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Book 18 of 80

March 18, 2010

Behind the scenes of “Around the World in 80 Books” a storm has been brewing.

A war between two Germany books: The Book Thief and Einstein’s Dreams — one suggested by my students, the other suggested by my friend Erika.

Several students are eagerly anticipating my arrival to Germany because they want me to read Zusak’s Young Adult novel about a girl living in Nazi Germany with foster parents. When I told them I was leaning toward their choice, my students actually cheered. They cheered. How can you argue with that?

The Book Thief holds a special place in my heart as the book I tried to read while hospitalized during my pregnancy with Elliott. I took the book to read in the waiting room of my pre-natal appointment; I had some tests run and then was checked into labor and delivery, hooked up to machines, less than an hour later. It was during that night when the doctors told me I was bed-rested and couldn’t go back to work — I was pretty distracted. My current bookmark, inserted into page 10, is the business car of the OB on call that night. It reads: Call me on December 24th. Will induce.

Yeah. We didn’t make it that far. And I didn’t make it further in the book either.

Now, on the other side of the coin we have Einstein’s Dreams. Erika drove down from Seattle to bring me her copy of the book when she heard about my challenge. I feel a sense of obligation toward this book — when Erika handed it to me, she placed it delicately in my hands, and said she hoped I would love it as much as she did.

The choices!!

Now, up until yesterday I would have said The Book Thief was it — hands down. Make the kids happy. Finish a book I didn’t complete.

But I changed my mind. After finishing A Thread of Grace, I felt like I needed to NOT read another book about World War II. And I needed to NOT read a 500+ page book.

The lure with Einstein’s Dreams is that it is touted as a must read for artists, writers, and musicians. Also, Erika said I could probably read it in a few hours — which is a MAJOR plus…because I’m stuck at school for 12 hours today with parent-teacher conferences. These days are long and since the numbers of parents who actually attend is pretty low…if I don’t occupy my time with reading I end up doing really crazy things like: Rolling-chair races, sending notes to my fellow teachers in code, and cleaning my classroom.

I’m fully committed to finishing this book today or tomorrow. That way I can devote all my energy to my March Madness bracket. Then I’m off to the Netherlands…and France…Spain…Portugal…and Africa! Oh Europe, it’s been a fun ride.

(And, students, I’m sorry. I promise to read The Book Thief soon.)

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