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The Book Thief
 
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The Book Thief [Unabridged] [Audible Audio Edition]

by Markus Zusak (Author), Allan Corduner (Narrator)
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15,868 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

"It's just a small story, really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery...."

This novel is narrated in the all-knowing, matter-of-fact voice of Death, who witnesses the story of the citizens of Molching.

When nine-year-old Liesel arrives outside the boxlike house of her new foster parents at 33 Himmel Street, she refuses to get out of the car. Liesel has been separated from her parents, "Kommunists", forever, and at the burial of her little brother, she steals a gravedigger's instruction manual, which she can't read. It is the beginning of her illustrious career.

In the care of the Hubermans, Liesel befriends blond-haired Rudy Steiner, a neighbour obsessed with Jesse Owens, and the mayor's wife, who hides from despair in her library. Together, Liesel and Rudy steal books - from Nazi book-burning piles, from the mayor's library, from the rich people for whom her foster mother does the ironing. In time, they take in a Jewish boxer, Max, who reads with Liesel in the basement.

By 1943, the Allied bombs are falling, and the sirens begin to wail. Liesel shares her books in the air-raid shelters. But one day in the life of Himmel Street, the wail of the sirens comes too late.

A life-changing tale of the cruel twists of fate and the coincidences on which all our lives hinge, this is also a joyous look at how books can nourish the soul. Its uplifting ending will make listeners weep.

©2006 Markus Zusak; (P)2014 Random House AudioBooks

Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 14 hours
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Random House AudioBooks
  • Audible.com Release Date: December 29, 2006
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000MZHSYO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15,868 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1,370 of 1,418 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Story June 12, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Liesel Meminger is a Book Thief, living with a foster family in Germany during World War Two. Torn from everything she's known, her foster father shows her the power of words as the two of them share late night reading sessions of The Grave Digger's Handbook. Her love of books ties her to others, including the mayor's wife and Max, the Jew the family hides in the basement.

My own words escape me as I try to recount the beauty of this book in a short review. Rarely have I read a book as moving, as profound, as this one. Narrated by Death, this story is one that crawls under your skin and reverberates your soul with its images of Nazi Germany, friendship, and loss. The images stirred through Death's telling are so vivid, so wonderful, so tragic. Zusak has a masterful command of language and I was astounded by the way his words brought Liesel and her world to life. We follow Liesel over the years as she learns the true meaning of family through her caring new Papa and her friendships with Max and Rudy, the boy next door who idolizes Jesse Owens.

Just a small list of images that will stay with me forever:

+Liesel reading to the neighbors sitting terrified in a basement waiting for the bombs to fall around them

+A snowball fight in a basement

+Mama arriving at school to "yell" at Liesel

+A boy with candlelit hair standing up to a Nazi Youth Leader

+Death gathering up the souls of children softly

+The story of a Word Shaker

+An accordian player accepting a cigarette as payment

There are not enough words within me to express the beauty of this book. It will move you to laughter and tears, often at the same time. This one is a keeper that I will revisit frequently in the future. It has changed my soul. Highly, highly, highly recommended.
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1,266 of 1,328 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book deserves more than 5 March 23, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am not going to tell the plot of this book yet again, Amazon and some other reviewers have done it quite well...I will tell you that this is an astounding book, a beautiful book, and a book that I know I will read again and again......

I read a lot, two to three books a week, my family makes fun that I "love" so many that I read...but in the past few years there have only been a handful of books that when I finish reading the book I sit and try to think of who I can send a copy to, who can I share this wonderful experience with. A book that when I finish, I want to go back to the beginning and start over.

I am a little sorry it is listed as a young adult book, I feel that if the bookstores put it in the young adult section, so many people will be missing out on a wonderful experience. Yet it is important that younger readers, high school readers, read this book too. When I was growing up, I remember reading Diary of Anne Frank, and the feelings I had when I read it...and understanding the importance of everyone reading that book. Well, this book is that important, this book is a must read.

I am going to go back and read this author's other book, I don't know how it can measure up to this one, but if it is half as good, I am in for a treat.
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990 of 1,060 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different, entertaining and heart breaking February 16, 2006
Format:Library Binding
This is a story told by Death. An interesting point of view perhaps, but as it is set in Germany during World War II, perhaps it is entirely appropriate. It is also a story of a young girl, who in spite of having a life that no one would wish on anyone, still manages to have glimpses of pleasure through many small things, including the few books that she manages to acquire (or shall we say, steal).

It is interesting to see that it appears to be targeted to young adult readers - please don't be put off by this - it is very much an adult story about children who are doing their best to live a normal life in times of unspeakable horror. It would also be a good way to introduce more mature readers to the history of the times. But be warned, it is quite confrontational at times, and considering who the narrator is, very sad.

To add extra punch to the story, it appears that it is the true story of the author's grandmother. When you consider this, you realise how truly resilient we humans are, and how occasionally, and with a bit of luck, we can hold off death for a time.
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548 of 590 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding March 17, 2006
Format:Hardcover
Very rarely a book comes out that steals my breath away. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak is a revelation. Narrated by Death, this story follows Leisel as she steals books in Nazi Germany while she and her best friend Rudy discover the power of words, language and friendship. Zusak's writing is mesmerizing; it's sarcastic, emotional, sophisticated and wondrous.

If you only read one book this year, read this one. Share it with your friends and family. I don't expect to read anything better this year, or next year either.
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175 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and Transforming for Any Age December 21, 2006
Format:Hardcover
I just finished this book last night and said to myself, "I should really read it again before I try to make comment" but, no, I want to share my reactions as spontaneously as possible.

There are hundreds of books in my house, but there is one bookshelf upstairs in a back bedroom which holds those special books: you know, the ones that have made such a profound impact on who you are and how you see the world that they are put aside in a place of honor. This will be one of those books for me.

This book is for adults, but it is also for teenagers. I think it is doing younger people a dis-service to think they could not relate to this book because the narrative style is challenging, the subject matter is doleful and/or because there are too many pages (oh, for heaven's sake!). Young people who like to read and like to think and like to feel will love this book as much as older folks like me. There is no need to dummy things down or sugarcoat them, especially when there is such a compelling story to be told.

One of the most powerful aspects of the book for me was the number of surprises. The book was not what I thought it would be and I was constantly astonished by:

1. the amazing stories that Max told and were re-created with tender illustrations inserted into the body of the book

2. the treatment of the German people as human beings, rather than "nasty Nazis" a la 1940's Hollywood. Although I like to see a "nasty Nazi" get his comeuppance as much as the next person, I found the lack of stereotypes in this book quite refreshing.

3. the imaginative use of language - it's just plain poetical at times. You get stopped short and have to read bits out loud because they are so darned beautiful and/or original.

4.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
The book pages are all there but the book is severely damaged from the back.
Published 3 hours ago by Jenny Vera
5.0 out of 5 stars captivating book, a definite page-turner
I loved the historic elements that were subtly but believably incorporated into this novel. A book about trust, love, heart-break and "book thieving". Read more
Published 5 hours ago by Ashley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very thought provoking! A real page turner!
Published 13 hours ago by Elizabeth V Foye
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book ever
I really enjoyed the Book Thief. Was a book hard to put down. Covered all the emotions including tears. Good read.
Published 16 hours ago by Sheila Holt
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
I had heard of this book and wanted to read it. When I started I was a little put off because of the format, however I decided to start it and see how it was. Read more
Published 17 hours ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read!
This book was incredibly moving. I laughed and cried repeatedly. The relationships between Liesel and her father, mother, Rudy, Max, and Ilsa were fantastically written. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars More than beautiful
A touching story of that (unfortunately rare) species: the good German. Thanks to Mr. Zusak for erecting a memorial to these strong, great people.
Published 1 day ago by J. H. Szalkay
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great story. Well written.
Published 1 day ago by Mystery Lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Memorable!
The Book Thief is now one of my favorite books. Wonderfully written, powerful story, gripping. Reading the enhanced movie edition was a new experience and terrific. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Jan P.
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful story!!! sad war!
Beautiful Story and well Writen which captivated ones attention and page turner. Thank you for writing this story. Brings back history to the reader.
Published 1 day ago by Ana L. Ordonez
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