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The Book Thief Audiobook

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

4.5 (13726 )
5 star
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4.5 (11384 )
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Story
4.6 (11327 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    yvonne5588 Austin, TX, United States 01-26-14
    yvonne5588 Austin, TX, United States 01-26-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent a Must Listen To"
    Would you listen to The Book Thief again? Why?

    Yes I would definitely listen again. This is the second Best Audio Book I have heard. The story is very well developed and easily captures you with every chapter. The narrator secured my attention in such a manner that if I missed a sentence I would go back to listen again. I felt as if I was present with every situation.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The most mysterious character was the Mayor's wife. Her sense of sorrow and interest in the child would play a significant role in her life.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jesse PRINEVILLE, OR, United States 01-11-14
    jesse PRINEVILLE, OR, United States 01-11-14 Member Since 2013

    I love a good story, especially one with a bit of a dark side.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic book!"
    Any additional comments?

    This is certainly a five star book all around. The narrator is splendid, and the story is outstanding. I listened to the book at the same time as my youngest daughter who is ten. We both loved the book. I didn’t realize how little she knew of Germany’s role in the Second World War. This was a fantastic way for her to see it from the inside, and for me as well. This is an unexpected perspective of the horrors of war, and in particular, this war. You will cry.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    julie0 waterford, MI, United States 12-16-13
    julie0 waterford, MI, United States 12-16-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Yawn. I must have missed something."

    I find myself scratching my head at all of these five star reviews. I found this story to be slow and meandoring. It was an interesting historical perspective but I had a hard time keeping interest in the story. I also wasn't crazy about the story being told from the point of view of death and portraying everything in terms of colors. Too abstract and annoying. This book was just "meh" for me.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 11-25-13
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 11-25-13 Member Since 2015

    I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Hard Times"

    This book didn’t quite live up to its billing, but was a very good listen nevertheless. I always struggle to know where to look for fiction, and I chose one this on the back of its being a best seller.

    The character who narrates this book is death. He tells the story of a young girl orphaned by the political turmoil in Nazi Germany, who is then fostered by a Munich housepainter and his wife. They are simple, unsophisticated working class folk who swear at each other constantly, but underneath this rough exterior is a deep well of love and courage, the courage to risk their lives by sheltering a Jewish man in their basement.

    So why is it called the book thief? The heroine, Lisa (forgive the spelling, I didn’t see the written name), begins by being illiterate and gradually develops into an avid reader. But books are scarce in this time of immense upheaval, poverty and strife. Not just scarce but also dangerous to own, and she rescues them from the burning bonfires of books lit by the Nazis in their rampant, frenzied campaign to enforce their ideology onto their people.

    It’s a sad and moving story of a young girl trying to grow up in this bizarre and dangerous environment. Germany is locked into a war against the rest of the World, a war which they are starting to lose. All men, young and old, are susceptible to conscription to fight in Russia, the remaining civilians face the threat of increasingly frequent Allied bombing raids, and Jews are being transported to concentration camps. Against this background Lisa somehow enjoys some of the ordinary experiences of childhood and early adolescence, but you know all along that this small community, like the rest of Germany, is doomed and that there will be few survivors.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 03-26-13
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 03-26-13 Member Since 2015

    I love books!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "excellent, haunting"

    Death says, "I am haunted by humans". First time author for me, this book was recommended by my wife whose book club read it. Both my kids have already read this one. This is a great story and really well written. Set near Munich, Germany during World War II, it's the story of a young German girl and how the war affected her. It's easy to forget that not all Germans supported Hitler and the Nazis but they still had to toe the line and support what was happening around them, if they didn't, they did so at their own peril. With destruction and death all around, you had to look for happiness as best you could. And, for those of us that love books, it's great the way the author weaves the love of books into this tale. A lot of this book is depressing but if you don't mind having your heart strings pulled a bit, you'll really enjoy this story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dottie B. Washington DC 02-27-13
    Dottie B. Washington DC 02-27-13 Member Since 2006

    Dotdumdum

    HELPFUL VOTES
    198
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    "Two months later I still hear this book in my head"

    There's a reason most reviewers are giving this book such high ratings. This book was so beautifully written, and so wonderfully narrated, it certainly ranks as one of my top five audio books. This book makes me marvel at the talent that some people have for writing.

    I did not want to stop listening to this book for one minute. When it was over I cried simply because it was over. I could go on and on about every wonderful aspect of this book. But in the end, I need only say that this is one to listen to and one to remember.

    When I think of Liesel saying the word "Papa"' I still feel a flood of emotions.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colby Omaha, NE, United States 02-07-13
    Colby Omaha, NE, United States 02-07-13 Member Since 2014

    Married mother of three teenagers, back to work after 15 years at home - when I read a lot. Now I am the assistant to the Mayor of Omaha and work at least 60 hours a week, and on top of what I have to do at home - no more books. This lets me listen to the classics, the latest, whatever I want. I can learn or escape. I have always love audio books, but now I NEED them.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "LOVED THIS! Unique WWII Tale - Rare"

    I love WWII history and historical fiction, whether in books or movies because there is just SO MUCH emotional material to work with. This is no exception. This is not an extraordinary tale of heroics, or a romantic tidal wave, or even a great exploration of the war. It is the story of one girl, her family, friends, and experiences as told by the most present character of the era...Death. The Grim Reaper is our narrator, and all is told through his view. No spoilers, for there are times when you will gasp in surprise - for good and for bad. This is worth your time and credit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Northport, AL, United States 01-09-13
    Andrew Northport, AL, United States 01-09-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good, but not as good as what I expected"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Not really.Perhaps a bit more clarity at times. I had to backtracked to make sure the image in my head was the same was what was found in the text.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Something historical.


    Have you listened to any of Allan Corduner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but he was outstanding in this performance.


    Do you think The Book Thief needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. Perhaps a prequel. Perhaps the same story from another perspective. Not that I didn't like the idea as Death as the narrator, just that perhaps I'd like to hear the story from another's point of view too. A contrast would be interesting.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    eva Shavano Park, TX, United States 10-15-12
    eva Shavano Park, TX, United States 10-15-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Touched my heart and soul."

    This book was such a gratifying story to listen too. My mother was a child while the war went on around her in Hamburg, Germany, and so I couldn't help but picture her while listening day after day. The story is sweet, scary, sassy, touching and takes us back to a time when the most atrocious happenings were going on, while naiveté and innocence of children was still the norm. I loved the characters and I cannot praise the narrator enough, for bringing them all to life within my mind. It is a story I am sure to read again someday, and one that I shall not soon forget. I had a great time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hollace Newark, OH, United States 10-06-11
    Hollace Newark, OH, United States 10-06-11 Member Since 2000

    book worm

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beyond Excellent"

    I have been an avid Audible listener since the company started. I long ago lost track of my number of listens. Some have been dismal,some just OK and many excellent and entertaining. I must say this one goes beyond my expectations! I owned it for several years and just did not get into listening. Then recently I started to listen again and was thrilled. This book made me laugh and cry and really care about the characters. The narration is more than awesome. Give yourself an hour of time into this and you will be so pleased!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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