The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

bookIt’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.

I have come to a point in my life long journey through books that I truly enjoy the book that it out of the norm… you know, an author who takes an idea out of left field and molds it into a tale that tantalized the brain, that stimulates the outer reaches of your mind…..this is such a tale…. and this is exactly what drew me to The Book Thief.

Yet another book that waited patiently on my book shelf.  I am sure it was the title that interested me first.  It has to do with books…. and not only that, but a main character with a strong desire of needing to steal books.  Interesting…

But that’s not all!  Flip the book over and you find out it is told from the perspective of Death.  Now that’s different….  and why not?  Screwtape letters is told from the perspective of a Demon.

In recent weeks I stated seeing this book pop on on book sites that I frequent with messages like, “Book Clubs are raving!” and “The extraordinary best seller“….  and so I pulled this treasure off my book shelf and read the first 30 pages before suggesting it to the Bookies as our April read.  It won the vote.  So here we are, the Bookies all reading The Book Thief and I, now 333 pages into this 552 page book, am hoping they are finding it as stimulating as I am.

Like I said earlier, it is written from the perspective of Death.  And in this case, Death has taken an interest in a young girl who’s brother had died and she, Liesel, is now under the care of foster parents… it is 1939.  Nazi, Germany and Hitler is in his full reign.  As Death narrates the story, sometimes jumping ahead to share the long-term (or in some cases short term) outcome of people in Liesel’s life, I become so entangled in the weave that I often forget the narrator and his role.

Deeply and well written, I find the book fascinating and I can get the feel of the times, the level of poverty, the act of stealing just to be fed…. even if that feeding is in the form of literature.  I can relate to that and can not imagine what a life would be like not having the written word available to you freely.  I too, can relate to the desperation of our Book Thief.

So – as I have said, I am not done reading the book.  I have 200+ more pages to go and am glad of it.  I will report back at the completion of this read, and again after the last review of the Bookies in April.

Today – March 30th, moments ago… I completed this book.  I have to say – I really enjoyed the read.  It is nothing like I have read before and I loved the story line.  The book was beautifully written and I am still sitting here in high respect for Markus Zusak’s style in which he wrote a book that as of this date is my favorite of the year, perhaps in my top 10 of all time reads.  It is not often you find a treasure when you have so much book stuff already in your head….

but I think I did.

I am excited to do the review on April 14th with the Bookies to hear their thoughts.

Update April 14th:  tonight’s book review was fantastic!  I love hearing everyone’s thoughts and takes from the book.  It was interesting to discuss our narrator, Death as a creäture with feelings.  Angie even pointed out that on page 328 Death even has hope.   Our ratings were all over the board.  We had a couple lows of a 1 and a 2 and a few middle of the road 3’s and several high 4’s as well as a couple 5’s.  The difference in our opinions on this book made such a  great review and made me thankful for each and every girl who is a part of the Bookies.  I am blessed to be a part of them!

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