Once, words had rendered Liesel useless, but now, when she sat on the floor, with the mayor's wife at her husband's desk, she felt an innate sense of power. It happened every time she deciphered a new word or pieced together a sentence.

Jewish shops that were still in operation in Molching. Inside, a small man was stuttering about, crushing the broken glass beneath his feet as he cleaned up.

The injury of words. Yes, the brutality of words.

Why me? I ask God. God says nothing. I laugh and the stars watch. It's good to be alive.

Her heart at that point was slippery and hot, and loud, so loud so loud.

He killed himself for wanting to live.

She saw it all so clearly. Her starving mother, her missing father. Kommunisten. Her dead brother.

It was as though he'd opened her palm, given her the words, and closed it up again.

Clearly," said Arthur,"you're an idiot- but you're our kind of idiot. Come on.

The bombs were coming-and so was I.

The paper landed on the table, but the news was stapled to his chest. A tattoo.

It said: Dearest Milla, My sould needs yours. Love, Jimmy.

If you can't imagine it, think clumsy silence. Think bits and pieces of floating despair. And drowning in a train.

There was no one to really argue with, but Mama managed it expertly every chance she had. She could argue with the entire world in that kitchen and almost every evening, she did.

Tradition can be a dirty word, especially around Christmas. Families all over the globe get together and enjoy each other's company for all of a few minutes. For an hour, they endure each other. After that, they just manage to stomach each other.

That makes two weeks. Two weeks to change the world, and fourteen days to ruin it.

The orange flames waved at the crowd as paper and print dissolved inside them. Burning words were torn from their sentences.

Papa's lungs were full of sky.

HERE IS A SMALL FACT You are going to die.

The juggling comes to an end now, but the struggling does not. I have Liesel Meminger in one hand, Max Vandenburg in the other. Soon I will clap them together. Just give me a few pages.

The stars set fire to my eyes.

The flyscreen door is torn at the edges. Fraying. I open it and knock on the wood. The sound rhymes with my heartbeat.

Make no mistake, the woman had a heart. She had a bigger one than people would think. There was a lot in it, stored up, high in miles of hidden shelving.

Words are so heavy.

Living in Sydney, I've taken the chance to start surfing again. One of my best memories of growing up is catching my first proper wave and surfing across it and my brother cheering at me from the shore.

You don't shoot a dog when it is already dead.

The dilemma, of course, is that such people save their most important words for after, when the surrounding humans are unlucky enough to find them.

Two weeks to change the world, fourteen days to destroy it.

The words. Why did they have to exist? Without words, the Fuhrer was nothing.

God. Twice I speak it. I say His name in a futile attempt to understand. "But it's not your job to understand." That's me who answers. God never says anything. You think you're the only one he never answers? "Your job is to..." And I stop listening to me, because to put it bluntly, I tire me.

Max, Hans, and Rosa I cannot account for, but I know that Liesel Meminger was thinking that if the bombs ever landed on Himmel Street, not only did Max have less chance of survival than everyone else, but he would die completely alone.

Clearly,' said Arthur, ‘you're an idiot – but you're our kind of idiot. Come on.

I stood there and stared, into the sky and at the city around me. I stood, hands at my side, and I saw what had happened to me and who I was and the way things would always be for me. Truth. There was no more wishing, or wondering. I knew who I was, and what I would always do. I believed it, as my teeth touched and my eyes were overrun.

It was a Monday and they walked on a tightrope to the sun.

There were heavy beams - planks of sun - falling randomly, wonderfully, onto the road. Clouds arched their backs to lok behind as they started again to move on. 'It's such a beautiful day,' he said, and his voice was in many pieces. A great day to die. A great day to die, like this.

The only sign of war was a cloud of dust migrating from east to west. It looked through the windows, trying to find a way inside, and as it simultaneously thickened and spread, it turned the trail of humans into apparitions. There were no people on the street anymore. They were rumors carrying bags.

I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words so damning and brilliant.

I laugh and the stars watch.

There were not many people who could say that their education had been paid for with cigarettes.

The point is, it didn't really matter what the book was about. It was what it meant that was important.

Two Giant Words: I'm Sorry.

He'd have been glad to witness her kissing his dusty, bomb-hit lips. Yes, i know it. In the darkness of my dark-beating heart, i know. He'd have loved it, all right. You see? Even death has a heart.

I am not violent. I am not malicious. I am a result.

At times, it makes me want to stop and stay. Stay for ever.

Somewhere in all the snow, she could see her broken heart, in two pieces. Each half was glowing, and beating under all that white. She realized her mother had come back for her only when she felt the boniness of a hand on her shoulder. She was being dragged away. A warm scream filled her throat.

Yet each day, he managed to unravel and straighten himself, disgusted and thankful. Wrecked, but somehow not torn into pieces.

Liesel was sure her mother carried the memory of him, slung over her shoulder. She dropped him. She saw his feet and legs and body slap the platform.

It was a year for the ages, like 79, like 1346, to name just a few. Forget the scythe, Goddamn it, I needed a broom or a mop. And I needed a vacation.

On Munich Street, Rudy noticed Deutscher walking along the footpath with some friends and felt the need to throw a rock at him. You might as well ask just what the hell he was thinking. The answer is probably nothing at all. He'd probably say that he was exercising his God-given right to stupidity.