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The book thief by Markus Zusak

The book thief (original 2007; edition 2006)

by Markus Zusak (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
32,014182942 (4.37)4 / 1926
Title:The book thief
Authors:Markus Zusak (Author)
Info:New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.
Collections:Read in 2018, Your library, Needs Review
Tags:fiction, historical, hardback

Work details

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2007)

Recently added byprivate library, TimBlue2, Megha17, reljoy, emfdvm, rena75, Writergirl126, CodyPajic, JayneCM
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)
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    I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (whymaggiemay, rosylibrarian)
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    Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (TessaSlingerland)
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    sleepykid00: Both taken place during WWII, but in different perspectives.
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    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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  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. 53
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(see all 48 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 1722 (next | show all)
So finally, I finished The Book Thief which had been on my TBR List since forever! *WooHoo*

And, I must say it was worth the wait... I loved the writing style, so simplistic yet engrossing. It's a first book in a long time that has made me cry... Reading the last part was particularly tough.

The novel explored many themes - Books and words and how they have the power to hurt as well as heal, stealing as therapeutic, violence of men, cruelty of many versus kindness of some, etc.

The most poignant sentence has to be the last line of the novel - "I am haunted by humans" and the fact that it is said by Death makes it all the more profound... even Death is horrified of war and what it makes us, "humans", do to each other. ( )
  Megha17 | Jan 17, 2019 |
Zusac is a virtuoso of words. It seems to me that he could have turned the most casual story into a purely literary diamond. So all the more when it comes to a subject so emotionally charged. Zusac wrote us a story about a strange friendship between death and one little (special) girl. The combination of humor within the fabric of such problematic issues dispels fears of confronting an awful event in the history of us all. This is a way that I find excellent, and the writer cracked it fantastically. But this book doesn't suit everyone. That's why the schism between reviewers of the book really doesn't surprise me - either it makes you short of breath, or you say, "What was it that I just read?"

As for me, I'm on the 5-star side. ( )
  Ramonremires | Jan 14, 2019 |
This is the story of Liesel Meminger who is living in Munich Germany in 1939. Her mother took she and her brother on a train to a foster family to keep them safe during the war. Her brother got sick and died on the journey, so Liesel is all alone when she shows up. Her foster father is kind and generous, and her foster mother is hard and stubborn. Each night, Liesel wakes with nightmares and her dad comes in to comfort her. Eventually she shows him a book that she stole when they buried her brother called "The Grave Diggers Handbook". This starts Liesels love of books and her father starts to teach her to read.

Over the course of her years with her foster family she steals several more books, is invited to the Mayors house to read whenever she wants, watches bombs fall on her city, and helps her parents hide a Jew. In a time when all books were being burned by Hitler and the Nazis, Leisel was trying her best to save them.

I loved this book. LOVED it. Probably one of the best reads I have read this year. It was well written, and had a great message. I have read a lot of WWII books, and this was among the best.

Don't miss it. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
A powerful story of little people in a little town in Germany during World War 2. While the book is narrated by Death, and delivers a seemingly unrelenting tale of misfortune, the underlying message is one of hope. I was totally captivated.
The writing is deceptively simple, but there is some wonderful crafting going on - the lead character, Liesel, matures imperceptibly and realistically as the book progresses, allowing for more complex responses to the worsening environment.
A great read. ( )
  mbmackay | Jan 8, 2019 |
One of my all time favorite books, I cannot thank Markus Zusak enough for giving us this amazing book. The Book Thief is about Liesel Meminger a young girl who lives in Germany during WWII. I was a little wary of reading it at first when I heard the book was narrated from Death's point of view, however, I decided to give it a read and I was enthralled from the beginning. The way Zusak wrote Death was different then what I assumed Death would act like, instead of Death being mean spirited and scary, he was tired. Tired of war of, working for dictators. Death was plain exhausted. Death also finds a fascination in Liesel a young girl who decides to rebel by stealing books. The writing style was different from most books I've read. The interjections death had throughout the book gave a insight into the narrator and gave a refreshing change of writing styles.

All of the characters were relatable and believable. From Hans and Rosa to Rudy and Max. They all gave new insights into what went on for the people who lived in WWII Germany. The book was amazing and memorable and truthfully I cannot write enough words to give it the justice it deserves. If you haven't go out to your nearest bookstore/order if from Amazon and read it right away.

5/5 Stars ( )
  winterdragon | Jan 4, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 1722 (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
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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.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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.
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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