It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who 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.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
Everyone knows this book. I have only read it now, and…
My God. I’m speechless.
Let me tell you, I’ve been trying to read this book on and off for at least two years now, but I’ve never gotten past the first chapter. It was too slow. It was mundane. I didn’t care about any of the characters, because the narrator was (rightfully) detached. I read I am the Messenger back in 2011, and wasn’t that impressed. I didn’t have very high hopes for The Book Thief, since its premise was less appealing to me. Even when I finally did start reading it (really reading it, that is), it took me a long time to get through. I felt I had to let myself digest the book and think about what was happening. I’ve often praised books for being “unputdownable,” but being a book that requires constant relinquishment is even rarer.
This was a story about a time that was tragic. Everyone experienced pain. Everyone struggled. I didn’t want to read about that. I’ve studied these events years ago from a historical perspective. What else did I need to know?
This book was worth it. It was heart-wrenching. I never would have persevered and appreciated the beauty of this book on my own. I only read it because so many people had urged me to give it another (and yet another after that x5) chance. So that’s what I’m telling you now: The Book Thief may not seem like the type of book to interest you. But you must give it another chance.
- The Book Thief (movie—apparently it’s very true to the book)
- The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
- The History of Love – Nicole Krauss
- On the Jellicoe Road – Melina Marchetta (orphans, hard lives, love, tragedy)
- The Pianist – Wladyslaw Szpilman
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky (words, words, words)