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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
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The Book Thief (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Markus Zusak

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
25,352153944 (4.37)4 / 1773
Member:Mz.Balma
Title:The Book Thief
Authors:Markus Zusak
Info:Knopf Books for Young Readers (2006), Edition: First, Hardcover, 560 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:Novels/Novellas, Children's/YA Literature

Work details

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005)

  1. 579
    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. 414
    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. 331
    The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (Booksloth, frsantos)
  4. 242
    Night by Elie Wiesel (Smellsbooks)
  5. 170
    The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (PghDragonMan, avidmom, rhshelver)
  6. 258
    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (weener)
  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
    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. 61
    The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (Ciruelo, heidialice)
  16. 73
    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. 41
    The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway (mrstreme)
  18. 30
    Edelweiss Pirates, Operation Einstein by Mark A. Cooper (davidparsons, jacobwilliams007)
  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
    Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume (Runa)

(see all 45 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 1446 (next | show all)
As a high school English teacher, I’m surrounded by young adult literature more than I’d like to be. The common themes and subjects of the genre don’t appeal to me (even though it is incredibly broad), and I witness so many teen romances play out in my classroom that reading about them on the page doesn’t really evoke the same kind of passion as it does for my students.

This is why The Book Thief was such a pleasant surprise. Not only does it break the mold of the young adult genre- it holds its own among the greater world of novels. Nearly every character presents complexity and realism, and the unique choice of narrator offers a completely original take on a moment in history with which most readers will be familiar. Zusak has also created a female protagonist in whom all readers will find an echo of themselves. Sometimes it’s difficult for young men to connect with a female lead in a novel (although routinely women are expected to connect with male characters), but The Book Thief will offer them no such challenge. Also refreshing are the variety of personalities in Liesel’s life: from her haunting brother to her foul-mouthed foster mother to her beautifully broken benefactor Ilsa Hermann. This is where the heart of the novel lives, and even before the arrival of Max into the Hubermann home, Zusak enthralls readers with a snapshot of a small German neighborhood.

Set against the backdrop of WWII Germany, the novel offers a little something for everyone. History buffs may attach themselves to the battles and bombings, while avid readers might want to discover the books Liesel grabs for herself. On top of this, the stories of these characters emerge in a riveting style. While Zusak’s prose employs an abundance of metaphors and imagery, it’s never flowery or overdone. Instead, the readers find themselves in Max’s place, allowing someone to build for them a world which they will never see. It is a world in which anyone would feel at home, and The Book Thief is a novel with universal appeal. Do yourself (and Liesel) a favor and read it. ( )
  porcupineracetrack | Jul 24, 2015 |
I don't think you comprehend how enchanting this story is. The concept of Death as a living being, who is worn out and tired is brilliant and unheard of. When we think of death as a being, we think of someone who seeks satisfaction through his work. That is not the case in the story. Death to me was, as weird as it is to admit, welcoming and beautiful. While reading, I could relate perfectly to Liesel (except the part of stealing books.... shh...), and there was nothing preferred to do other than cuddle in my bed and read.

I thank Markus Zusak for providing me with such an alluring adventure. ( )
  mararina | Jul 23, 2015 |
So many different emotions in this book
  Yvonne_Chesak | Jul 21, 2015 |
Winner of more than 24 book awards, historical fiction, Nazis, Jewish, love, loss

How I might use this book:
Read aloud, group discussion with interesting perspective on life as a Jewish person
Compare/contrast to movie
Compare to other Hist Fic based in same time period ( )
  tawnyao | Jul 20, 2015 |
Love the concept of death telling the story. Interesting even though it's not action-packed. The movie was almost exactly like the book, and both are brilliant.
  mateideyr | Jul 17, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 1446 (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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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
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.
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.
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 Catalan Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Blurbers
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original 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.
(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 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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