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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief (2005)

by Markus Zusak, Trudy White (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
24,141144945 (4.38)4 / 1727
  1. 559
    The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (alalba, PghDragonMan, Anonymous user)
    PghDragonMan: Both side of hiding during the Holocaust
    Anonymous user: Both are about Holocaust. The Book Thief is from German girl's perspective whereas The Diary of a Young Girl is from a Jewish girl's perspective.
  2. 402
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (paulkid, Anonymous user)
    paulkid: There are many similarities between these books. For example, a strong father-daughter relationship, where the father teaches by example by taking the moral high ground in protecting a persecuted minority - also kids that break down the barriers between secluded and socially awkward neighbors through books and sundry shenanigans.… (more)
  3. 301
    The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (Booksloth, frsantos)
  4. 231
    Night by Elie Wiesel (Smellsbooks)
  5. 236
    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (weener)
  6. 160
    The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (PghDragonMan, avidmom, rhshelver)
  7. 182
    I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (whymaggiemay, RosyLibrarian)
  8. 100
    Everything is illuminated : a novel by Jonathan Safran Foer (TessaSlingerland)
  9. 90
    The Chosen by Chaim Potok (avidmom)
  10. 80
    Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman (kaipakartik)
  11. 91
    Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene (bethielouwho)
  12. 71
    Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum (loriephillips)
  13. 71
    Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (sleepykid00)
    sleepykid00: Both taken place during WWII, but in different perspectives.
  14. 71
    The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen (whoot, booklove2)
  15. 61
    The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (Ciruelo, heidialice)
  16. 63
    The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak may linked with The Reader by Bernhard Schlink using the themes of reading, Nazi Germany and death. You could also pair it with the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman. Atonement by Ian McEwan could work as well because of the young protagonists, war, and reading.… (more)
  17. 74
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (BookGirlVL)
    BookGirlVL: The story is told from the point of view of a precocious eleven year old with a passion for poisons and death. Her favourite places to think are in the cemetery and in the old chemistry lab in the country house, she shares with her annoying sisters and preoccupied father. The witty, lively and whimsical narrative voice immediately reminded me of Zusak's "The Book Thief".… (more)
  18. 20
    The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust's Shadow by Krystyna Chiger (elwren75)
  19. 20
    City of Thieves by David Benioff (avalon_today)
    avalon_today: Kolya reminds me of Rudy, a bit older but none wiser, with his self-assurance and confidence, ok maybe he has lost some of his sweetness, but I still see the humor and zest for life.
  20. 20
    Daniel Half-Human: and the Good Nazi by David Chotjewitz (fountainoverflows)

(see all 43 recommendations)


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Showing 1-5 of 1352 (next | show all)
Grades 10th-12th—The depictions of Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, and World War II reach new heights in Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. Death as the narrator of this historical fiction novel places an interesting twist on the story of Liesel Meminger and her life as a book thief. While visiting her brother’s graveside one day, Liesel discovers a book half-buried in the snow—The Grave Digger’s Handbook. After stealing this book, she embarks on a journey of book thievery, fueling her never-ending love for books and words. Liesel’s life, however, turns both upside down and inside out when her family agrees to hide a Jew in their basement. Although the novel’s mood emits an aura of sadness and despair at times, readers will find several laughable moments, too, and readers become instantly attached in multiple ways to Liesel because of her unfortunate circumstances.

Readers will plummet into a moderate-paced, adventure-filled novel while traveling alongside Liesel as she steals books from the mayor’s wife’s library, Nazi book burnings, and other risky venues. Beautifully written and easily accessible to high school students, this book deserves a place on the bookshelves in school libraries around the world—next to other top-rated books of its kind. Also, The Book Thief will certainly be taught in classrooms for many years. Zusak’s writing, which is full of literal and figurative language, explodes with intensity and a sincere honesty—providing readers with a most realistic, although fictional account of Nazi Germany and those horrific events that are most often associated with this particular place and time. ( )
  Amanda_Woodruff | Oct 13, 2014 |
Excellent book focusing on life of Liesel, a young girl growing up in Nazi Germany.near Munich. Very moving book narrated by Death. ( )
  cbinstead | Oct 12, 2014 |
First and foremost, big props to the narrator of this audiobook, Allan Corduner, whose performance was right on target with all the voices and accents. I bumped up my rating of the book just for that. It was one of those audiobooks with a combination of compelling story and riveting narration that makes you want to get in your car and drive and drive just so you can listen some more.

Narrated by Death himself, The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl living in Nazi Germany with her foster family and a hidden Jew in the basement during the early years of World War II. Liesel is obsessed with reading and with books, which sometimes seem to be the only comfort in a crazy world. She reads them. She writes them. She steals them. She gifts them. She receives them.

As I read this book, I couldn't quit thinking about Stones From the River by Ursula Hegi, which I read many years ago. Both are stories of what life was like for the every day German during the war--not the soldier, not the Nazi, but the regular guy who just wants life to be normal. Initially for Liesel her life is not much different than usual, but when her family takes in a dispossessed Jew who has a backstory with her family, that all changes.

When I finished listening to the last of the book, I wanted things to end a little tidier, a little happier, but why should books be different from real life? This is a really great audiobook and one I highly recommend! ( )
  spounds | Sep 30, 2014 |
{4.9 stars, only because I was little put off by the narrative style at first}

Dear Markus Zusak-I love you and I loathe you. I don't even know how I'm going to handle the movie. ;.;

Dear Liesel, I wish there were words I could give you to hold you through your next years after Himmel Street. I wish I could hold you and be your book thieving side-kick. I wish you could see that not all of the world is loss and pain.

There are so many things that I want to say to all of you: Hans, Rosa, Max, and dear Rudy. I just cannot find the words, as all of you did. Even Death. I wish you didn't have to bear and witness so much. Even you suffer. All humans have hearts, and sometimes the worst of circumstances brushes the dust off of others that were hidden, or hardens others, keeping them on the shelf. This book did both, in a different way. I smiled and laughed, and you broke my heart and handed it to me, never patching it up---and sometimes that's OK. It lets us know we are human--in my opinion--unlike the Furher. We have hearts that can be broken, even by deaths of these fictional characters, and even if it isn't this book, we can always mend it again with another. Mend it with words like Leisel. This book is certainly a downer, but it's also a thinking book, it's a changing your perspective, carpe diem book. I would say that none of you deserved what happened, but than we are taking reality for granted. This actually happened to families. Some survived, many didn't. Zusak, you snatched up so many lives, you and Death, and while by the end, my heart sagged with sorrow and my eyes hurt with unshed tears, I understand you had to do it. Though through my tears now I cannot find a logical reason, there has to be one.

By the last 20 pgs read at 6:30 am, I cannot control the weeping, and an hour later I still can't. I keep telling myself, they're not real, they're not real, but for a week, I ate pea soup with Liesel, Hans, Rosa, and eventually Max. They became my temporary family where to be honest, I always feel a little emptiness. I heard Hans accordion and felt the mud on my face as I tossed Liesel the football. I even felt the whip. It hurt so bad, and you might think I'm silly, that it's just a book. It's not, at least to me. Words are my home, and for them to crush me and bury me under roses with the fictional family I just lost that I had placed there--many books have stirred my feelings, such as Jane Eyre. Many books have made me feel out of reality, feel connection, feel emotions, for days and weeks--but never ever like The Book Thief. ( )
  ShyPageSniffer | Sep 29, 2014 |
This book will make you cry. The author, Markus Zusak has an incredible voice. I couldn't put it down! ( )
  Nancy_Golinski | Sep 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 1352 (next | show all)
This over-praised, overlong novel is in trouble before it starts. The acknowledgments open with a tribute to someone “who is as warm as she is knowledgeable” and continue in the same saccharine manner.
Unsettling, thought-provoking, life-affirming, triumphant and tragic, this is a novel of breathtaking scope, masterfully told. It is an important piece of work, but also a wonderful page-turner. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
This is a moving work which will make many eyes brim. Zusak shows us how small defiances and unexpectedly courageous acts remind us of our humanity. It isn't only Death who is touched. Liesel steals our hearts too.
The Australian writer Markus Zusak's brilliant and hugely ambitious new young-adult novel is startling in many ways, but the first thing many teenagers will notice is its length: 552 pages! It's one thing to write a long book about, say, a boy who happens across a dragon's egg; it's quite another to write a long, achingly sad, intricately structured book about Nazi Germany narrated by Death itself.
This is never an easy read, never a glide. But, in Zusak's ability to imagine and execute, he has achieved a very personal vision that grabs the reader and does not let go.

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zusak, Markusprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
White, TrudyIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Corduner, AllanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lodewijk, AnnemarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Related movies
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For Elisabeth and Helmut Zusak,
with love and admiration
First words
First the colors.
Five hundred souls, I carried them in my fingers, like suitcases; or I'd throw them over my shoulder. It was only the children I carried in my arms. For some reason, dying men always ask questions they know the answer to. Perhaps it's so they can die being right.
In Liesel's mind, the moon was sewn into the sky that night. Clouds were stitched around it.
When the train pulled into the Bahnhof in Munich, the passengers slid out as if from a torn package.
A bathrobe answered the door. Inside it, a woman with startled eyes, hair like fluff and the posture of defeat stood in front of her.
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Book description
Unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul ... With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read ... Sharing her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids ... Plus, sharing with the Jewish a man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau

(Charles Duff description below)
This terrifically engaging book takes place during World War II in Nazi Germany.  An angel of sorts who collects souls once they die, narrates this story in which the angel talks about the book thief herself, young Liesel Meminger.  After losing her brother on the train to their foster home, Liesel comes across a book dropped by one of the grave diggers, The Grave Diggers Handbook.  She becomes immersed in books from there on out, but has to steal to get them because they are banned.  This is a great independent reading book for those in high school.  It has many direct elements associated with the Holocaust and Nazi Germany.  Here is a link to the authors wonderfully interactive website: http://www.randomhouse.com/features/m...
Haiku summary
Words become life to
girl in Nazi Germany -
Narrated by Death.
An accordion

There was once a strange, small man

Liesel Meminger

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375842209, Paperback)

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:44 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors. Includes readers' guide.… (more)

» see all 15 descriptions

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