Featured Book

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any fiction books or series that do not fit into one of the other categories. If the fiction book fits into one the other categories, please use that category instead.

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Post Number:#1  Postby Maud Fitch » 02 Oct 2011, 20:40

Although there are many references to this book by Forum members, I can't find a dedicated thread.
You may like to read my thoughts on the subject - and post your own comments.
(Note: Contains short quotes from various chapters but no plot spoilers).

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak is a superb book or a depressing read depending on how I felt when I picked it up. The concept of fantasy and WWII Nazi occupation in Germany is a clever one because who better to narrate this harrowing tale than ever-present Death himself.

Liesel Meminger is an absorbing creation, like a candle in the dark, she moves through a grim world which Zusak barely needs to describe because I have vivid images already in my mind from other sources. This doesn’t make it any the less graphic, emotionally torturous or twisted rather like Max “his body felt like it was being screwed up into a ball.”

Young Liesel finds a book in the snow and it's her first act of book thievery. There are moments of humour although any joy is quickly dismantled. There is a Liesel moment I interpreted as joy which is both subtle and understated until I remembered comparison text earlier in the book:

The Next Temptation, page 489, “This time there were biscuits. But they were stale. They were Kipferl left over from Christmas and they’d been sitting on the desk for at least two weeks. Like miniature horse-shoes with a layer of icing sugar, the ones on the bottom were bolted to the plate. The rest were piled on top, forming a chewy mound. She could already smell them when her fingers tightened on the window ledge. The room tasted like sugar and dough and thousands of pages.”

Then earlier in The Flag, page 13, “Within minutes, mounds of concrete and earth were stacked up and piled. The streets were ruptured veins. Blood streamed till it was dried on the road and the bodies were stuck there, like driftwood after the flood. They were glued down, every last one of them.” At least Liesel gets to share the biscuits with her friend Rudy.

The Duden Dictionary and Death’s entries are almost tiny stories in themselves. And there are chapters I can’t read without tears. I get the feeling many Jewish family memories have been poured into this book as a tribute. On pages 299-300, Zusak writes almost biographically “Originally Max had intended to write his own story. The idea was to write about everything that had happened to him – all that had lead him to a Himmel Street basement – but it was not what came out. Max’s exile produced something else entirely. It was a collection of random thoughts and he chose to embrace them. They felt true.”

I would recommend “The Book Thief” to people of strong, determined constitutions because this book will linger on your mind. Zusak reinforces the fact that it was a truly terrible time in human history and that both good and bad elements of human nature are never defeated until Death arrives. As Death said “Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die.” However, I do think the opposite of that is true.
"Every story has three sides to it - yours, mine and the facts" Foster Meharny Russell
User avatar
Maud Fitch
 
Posts: 2735
Joined: 28 Feb 2011, 23:05
Location: Queensland Australia
Favorite Author: Jasper Fforde
Favorite Book: The Eyre Affair

Did you know?
 
Once you join the forums and log in you will get to enjoy a very ad-reduced experience. It's easy and completely free!

Re: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Post Number:#2  Postby Fran » 03 Oct 2011, 05:03

As ever Maud you do a brilliant review. Loved this book & I'm so glad you too found chapters you couldn't read without tears ... I cried buckets over this book & I have read many a Holocaust themed book.
As you say The Book Thief is one of those books that once read will linger in the mind long after the book has been returned to the library.
"The trouble is, you think you have time." Buddha
User avatar
Fran
Moderator
 
Posts: 23381
Joined: 10 Aug 2009, 12:46
Location: Ireland
Favorite Author: David Mitchell
Favorite Book: Anna Karenina

Re: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Post Number:#3  Postby Gannon » 10 Oct 2011, 03:13

Its in my top ten favourite books of all time. :)
If you are not having fun......then what is the point.
User avatar
Gannon
 
Posts: 10170
Joined: 17 May 2009, 01:48
Location: Queensland, Australia
Favorite Author: Colleen McCullough
Favorite Book: Pillars of the Earth

Re: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Post Number:#4  Postby Geneen Karstens » 19 Oct 2011, 15:38

I agree with Fran. I could not improve on your commentary for T he Book Thief. It's been a while since I read it and it's one of my favorite books. Others in that vein are Mila 18 and QBVII by Leon Uris. Sarah's Key is another one to bring tears to your eyes and makes you wonder about man's inhumanity to man.
Geneen Karstens
 
Posts: 6341
Joined: 03 Apr 2011, 20:02

Re: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Post Number:#5  Postby Fran » 19 Oct 2011, 15:55

Geneen Karstens wrote:I agree with Fran. I could not improve on your commentary for T he Book Thief. It's been a while since I read it and it's one of my favorite books. Others in that vein are Mila 18 and QBVII by Leon Uris. Sarah's Key is another one to bring tears to your eyes and makes you wonder about man's inhumanity to man.


Have you read The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell? IMO a brilliant if disturbing read.
"The trouble is, you think you have time." Buddha
User avatar
Fran
Moderator
 
Posts: 23381
Joined: 10 Aug 2009, 12:46
Location: Ireland
Favorite Author: David Mitchell
Favorite Book: Anna Karenina

Re: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Post Number:#6  Postby Geneen Karstens » 19 Oct 2011, 17:13

Fran wrote:
Geneen Karstens wrote:I agree with Fran. I could not improve on your commentary for T he Book Thief. It's been a while since I read it and it's one of my favorite books. Others in that vein are Mila 18 and QBVII by Leon Uris. Sarah's Key is another one to bring tears to your eyes and makes you wonder about man's inhumanity to man.


Have you read The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell? IMO a brilliant if disturbing read.



No I haven't but i'm putting it on my list to read. Thanks.
Geneen Karstens
 
Posts: 6341
Joined: 03 Apr 2011, 20:02

Re: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Post Number:#7  Postby Hannellene » 21 Oct 2011, 03:32

Zusak shows us how small defiances and unexpectedly courageous acts remind us of our humanity.
Hannellene
 
Posts: 77
Joined: 07 Sep 2011, 03:11
Location: New York

Re: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Post Number:#8  Postby Maud Fitch » 31 Oct 2011, 02:26

Hannellene wrote:Zusak shows us how small defiances and unexpectedly courageous acts remind us of our humanity.


How very true. I just wish we humans would learn from our mistakes in the past.
"Every story has three sides to it - yours, mine and the facts" Foster Meharny Russell
User avatar
Maud Fitch
 
Posts: 2735
Joined: 28 Feb 2011, 23:05
Location: Queensland Australia
Favorite Author: Jasper Fforde
Favorite Book: The Eyre Affair

Re: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Post Number:#9  Postby Va_treehugger » 28 Nov 2011, 01:01

Enjoyed the book very much. It wasn't mainstream. It was very different. The choice of narrator was excellent.
User avatar
Va_treehugger
 
Posts: 253
Joined: 07 Jan 2011, 02:46

Re: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Post Number:#10  Postby Redlegs » 12 Jan 2012, 05:30

An absolute corker of a book; one of my very favourites. Don't mind admitting I cried too - but I also laughed a little.
User avatar
Redlegs
 
Posts: 572
Joined: 12 Jan 2012, 05:08
Location: South Australia
Favorite Book: Lord of the Rings

Re: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Post Number:#11  Postby sweetpea » 15 Jan 2012, 17:44

I finished The Book Thief this morning. Humorous and heartbreaking.
User avatar
sweetpea
 
Posts: 64
Joined: 02 Jan 2012, 18:06
Location: Ireland
Favorite Author: Ransom Riggs
Favorite Book: Miss Peregrines Home 4 Peculiar Children

Re: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Post Number:#12  Postby bookworm137 » 22 Jan 2012, 17:52

I've just joined onlinebookclub and the first thing I looked for was a discussion on The Book Thief. As you said it stays with you. After reading this I found myself haunted by it (much like Liesel and Death). It is a brilliant read heartwarming, devestating and unputdownable(!) I was hooked from the very first line "Here is a small fact : YOU ARE GOING TO DIE" ,what an opener! This is one of the most compelling books I have ever read. Zusak describes scenes and feelings in a very unique and out-of-the-box way. The characters are so well written and lovable. I could rave about this book forever. A must read.
User avatar
bookworm137
 
Posts: 1
Joined: 22 Jan 2012, 17:33

Re: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Post Number:#13  Postby Maud Fitch » 06 Mar 2012, 04:05

bookworm137 wrote:I've just joined onlinebookclub and the first thing I looked for was a discussion on The Book Thief. As you said it stays with you. After reading this I found myself haunted by it (much like Liesel and Death). It is a brilliant read heartwarming, devestating and unputdownable(!) I was hooked from the very first line "Here is a small fact : YOU ARE GOING TO DIE" ,what an opener! This is one of the most compelling books I have ever read. Zusak describes scenes and feelings in a very unique and out-of-the-box way. The characters are so well written and lovable. I could rave about this book forever. A must read.


Nicely said, and so true.
"Every story has three sides to it - yours, mine and the facts" Foster Meharny Russell
User avatar
Maud Fitch
 
Posts: 2735
Joined: 28 Feb 2011, 23:05
Location: Queensland Australia
Favorite Author: Jasper Fforde
Favorite Book: The Eyre Affair

Re: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Post Number:#14  Postby wafeeqa » 06 Mar 2012, 13:48

I had to do a book review on a book written in the last decade and by pure luck I stumbled onto the book thief. I got so absorbed in Liesl's life that my assignment lay forgotten until the book was finished. I will definitely be reading it again. Brilliant!
User avatar
wafeeqa
 
Posts: 1
Joined: 06 Mar 2012, 12:53

Re: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Post Number:#15  Postby Cnc_theft_auto » 26 Apr 2012, 16:09

I started reading this a few days ago after lots of hype at my school, but I find the writing style a little plain and boring. To me the story progression is slow, although I have only read about 40 pages so far...does the rest of the book get any better? I'm going to read it anyway, but I just want to know what I'm getting into.
"Desperation is your enemy's best weapon." - Me
User avatar
Cnc_theft_auto
 
Posts: 879
Joined: 26 Mar 2011, 04:53
Location: Victoria, Australia
Favorite Author: Robert Muchamore
Favorite Book: Hunger Games Trilogy

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Navigation

Return Home » Books and Reading » Reviews and Discussions about Specific Books and Series » Other Fiction Forum