Friday Favorites: The Book Thief

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
★★★★★ (I'd give it 6 stars if I could)

The first time I read The Book Thief, three years ago, I couldn't stop crying when I finished it. You might think that I wouldn't want to do that to myself again, but it's absolutely worth it. I couldn't put it down. I just finished rereading it and once again, as I read those final pages the waterworks started up.

The book is about a young orphaned girl named Liesel and it takes place in Germany during World War II. That being said, this book is like no other WWII book I've ever read. It's full of hope and love and humor. It is narrated by Death, but not in a creepy way, in a brilliant way. Who could possibly give you a better look at WWII than Death? 

The writing is what truly sets it apart. Zusak has a gift for saying simple things in a way that makes your heart ache. The story unfolds like a poem. He wrote the characters so well that I got goose bumps when I reread it, because it was like hearing from old friends. Liesel's best friend Rudy is loyal and sincere and her tough foster mother Rosa is more than meets the eye. A Jewish man named Max changes her life, but more than anyone else, Liesel's foster father Hans Hubermann stole my heart.

This is one of my favorite books I've ever read and one of the few that I universally recommend to people. I have yet to find anyone who hasn't loved it. I will never fully be able to explain the beauty of this story, but I would encourage anyone who hasn't read it to do you immediately!

 (Book Illustrations)

"I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race – that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and it's words and stories so damning and so brilliant." – Death

***Side note: If you listen to the audiobook make sure you look at a hard copy at some point. It includes a few illustrations that are important to the story.


Anonymous said...

love, love, loved it! Thanks so much for giving me this beautiful book. It is one of my favorites now as well. Love you.

These are two of my favorite quotes:
"She was the book thief without the words.
Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain."

"I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right."


Yvonne said...

Melissa, I agree totally with your opinion about this book. I also read it years ago and I still remember it vividly. Using Death as the narrator was brilliant! I have also given this title out to many and all have given it rave reviews.

Carl V. Anderson said...

I really should try to get to this in the fall. My wife loved it and I've enjoyed other writing of his that I've read in the past.

Allie said...

I loved, loved, LOVED this book. It is one of two books that have made me cry and I recommend it to everyone.

I got to meet Markus Zusak a couple of years ago at a signing. I was near the end of the line so we talked for about 10 minutes before his agent told me to go away. He was such a wonderful person to talk to!

LindyLouMac said...

I am ashamed to say that I have not read this one either, but it is now high on my Mt TBR and as we seem to have similar tastes your recommendation makes me want to get to it even quicker.

Meanwhile thanks for the visit and comment on my blog, always appreciated and to which I have now responded.

Shelley said...

I am one of the many lovers of this book! I basically love the powerful way he arranges words.

Jenners said...

Well done!!! It is such a lovely and special book, and I do think it needs to be READ .. not listened to.

Nadia said...

I absolutely love, love, love this book! It is one of my favorites reads of all time. I cried so much with this amazing book. I recommend it all the time. Great post!

Cat said...

i too would give it 6 stars. I read it in succession of reading, Time Travellers Wife & The Thirteenth Tale and was bewitched by all three. I also happened to be pregnant at the time and commuting to work 2 hours a day at least. I cannot tell you how very much I cried reading this book to the point where passengers on the train came and asked if I was ok. Markus Zusak was on a recent episode of the Australian show, "First Tuesday Book Club" and was very interesting. Check it out at YAY that you loved this too. :)

Anonymous said...

Great review. An all-time favorite. Question - what prompted you to re-read? just curious since I'm now starting to find books I hope to re-read someday and that used to never happen.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Allie - I'm so jealous right now. He's one author that I would just love to talk to. I heard him say once that he wrote The Book Thief as if he was writing someone's favorite book.

LindyLouMac - Read it, I think you'd love it!

Cat - Those are two more of my favorites! I also read The Book Thief and Thirteenth Tale back to back and loved them both. 2007 was an excellent reading year for me. In addition to those books, it was the first time I read Jane Eyre, anything by Neil Gaiman and Jhumpa Lahiri, We Need to Talk About Kevin and Bel Canto. I love it when that happens.

bkclubcare - I decided to re-read this one because it's been a few years since I read it and I saw so many reviews on other people's blogs I wanted to see if it still had the same effect one me... it did. I struggle with re-reading, because it seems like such an indulgence when there are so many books still to be read in the world.

Whitney said...

This book is so powerful, I loved it! I just reread this for my book club and thought it was better than I remembered it being.