19 April 2013

Review: The Book Thief (no spoilers)

One of the items on my 101 in 1001 list was to have ten people recommend a book to me and I'd read it. I was especially excited to read The Book Thief, so I started with that one.

Front Cover

The Book Thief is about a little German girl in a small town outside of Munich during Nazi Germany. She steals her first book, though she doesn't know how to read. She eventually learns from her foster father, who reads to her after she wakes from her nightly nightmares. The author, Markus Zusak, describes books like a lot of bibliophiles would describe them. It's an intimate relationship with the pages and covers. A reader falls in love with the physical book.

This book captured my heart. I knew it was a slow, progressive plot so I was prepared for a lot of details and not much happening. Zusak writes a lot like life happens: not all at once, but day to day details are what make the story memorable.

Liesel is sweet and the reader falls in love with her onery best friend on Himmel Street. I espeically loved the German vocabulary and expletives thrown around by all the characters. I loved Mama's harshness contrasting with Papa's gentleness. The characters are likeable but also have their realistic flaws.

Death made an interesting narrator. Usually authors like to show death as a sinister creature or monster, but Zusak shows it as more of a spiritual being that's just doing a job.

Keep your tissues handy. This book will tug on your heartstrings.

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13 April 2013

Tick tock, throw out the clock

I was browsing around online when I found this:

 I think women, especially, have a hard time with this timekeeping business.

We always think we'll have our shit together by the time we're 23. We'll have just graduated college, with a ring on our finger from the most perfect guy ever, our new bosses at our well-paying job straight out of college will worship our feet, and we'll be planning a wedding we started planning when we were four. We'll have traveled every summer and spring break to great and exotic places.

How many 23 year olds do you know who REALLY has it together??

Probably not many.

I'll let you in on a little secret: not many 23, 33, or even 43 year olds actually have it together.

If you think they do, they're probably just good at faking it (trust me, there's SOMETHING).

Stop focusing on time. Everyone's clock is different. If you're really that worried about time, whether you're male or female, take advantage of the NOW.

What can you do today that will prepare you for a better tomorrow? Or even a better next year?

For me, as you all know, I'm working and saving most of my pay for Europe and a move.

I'm making my "list" happen, one by one, bit by bit. My circumstances may delay it, and that's okay too.

I'm no longer keeping track of time in the sense of my accomplishments. I have my whole life ahead of me (hopefully).

So I'm spending each day doing something I enjoy doing, like laying out in the sunshine reading a book for a whole afternoon, or doing something that gets me even a baby step closer to my goal, like listening to a language learning podcast so I don't get lost in Berlin.

What could you do to "forget time" and live your life?

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09 April 2013

Change is the only constant

I firmly believe change is good, even when it seems bad. April 2010 I was just getting my little bambi legs stabilized.

A little over 9 months had passed since my oldest brother's tragic death. Less than six months after his death, I found out I'd have to leave school and had a load of backpay tuition to find out how to pay for, which triggered a lot of odd decisions in my life and contributed to my mental instability (read: depression and anxiety).

I was working, but not enough to pay off $7,000 worth of backpay tuition (and a hefty $50 late fee for every month the total balance wasn't paid...thanks, college!!).

I was working at Chili's and trying my hardest to move up to a higher paying job. It was rough, I was still a bit naive (without thinking I was) and I had no idea what I was going to do.

Fast forward to now...

That debt is paid as of 18 months ago, I've moved to a completely new area for love, figured out (realistically) the next few years of my life, established a career, and I'm happy about 80% of the time, even during tough times. I'm financially stable and planning ANOTHER cross country move and a three week trip to Europe. And finishing school is actually within the horizon...

Oh, and I also think things through instead of making rash decisions.

In a nutshell, I've grown a lot in the last three years. I'm still growing, but it's a process. 20 and 23 are very different ages for a lot of people, but for some, not much growth actually happens to people.

While the last 3 years haven't exactly been cherry pie, I wouldn't change them because I changed for the better. Things do get better, especially if you keep fighting whatever your fight is. Nothing can ever be perfect, but what does that old cliche say?

Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you respond to it.

Respond to your problems, don't react to them. Reacting means you're not in control. Responding means you're handling it with grace and maturity. 

How have you changed in the last 3 years? What fight are you fighting right now?

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