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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 (8066 )
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4.6 (6248 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Crystl Bountiful, UT, United States 10-31-11
    Crystl Bountiful, UT, United States 10-31-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Book!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Book Thief the most enjoyable?

    I loved the point of view of this book. The story is written from the point of view of Death. It is very interesting and I just loved how he viewed the world in colors and how he got involved in this girl's story.


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

    I think my favorite character would have to be Papa. Really Papa and Mama were such a good pair. I loved their relationship and found both characters very well written and performed.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I liked the part near the beginning where Death is talking about what color each day was. I liked the visual of each day having a separate color and feel.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet 10-26-11
    Janet 10-26-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow Start worth the Wait"

    It takes some time to get into the characters, but then your hooked and find each charector a story in themselves. The narrator even becames a charector in the book (death). Really enjoyed the book. I can't stop suggesting it to others. Janet

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Philadelphia, PA, United States 10-20-11
    Karen Philadelphia, PA, United States 10-20-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "excellent story, performance not ideal"

    The Book Thief is a stunningly written book, and a very engaging story. The reader is talented, no doubt, and does an excellent job as the narrator voice, and with the adult male voices in the story. But the main character is a young girl, and the narrator's cartoonish rendition of her voice (and that of other girls and some of the women in the story) was distracting and occasionally even disrespectful to my ears. That's my only real criticism... but it was prevalent enough to notice.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Valerie Frisco, TX, United States 10-14-11
    Valerie Frisco, TX, United States 10-14-11 Member Since 2010
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    8
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    "Great writing and narration"

    I really enjoyed this one. The characters were very real and vivid, and I could envision all the details of the book like I was watching a movie. I loved the narrator. His reading really added to the overall enjoyment. If you are considering this book, get it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Horton Austin, TX, United States 09-12-11
    Horton Austin, TX, United States 09-12-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Book Theif"

    I really enjoyed this book. I thought the reader did an amazing job. I also thought that there were some parts that were a bit confusing however I highly recomend it. Please give it a bit to really get into the story, it is well worth getting past the start.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Flora Edina, MN, United States 09-05-11
    Flora Edina, MN, United States 09-05-11
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    "Not Just a Book for Teens"

    If there is a recent book for teens that should cross over to their parents, this is it. A story that keeps you wired to the anxiety of Germany in WWII. A strong story that has its light moments and touching points. One of only two 5 star across the board reviews I have ever given.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kent Springfield, VA, United States 08-16-11
    Kent Springfield, VA, United States 08-16-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Death comes alive!"

    I really liked this book! It is a simple tale, told simply - much like "The Diary of Anne Frank" - and with an equally soul-moving message. Set in Nazi Germany in the early 40's - a time when the lines between love and hate were blurred like blood and dirt in a rainy gutter, in an era when allegances shifted like ashes in a hot wind, and in a place where sacrifice and survival were often amalgamated in the same basement bomb-shelter - this story resonates with a stirring message of human courage. And, in its own way, it's also a love story...the love of friends, of family, of neighbors, and even of perfect strangers.


    By using personified Death as a main character, and as the impartial observer of these events, "The Book Thief" transitions well beyond those horrible times/places, and reminds us NOT to let the pernicious slitherings of ego and prejudice constrict our minds, or strangle our higher knowledge of humanity and kindness. Our actions are never ordained - we have choices. The choices we make, however, can - and often do - determine our character...and possibly our fate.


    Oh, and this audiobook version was VERY well narrated! [Who would have thought that Death had a German accent???] The inflections were mostly neutral - it's DEATH, after all! - but there was such subtlety of nuance in his (Allan Corduner's) inflections that the character of Death...wait for it...really came alive!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shelly La Mesa, CA, United States 08-12-11
    Shelly La Mesa, CA, United States 08-12-11
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    "Surprised by some of these reviews!"

    I must say that I am surprised that some people are not able to understand and make heads or tales of the book. I have used the introductory chapter with my patients who have brain injury and stroke so that they can use their listening and deductive reasoning skills to decide "who" the narrator is and what they anticipate the book will be about. They all seem to "get it". I believe that perhaps people who are having difficulty trying to understand the book, maybe are trying it at a time when they cannot give it their full attention. I personally thought the book (which I also read on an e-reader), was an exceptional story. So well written, and I personally loved the uniqueness of prose. I think Mark Zusak could have gone overboard and missed the mark, but for me, that mark was RIGHT ON. The narrator was phenomenal!!!! I was so glad that I listened to this on audiobook and not just read it. I would have missed the humor that the narrator has in parts. The relationship between characters in the story was wonderful and so touching. I cried and I laughed and I cried and I laughed and I feel like I got every penny and more out of this book. Everyone I have recommended it to has felt the same special place in their heart for this book. This book has moved up to top 3 of my all time favorite novels. Bravo!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nvgolfdude Pacific Time Zone, USA 08-01-11
    nvgolfdude Pacific Time Zone, USA 08-01-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating and Creative"

    This is a great creative approach to a tough subject. The narrator provides a unique perspective and casts an unusual predawn light on the entire story. The characters are all individuals driven not only swept by the times but also driven by their personnas. I've read it twice already and highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Irvine, CA, United States 07-21-11
    Wayne Irvine, CA, United States 07-21-11 Member Since 2009

    Mountain biking, surfing, skiing, literature, philosophy, psychology, theology and my ipod.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Heart-wrenching, heart-warming"

    It doesn't take long to care about Liesel Meminger who is the heart and soul of this story (don't let the introduction discourage you).

    Flashes of Diary of Anne Frank in this story.

    Her love for books, even to the point of "stealing" them builds a deeper bond. That this story is told by Death is a unique and clever way to present Death as a more compassionate entity than Life, especially given the trials and tribulations of Liesel and those around her.

    It is not as profound as it could have been (Max's book within a book had much greater potential for allegory), but the character of Liesel more than makes up for it. Liesel's love is a testimony of morality under ultimate pressure, and her love of books is further testimony to the magic of books. Above all, this is a profoundly spiritual book.

    This book is for all time, and for all ages. Bravo, Markus, and thank you for such a gift as Liesel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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