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The Book Thief Audiobook

The Book Thief

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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 (14494 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Tina Nibley, UT, United States 04-28-15
    Tina Nibley, UT, United States 04-28-15 Member Since 2016

    I'm a mom. I have drama in my life. I don't want books with the F-bomb, nor graphic violence. I read for fun and to bring my family together. I read for reducing stress levels. We have never had a television in our home and our children are now mid twenties to 19. We listen together and look for belly-wrenching laughter. So what is it like to live without a TV? Awesomely educational and inspirational. Each new book is a marvel.

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    "Moving and thought provoking"
    What made the experience of listening to The Book Thief the most enjoyable?

    This book is narrated from the viewpoint of Death. Capturing souls of those who pass. This wasn't demonic or anything like that, it was Death the facilitator between this world and the next. Interesting.


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

    I love Liesel's books, the books she steals and the one she writes.


    What does Allan Corduner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    WOW! Such a voice for the perspective of Death.


    Any additional comments?

    This topic of WWII is difficult at best to write a novel about with compassion to people. During my reading I did some research on WWII and found it is estimated that over 40 million people died in this world war. I can't even imagine this number. This book contained descriptions of how people lived in fear during this time. The book is likely on a reading list for young readers due to the age of the main character but I sure think this book would benefit from co-reading with a young person and an older person to describe more of the details.

    There are a number of deaths and while they are not graphic in detail they are described. Even a suicide is described briefly. If this bothers the reader it is best to skip this book.

    The people who lived through WWII have my complete respect. They saw and lived through the worst time in history. It want to keep living is an amazing feat considering the horrible things that must have crossed the news and been reality for those in fighting zones.

    I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't too depressing and it was enlightening and even fun. I was sad when the book ended. I wanted to know more of the lives of the survivors of WWII and Liesel's family/friends.

    A very good book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leesha Washington DC 02-17-14
    Leesha Washington DC 02-17-14

    Leesha

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    "Destined to be a classic!"
    Would you listen to The Book Thief again? Why?

    The narrator of this audiobook was phenomenal! Very authentic! Although is is a very bleak subject, the narrator keeps the story from being unbearably heartwrenching.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character was the narrator, Death. The idea to have Death narrate this story provides us with a very unique and clever perspective. Who knew Death was such a charming, kind and likable gentleman? It goes against every stereotype we have of Death! He is wise, kind and compassionate. Death does not want people to die. Death does not cause people to die. Death exists only because people do die. It is Death’s neverending job to carry away a person’s soul after it has separated from the body. Death jumps right past foreshadowing and lets us know ahead of time which characters will die, this really alleviates a lot of the agonizing dread and distress of the subject matter.


    Any additional comments?

    What a unique and creative book! I could not put it down. This story is told in masterful, beautiful language, surreal metaphors and lush imagery that held me completely captivated. Language plays such a very important role in this story. When the story starts, the main character, Liesel, a young Jewish girl, is illiterate. As she slowly learns to read, books offer her a much needed escape from her suffering and misery. Alternatively, Liesal is enlightened with a new understanding of the destructive power of words, most notably Hitler’s hateful speeches of bigotry and destructive propaganda. Words hold a remarkable power; positive and negative. Books that are opposed to Hitler’s viewpoint are burned in celebratory book burnings. In many ways, the Nazi Holocaust began with hateful, destructive, racist words. Hitler's words manipulate and compel entire Nations to hate Jews, commit unspeakable acts cruelty and to massacre millions of people. On the flip side, words can also heal, inspire compassion, love and understanding. It all depends on how you use your words. Words eventually inspire Liesal to tell her own story which cultivates goodness and love. Where Mein Kampf is the source of misery, death, concentration camps and war, The Book Thief is the gift of hope, compassion, kindness and resilience in the struggle to rise above circumstances when life feels unbearably heartbreaking and harsh.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    yvonne5588 Austin, TX, United States 01-26-14
    yvonne5588 Austin, TX, United States 01-26-14 Member Since 2016
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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.

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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
  •  
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 03-26-13
    Stevon Tempe, AZ, United States 03-26-13 Member Since 2015

    I love books!

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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

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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 2016

    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.

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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
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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
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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

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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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