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Extended Audio Sample The Book Thief Audiobook, by Markus Zusak Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00001328263793 out of 54.00001328263793 out of 54.00001328263793 out of 54.00001328263793 out of 54.00001328263793 out of 5 4.00 (301,145 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: September 2006 ISBN: 9780739337288
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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. 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. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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, May 14, 2006
    "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.
  • “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.”

    Time

  • “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
  • Winner of Printz Honors, 2007
  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • A 2010 Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 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 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 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 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elaine | 1/7/2014

    " All I can say is WOW! I can see why this received so many awards. I can hardly wait to discuss it with the book club. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzanne | 12/15/2013

    " The most beautifully written book I have read in a long time. Maybe ever. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paula | 12/11/2013

    " Loved it & it could become a classic. But it's not all happy-there are intensely sad moments as well. Wonderful read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine | 12/10/2013

    " I listened to the audio version which was really well done. I would like to read it to be able to mark some of the phrases and way the author says things. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine Crisler | 12/9/2013

    " I was surprised by the perspective this book is written from. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eb Conklin | 12/4/2013

    " I read this a year or so ago, but I loved it. I couldn't set it down. It makes you cry and would recommend it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie Barth Walczak | 11/12/2013

    " The second-best young adult literature with a capital L I've ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tanja Fussell | 10/10/2013

    " one of my faves of all time "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gina Durst | 8/30/2013

    " This is one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking stories about the Holocaust. The characters are amazing and the writing is flawless. I cried. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heidi Dawn | 8/27/2013

    " Wow. This is a short book but it doesn't read fast. It is so worth the read though- stick with it. I don't want to say much about it except that it really moved me. The style takes some getting used to and my advice is to savor the book and to not read it too fast. You will appreciate it much more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan Lambe | 7/29/2013

    " Still my favourite book ever. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debbie Raniere | 7/21/2013

    " Intense! Loved this well written, thought provoking , extremely sad book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Reese | 7/1/2013

    " Magnificently Tragic. <3 an amazing story with very detailed and lovable characters and the perfect narrator. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Miranda | 3/6/2013

    " 1 of the 3 books that have made me sob so hard i couldn't see what i was reading. very good very beautiful a+ "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brittany | 5/3/2012

    " I echo Walt Eddy's review. This book is at the top of my all-time favorite list. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tobin Deering | 3/2/2012

    " This book is a good book, an interesting story about the second world war from the point of view of a little girl (Liesel) who lives with an elderly couple the Hubermanns. It is a good story because you see what life as a girl during world war two would have been like "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sue G | 9/20/2011

    " an all time favourite - fantastic/emotive "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul Burton | 6/14/2011

    " Loved the book. Can't begin to describe it, but I finished the book after experiencing every emotion there is with, a tear in my eye. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cathy | 5/24/2011

    " I love love love this book!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather | 5/24/2011

    " Another unique narrator. This one if also popular in class and gives students a different outlook on history. As soon as I tell them the narrator is "death," they are into it. I loved reading this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Belinda | 5/23/2011

    " I have read 100s of books but I have never come across a book as original as this. I read it all in one day - I just couldn't put it down. The characters are so loveable, the storyline is so gripping, the writing is so unique, you can't possibly not enjoy this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret | 5/23/2011

    " I really loved this book. It is a not-so-typical WWII novel set in Germany, and narrated by Death. Though I was unsure if I would enjoy the narration by Death, I actually found it surprisingly touching. I adored the main character, Liesel, and didn't want the book to end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stacey | 5/23/2011

    " This book was brilliant. I could feel each characters emotion as if it were my own. If you haven't read this book yet, read it, now "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christy | 5/22/2011

    " I really like it although I have read many books centered around world war two and the holocaust and I have to say this wasn't my favorite "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dori | 5/22/2011

    " I love a good WWII story. I may have actually cried reading this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachal | 5/22/2011

    " An interesting book. I think it would have been better if it wasn't required reading though. "

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About the Author
Author Markus Zusak

Markus Zusak is the author of I Am the Messenger, winner of the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year in Australia; Fighting Ruben Wolfe, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; The Book Thief, a Printz Honor Book; and Getting the Girl. He lives in Sydney, Australia.

About the Narrator

Allan Corduner is a voice, film, and theater actor who has worked in London’s West End and on Broadway. He is the winner of five AudioFile Earphones Awards. He has also appeared in several BBC Radio 4 plays, including The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and Insignificance. His narration includes The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Garth Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom series.