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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Markus Zusak

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
28,592173832 (4.37)4 / 1865
Title:The Book Thief
Authors:Markus Zusak
Info:Knopf Books for Young Readers (2006), Edition: First, Hardcover, 560 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Dachau, socialism, World War II, historical fiction

Work details

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005)

  1. 609
    Anne Frank: 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. 272
    Night by Elie Wiesel (Smellsbooks, Morteana)
  5. 170
    The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (PghDragonMan, avidmom, rhshelver)
  6. 258
    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (weener)
  7. 193
    I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (whymaggiemay, rosylibrarian)
  8. 100
    Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman (kaipakartik)
  9. 100
    Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (TessaSlingerland)
  10. 90
    The Chosen by Chaim Potok (avidmom)
  11. 91
    Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene (bethielouwho)
  12. 91
    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. 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)
  16. 61
    The History of Love: A Novel by Nicole Krauss (Ciruelo, heidialice)
  17. 40
    Edelweiss Pirates, Operation Einstein by Mark A. Cooper (davidparsons, jacobwilliams007)
  18. 41
    The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway (mrstreme)
  19. 20
    The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust's Shadow by Krystyna Chiger (elwren75)
  20. 53
    Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume (Runa)

(see all 48 recommendations)


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Showing 1-5 of 1633 (next | show all)
What can I say?
Beautiful, heartbreaking, unforgettable.
I don't know if HS students are still made to read The Diary of a Young Girl, but if it isn't jazzy enough for them, I would suggest this as a replacement.
A book everyone should read, lest we forget. ( )
  MaureenCean | Mar 12, 2017 |
This book narrated by the spirit of death takes you deep inside the atrocities of world war 2. A young German girl who becomes a foster child finds herself in the middle of Nazi Germany stealing books to pass the days. With this historical fiction, you will find yourself connecting to the collateral damage of WW11 such as never before. An excellent book for upper-middle school to high school students learning about the holocausts. ( )
  AnnaBailey | Mar 9, 2017 |
(10/10) “I guess humans like to watch a little destruction. Sand castles, houses of cards, that's where they begin. Their great skill is their capacity to escalate.”

For me this quote sums up this wonderful book brilliantly. Darkly humorous and at the same time wonderfully poetic, Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief is a beautifully touching tale that everyone should read at least once.

Set in a small town outside Munich during WW2, this book follows the story of a young German girl called Liesel Meminger during the war all told from the perspective of Death himself.

The narration by Death is the masterstroke of this book. Not only does it allow Zusak to introduce a broader historical context that wouldn't be possible from the perspective of a young girl, but it also allows him to use some rather wonderful descriptions. Death is not a cold and unfeeling narrator, he is someone who really empathises with humanity and who tries so hard to not get involved in the lives of the souls he collects. Sometimes, however, a certain person takes his attention and Liesel is that person. Death is not your typical narrator, he sees things in colours, he is not a physical presence, he is a feeling and he feels things far more acutely than the human characters. Being a collector of souls he can also see into them which makes him a very insightful narrator. Everything he says is tinged with sadness and as I read the book I often found myself struggling between smiling at the wonderful descriptions and then being smacked in the face by the reality of the situation.

“A small but noteworthy note.
I've seen so many young men over the years who think they're running at other young men. They are not. They are running at me.”

Not only is the book beautifully narrated it is also beautifully laid out. I am a complete sucker for authors naming their chapters and I can tell you I have not seen another book with better named chapters than this one. Zusak has also used different font styles for Death’s little asides throughout which I just loved, it draws the eye and made me read faster to get to that section on the next page. At over 500 pages is isn’t a light read but I was so absorbed in the story I found it very hard to put it down.

This was a reread for me and surprisingly I remember not being that struck by it the first time I read it. I must have been having an off day because this is such a beautiful book I can’t imagine how it didn’t move me. I cried (and not just a little sniffle, proper tears) at the end of this, in fact I took it home to finish it because I knew I would not be able to read it at work and leave the office with my dignity intact. It’s very rare that a book like this comes along, a truly unique, touching and poetic story that is now on my favourites shelf. If you haven’t read it, you should. ( )
  LiteraryReadaholic | Mar 8, 2017 |
Narrated by Death, this is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she discovers something she can't resist - books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found. With the help of her accordian-playing foster father, Liesel 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. ( )
  jepeters333 | Mar 3, 2017 |
Summary: Liesel is a foster girl living in Germany. She gets to experience the Holocaust from a different stand point; on the outside walls looking into the ghetto. She and her friend go around stealing books during the burnings and the raids. The most exciting part of the book is that Liesel’s foster parents are hiding a Jewish man in their basement.

Personal Response: I love to read Holocaust literature, and am always searching for new books to read that aren’t from the concentration camps. One of my students suggested to me this book, and once I read it, I couldn’t get enough of it. The narrator of this book is Death himself. He follows this young girl around during a time when death is everywhere. This book had me in tears by the end of it, but it was beautifully written. I especially liked the fact that this book was from a different perspective other than the concentration camp. I would highly recommend this novel to young readers.

Curriculum Connection: This novel would be great for young readers who are interested in WWII literature. The fact that this novel is told from a very different perspective excites readers. ( )
  Lisette25 | Feb 26, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 1633 (next | show all)
Amazing the way something so beautiful can be written about such a dark period. Involving and completely addictive.
added by johnsmithsen | editlowongan kerja swasta (Mar 30, 2012)
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.
added by johnsmithsen | editlowongan kerja bank (Jan 28, 2007)
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.
added by johnsmithsen | editlowongan kerja cpns (Jan 6, 2007)
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.
added by johnsmithsen | editlowongan kerja bumn (Dec 31, 2006)
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.
added by johnsmithsen | editlowongan kerja 2017 (May 14, 2006)

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zusak, Markusprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
White, TrudyIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Corduner, AllanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ernst, AlexandraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giughese, Gian M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lodewijk, AnnemarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
Publisher series
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Original language
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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 18 descriptions

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