I recently reread The Book Thief by Markus Zusak for the inaugural meeting of my book club. I had originally read it four years ago. Not much of the plot stuck with me over those four years. What did stick was the writing. I remembered that The Book Thief was chock-full of shiver language. So this time I read it with highlighter in hand, marking all of those sentences and phrases that sent a shiver down my spine.
Because sharing a love of reading and books and words is what this blog is all about, I decided to share that shiver language with all of you. I know it's a long list. Feel free to read as much or as little as you like. But as you read, remember the power of words.
"What was left of the blackness above was nothing now but a scribble."
"Each person stood and played with the quietness of it."
"The graying light arm-wrestled the sky."
"Her sentences glowed in the light."
"Her mother sat with clenched thoughts."
"The music would look Liesel in the face."
"Their uniforms walked upright."
"The church aimed itself at the sky."
"The moon was sewn into the sky that night."
"A patch of silence stood among them now."
"The excitement stood up in her."
"Amplified by the still of night, the book opened - a gust of wind."
"Her ears held the notes."
"The words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain."
"It's hard not to like a man who not only notices the colors, but speaks them."
"Both he and the paint fumes turned around."
"A few smiled words"
"Or maybe it was just Europe again, breathing."
"His thoughts crisscrossed the table as he stared into it."
"Paper and print dissolved inside them. Burning words were torn from their sentences."
"Halving his tallness"
"The ever-colored books"
"There was more silence than she ever thought possible."
"A window of small towns"
"His voice was far away, as if he'd swallowed it before it exited his mouth."
"The young man's voice was scraped out and handed across the dark like it was all that remained of him."
"The different notes handled her eyes."
"He stood shaking and shaken in the doorway."
"The wood was alive, still humming from the beating it had just been given."
"The practice of words"
"A mountain of cold November air was waiting at the front door each time Liesel left the house."
"He dropped everything out of him."
"The whisper was soft, clouded in the throat of sleep."
"She couldn't tell exactly where the words came from What mattered was that they reached her. They arrived and kneeled next to the bed."
"His words manipulated Tommy's face."
"If the summer of 1941 was walling up around the likes of Rudy and Liesel, it was writing and painting itself into the life of Max Vandenburg. . .The words started piling up around him."
"The girl dragged the same thought up the steps."
"And how her heart began to heat."
"The escaped beginnings of a smile that had fallen from her mouth"
"This from a man who'd stolen a Jew."
"How do you give someone a piece of sky?"
"Their heartbeats fought each other, a mess of rhythm."
"Liesel tried not to break."
"'Better that we leave the paint behind,' Hans told her, 'than ever forget the music.'"
"If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter and bread with only the scent of jam spread out on top of it."
"Rudy's feet rhymed with his breathing."
"Rudy's voice reached over and handed Liesel the truth. For a while, it sat on her shoulder, but a few thoughts later, it made its way to her ear."
"Papa's voice followed it in, afraid."
"The only thing truly visible was his voice."
"Night watched. Some people watched it back."
"She hauled the words in and breathed them out."
"She handed out the story."
"Her face was crayoned with pride."
"They'd been standing like that for thirty seconds of forever."
"Once she imagined him falling into a doorway of safety somewhere."
"Clouds walked by."
"The room tasted like sugar and dough, and thousands of pages."
"The sky began to charcoal toward light."
"The crowd played with the silence."
"It made the endless sky into a ceiling just above his head, and the words bounced back."
"The swampy eyes stepped across, shoulder to shoulder over the other Jews."
"Inside her were the souls of words. They climbed out and stood beside her."
"There were heavy beams - planks of sun - falling randomly, wonderfully to the road."
"Waywardly, she began to walk and then run down Munich Street, to haul in the last steps of Max Vandenburg."
"Reading sentences at her feet, joining words to the pinecones and the scraps of broken branches."
"Books and pages and a happy place."
"The airy hallway was steeped in wooden emptiness."
"The question came back at her and tried for another surge to the front door. It made it only halfway, landing weakly on a couple of fat floorboards."
"Those souls are always light because more of them have been put out. More of them have already found their way to other places. This one was sent out by the breath of an accordion, the odd taste of champagne in summer, and the art of promise-keeping."