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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
23,707143245 (4.38)4 / 1709
  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. 392
    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. 182
    I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (whymaggiemay, RosyLibrarian)
  6. 160
    The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (PghDragonMan, avidmom, rhshelver)
  7. 226
    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (weener)
  8. 100
    Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (TessaSlingerland)
  9. 90
    The Chosen by Chaim Potok (avidmom)
  10. 91
    Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene (bethielouwho)
  11. 80
    Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman (kaipakartik)
  12. 71
    Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum (loriephillips)
  13. 71
    The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen (whoot, booklove2)
  14. 61
    Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (sleepykid00)
    sleepykid00: Both taken place during WWII, but in different perspectives.
  15. 61
    The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (Ciruelo, heidialice)
  16. 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)
  17. 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)
  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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English (1,337)  Dutch (24)  Spanish (16)  French (9)  German (9)  Portuguese (6)  Portuguese (Brazil) (5)  Catalan (5)  Swedish (4)  Norwegian (3)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  Romanian (1)  Finnish (1)  Slovak (1)  Thingamabraian (the ideal language) (1)  All languages (1,426)
Showing 1-5 of 1337 (next | show all)
I am in love with this book. I love the narrator's voice. I love the tone of the whole thing. All of these huge events happen and you can feel it, you experience it. The good and the bad. I was kept in suspense even when it was obvious what was about to happen. The language is particular, chosen with careful consideration. The syntax of each sentence is beautiful.

The only thing that bothered me was the occasional jump in time. Telling the end of a story before the beginning. Although this was beautiful in every instance it was used in it also made some portions a little hard to follow. Truly, though, a beautiful book. ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
This book was so good. It was so many things. Unnerving. Traumatic. Sad. Eye opening. Thought provoking. Yes it is a long book but its not a loooong book by which I mean it wasnt a dragging book. This book leaves you feeling saddened and emotionally charged as well as somewhat raw. It really gets you thinking. ( )
  Tiffy83 | Aug 11, 2014 |
So incredible! Beautiful, heartbreaking, and engaging through and through. The curious viewpoint made it all the more tremendous and terrible. The characters were so alive and the setting so real and however... one expects a horrendous, war-torn city, yet seeing the characters going about their business, day to day is almost surreal. ( )
  LaPhenix | Aug 10, 2014 |
I don't even know what to say or write at this point. This book is still sinking into my very being. Without rivalling The Diary of Anne Frank in any way, it tells the story of a girl in Germany during the time of Hitler's War. It touched me so much, I couldn't shed a tear at the end. There was too much to cry about, that if I started, I would never stop. I can only suggest to everyone that they read this book. ( )
  mreed61 | Aug 10, 2014 |
My heart is broken. Pulverized. Shattered. I’m not surprised, not really. I knew I was in for a ride when I cried while reading the prologue. The Prologue. I mean, seriously? The book hadn’t even officially started yet and I was moved to tears. It could have been the subject matter of the story but, more than likely, it was the words that were used to tell that story. Because, if nothing else, Markus Zusak schools you in the power of words. Not only their ability to tell a story, but the incredible power they have to hurt, to comfort, to inspire, to heal. To Destroy. To Save.

“I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

The Book Thief is the story of a young girl growing up in Nazi Germany. A girl who steals books, befriends a Jew, and refuses kisses from a boy with hair the color of lemons. A normal girl who happens to live during a tragic time in history. And while this story is far from ordinary, the way that it was written is what makes it truly extraordinary.

One of my favorite things about this book was the writing. Zusak has this ability to describe things in such a way that they completely come to life. They pop off of the page, get right in your face, and dare you not to get sucked in.

“The crowd was itself. There was no swaying it, squeezing through or reasoning with it. You breathed with it and you sang its songs. You waited for its fire.”

On top of that, Zusak is a master storyteller. He takes his time weaving his tale, making sure that you are completely invested in his world and the characters that live within it. These people are your neighbors, your friends, and your family. You know every facet of their everyday lives: their worries, their hopes, their fears. You come to know each of them intimately, which is a blessing and a curse, because the more he gives to you, the more he can take away. And take he does, but not without warning. At least he gives us that.

But it’s not the sad things that define this book. It’s the reminder that even in the darkest times, the strength and warmth of the human spirit can still shine through. It’s an accordion player with a heart of gold. It’s words painted on a basement wall. Thirteen gifts at the foot of a bed. Stars that burn your eyes. A snowman in the cellar. It’s the bread giver. The word shaker. The book thief. It’s the knowledge that even through tragedy, hope can be found.

“In years to come, he would be a giver of bread, not a stealer—proof again of the contradictory human being. So much good, so much evil. Just add water.”

If you have not read this book yet, do yourself a favor and do it now. The Book Thief is one of those books that will rock your world and, quite possibly, change your life. I know it’s one of the best books that I’ve ever read and has earned a permanent home on my bookshelf. I cannot recommend it enough. ( )
  dkgarner95 | Aug 9, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 1337 (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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People/Characters
Important places
Important events
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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.
Last words
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Information from the Catalan Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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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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