The Book Thief (Paperback)
One of the most poetically written and stylistically
interesting books I’ve read in a long while, The Book Thief is shelved in the younger section but is also a fantastic
book club book for adults. It is set in Nazi Germany where we follow Liesel, a
“perpetual survivor,” and her foster family. The narrator is Death, which seems
appropriate given that Death was everywhere in WWII. This unusual recounting is
pulled off with grace. Death is by no means a grisly narrator and instead quite
empathetic towards humans. Death thinks of Liesel as “the book thief,” after
seeing her pick up her first book, The Grave Digger’s Handbook, out of the snow at her
brother’s funeral. We slowly see the escalation of the war, following Liesel
and her experiences with her friends, including the Jewish man the family has
hidden in their basement. I found it refreshing to see the war through the
lives of normal German citizens. If you read one book this year, it should be
this one. It is one of those books where you come out the other side with a
different view of the world.
In 1939, Nazi Germany, Liesel finds a book. It is the act of picking up that book that will change Liesel's life and begin her thievery of books everywhere. Liesel flirts with the dangerous line of being caught, going to great lengths to open her mind in a world where the government is doing everything to close it.
This book is one of the best I have read in a long time. The writing is exemplary and the book itself has great crossover appeal for adults. Read it before you see the movie!— Rachel Kelley
The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that is now a major motion picture, Markus Zusak's unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who 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.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
About the Author
Markus Zusak is the author of I Am the Messenger, a Printz Honor Book and Los Angeles Times Book Award Finalist, and the international bestseller, The Book Thief, which has been translated into over thirty languages and has sold nine million copies around the world. He is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens and lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and children.
“Brilliant and hugely ambitious…Some will argue that a book so difficult and sad may not be appropriate for teenage readers…Adults will probably like it (this one did), but it’s a great young-adult novel…It’s the kind of book that can be life-changing, because without ever denying the essential amorality and randomness of the natural order, The Book Thief offers us a believable hard-won hope…The hope we see in Liesel is unassailable, the kind you can hang on to in the midst of poverty and war and violence. Young readers need such alternatives to ideological rigidity, and such explorations of how stories matter. And so, come to think of it, do adults.” -New York Times, May 14, 2006
"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."
- USA Today
"Zusak doesn’t sugarcoat anything, but he makes his ostensibly gloomy subject bearable the same way Kurt Vonnegut did in Slaughterhouse-Five: with grim, darkly consoling humor.”
- Time Magazine
"Elegant, philosophical and moving...Beautiful and important."
- Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"This hefty volume is an achievement...a challenging book in both length
- Publisher's Weekly, Starred
"One of the most highly anticipated young-adult books in years."
- The Wall Street Journal
"Exquisitely written and memorably populated, Zusak's poignant tribute to words, survival, and their curiously inevitable entwinement is a tour de force to be not just read but inhabited."
- The Horn Book Magazine, Starred
"An extraordinary narrative."
- School Library Journal, Starred
"The Book Thief will be appreciated for Mr. Zusak's audacity, also on display in his earlier I Am the Messenger. It will be widely read and admired because it tells a story in which books become treasures. And because there's no arguing with a sentiment like that."
- New York Times