The Book Thief

The Book Thief

Book - 2006
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"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 neighbours."
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2006
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780385754729
9780375931000
0375931007
9780375831003
0375831002
9780375842207
Characteristics: 552 p. : ill ; 22cm

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w
wyenotgo
Mar 10, 2018

This one simply blew me away. Never mind what at first seems like a gimmick (Death as narrator) and never mind that it's perhaps seen as a YA novel (I haven't shelved it as such).
Here is human tragedy, love, joy writ large; even laughter in the midst of the horror of war. Zusak's use of words is like nothing I've encountered before. I started making notes of spectacular passages and soon gave up: they're everywhere. Of particular note is his recurrent reference to color: the color of pain, hunger, hope, war, streets, skies. A battlefield: "The horizon was the color of milk. Cold and fresh. Poured out among the bodies." A truly compelling story, a setting that pulls you into its midst; and what characters! In Liesel the book thief, Zusak has created one of the truly memorable personalities of contemporary fiction. She is feisty, perceptive, loving and thoroughly real.
This book caused me to break my promise to myself to stop reading anything having to do with Nazi Germany, and I'm happy to have broken that promise. Very highly recommended!

l
Linyarai
Mar 06, 2018

I read this book for the "A Book That Inspires You" part of my 2018 reading challenge. I cried. This book was fantastic. Not quite what I expected, but then I didn't really know what to expect. It was beautiful and simple and moving and I strongly recommend it.

b
BudgiesNbooks
Feb 12, 2018

I think I’m in love with Death after this book! Ok, maybe not, but all the symbolism and deep metaphors of this great piece of poetry has hit me deep within. That story from Max, too: beautiful. Everyone needs to read this!

lt_bibliosara Jan 02, 2018

Ah! The Book Thief. After some encouragement from a colleague, I finally braced myself to read what I suspected to be another incredibly depressing book about the Holocaust. I was happily surprised with Zusak's novel.
This book is incredibly emotional, it's true. However, it is not only sadness and/or heartbreak that the reader will experience, but the entire gamut of emotions. This book is powerful. It will grab onto your heartstrings and pull-hard-but they won't break. Zusak's novel offers a breathtakingly refreshing and unique perspective on one of the most atrocious events in modern history.
Liesel's journey (narrated by Death, who I wish I could get to know better, however morbid that sounds) is inspiring, heartbreaking, and ultimately one of the best stories you'll ever read.

r
rajvir18
Dec 22, 2017

You will smile,laugh, and go aww but the thing u will not be prepeared for is the emotional roller coaster. You will cry no sob while reading this.

LoganLib_Kirra Dec 12, 2017

The Book Thief is a beautiful, emotional and compelling story of the lives of the people of Himmel Street in Nazi Germany, 1939. Death is the narrator of this story and our main character is a young girl with a love of books in a time when they are burned and hidden. It's absolutely fascinating to follow the several characters in this story and Death is a beautiful, expressive narrator on this dark time in history.

b
Boekwurm_1
Nov 25, 2017

Very cleverly written!

r
ReaderErin
Nov 17, 2017

Overall I really loved this story and I am so glad I waited to read it until I was in the right mood.

a
AA789
Nov 01, 2017

Absolutely wonderful book!

d
deepgreenbooks
Oct 24, 2017

A fabulous book. A wonderful narrative device, using Death to - sometimes - tell the story. I loved it. It had lots of sad stuff, but shows another twist on the usual story of the Holocaust and World War II in Germany. Highly recommended.

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Age Suitability

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g
green_panda_1079
Apr 28, 2018

green_panda_1079 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

ElizabethWarringtonRay thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

b
BudgiesNbooks
Feb 12, 2018

BudgiesNbooks thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

t
tkuku0407
Dec 13, 2017

tkuku0407 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

b
Boekwurm_1
Nov 25, 2017

Boekwurm_1 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

b
blue_dove_464
Nov 14, 2017

blue_dove_464 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

t
Tawesome
Apr 04, 2017

Tawesome thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

RobertELPL Mar 05, 2017

RobertELPL thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

a
Alanreviews
Feb 22, 2017

Alanreviews thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

w
white_wolf_540
Jul 17, 2016

white_wolf_540 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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Quotes

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v
violet_crow_41
Aug 26, 2017

*** A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRARATOR***
I am haunted by humans.

susanbayridge69 Oct 04, 2016

First the colors.
Then the humans.
That's usually how I see things.
Or at least, how I try.

k
katie_bos
Jan 05, 2016

"It was a Monday, and they walked on a tightrope to the sun."

e
elaine_malit
Aug 05, 2015

Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day.

m
maaariiisol
Jul 28, 2015

A small announcement about Rudy Steiner. He didn't deserve to die that way.

m
maaariiisol
Jul 28, 2015

How about a kiss, Saumensch?

m
maaariiisol
Jul 28, 2015

Even death has a heart.

j
Julia_Kh
Jul 03, 2015

" How about a kiss, saumensch ? "

f
FatimaNasir_1
Jun 28, 2015

“If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter. ”
― Markus Zusak

f
fallonbenner
Jun 16, 2015

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

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Notices

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t
Tawesome
Apr 04, 2017

Other: YOU WILL CRY

susanbayridge69 Oct 04, 2016

Coarse Language: Some curse words

m
maaariiisol
Jul 28, 2015

Violence: Some whipping.

m
maaariiisol
Jul 28, 2015

Frightening or Intense Scenes: a few gruesome deaths, bombings, lifeless bodies.

m
maaariiisol
Jul 28, 2015

Coarse Language: The bad language is in German, but Death translates it to English. Nothing serious, but certainly not for younger readers.

y
YewandeO
Jul 01, 2015

Frightening or Intense Scenes: The "parade" of Jews was a bit frightening, and the whipping and war.

y
YewandeO
Jul 01, 2015

Violence: Some whipping, fights, and other violence related to war.

y
YewandeO
Jul 01, 2015

Coarse Language: Quite a bit of German swearing and some English translations, too.

j
JihadiConservative
Jul 25, 2014

Other: Not enough violence to put under violence. But some.

j
JihadiConservative
Jul 25, 2014

Coarse Language: Sl*t, b*tch, sh*t

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Summary

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r
readingfairy
Jan 03, 2018

Liesel Meminger is only nine years old when she is taken to live with the Hubermanns, a foster family, on Himmel Street in Molching, Germany, in the late 1930s. She arrives with few possessions, but among them is The /Grave Digger's Handbook/, a book she stole from her brother's burial place. During the years that Liesel lives with the Hubermanns, Hitler becomes more powerful, life on Himmel Street becomes more fearful, and Liesel becomes a full-fledged book thief. She rescues books from Nazie book-burnings and steals from the library of the mayor. Liesel is illiterate when she steals her first book, but Hans Hubermann uses her prized books to teach her to read. This is a story of courage, friendship, love, survival, death, and grief. This is Liesel's life on Himmel Street, told from Death's point of view.
(Summary in back of book.)

geniusgirl613 Jul 23, 2014

The story of a young girl under Nazi Germany. When her family hides a Jew in the basement, her life changes forever. Her thirst for books begins when she was illiterate. Slowly, books play an enormous part in her story.

j
Jaklinetobe
Jul 14, 2014

About a Germany girl during WWII who is living with a foster family hiding a Jew.

2
22950008513780
Jun 29, 2014

Liesel Meminger, an illiterate girl in Nazi Germany loves books. At her brothers funeral she finds her first book, the Grave Diggers Handbook. With the help of her foster father, Hans Hubermann she learns to read and desires more books. However with World War 2 her family is sinking deeper into poverty and cannot afford to buy her books. So she resorts to stealing them. She takes them wherever she can find them, but only what she needs never more. But Liesel's life gets even more dangerous when her foster father repays a debt by taking in a Jew on the run. Liesel then realizes some unsettling facts about Nazi Germany and Hitler. This book is Liesel Meminger's story, told by Death.

d
DragonflyEwa23
Jun 25, 2014

In brief, I will say a few things about this book (I am on my mothers library page) 1. It is amazing
2. Always look at the pictures they feature very intensely in the story.
The Book Thief
the book thief is about young girl, living in Nazi Germany, who, as the title suggests, is a book thief. Or a collector of second hand books, however you wish to put it. Narrated by death, it will guide you through great joys and great sorrows. (A note, death loves colours, Also, I have noticed the colour patterns in a few other books) Liesel steals her first book at her brothers funeral. That was the last time she ever saw her mother. Along her "illustrious career" her foster parents take an old, dead, acordian playing, jewish friends son into the custody of their basement. A basement that will save her alone, well, along with a story. The basement doesn't save her best friend, Rudy Stiener. I'm not telling any more, otherwise I'll spoil it for you.

k
KatiaY
Jun 22, 2014

"It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

By her brother's graveside, Liesel Meminger's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Grave Digger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up and closed down.
In a superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time." -from the back cover

d
Draw
Jul 19, 2013

"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."

p
pojo6865
Jul 05, 2012

Introduction: During WWII in 1939, Liesel and her brother are being taken to Molching, Germany with her mother, to live with foster parents. Sadly, her little brother dies on the train and is buried along the way there. This is when Liesel steals her first book, (Gravedigger’s Handbook- marks brother’s death). Entering her new home, Liesel finds most comfort and love with her new father- Hans Hubermann. Stealing books becomes somewhat of a hobby now, as it motivates her to learn to read and write. An important aspect of the introduction is the hint at Liesel’s background. She learns more about why, how, and what actually happened to her real parents. As of right now, all we know is that Hans is gentle/welcoming, and that Rosa may need anger-management classes.
Rising Action: After the book-burning celebration for Hitler’s birthday, Liesel realizes that the Nazis are responsible for all of her losses. At this point, she steals another book (the Shoulder Shrug- marks hatred for Hitler). Along with her friendship with Rudy Steiner, good friend from school, she forms a relationship with the mayor’s wife, who lets Liesel in her library every time she comes by for laundry (as she saw Liesel’s interest in stealing the Shoulder Shrug). But when the wife, Ilsa, ends the laundry service, Liesel is infuriated and begins stealing her books. Eventually though, forgiveness awakes due to a complicated friendship that was always present. Back to Rudy, he’s a fearless boy with lemon hair, and he wants Liesel’s lips. Remember that. Meanwhile, there’s the story of Hans Hubermann and his great friend during WWI who saved Hans’s life and died in consequence. This friend happens to be a Jew, and his son is now seeking help with Hans, in hiding from the Nazis. Expectedly, the family is worried about the potential situation, since the act of housing a Jew in WWII was life-jeopardising. But they do, and Max turns out to be very friendly. So does Rosa. Especially Hans.
Climax: A series of little events tagged along for the journey to the climax. But, everything explodes when Max leaves for safety. Liesel is…she’s devastated. But, there is worse to come. He’s seen in a hoard of Jews on their way to Dachau, and this just tears the girl apart. Soon after, Ilsa gave Liesel a blank book. This saves the girl’s life, keeping her busy writing in the basement in an unexpected bombing. Sadly, all of Liesel’s loved ones die in their sleep. Death takes his time picking up Rosa, Hans, Kurt... Oh yeah, Rudy dies too, but at least he gets his long-awaited kiss from Liesel. Too bad it happens like this.
Falling Action: Well, the climax occurs late in the book, and in consequence, there’s not much to be said in this section. But, it is notable that Liesel drops her book in shock of everybody’s death (book = her life-story painted on the beloved blank pages from Ilsa). Death picks it up. The book is to be remembered. The mayor’s wife takes her in. Liesel talks with Alex Steiner. About Rudy. I’m sorry, am I being too specific?
It’s...well...just that......I love this part.
Resolution: In the epilogue, Liesel dies. But, she has lived a happy life with a husband and offspring. We also see Liesel being reunited with Max, having miraculously survived his sentence at Dachau. The book ends under a fulfilling atmosphere as Death gives back her book and takes her soul away. “I am haunted by humans.”

SharonWarren Jan 20, 2012

I started this book and it just didn't keep my attention, so gave it up, for a time. It had been so highly recommended I knew it would come back on my list. When next I picked it up I was ready for it and absolutely loved it. An engrossing, warm, and thoughtful read about a very difficult time.

f
FrostyViolette
Dec 15, 2009

An amazing story that takes place during World War II in Nazi Germany. Death narrates the story of a young girl named Liesel and her life living with her foster parents, the Hubermanns.

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