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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
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The Book Thief (2005)

by Markus Zusak, Trudy White (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
23,530141647 (4.38)4 / 1706
book club (120) books (441) books about books (155) coming of age (177) death (753) family (151) favorites (97) fiction (2,006) friendship (218) Germany (1,117) historical (235) historical fiction (1,118) history (142) Holocaust (1,281) Jews (367) Nazi (156) Nazi Germany (360) Nazis (204) novel (234) own (103) read (251) reading (149) teen (109) to-read (508) unread (103) war (330) WWII (1,856) YA (515) young adult (738) young adult fiction (142)
  1. 539
    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. 382
    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. 226
    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 by Jonathan Safran Foer (TessaSlingerland)
  9. 91
    Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene (bethielouwho)
  10. 80
    The Chosen by Chaim Potok (avidmom)
  11. 80
    Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman (kaipakartik)
  12. 71
    The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen (whoot, booklove2)
  13. 71
    Those who save us by Jenna Blum (loriephillips)
  14. 61
    The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (Ciruelo, heidialice)
  15. 61
    Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (sleepykid00)
    sleepykid00: Both taken place during WWII, but in different perspectives.
  16. 62
    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. 20
    The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust's Shadow by Krystyna Chiger (elwren75)
  18. 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.
  19. 64
    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)
  20. 20
    Daniel Half-Human: and the Good Nazi by David Chotjewitz (fountainoverflows)

(see all 42 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 1323 (next | show all)
My favorite part of this book was the narrator. I know this book has received much acclaim but I have read better stories about this turbulent period in history. Fortunately for me or unfortunately as it makes me seem like a glutton for punishment, I was determined to complete this book. Don't make any mistake, I respect the subject matter.
The premise of the book is good. It reminds of that families are not always biological. You have love Hans. He is a natural parent and a loyal man. Most people would dislike Rose. I did not. Living her life could not have been easy so her surly disposition is permissible. She is not terribly mean she is simply grumpy but she does have a good heart. Rudy is so much a boy. He wants to have a kiss from Liesel. His receiving the kiss profound. I like the neighborhood dynamics yet the story was missing something. Should you read this book? Yes because every reader needs to makeup their own mind regarding books especially the books that are much hyped. ( )
  vtlucania | Jul 20, 2014 |
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I know that it will be one of the books that stay with me for the rest of my life. Even though it was a book that I had to read, my teacher definitely knew what she was talking about. ( )
  hockeyzc58 | Jul 16, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book. It was a very touching and original book. I connected to the main character, Liesel. I have a close relationship with my father, kinship with literature, and prefer books over people. I really like the way Zusak portrayed Death as the narrator with his delicate metaphors and fluidity throughout the book. ( )
  aliterarylion | Jul 14, 2014 |
Set in the backdrop of Nazi Germany during World War II, the story is narrated by Death, who has the 'job' of collecting the millions of souls lost in that time. However, this story is not macabre in that is it about life -- the every day life of the common people, specifically that of a small neighborhood outside of Munich, and how their world was turned upside down. The paradox is that while I could not put the book down, I also felt the weightiness of the story and many times felt the need to stop for a while. Achingly beautiful, hauntingly sad.... the reader cannot help but be drawn into the story.
  MomsterBookworm | Jul 14, 2014 |
My irritation grew as I was reading The Book Thief, until it suddenly dawned upon me: this is a Young Readers book camouflaged as a regular novel! And suddenly it all became clear: the shallow and manicheistic character development, the one-sided caricatures of the adult characters in the novel, and the precious writing style. I probably would have loved, nay adored this book when I was, say, 14.
But many moons have passed since then, and now this book just got on my nerves as I progressed. The gimmick of attributing a gender to inanimate objects was cute, and indicated that the narrator was thinking from a German-language perspective. But the gimmick is given up after a few pages (and by the way: why would Death, as the main narrator, be German-speaking anyhow? And how does that explain the errors in German that are sprinkled throughout the book? And I don't mean when Bavarian dialect is used, but actual writing errors). Another gimmick is the synaesthetic attribute, where nouns are matched with odd adjectives: that creates some creative tension initially, but after a few dozen instances one starts to suspect that it is just unimaginative writing. Proof for my thesis that the author had overdosed on the "Figures of Speech" chapter in his creative writing course was the zeugma "She opened the door and her mouth". But by then I'd figured out that this was intended for 14-year olds who love this kind of thing, so I did not get too annoyed.
** (spoilers from here on)** So why was this book so succesful? There must be some kind of Goodwin bonus involved, which makes readers overlook the shoddy writing and plot (the Jewish character which they hide in their basement happens to be a prize fighter with the wisdom of Gandhi, who happens to be walked through the main character's village and is duly liberated from the concentration camp at the end of the war). And, truth be told, there are some moving passages in the book and poetic moments. But the manipulative writing style spoiled it for me. Recommended for that brooding 14-year old who is a bit too smart for her years; she'll love it. ( )
  fist | Jul 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 1323 (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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Epigraph
Dedication
For Elisabeth and Helmut Zusak,
with love and admiration
First words
First the colors.
Quotations
"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.
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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.
(elbakerone)
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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