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Extended Audio Sample The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00000332069256 out of 54.00000332069256 out of 54.00000332069256 out of 54.00000332069256 out of 54.00000332069256 out of 5 4.00 (301,142 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Markus Zusak Narrator: Allan Corduner Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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"The Book Thief" is an outstanding young adult novel set in Germany during 1939-1943 and follows the life of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl, as she endures a poverty-ridden existence. Liesel has never known her father and is turned over to a foster family by her mother, along with her young brother. After the death of her brother, she resorts to stealing.

A lover of books, she not only steals them for herself, but she shares them with others while enduring the bombing air raids of World War II. One of the people who read Liesel's stolen books is a Jew who has taken refuge in her basement.

Liesel's brother dies on the train as they head to their new foster parents' home. It is there where Death, the narrator of the novel, initially rubs elbows with Liesel, who is nine years old. Death watches her steal the book lying by her brother's grave, a book entitled "The Gravedigger's Handbook." The novel presents two viewpoints. One is that of Liesel as she struggles in war-torn Germany, surrounded by maimed humanity, starvation and dying men, women and children. The other viewpoint is that of Death personified, who becomes a unique figure with whom listeners identify in a kind of way that never becomes morbid or depressing.

Award-winning author Markus Zusak is an Australian writer. As a young person, he heard stories about Nazi Germany and the Jews who lived in his mother's home town in Germany.

Inspired to tell the stories and let the world know that not every German boy and girl, man and woman followed the dictates of evil leaders, Zusak has shown another side of Nazi Germany.

Zusak has received many awards such as a 2006 Printz Honor for excellence in young adult literature and the Book Sense Book of the Year Award in Children's Literature, 2007.

He currently lives in Sydney, where he continues to write.

The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that is now a major motion picture, Markus Zusak’s unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.

It is 1939 in 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Brilliant and hugely ambitious…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.”


  • “An extraordinary narrative.”

    School Library Journal (starred review)

  • “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.”

    Horn Book (starred review)

  • “Elegant, philosophical, and moving…Beautiful and important.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • Nominated for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award
  • Winner of the National Jewish Book Award in 2007
  • A 2007 Book Sense Book of the Year
  • A 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book
  • A 2007 ALA Top Book
  • A 2010 Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Alison Fontenot | 2/18/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book. Written in a very unique way with Death as the narrator. I typically like books about survival, & this one hit the nail on the head. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jenny Roberts | 2/17/2014

    " Loved the perspective from which it was written. Keep this in mind when reading the book - it gives a different dimension to the story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Monika | 1/23/2014

    " Narrated by death...great experience ....different and fresh. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Renee | 1/10/2014

    " Was beautiful, really interesting to read a WW2 story from a different perspective. Really powerfully written, the skipping all over the place was a bit confusing but blew me away with some of the imagery as well. "

  • > Show All
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