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"The Book Thief" - Book that's influenced me/ common app essay

kcollege 1 / -  
Oct 31, 2010   #1
Discuss a work of liturature that has influenced you.

Have you ever appreciated the small things in life? I have.
June 21, 2010: D-day. Walking into the lab for the first time, my hands were shaking, maybe with nerves, definitely with excitement. I'd been waiting for a day like this my entire life: the day I could literally sink my hands into history, finally touching the artifacts that wrote the history books I'd poured over ever since that first trip twelve years ago to the Egyptology display at the Carnegie Museum. I'll admit, at first I was unimpressed by the tiny fragments of ceramics, glass, and bone we found. "Honestly, who cares about a sherd of creamware?" I thought to myself. Even though my boss had warned me on that first day that Monticello wasn't Raiders of the Lost Ark, I was secretly hoping we'd find a mummy. Anything's possible, right? By the end of that first week, even an artifact larger than my thumb nail would have sufficed!

A few weeks later while washing nails in a billow of dust and teenaged angst, my mind started to wander as it often does when I'm bored. On this particular day, it landed on a book burning that, when I'd first attended, hadn't even caused a blimp on my radar: curled up in my father's blue leather chair with a fresh, new book, my awkward 9th grade form traipsed through the lands of Markus Zusak's imagination. I enter chapter 8, page 211 of The Book Thief and survey the scene. In front of me, 10-year-old Liesel watches in horror as Nazi's burn books filled with the most dangerous of weapons- the ability to make people think for themselves. History is one of those weapons that lays nestled inside of the black ink littering the pages being turned to ash. History can't survive intact by word of mouth alone. It needs a home to live in, and in this case its home happens to be highly flammable. With a match and a flick of the wrist someone can destroy the written records of what humanity ever was.

Finally, with a little help from one of my favorite authors, I understood why I was cleaning these nails that, minutes ago, had seemed insignificant. I realized the importance of even the tiniest artifacts that I had sniffed at in disdain: too great in number and barricaded too well into the earth for their stories to ever be obliterated by some belligerent persons, they guard the history cemented into them. Just because they aren't as spectacular as King Tut didn't give me any reason to disregard them. In fact, before I knew it I was examining them with invasive scrutiny, hearing them sing their stories from the past. I finally understood, and, on that fateful morning, I learned to appreciate the small things in life.

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