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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 (9186 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kirsten United States 01-28-12
    Kirsten United States 01-28-12 Listener Since 2009
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    "Wunderlich!"

    Beautifully read with little German accents for the characters but not for the narrator. This book tells the story of a girl's life beginning with the train ride to her new home with foster parents. The narrator is Death, who is a rather sympathetic fellow. It is set in a small town in Germany at the start of the Nazi reign. It was interesting hear a story of this time and place about a Christian family although a Jewish man hidden in their basement is a big part of it. The story deals with a lot of death but really about the strength and resilience found in people. The astonishing evil but also the bravery, kindness and goodness in ordinary people. The children find immense joy from tiny things. It made me cry, but overall I found it uplifting. Most of the characters are lovable and funny and their story is fascinating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Winkie 01-17-12
    Winkie 01-17-12 Member Since 2010
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    "One of my all-time favorites"

    This is my second time through the book. I read it in hardcover the first time and enjoyed it just as much in audio form. It's a touching novel filled with the most creative use of words and imagery. While a book narrated by Death during WWII may sound depressing, I found the story filled with hope and compassion. This book is on my top 10 list of all time favorites. A must read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamd 01-06-12
    Pamd 01-06-12
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    "Excellent in every way."

    The story, the writing and the performance make this easily one of my favorite audiobooks. As soon as it was finished, I listened to it again. After a second listen, I purchased the book and am now reading it. Markus Zusak is a wonderful writer and Allan Corduner delivers him well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle 12-30-11
    Michelle 12-30-11 Member Since 2010
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    "My top audible pick of 2011"

    Of all the books read over the course of 2011 (and there have been many), this is my top pick. Memorable, haunting, and enchanting. One of my new all-time favorites. Beautiful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherri 12-09-11
    Sherri 12-09-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A great listen"
    Where does The Book Thief rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    I've listened to a lot of books and this one is high on my list of favorites.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story has a unique way of being told. It's very clever and interesting. The story will make you laugh, sit on the edge of your seat, and cry...


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

    There were so many moments in this book that struck me. When we're taught about Germany during WWII we're not always told about how the German people (whether or not they were part of the Nazi party) struggled to survive and how difficult life was for them. This story brings that home.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarena Garrison, NY, United States 12-01-11
    Sarena Garrison, NY, United States 12-01-11 Member Since 2004

    I'm the author of the book "Bronx DA" and an attorney.

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    "One of the Best Books I've Ever Read"

    This is one of those rare books that you wish would never end and want to start the second you finish it. It's really one of the best books I've ever read (heard). The story is fascinating and so unique. The perspective is totally out of the box. The narrator was perfect. Can't say enough good things about this book. I'm going to buy it in print just so I can savor it more, but the audio book is near perfect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    honora berwyn, PA, United States 11-30-11
    honora berwyn, PA, United States 11-30-11 Member Since 2010
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    "The kid won my heart"

    Great story & narration. You even identified with Death. It was a point of view from WWII that I had never heard before. I loved her family and Max.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Livermore, CA, United States 11-27-11
    Nancy Livermore, CA, United States 11-27-11 Member Since 2001

    Nancy from Mines Road

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    "A new look at some old book topics"

    As I started listening, I was thinking "World War II and the grim reaper as the narrator, that's SO been done before." But I soon found myself engrossed in the characters, the beautiful storytelling, and even the transporter of dead souls has a heart. It's a look at common German people in a small village suffering through the war. I won't forget this one soon.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JWM United States 11-19-11
    JWM United States 11-19-11
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    "amazing power of words"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Book Thief to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the book yet, but after listening I will surely buy me a copy. It's an enthralling story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I liked Liesl, but my heart goes out to Hans Hubermann.


    What about Allan Corduner’s performance did you like?

    Allan Corduner has a pleasant voice to listen to. Using german accents is a bit to much for me though.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Book Thief and why?

    A difficult question to answer, there are so many characters opting for the position. If must be then I vote for papa.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a story not only for teens or young adults. I can recommend this book for all adults.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scarpenter Woodland, CA, United States 11-15-11
    Scarpenter Woodland, CA, United States 11-15-11 Member Since 2011

    Prize-winning Poet, Composer and Lyricist.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Book Thief: Study of Shadow and Light"

    The Book Thief is decidedly dark, set in a dark time, and a dark place: Nazi Germany during World War II. The narrator is a character as well, though an unusual one. I'm still not certain he has any "form" to speak of, or at least not one in this plane of existence. All that being said, The Book Thief has amazing moments of utter hilarity, and lighter moments of just living life along with very dark, and very secret things: "I have a Jew in my basement" is something never said aloud, but a good example of the last.

    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is an amazing, and astonishing story. Most books written about World War II have specific heroes and villains: on both sides. However, in the Book Thief, the reader/listener (unabridged) is introduced, or sometimes re-introduced, to childhood again. While the situation of WWII is felt deeply by the child followed by the narrator, she is still a child with a child's view of a child sized world. Mr. Zusak managed to capture the nearly utter lack of information many children had and have about the true nature of what is happening (e.g. a war has broken out and their country is involved) in a way that is immediately believable and I found to be recognizable. The narrator, on the other hand a character as well, is studiously the opposite of a child. He is quite world-weary. The audio book's narrator Allan Corduner does a fantastic job; neither awkward nor overbearing, his reading flawless, and a beautiful voice to listen to. I was surprised and enthralled by the story, and grateful for such a good narrator.

    I have not read (only listened to) this book myself, so it is an unusual case for me. Normally, I like to read a book before I get it on audio. However, since a friend gifted it to me, I got to have this experience, and with this particular book, it works resoundingly well. It is quite long, some 13+ hours, but I found myself rushing on and on in it, unable to stop listening as much as I am often unable to put down a really good book. The type you even take to the bathroom with you, and out again. The type you give up an otherwise good night's sleep for, and have no regrets over. I would recommend it to friends who aren't afraid of dark fiction.

    This book is about a child, but as a parent, I would want to read/listen to it myself before handing it over to my child. On the other hand, had I found my child reading it, I would have been ultimately pleased; depending on how old my child was at the time. So, follow the guidelines if you are concerned about such things, and when all else fails, read it yourself first. I doubt you'll regret it, whether you view it as something for your child or not.



    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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