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
"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)
HANDS DOWN one of the best books I have EVER read-and I'm not a young adult!! I'm 49 and I LOVE this book and I LOVE Allan Corduner's narration. The most perfect marriage of story and narrator. Thank you Markus Zusak!!!!! You're a brilliant writer!!! Thank you Allan Corduner!!! You're an amazing story teller! I didn't want this book to end and when it did I cried because I missed it so badly. These characters feel like a part of me and I am a part of them. The story feels like a part of me and I'm a part of it. It was a profound experience.
At first I regretted getting such a dark book but not too far into the book that shifted as I connected and began to care about the characters. The humanizing of the challenges to being a German citizen in a time of fear and dehumanizing of Jews drew me in and kept me caring.
I loved this book. It is beautifully written with language that is so rich and descriptive it teases the imagination.
The point of view of this story--that of a young adolescent girl living outside Munich during the Nazi era was fascinating and oh-so believable. But what made the book truly compelling as an audio experience was the narration. Allan Corduner assumed the attitudes, the tone and the dialects in ways that made the characters come alive. I wonder if the book would have held the same drama without the spoken word. Reading Elsa spitting "Zaumensch!" as both an imprecation and an endearment would be difficult to convey read silently. The drama and intensity were best driven by the pace of the narration.
This book ranks in the top 5 reads for me.
Oh there are so many, but one that stands out is the story of how Hans Huberman and Max Vandenberg are connected and what risks Hans takes to keep his promise to Max's father.
The correct pronunciation of German words and the emotion Death as the narrator has. I thought his narration was fantasitic.
The Power of Words
I miss Leisel already and I just finished the book.
For me, the highlight of the story was the character development. Zusak created characters that I fell in love with and even a few that I disliked. Zusack also created an amazing atmosphere of what it must have been like to be a child living in Germany during WWII. He vividly portrayed the dichotomy of the uncertainty of war being brought to one's doorstep against the exuberance and resilience of a child. I also loved his lyrical writing, full of imagery and emotion.
I love that the story was peppered throughout with German words and expressions. It was nostalgic for me as if I was sitting in my grandmother's kitchen drinking apfel juice. The only thing is that my grandmother didn't call me saumensch (insult meaning female pig). I don't even think she called me a dummkopf the day they thought they'd lost me in the big city when I had just gone two blocks away to the playground without asking permission.
I was immersed in the emotions of the story. One minute I was giggling as I listened to Leisel and Rudy call each other saumensch and saukarl with every sentence. The next, I was wiping away tears from a heartbreaking part.
The narrator of the audiobook, Allan Corduner, added so much to the story. I could picture the square shaped wardrobe woman, Rosie, asking Leisel, "Are you alright, Saumensch?" I could picture Papa with his accordian. It was all due to Allan Corduner's rendition of their voices. His pauses and phrasing were great.
I highly recommend this book.
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.
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.
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.
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