The Art of Book Wussing: The Book Thief

Book wussing: The act of leaving a book in the middle because something bad/sad/scary is going to happen, and you know it. Even if the book is enjoyable.

I am bad about book wussing. I have a habit of feeling something I won’t enjoy is coming in a book, so I’ll put it down. I put it down with every intention of picking it up, and soon. But sometimes, every time I look at the book, I quake. It will haunt me, I will think about the book all the time and how I should finish it. I think about how I should just get over it and finish the damn book. But sometimes, it’s almost impossible for me to pick the book up again.

Example: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack | goodreads

The Book Thief cover

What I remembered: Death, everything he says about Rudy, Liesel stealing books, Max

Why I wussed: Rudy, duh.

What I loved: Liesel and Hans reading and learning to read together! My heart. Max in general. Rosa going to the school to tell Liesel. All the love. And definitely Rudy.

I bought The Book Thief in 2010. I started reading and enjoyed it. I knew what was coming. The book tells you straight out, and then hints at various other things. At some point, I stopped reading it. I have two different post-it notes in the book, one at 274 and one at 370.

I will admit that 2010 was a really difficult year for me for so, so many reasons. But still, I’ve had 3 years to finish this book. Every time I saw the book I would think about it. I wanted to know how it ended. I wanted to love it as much as everyone else! But I knew sadness lurked in the pages.

Finally, in November (months ago, I’ve actually had this whole post drafted and kept changing my mind on when/if to post it), I decided to finish it. I actually read the whole book, which is good. I remembered a lot from the beginning, but there were a few things I had forgotten. And yes, I sobbed and sobbed. HOWEVER, I am glad I finally got the nerve to read it. I am generally a fan of sad stories, and crying in books doesn’t bother me. But wow, the pain.

This book isn’t a favorite, but I do think it was meaningful. It made me think and feel a lot of things. I felt a lot for the characters, and for multiple characters. I did feel like the end was way more abrupt than I expected it to be. It felt like so much was riding on this one event and then things just kind of ended. I think Liesel dealing with everything and a picture of what happened after might have been nice. The ending wasn’t bad, but I would have liked a little less blank feeling.

So, my book wussing was validated because of the pain but also silly because it was survivable.

Have you read The Book Thief? Was it an instant favorite for you or do you have more complicated feelings for it? Did you weep a river? Have you watched the movie? Should I? Let me know!

6 thoughts on “The Art of Book Wussing: The Book Thief

  1. As much of a wuss in movies as I am in regards to violence/etc., I somehow enjoy (maybe that’s the wrong word) feeling depressed at sad moments in books and shows. I love crying (again, odd, I know) and when I know a book is going to make me bawl like a baby, I can’t help but read it all through to the end.
    I’m rereading The Book Thief for my book club next month and I’m not looking forward to/definitely excited for all the emotions that I’ll no doubt feel.

    • I don’t do it with every sad book, but usually when I feel like something huge is coming. I read straight through the Red Wedding and I knew something big was coming, and I read all of If I Stay and other things all the way through, but sometimes if it’s just like looming over me, I can’t handle it. I like crying in books/movies/TV but some things are just too much, I think knowing what happened to Rudy then loving him so much really made it difficult for me to get through.

      “not looking forward to/definitely excited for all the emotions” Exactly how I feel! =)

  2. I understand how you feel! Except when I feel something bad coming I skip forward in the book to see how it turns out so that I can prepare myself. I loved the Book Thief and everything it had to say about people but I agree with you on the abrupt ending. Still a beautiful piece of literature though.

    • Aha, that’s a good plan! Sometimes I almost feel like skipping forward, but I never can! I have this huge block about reading what comes after. But it makes sense, especially when something intense and scary is happening! And it is a really beautiful book!

  3. Haha, I think I might have done something even “worse”. I went to watch the movie. Before even attempting to read the book. And now I’m pretty sure I won’t be reading it. I mean, I still love the idea of Death as a narrator, but that ending was just so sad and I don’t know, now that I know (like really KNOW) what’s it about I just don’t feel any urge to pick the book up… Sigh…
    So I totally admire you for reading it (even if it took you 3 years) and yes, I think I’d recommend the movie (the occasional usage of German words was a little odd since the movie was in English, but otherwise I had no “complaints”)

    • Haha, oh no! I can totally see not wanting to read it after knowing. It’s like painful sadness 😦 The book kind of incorporates German words too, and but I’m sure it’s more jarring in the movie. I definitely want to try to watch it at some point but I feel like I’ll need to prepare myself really well!

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