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The Book Thief by [Markus Zusak]

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The Book Thief Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 33,407 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Brilliant and hugely ambitious…Some will argue that a book so difficult and sad may not be appropriate for teenage readers…Adults will probably like it (this one did), but it’s a great young-adult novel…It’s the kind of book that can be life-changing, because without ever denying the essential amorality and randomness of the natural order, The Book Thief offers us a believable hard-won hope…The hope we see in Liesel is unassailable, the kind you can hang on to in the midst of poverty and war and violence. Young readers need such alternatives to ideological rigidity, and such explorations of how stories matter. And so, come to think of it, do adults.” -New York Times

"
The Book Thief is unsettling and unsentimental, yet ultimately poetic. Its grimness and tragedy run through the reader's mind like a black-and-white movie, bereft of the colors of life. Zusak may not have lived under Nazi domination, but The Book Thief deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel's Night. It seems poised to become a classic." -USA Today

"Zusak doesn’t sugarcoat anything, but he makes his ostensibly gloomy subject bearable the same way Kurt Vonnegut did in 
Slaughterhouse-Five: with grim, darkly consoling humor.” -Time Magazine

"Elegant, philosophical and moving...Beautiful and important." -
Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"This hefty volume is an achievement...a challenging book in both length and subject..." -
Publisher's Weekly, Starred 

"One of the most highly anticipated young-adult books in years." -
The Wall Street Journal

"Exquisitely written and memorably populated, Zusak's poignant tribute to words, survival, and their curiously inevitable entwinement is a tour de force to be not just read but inhabited." -
The Horn Book Magazine, Starred

"An extraordinary narrative." -
SLJ, Starred

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

DEATH AND CHOCOLATE


First the colors.
Then the humans.
That's usually how I see things.
Or at least, how I try.


***HERE IS A SMALL FACT  ***
You are going to die.


I am in all truthfulness attempting to be cheerful about this whole topic, though most people find themselves hindered in believing me, no matter my protestations. Please, trust me. I most definitely can be cheerful. I can be amiable. Agreeable. Affable. And that's only the A's. Just don't ask me to be nice. Nice has nothing to do with me.


***Reaction to the  ***
AFOREMENTIONED fact
Does this worry you?
I urge you--don't be afraid.
I'm nothing if not fair.


--Of course, an introduction.
A beginning.
Where are my manners?
I could introduce myself properly, but it's not really necessary. You will know me well enough and soon enough, depending on a diverse range of variables. It suffices to say that at some point in time, I will be standing over you, as genially as possible. Your soul will be in my arms. A color will be perched on my shoulder. I will carry you gently away.
At that moment, you will be lying there (I rarely find people standing up). You will be caked in your own body. There might be a discovery; a scream will dribble down the air. The only sound I'll hear after that will be my own breathing, and the sound of the smell, of my footsteps.
The question is, what color will everything be at that moment when I come for you? What will the sky be saying?
Personally, I like a chocolate-colored sky. Dark, dark chocolate. People say it suits me. I do, however, try to enjoy every color I see--the whole spectrum. A billion or so flavors, none of them quite the same, and a sky to slowly suck on. It takes the edge off the stress. It helps me relax.


***A SMALL THEORY  ***
People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it's quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations, with each passing moment.
A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors.
Waxy yellows, cloud-spat blues. Murky darknesses.
In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.


As I've been alluding to, my one saving grace is distraction. It keeps me sane. It helps me cope, considering the length of time I've been performing this job. The trouble is, who could ever replace me? Who could step in while I take a break in your stock-standard resort-style vacation destination, whether it be tropical or of the ski trip variety? The answer, of course, is nobody, which has prompted me to make a conscious, deliberate decision--to make distraction my vacation. Needless to say, I vacation in increments. In colors.
Still, it's possible that you might be asking, why does he even need a vacation? What does he need distraction from?
Which brings me to my next point.
It's the leftover humans.
The survivors.
They're the ones I can't stand to look at, although on many occasions I still fail. I deliberately seek out the colors to keep my mind off them, but now and then, I witness the ones who are left behind, crumbling among the jigsaw puzzle of realization, despair, and surprise. They have punctured hearts. They have beaten lungs.
Which in turn brings me to the subject I am telling you about tonight, or today, or whatever the hour and color. It's the story of one of those perpetual survivors--an expert at being left behind.
It'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


I saw the book thief three times.


BESIDE THE RAILWAY LINE


First up is something white. Of the blinding kind.
Some of you are most likely thinking that white is not really a color and all of that tired sort of nonsense. Well, I'm here to tell you that it is. White is without question a color, and personally, I don't think you want to argue with me.


***A REASSURING ANNOUNCEMENT  ***
Please, be calm, despite that previous threat.
I am all bluster--
I am not violent.
I am not malicious.
I am a result.
Yes, it was white.


It felt as though the whole globe was dressed in snow. Like it had pulled it on, the way you pull on a sweater. Next to the train line, footprints were sunken to their shins. Trees wore blankets of ice.
As you might expect, someone had died.


They couldn't just leave him on the ground. For now, it wasn't such a problem, but very soon, the track ahead would be cleared and the train would need to move on.
There were two guards.
There was one mother and her daughter.
One corpse.
The mother, the girl, and the corpse remained stubborn and silent.
"Well, what else do you want me to do?"
The guards were tall and short. The tall one always spoke first, though he was not in charge. He looked at the smaller, rounder one. The one with the juicy red face.
"Well," was the response, "we can't just leave them like this, can we?"
The tall one was losing patience. "Why not?"
And the smaller one damn near exploded. He looked up at the tall one's chin and cried, "Spinnst du! Are you stupid?!" The abhorrence on his cheeks was growing thicker by the moment. His skin widened. "Come on," he said, traipsing over the snow. "We'll carry all three of them back on if we have to. We'll notify the next stop."
As for me, I had already made the most elementary of mistakes. I can't explain to you the severity of my self-disappointment. Originally, I'd done everything right:
I studied the blinding, white-snow sky who stood at the window of the moving train. I practically inhaled it, but still, I wavered. I buckled--I became interested. In the girl. Curiosity got the better of me, and I resigned myself to stay as long as my schedule allowed, and I watched.
Twenty-three minutes later, when the train was stopped, I climbed out with them.
A small soul was in my arms.
I stood a little to the right.
The dynamic train guard duo made their way back to the mother, the girl, and the small male corpse. I clearly remember that my breath was loud that day. I'm surprised the guards didn't notice me as they walked by. The world was sagging now, under the weight of all that snow.
Perhaps ten meters to my left, the pale, empty-stomached girl was standing, frost-stricken.
Her mouth jittered.
Her cold arms were folded.
Tears were frozen to the book thief's face.
--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B000XUBFE2
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Knopf Books for Young Readers; First edition (December 18, 2007)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ December 18, 2007
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 8797 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 177 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN ‏ : ‎ 1514347547
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 33,407 ratings

About the author

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Markus Zusak is the international bestselling author of six novels, including The Book Thief and most recently, Bridge of Clay. His work is translated into more than forty languages, and has spent more than a decade on the New York Times bestseller list, establishing Zusak as one of the most successful authors to come out of Australia.

All of Zusak’s books – including earlier titles, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, When Dogs Cry (also titled Getting the Girl), The Messenger (or I am the Messenger) – have been awarded numerous honours around the world, ranging from literary prizes to readers choice awards to prizes voted on by booksellers.

In 2013, The Book Thief was made into a major motion picture, and in 2018 was voted one of America’s all-time favourite books, achieving 14th position on the PBS Great American Read. Also in 2018, Bridge of Clay was selected as a best book of the year in publications ranging from Entertainment Weekly to the Wall Street Journal.

Markus Zusak grew up in Sydney, Australia, and still lives there with his wife and two children.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
33,407 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

david doherty
3.0 out of 5 stars Never really captivated!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 17, 2019
4 people found this helpful
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Quirky Opinions
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't think of a heading.
Reviewed in India on February 16, 2017
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Valerie L Pate
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lot of Love for Liesel...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 21, 2014
8 people found this helpful
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Victor Hugo
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a moving book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 6, 2021
Dawson
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 30, 2019
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