So. These books have a few things in common so I decided to do quick reviews of them together. They are both rereads for me, both book club picks, and both take place during the Second World War. But that’s where the similarities end, because The Book Thief and Guernsey are VERY different books indeed. So, what did I think of them?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
I first read this one years ago (pre-blogging, I think) and when I read it this time I had very little memory of it. Which turned out to work in my favor, because I didn’t remember how absolutely incredible of a novel this actually is. It’s strange that the book is narrated by Death, yes, but after the first few pages it seems natural, and also like no one else could possibly narrate this book, which is, sadly, filled with lots of dying. But also lots of living, and loving, and hope, and best of all – BOOKS! There’s literally so much to love about this novel that it’s not even something I can quite put into words. But the writing – gorgeous. The characters – melted my heart. Death – oh I even wanted to hug him, believe it or not. So much of the writing just about slayed me, Zusak is so talented and I just want to gush about this book forever. I want to tattoo the last line of the book somewhere on my body, for serious. SO GOOD. Please read this one if you haven’t already.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Published by Dial Press, an imprint of Random House
This was a reread I listened to for the first time more recently. I recalled the characters and the story quite vividly as I began to listen for a second time, but I was no less entertained by it even with the book still fresh in my mind. I loved everything about this book just as much as I had the first time I experienced it. The incredibly charming characters, the setting of the island of Guernsey, the connections that form between everyone and are so evident in the simple form of a letter – all of it made me so happy. I can’t recommend this book enough, it’s just so lovely, and the audio is fantastic. One of the best audios I have listened to, ever. This is really just a beautiful, sweet novel with so much heart it will melt yours. Love it.