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The Book Thief | [Markus Zusak]

The Book Thief

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - One of the best examples of young adult literature that adults will love (as well as more mature teens), The Book Thief alternates between heartwarming and heartbreaking, always packing an emotional punch with each of Markus Zusak’s carefully chosen words – as brilliantly conveyed by Allan Corduner, who takes on Death, and so much more, in this novel set in Nazi Germany. —Diana D.

Publisher's Summary

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.

©2006 Markus Zusak; (P)2006 Random House Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group

What the Critics Say

  • Book Sense Book of the Year Award, Children's Literature, 2007

"The astonishing characters, drawn without sentimentality, will grab readers." (Booklist)
"Zusak has created a work that deserves the attention of sophisticated teen and adult readers....An extraordinary narrative." (School Library Journal)
"The Book Thief will appeal both to sophisticated teens and adults with its engaging characters and heartbreaking story." (Bookmarks Magazine)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (8983 )
5 star
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4.4 (7109 )
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Story
4.5 (7072 )
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3 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Virginia Holbrook, NY, United States 11-06-13
    Virginia Holbrook, NY, United States 11-06-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Great book..."
    Would you listen to The Book Thief again? Why?

    Yes, thought the narrator did a great job telling this great story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was told in the point of view of death which is so unique.


    Which character – as performed by Allan Corduner – was your favorite?

    Rosie..I loved how she said "zowcow"!


    Any additional comments?

    It was heartwarming to read a story about nazi Germany in the eyes of a non-Jewish German girl.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Knight Nashville, TN USA 10-25-13
    D. Knight Nashville, TN USA 10-25-13 Member Since 2011

    romans55

    HELPFUL VOTES
    65
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    34
    33
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    3
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    Story
    "What a book!"
    Any additional comments?

    This is just a wonderful book. Don't miss it. The narration is wonderful and the German accent and translation is superb. Wonderfully written about a tragic and frightening time, with a completely unexpected voice telling the story. I'm so glad a friend recommended it to me!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LB 10-17-13
    LB 10-17-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    70
    19
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    "Interesting presentation"

    This book is very different from others. The narrator is death. I don't think that will ruin it as you figure this out by the end of first chapter. I was very confused for a bit. It jumps around a lot, but despite these two difficulties it pulls you in. I was not sure about the book about 1/3 way in enjoying but not loving it. Once I got use to the style, and drawn into all the characters I was hooked. I will say parents of teens should listen first, it is in many best teen reads. I would let my 14 year old read it but my 12 year old I would wait another few years. Some parents may be fine with any age, but you should judge for yourself.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine 10-16-13
    Elaine 10-16-13

    I did not learn to read until I was in my twenties. Have not stopped since. The two most important things to learn are reading & chess.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Through the watchful eyes of Death"

    What a fascinating way to tell a story of how souls are picked up after the body has died. The spirit of Death follows a girl around in Germany during WW II picking up souls of people that have died around her, starting with her little brother. It is wonderful and thought provoking from beginning to the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Courtney Nebraska, USA 10-14-13
    Courtney Nebraska, USA 10-14-13 Member Since 2012
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    36
    11
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    Story
    "I haven't been so moved by a book in years!"
    Where does The Book Thief rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is my favorite audiobook so far out of the 70+ I've listened to so far. I cannot believe how moved I was by the story.


    What about Allan Corduner’s performance did you like?

    I loved Allan's performance! He was great at delivering the different characters. I loved him!


    Any additional comments?

    Buy this now and start listening immediately!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Garswood Ontario, Canada 10-13-13
    K. Garswood Ontario, Canada 10-13-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    42
    6
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    "I had to get past the narrative quirks."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, definitely - it's a rich and vibrant story of love and loss, and exquisitely told.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mama!


    What about Allan Corduner’s performance did you like?

    He had a wonderful versatility!


    Any additional comments?

    Death as the narrator, who warns you constantly about what's about to happen - that, I struggled with. It was very quirky, very strange. And I wasn't sure I enjoyed the constant series of spoilers. But it was a beautiful story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Evans Ocala, Florida United States 10-11-13
    L. Evans Ocala, Florida United States 10-11-13 Member Since 2011

    Southern Girl Reads

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    1
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    Story
    "Simply Wonderful"
    If you could sum up The Book Thief in three words, what would they be?

    Brilliant, moving, heartbreaking


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Book Thief?

    Too many to name


    Which character – as performed by Allan Corduner – was your favorite?

    Papa


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me smile and made me sob.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm so glad I chose the audio version. Allan Corduner did a magnificent job and made a great book even better to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frederick D. Schmidt 09-29-13

    Fritz the assessor

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awesome"

    This story is so good, it is hard to put down. Sometimes it would make me so angry, and then it would make me laugh out loud. The guy reading it is really really good. he is able to bring the characters to life. I felt as if I actually knew Liesl, and the Ubermans. As if Hans and Rosa lived down the street from me. Not that I can even imagine living during that time. I listened to it, and then listened to it again, and then a third time just to make sure that I would remember each and every character. They are all so real. It is a history lesson that should never be forgotten.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arthur 09-27-13
    Arthur 09-27-13 Member Since 2011

    Ghost writer of over 100 unpublished works...;).

    HELPFUL VOTES
    54
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    "A Grown Up Heartbreaker"

    Calling The Book Thief a kids' books is sort of like saying the same thing about To Kill a Mockingbird. While the main character is a child, and there's nothing overly complicated structurally or thematically, making it accessible to a younger audience, the emotions are complex, the writing rich, and the subject mature. Ok... so maybe that was a glorified way of saying it's a good book for many ages, but coming across such a find is tough.

    Many great books have been written about The Holocaust, but one of the things that makes The Book Thief unique is the treatment of Germans caught up in the insane nationalism of Nazi Germany. While it may be a bit tongue in cheek to say that everyone in The Book Thief is "human", Zusak does a fantastic job of keeping humanity at the forefront of the story. Death, fear, cruelty, love, compassion, selflessness, and loss are all players, but The Book Thief puts humans first, and what they do second.

    A definite buy for anyone looking for a well narrated, genuinely emotional listen.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen 09-25-13
    Karen 09-25-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    18
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    "Featuring... all the elements of a great story!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Book Thief the most enjoyable?

    The narrator, Allan Corduner, brought the words to life.


    What other book might you compare The Book Thief to and why?

    I can honestly say I cannot think of another book I have read that is anything like this one. Starting with the storyteller himself, Death.


    What about Allan Corduner’s performance did you like?

    Everything. His voices were so distinctly different for each character. He does such a fantastic job. I never once wondered who was speaking.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. I was ok taking a couple weeks listening to it on my work commute. But when I was down to the last 3 hours, I did stop everything else in my life, sat down, put the headphones on, and listened to the end.


    Any additional comments?

    The only reason I did not give the book 5 overall stars is because of the foul language and taking the Lord's name in vain many, many times. This story, as well as any other, could have been told with the same emotional impact, without the cursing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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