"A house without books is like a room without windows." -Horace Mann

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak

I got this book as a gift a Christmas or two ago and devoured it, which is probably why it came to mind now, so soon after the holidays.  The title itself was one I couldn't resist.  From the very moment I started reading, I was hooked.  Its hard not to be mesmerized when you figure out that the narrator of this book is Death himself.  Nothing if not a unique perspective, and the author does a fabulous job of imaging what life might look like from the perspective of Death.

The story itself is about a young girl named Liesel who is a foster child living in Nazi Germany.  She cannot resist the power of books and begins stealing them.  Her foster father helps her share the books with those around them who are desperate for hope, something to inspire them amidst the terrors around them.  She also befriends a Jewish man who they are hiding in their basement and the books become a lifeline between them.

You might wonder if this book, with Death and Nazis so heavily involved, isn't a little dark and depressing, but it actually has many wonderful moments of love, hope, and compassion.  That isn't to say there aren't moments that wrench your soul.

Its a hard book to explain or to put into words.  Let's just say I have not met anyone who has not liked this book and I've talked to a lot of people about it.  And its won quite a number of awards.  Well worth a first, second, third read (and so on)....Enjoy!