in, and there was no one there except an elderly woman in a wheelchair staring out the window. We kept walking, and again we saw no one. We were kind of worried about the old folks at this point. An older black gentleman rolled up and said: “You gals need some help? I can probably help you.” We asked if he was the boss, and he just chuckled. We explained what we were doing and gave him a copy of the book. He held it with both hands to his chest and thanked us. We also gave one to a nurse.

And then we couldn’t leave…because we were locked in. It makes sense. The door locks from the inside. Finally, another old lady in a wheelchair gave us the code (sounds very safe), and we left. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Stop 7: Hospice Center

The hospice center had a security guard at the front, and we left a book in the library there.

Then we asked if we could walk around, but we didn’t want to disturb any of the families. We found a nurse station, and there were several nurses around it. They were so fun! A couple said they liked to read, but they were all interested. They loved the bookmarks I made, and so we visited with them for several minutes. You could tell they were really excited to have us come in there, and we took a picture. I can imagine they don’t get a whole lot of bright spots in their work, so it was nice to be able to give them something.

Aren’t they great? The two in blue are already readers, but the three in red don’t read as much and are excited about The Book Thief.

And that was all of the books! It was interesting because 20 books doesn’t seem like all that many, but we felt like we passed out a bunch at the second park, and we still had plenty to give. It. Was. Fantastic. I am so incredibly glad I got to participate, and I’m so thankful my mom and sis went with me. It really made the experience that much better.

To the organizers of World Book Night America: Thank you so very much for allowing people like me to help you do something so fantastic. Thank you for the hard work to organize such a huge event, and thanks for the dedication to books and reading. Wish I could give you guys a book tonight. ๐Ÿ™‚

As for The Book Thief, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite passages that I think is fitting for tonight:

I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race – that rarely do I even simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant…I AM HAUNTED BY HUMANS.

Ultimately, this is what I kept in mind for World Book Night. We do overestimate and underestimate each other all the time. The people I met tonight are from all walks of life, but each one *seemed* interested, and all of them seemed happy to have received a book. They flipped over to the back to read, opened it up, looked at it closely, and some held it close to their hearts. I like these people.

P.S. If you do a writeup of your own WBN experiences, tell me in comments, and I’ll link to your post! Hope your night was as fun as mine.
Karen at Books and Chocolate
Rhiannon from Diary of a Bookworm
Alison’s Book Marks

World Book Night America – It’s Time!

23rd April 2012

Yea! It’s here! World Book Night America is the product of a lot of different people’s and organizations’ hard work. As the website says, World Book Night is “a celebration of reading and books” – and I am honored to be a part of that. It is incredibly powerful to know that the US, UK, and Ireland will all be giving out books the same night.

When I applied to be a giver, I mentioned in my application that one of the locations I wanted to include is the downtown branch of my library. I’ve mentioned in the past that it is a gathering place for a lot of low-income or homeless people. Here’s the thing, guys: everyone always has a book in his or her hands. It’s fantastic. So for me to be able to give a book – one that these people could own – is really important to me. And as my mom mentioned, it kind of sucks to give homeless people books and not food…so she’s making sandwiches. Thanks, Mom – for making sandwiches and for thinking about it when my head is in the clouds. My mom and sis are both joining me, and after the library, we’ll either head to the park or to a local hospice center, depending on how many books we have left.

My birthday is Thursday, and honestly, I have to say this is the best present. WBN sent me a box of 20 books, and I get to give them to others!! Sorry, I just can’t quite get over it. Which book? Well, you guys know I rave about The Book Thief. It was my first choice from the list of 30 books to give out, and I got it! It’s ironic because when I first read this book, I went and bought two extra copies so that I could pass them on to other people (my mom and bff) to read and discuss.

I went to Barnes & Noble last Tuesday and picked up my box. They said there were actually 6 or so other boxes there, and I was so curious. How did other people in my area hear about it? If I weren’t a blogger, I don’t know that I would have known about World Book Night. Some bookstores and libraries are having events so the givers can meet, but unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the case in my area. Ah well.

I promise to take photos and record my experience for you guys. I’m a little nervous. Giving away books sounds like a piece of cake, right? But what if they think I’m handing out religious tracks or pushing a political agenda? I would certainly be a bit wary of anyone approaching me with a “free” book. Yeah, right. Nothing in life is free. I can hear it now.

How will I combat this? I’m going to be a book pusher. I’ll be giving away The Book Thief, but the only thing I’ll be taking is, hopefully, a contentedness for having participated. I’ll try to use a bit of humor, disarm possible recipients with my charm (*snort*), and get those books out.

If you’re participating or have participated in the past, I’d love to hear your advice or your own anxieties. Where will you be giving away books and which book is it? No matter what, have fun tonight! And if you’re not a giver, keep an eye out for those who are. It should be a really neat experience.

National Poetry Month

4th April 2012

I have a confession. Though I have favorite poems and poets, I am super resistant when it comes to new poetry. In fact, I haven’t picked up any new poetry in ages. I know! I’m awful. I wrote poetry many moons ago, and I have volumes that I’ll still reference, so I’m certainly not against it. It’s just that I’ve become complacent in seeking out new poems.

But it’s National Poetry Month, and my students actually introduced me to the type of poetry I want to talk about today. A couple of years ago, while I was teaching The Book Thief, my students had an assignment to repurpose a page from a book. One student came in with blackout poetry, where all the words with the exception of a few were blacked out with a marker, leaving the uncovered words to make a poem. It was crazy beautiful, so I thought I’d share some other cool blackout poems with you guys today:

Via Route 10

Via Newspaper Blackout and Austin Kleon

Via Meaningless Magical Tumblr

Via Life’s Ponderful

Via Newspaper Blackout – Ashley Niedzwiecki, 24, Detroit

Isn’t that amazing? I think I might actually give this a try this month. The website Newspaper Blackout also has some great tips for getting started:

  • Use the newspaper.
  • Loosen up.
  • Set a time limit.
  • Some articles won’t inspire you. Move on.
  • Don’t read the article first.
  • Remember that the poem will be read from left to right and top to bottom.

The website also takes submissions in case you really like the results of your efforts. ๐Ÿ™‚

So have you seen blackout poetry before? Or do you have a contemporary poet or poem I should take a look at?

ร‚ย P.S. – Lu at Regular Rumination is very up on her poetry and regularly posts about it, so if poetry is your thing, head on over.