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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief (original 2005; edition 2007)

by Markus Zusak

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
31,676181442 (4.37)4 / 1918
Title:The Book Thief
Authors:Markus Zusak
Info:Alfred A. Knopf (2007), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 576 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005)

Recently added byArpitBadhe, Becca98home, Mandane75, SwethaS, oscard07, private library, SammyAround, KJDenler, Revekka
Legacy LibrariesCian O hAnnrachainn
  1. 619
    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. 425
    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. 341
    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (Booksloth, frsantos)
  4. 282
    Night by Elie Wiesel (Smellsbooks, Morteana)
  5. 258
    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (weener)
  6. 181
    The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (PghDragonMan, avidmom, rhshelver)
  7. 193
    I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (whymaggiemay, rosylibrarian)
  8. 100
    Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (TessaSlingerland)
  9. 100
    Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman (kaipakartik)
  10. 90
    The Chosen by Chaim Potok (avidmom)
  11. 91
    Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene (bethielouwho)
  12. 81
    The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen (whoot, booklove2)
  13. 71
    Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (sleepykid00)
    sleepykid00: Both taken place during WWII, but in different perspectives.
  14. 93
    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)
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  18. 20
    The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust's Shadow by Krystyna Chiger (elwren75)
  19. 20
    Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (tiltheworldends)
    tiltheworldends: Nonfiction about BDM that Liesel was required to attend and Hitler Youth group that Rudy belonged to.
  20. 97
    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)

(see all 48 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 1706 (next | show all)
One of the greatest and most powerful books ever written. I'm not usually a fan of historical fiction, but this was simply amazing. The premise was so unique and different from the typical holocaust story. Told from the perspective of death, the whole novel had an intense, bittersweet aspect that made it impossible to divert my attention. The whole story was beautiful, Liesel was so sweet and amazing and I loved Rudy too. Every character was so special, and Max and Liesel's parents were such amazing people. There were so many scenes that I thought were so beautiful,I wrote down so many page numbers of the best ones so I could go back and reread them. The ending was amazing, even though it definitely wasn't a happy one. I have never cried more from any form of entertainment in my life. ( )
  juliastingi | Nov 6, 2018 |
A powerful book about love, loss, grief, and the power of words - for both good and evil. There are not many books that made me cry, this one did.

The characters are wonderfully drawn, complex and beautiful. ( )
  Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
The Book Thief is one of those books that I should have read years ago, but for some inexplicable reason, have not.

What can I even say about this novel? I cried. My heart ached. I will never forget this book; I will never forget Liesel, Rudy, Hans, or Death, the narrator.

Not only is this book beautifully written, but it offers such a unique perspective on the Holocaust and on Germany during the WWII years, through the eyes of an average German girl (as opposed to the conventional Jewish perspective). We see children who think the Hitler Youth program is boring and silly and poor German families quietly starving at home while the young men of the town are away at the Front. Our heroine, Liesel, is illiterate when we are first introduced, but her fierce desire to read leads to late night reading lessons with her foster father and eventually to the theft of books to quench her thirst. Important moments in Liesel's life are marked by books, which any modern bibliophile can understand.

This book should be required reading for all. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
The Book Thief is a third person book. The book follows a young German girl, Liesel Meminger, who is taken away from her mom at age nine to go live with another family. The book is narrated by Death himself. On her way to the foster home, her six-year-old brother, Werner Meminger, dies of a cough. After Liesel goes to the new house and family, she starts making friends, especially with her foster dad, Hans Hubermann, or "Papa" as she calls him, and Rudy Steiner, a boy about her age, who is her neighbor. She lives on Himmel Strasse or Heaven Street as it's called in English. She steals her first book, The Gravediggers Handbook, before arriving at Himmel Strasse.

From that point on, Liesel and her partner in crime, Rudy, go around Germany, stealing food (Rudy was always hungry), books (From book burning and the mayor's house), and other things. They make relationship's, get people mad at them, and try to survive Nazi Germany. Eventually, Hans Hubermann and Rosa Hubermann, his wife, hide a Jew, Max Vandenburg, in their basement. Eventually, he leaves and is later marched to Dachau, however, survives the war. At the end of the book, while Liesel was reading in the basement, a bombing raid was carried out over Himmel street, killing everyone except Liesel. At the very end, she dies in Sydney and death shows her The Book Thief, which is a completely different book than this one. I was only able to write out the most important details of the book. If you want more than you have to read the book yourself.
Overall, I rate the book 5/5. ( )
  KyleC.B4 | Oct 24, 2018 |
Excerpts from my original GR review (Aug 2009):
- This is a story of love, as told by Death. This is a story of the realities of wartime - fear, hope, cruelty, compassion, despair.
- This is the story of man's impossible brutality and biases and stupidity. But it is also a story of our innate desire to comfort and lift up each other through even the most dehumanizing circumstances.
- This is the story of Liesel, the Hubermanns, Max Vandenberg, Rudy, Tommy, Frau Holtzapfel, Himmel Street, and Death, and Life. And they're all worth shedding a tear for. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Oct 12, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 1706 (next | show all)
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.
The book's length, subject matter and approach might give early teen readers pause, but those who can get beyond the rather confusing first pages will find an absorbing and searing narrative.
"The Book Thief" attempts and achieves great final moments of tear-jerking sentiment. And Liesel is a fine heroine, a memorably strong and dauntless girl. But for every startlingly rebellious episode... there are moments that are slack.
Writing fiction about the Holocaust is a risky endeavor. Most children learn about it in history class, or through nonfiction narratives like Eli Wiesel's "Night." Zusak has done a useful thing by hanging the story on the experience of a German civilian, not a camp survivor, and humanizing the choices that ordinary people had to make in the face of the Führer. It's unlikely young readers will forget what this atrocity looked like through the eyes of Death.
The Book Thief is unsettling and unsentimental, yet ultimately poetic. Its grimness and tragedy run through the reader's mind like a black-and-white movie, bereft of the colors of life. Zusak may not have lived under Nazi domination, but The Book Thief deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel's Night. It seems poised to become a classic.
added by stephmo | editUSA Today, Carol Memmott (Mar 20, 2006)

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zusak, Markusprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Corduner, AllanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ernst, AlexandraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giughese, Gian M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lodewijk, AnnemarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
White, TrudyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Elisabeth and Helmut Zusak,
with love and admiration
First words
First the colors. Then the humans. That's how I see things. Or at least how I try.
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.
The reply floated from his mouth, then moulded itself like a stain to the ceiling.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Publisher series
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
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.
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:42 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 26 descriptions

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