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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

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Best tears and laughter!

This book is AMAZING, a true work of literary art. The words on the page itself are strong, but they are brought to life through the narration. The characters and their voices were so compelling and I can't wait to listen to this story again. Thank you for a new classic.

Side note: very helpful to listen to the book with all the German words and pronunciation. However, I would recommend a paperback copy as well- to see how the text is organized and the sketches, sample books, etc.

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A Beautiful Book

A magnificent book, beautifully narrated. Everyone should read this book. It is destined to be a classic. Unforgettable.

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  • Jen
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States
  • 07-12-15

delicious

right from the start I was overwhelmed by the author's style... the pairing of color and emotion was nothing short of a delicious treat for my ears. the narrator's voice is a perfect pairing... like chocolate with a rich red wine. the story is captivating and i especially love the persona of the "spirit" relaying the story. i know I will re-listen for years to come and add a hard copy to my library (reserved for only a select few).

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struggled to read

struggled to finish this one. I just couldn't get in to it. heard great things from others though

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Best story I've read

I completely enjoyed the write, weaving and and narration of this book. What a great perspective to give.

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A beautiful and heart rending book!

This book worked on every level: compelling and moving story, multi-dimensional characters, rich themes and great narration! Recommend to anyone who enjoys great fiction!

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The grim reaper as narrator. . .

What did you love best about The Book Thief?

I liked this book very much! I especially liked the vantage point of death and the connection he created with the little girl.

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Superior reading of a wonderful story.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Book Thief to be better than the print version?

I have encouraged all I know to listen to this book instead of reading it. The reader is terrific and I found I was always looking forward to listening every chance I got.

What other book might you compare The Book Thief to and why?

Perhaps All the Light We Cannot See because there were young female characters and it was narrated with great effect by each of the male readers.

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

I imagine the narrator as a living, breathing person with feelings.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was just totally involved.

Any additional comments?

Probably the best read I've had. Thank you.

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Death is priceless.

My favorite novel--the Screwtape Letters by C. s. Lewis--is presented from the perspective of a demon. In a similar fashion, Zusak has completely mesmerized my imagination from his humorous, horrific, and equally beautiful tale of The Book Thief, as Death shares his perspective of Liesel Meminger's life as a little orphaned girl growing up in Nazi Germany during WWII. Death's wit and take on the events somehow makes the read smoother than if presented from a human's perspective. A bit of humility was presented, which only added to the depth of Liesel's story. One you will certainly never forget!

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Extraordinary book

Absolutely unique take on a painful subject and the reader is absolutely brilliant. I had procrastinated over this book for a while and now I am at a loss as to why. Would highly recommend