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Unformatted text preview: came a few minutes later.
“We take the sheets off,” Papa said, and when he reached under and pulled at the fabric, something loosened
and landed with a thud. A black book with silver writing on it came hurtling out and landed on the floor,
between the tall man’s feet. He looked down at it.
He looked at the girl, who timidly shrugged.
Then he read the title, with concentration, aloud: “The Grave Digger’s Handbook.”
So that’s what it’s called, Liesel thought.
A patch of silence stood among them now. The man, the girl, the book. He picked it up and spoke soft as cotton.
A 2 A.M. CONVERSATION
“Is this yours?”
“Do you want to read it?”
Again, “Yes, Papa.”
A tired smile.
Metallic eyes, melting.
“Well, we’d better read it, then.”
Four years later, when she came to write in the basement, two thoughts struck Liesel about the trauma of
wetting the bed. First, she felt extremely lucky that it was Papa who discovered the book. (Fortunately, when
the sheets had been washed previously, Rosa had made Liesel strip the bed and make it up. “And be quick about
it, Saumensch! Does it look like we’ve got all day?”) Second, she was clearly proud of Hans Hubermann’s part
in her education. You wouldn’t think it, she wrote, but it was not so much the school who helped me to read. It
was Papa. People think he’s not so smart, and it’s true that he doesn’t read too fast, but I would soon learn that
words and writing actually saved his life once. Or at least, words and a man who taught him the accordion . . .
“First things first,” Hans Hubermann said that night. He washed the sheets and hung them up. “Now,” he said
upon his return. “Let’s get this midnight class started.”
The yellow light was alive with dust.
Liesel sat on cold clean sheets, ashamed, elated. The thought of bed-wetting prodded her, but she was going to
read. She was going to read the book.
The excitement stood up in her.
Visions of a ten-year-old reading genius were set alight.
If only it was that easy....
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2014 for the course ENG 99 taught by Professor Michal during the Winter '13 term at CSU Sacramento.
- Winter '13