I've told anyone who will listen about Markus Zusak's The Book Thief [Knopf, Mar.]. Yes, it's about World War II, but it's told from a German girl's perspective. And Death, who narrates the book, has these little bursts of narrative set aside by asterisks. They're short and concise and grab your attention. Reading the book has you feeling amused and devastated at the same time. I knew it couldn't have a happy ending but I made it last as long as possible. This book touched me deeply, and I'll not soon forget it. Putting the word "book" in a title is sometimes a ploy to get passionate readers such as myself to pick it up. Too often I have been disappointed by those books, casting them aside after the first few pages. The Book Thief managed to exceed my wildest expectations. I only wish more authors could be this original and talented and able to cut right to the heart.