Last night, I was lucky enough to attend a special screening of The Book Thief with two of my favourite people, Diane Lee and The Cooking Chook, at the Palace cinema on Rundle Street. What made this screening special was that after the movie there was a Q&A session with the author of the book, Markus Zusak, who then stayed for a book signing. To say I was looking forward to this event is an understatement.
My readers may recall that The Book Thief is one of my favourite books. In fact, I would go so far as to say it’s in my top 4 (the books in the top 4 cannot be ranked, as I love them all equally). When I saw the movie trailer a couple of months ago, I knew I just had to see the film, and the movie itself did not disappoint. Book purists will no doubt spot the differences and the omissions (including the omission of my favourite part of the book), but as a film it was beautiful. Spoiler Alert: I cried from the moment Max left to the rubble at the ending. In fact, by the end it took all my strength not to utterly sob.
And then came Markus. Oh wow, what a charming, funny, intelligent and wonderful man to hear speak. He talked a lot about the background to his book, his favourite parts of it, and what it took out of him to write it. I loved when he said that his goal when writing was just for the book to be one person’s favourite. Boy oh boy, did he succeed. And he’s so young!
Following about an hour of Q&A, we sweltered in the heat as we lined up to get our books signed. The Cooking Chook and I ended up saying the same thing to him accidentally (we’re two peas from the same pod) and Diane made him laugh, using one of the stories he’d shared during the Q&A to do so. I was so incredibly honoured and excited to meet one of my favourite authors, and he took the time to talk to every single person in that line and write a personalised message for each. You can see my stupid excited grin in the photo below. A fantastic man who is worthy of the praise this book has received. If you’re one of the few who hasn’t read it yet, please do so. You’ll get something different out of it than you will the film (which is also worth seeing).