Read-Along: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (Final Discussion)

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This is the last update for the Book Thief read-along! You would think that I would finally be able to spell it correctly when typing, but nope, the ‘e’ always seems to come before the ‘i’ … I’m constantly backspacing!

I will be posting a non-spoilery review at some point on the blog, so just so you’re aware — there are spoilers below!

Random thoughts from this week:

  • I had NO idea how much work went into preparing paint back then. Can you imagine if Home Depot had to go through all that trouble to mix paint and match colours? They must be happy with their machines!
  • I love that Liesel picked A Song in the Dark mainly because she didn’t have a book that was green. It sounds like how I shop! I also love that the mayor’s wife really was leaving the window open for Liesel to get a new book. I mean, how sweet is that?
  • Liesel’s reading brings comfort and distraction to the people in the cellar as the bombs go off. And that Frau Holtzapfel wanted Liesel to keep reading the story to her. Though she’s still rude!

“Once in a while a man or a woman–no, they were not men and women; they were Jews”

  • Oh my god – Hans! I can’t even imagine how it would feel during the parade of Jews, to not be able to help them. I felt for Hans as he went out there with bread, but knew that there would be consequences. I was kind of shocked that there weren’t MORE consequences for what he had done, but I think living with the fear that something could come was enough.

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.” Papa’s hands tightened on the splintery wood. “I’m an idiot.”
No, Papa.
You’re just a man.

  • One of the nice things about having Death as the narrator is that we can be with any character. We don’t just get Liesel’s perspective, but we get to see what’s happening in the city, what’s happening with Rudy, etc.

“It’s lucky you’re going to the war … Otherwise I’d kill you myself, you know that, don’t you?”

  • Gotta love Rosa.
  • I really liked Max’s story. The power of words can be enough to change the world.
  • I found myself missing Max and sorry that he had to go. I was also missing Hans, but liked that we could get his story. Only a man like Hans would get sent to the army for helping a Jew and then have his life miraculously saved like that.

“Tell me, Rosa, how she can sit there ready to die while I still want to live.” The blood thickened. “Why do I want to live? I shouldn’t want to, but I do.”

  • Liesel writing a story was brilliant. Is her story supposed to be the life bits of her story we’ve read in The Book Thief?
  • I love the friendship forged between Ilsa and Liesel. Let’s use the front door.
  • I think the book ended on a perfect note, with the end of Liesel’s life and how Death is haunted by humans. And Max … Max! Oh my. I’m so glad that happened.

I have hated the words and
I have loved them, 
and I hope I have made them right. 

Final thoughts: 

While this wasn’t my favourite book (much to the shagrin of those who love it!), I did really enjoy reading The Book Thief. I was actually quite taken with the writing of the book — that is, the actual words used for sentences. They just flowed so beautifully, some of them, and it was nice to see beauty come from a narrator like Death. Naturally, the subject matter is hard, but I do think it’s a necessary book for people to read.

It’s terrible, it’s beautiful … what else can be said?

Upon finishing, I couldn’t help thinking about a song I wrote YEARS back called The End of the World … you can listen to it and download it for free HERE.

Big thanks to Suey and company for hosting the read-along! I’m very happy to have FINALLY gotten to this one after it sat on my shelf for years. I can’t say I’d ever revisit the story, but I can definitely see why it’s both award-winning and a winner in the eyes of readers.

For more information on this read-along visit Suey’s blog!

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10 thoughts on “Read-Along: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (Final Discussion)

  1. Glad you’ve finally got around to this one. I loved it – I was one of those that raved about it 😉
    Theoretical question – do you think your enjoyment was impacted by the build up and constant rave reviews? I usually find if a book has been so built up it’s too much pressure! I find I either have to get in early, or wait a while for it all to die down before I start…

    • I think by this point the hype has died down — especially since the book has been out for a while. Really, it’s one of those books that people will be raving about for years, so I don’t think anyone could go into it without someone else jumping all over them with their thoughts of how amazing it is. I did go into it with an open mind and have read books about Nazi Germany in the past and still think that it was a very well-written book and quite enjoyable, but when it comes to rating it based on pure enjoyment, I would say that it wouldn’t be a mindblowing read for me. But it was very good, I’ll give it that.

  2. I have the hardest time spelling, too! Glad I’m not the only one. 🙂
    I just loved everyone there at the end of the book. I was glad Rosa could lighten it up a little. It’s such an interesting book. Not what I expected but still good. I love how you sum it up: It’s terrible, it’s beautiful. So true!
    Thanks for reading along with us. 🙂

  3. I am definitely curious about this book now that there is a movie coming out. But I am just not sure it is for me. The Midnight Garden is also doing a read-a-long for this and I was thinking about taking part. We shall see!

    • When I think about the books you read, I’m not sure if it’d be one for you … I think you’d have to be in a certain mood to read it. And it’s a book that you really should take your time reading. It can be a little frustrating in the beginning!

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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