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The Book Thief
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message 1: by Sylvia (last edited Jan 02, 2013 04:42AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sylvia (RheaSilva) This topic is for discussing the The Book Thief. It was recommended to me in 2012 by Kim. If any one wants to join, please do. The more people are discussing together, the more fun it is.

Participants:
Lamilla
Sylvia
Daphne


Sylvia (RheaSilva) Here's my first remark: Funny to have Death as narrator. In the beginning I wonder who was talking to me, but when I read the "survivers", I knew it must the fellow none of us can avoid in the end.


Lamilla Participants:
Lamilla
Sylvia

Daphne is with us too, if I'm not mistaken.

I have two questions for everyone at the moment (not spoilery ones):
- Did the inclusion of German words work for you?
- (after page 124) Some fragments of the book, like Rose's introduction or the descriprion of the parade are written with real hatred. Do you feel the same? Do you reckon it's intentional on the author's part?


Lamilla Re: Death as a narrator

I wonder if having a known narrator (instead of the common "author's voice") will matter in the end?


Sylvia (RheaSilva) Lamilla wrote: "Participants:
Lamilla
Sylvia
Daphne is with us too, if I'm not mistaken.

I have two questions for everyone at the moment (not spoilery ones):
- Did the inclusion of German words work for you?
- (..."


If the Dutch version would contain any German words I don't have a problem with it. I can read German as well and there's always Google translator when it really would become difficult. You are reading it in Russian, am I right?


Sylvia (RheaSilva) Lamilla wrote: "Participants:
Lamilla
Sylvia
Daphne is with us too, if I'm not mistaken.

I have two questions for everyone at the moment (not spoilery ones):
- Did the inclusion of German words work for you?
- (..."


I'll add Daphne as a participant


Sylvia (RheaSilva) Markus Zusak has German parents and according to internet information his upbringing contained a lot of stories about what happened in German in World War II


Lamilla Sylvia wrote: "If the Dutch version would contain any German words I don't have a problem with it. I can read German as well and there's always Google translator when it really would become difficult. You are reading it in Russian, am I right? "
You'll see them soon enough! They are translated or explained in the text, but left German for the later use.
I'm reading in English (btw, the edition by Black Swan is perfect - reasonably big font, nice paper and the book is quite light-weighted despite its 560 pages)


message 9: by Jemidar (last edited Jan 02, 2013 05:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jemidar | 116 comments Death is a wonderful narrator for a story set in war. Absolutely loved him :-).

Enjoy! This is such a great book I wish I could read it again for the first time.


Sylvia (RheaSilva) Jemidar wrote: "Death is a wonderful narrator for a story set in war. Absolutely loved him :-).

Enjoy! This is such a great book I wish I could read it again for the first time."


Thanks for this recommendation, Jemidar. I saw you rated this book with 5 stars.


Sylvia (RheaSilva) Lamilla wrote: "Sylvia wrote: "If the Dutch version would contain any German words I don't have a problem with it. I can read German as well and there's always Google translator when it really would become difficu..."

I've bought an ebook, so nothing about weight and so, but German words are explained in the Dutch translation as well.
I'm getting used to the style of Zusak's writing. It's a lovely short style and easy to understand, keeping in mind that this book is qualified for teens. I read a review in the Guardian which says that it's worth reading for both teens and adults.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/jan/06/featuresreviews.guardianreview26


Sylvia (RheaSilva) Lamilla wrote: "Sylvia wrote: "If the Dutch version would contain any German words I don't have a problem with it. I can read German as well and there's always Google translator when it really would become difficu..."

To be honest, I didn't recognize the German words and phrases as swear words in the beginning, but that was made clear when I read the word Arschloch which meaning was quite obvious.


Jemidar | 116 comments Sylvia wrote: "Thanks for this recommendation, Jemidar. I saw you rated this book with 5 stars.
"


And it deserves everyone of those stars IMO. I laughed, I cried and felt for these people deeply. It was a great experience.


Sylvia (RheaSilva) Jemidar wrote: "Sylvia wrote: "Thanks for this recommendation, Jemidar. I saw you rated this book with 5 stars.
"

And it deserves everyone of those stars IMO. I laughed, I cried and felt for these people deeply...."


see my messag #11. The review in the Guardian vents the same opinion.


Sylvia (RheaSilva) I'm almost at the point in the book where we can start reading together. Are you still interested?
Liesel and Rudy have learned to steal and have captured the basket of Oscar Sturm. Max Vandenburg is on the train, after having in hiding for weeks on different places.
So far it is dreadful to read how bad the food supplies were in Germany in the beginning of WW II


Lamilla The book seems ideal for group reads. You can read a couple of small chapters every evening and have a material for discussion. Feel free to ask me anything and share your thoughts please.


Sylvia (RheaSilva) I was wondering about Alex Steiner. Is he a real Nazi, or is he just pretending, because of his family? What do you think?


message 18: by Lamilla (last edited Jan 05, 2013 08:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lamilla Sylvia wrote: "I was wondering about Alex Steiner. Is he a real Nazi, or is he just pretending, because of his family? What do you think?"
There was a cool paragraph about his thought process, back in the Chapter "Jesse Owen", remember? I see him as a weak man (I'm not using it derogatory, there aren't many people who could make the difference under circumstances) who's exploit by the regime like most of the population.


message 19: by Sylvia (last edited Jan 05, 2013 10:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sylvia (RheaSilva) Lamilla wrote: "Sylvia wrote: "I was wondering about Alex Steiner. Is he a real Nazi, or is he just pretending, because of his family? What do you think?"
There was a cool paragraph about his thought process, back..."


Referring to numerous sources about the history about the Olympic Games of 1936 which were 100% propaganda it is known that Hitler wasn't 'amused' about the medals Jesse Owens won.
I think that in his heart Alex Steiner was proud of his son that he has chosen himself a real sport hero, although it was very dangerous to show appreciation for Jesse Owens who was despised by the Nazis.


Lamilla I've finished the fourth part. Nice to see the plot started at last. I like that the images I get while reading are vivid and lingering.
So far I enjoyed the book.


Lamilla I have another question for my buddies:
How do you feel about spoiler policy of the book - giving pieces of information beforehand?
Author's position is lovely:
Of course, I'm being rude [says Death]. I'm spoiling the ending, not only of the entire book, but of this particular piece of it. I have given you two events in advance, because I don't have much interest in building mystery


Sylvia (RheaSilva) Lamilla wrote: "I have another question for my buddies:
How do you feel about spoiler policy of the book - giving pieces of information beforehand?
Author's position is lovely:
Of course, I'm being rude [says Deat..."


I'm not really bothered by this little spoiler info. It keeps me on reading.
For instance:
After Rudy's strife with Victor the author tells that Victor has a remarkable memory. Rudy would learn that months later.

When I read something like that I wonder: What will be the implications for Rudy, for Victor as a leader of the bunch of little criminals is a reflection on microcosm level, about what happened in Nazi Germany on a whole.


message 23: by Sylvia (last edited Jan 13, 2013 08:09AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sylvia (RheaSilva) Liesel and Rudy have been stealing at the mayor's house. Afterwards Rudy calls her the Bookthief. Did he do that because Liesel only took away the book she wanted and did not steal anything to eat? Rudy was starving!


Lamilla Sylvia wrote: "After Rudy's strife with Victor the author tells that Victor has a remarkable memory. Rudy would learn that months later"
That particular line made me shiver at time!

*
I got to another illustration. I have been more touched by the verbal description of drawings than by the drawings themselves.

*
I loved the Death's Diary pages, very poetic.


message 25: by Lamilla (last edited Jan 16, 2013 02:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lamilla Spoiler for Fresh Air chapter (view spoiler)


message 26: by Sylvia (last edited Jan 17, 2013 12:03AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sylvia (RheaSilva) Something funny with the notifications for this thread is going on. I've got your answer message #24 on the 18th. That's 5 days after you replied.

I agree with you about the dairy pages of Death. He adds emotion to the story.
That was in particular with the story lines when Max was nearly starving. And all the little presents that Liesel brought to Max touched me deeply.

The drawings in the ebook have a separate page. I can imagine how Max was painting the pages of Mein Kampf white and how the pages where pinned on a piece of rope to dry.


Sylvia (RheaSilva) Lamilla wrote: "Spoiler for Fresh Air chapter [spoilers removed]"

I'll reply to message #25 when I'm there. I've to start with the chapter about the bombing of Cologne.


Lamilla (light spoilers for "The Visitor")
The story became more intense! (view spoiler)


Sylvia (RheaSilva) Somehow I don't get emails when you're responding.

The chapter you're referring at in #28 is creepy. I won't tell you anything. Do you like Hans Hubermann's character? I find him a nice chap.


Lamilla Sylvia wrote: "Do you like Hans Hubermann's character? I find him a nice chap."
So far I like most of the characters: Rudy, Rose, Hans, Max...
I don't want this book to end. It just can't have a good ending, can it?..


Sylvia (RheaSilva) Lamilla wrote: "Sylvia wrote: "Do you like Hans Hubermann's character? I find him a nice chap."
So far I like most of the characters: Rudy, Rose, Hans, Max...
I don't want this book to end. It just can't have a go..."


The war was cruel, also to common, good people like Hans, Max, Rosa and Liesel. Death has already given a lot of hints of what's going to happen before the end of the war and the story.


Lamilla I've started Part Eight. The short sentences became a little tiresome. (view spoiler)


message 33: by Lamilla (last edited Feb 14, 2013 08:13AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lamilla I happen to read a few books set in WWII lately, both fiction and non-fiction and am a little overwhelmed by it! I'm close to finishing this one.

Buddy, do you have anything to discuss while I'm still here?


Sylvia (RheaSilva) Lamilla wrote: "I happen to read a few books set in WWII lately, both fiction and non-fiction and am a little overwhelmed by it! I'm close to finishing this one.

Buddy, do you have anything to discuss while I'm s..."


Books about WWII are overwhelming. Last year I read
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. It took me weeks before I finished the book. The facts were so horrible, that I had to put it down and thought things over. Especially the chapters about the famine in Ukraine were ways beyond my knowledge about Stalins regime.

I think the Book Thief is a very good book. I've been discussing the book also at the book page, because a few readers couldn't understand why others love this book. I don't love it, but I would use it in classes - let say grade 8 - to tell those kids what it was like to live in Nazi Germany.
I'm sure I will re-read it.

Which books about WWII have you read recently? Don't you know If This Is a Man by Primo Levi. Don't read it now, because you need time to think over all you've read about WWII.

Looking forward doing a buddy read on Inkheart with you.


message 35: by Lamilla (last edited Feb 14, 2013 01:17PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lamilla Sylvia wrote: Which books about WWII have you read recently?
Apart from The Book Thief I read The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy (bookray, finished last week) and The Grand Alliance(plus I listened to some of the Churchill speeches I found on youtube), both picturing Britain during the war. And my other current read is The Sword of Honour Trilogy.

Sylvia wrote: Don't you know If This Is a Man by Prim o Levi. Don't read it now, because you need time to think over all you've read about WWII.
I thought I was done with the theme until I started Jamilia(which is a love story) and realised it also tells about life during the war! Damn it.


Lamilla Sylvia wrote: "Books about WWII are overwhelming. Last year I read Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. (...) Especially the chapters about the famine in Ukraine were ways beyond my knowledge about Stalins regime."
Yeah, I had a nasty surprise earlier this year, when I read Казус Кукоцкого. It's a fantastic book by a fantastic author, too true-to-life nevertheless.

Sylvia wrote: I'm sure I will re-read it.
I'm looking to my next read by Zusak (which is I am the Messenger, recommended to me by some kind soul here in response to my "set in Australia" request)

Looking forward doing a buddy read on Inkheart with you.
It fits the monthly theme in one of my groups, so it's a definite February read.


Sylvia (RheaSilva) Lamilla wrote: "Yeah, I had a nasty surprise earlier this year, when I read Казус Кукоцкого. It's a fantastic book by a fantastic author, too true-to-life nevertheless."

I've check this title and it's available in Dutch and German. I've put it on my wishlist-to-read. Did you write a review? What's your opinion about it?

Lamilla wrote: "I'm looking to my next read by Zusak (which is I am the Messenger, recommended to me by some kind soul here in response to my "set in Australia" request)"

Kim wrote that she liked I am the Messenger better, but other stick with The Book Thief as the better book of Marcus Zusak.

I see if I can make a start with Inkheart. I'm reading 7 books at the moment and some of them are tough ones.


message 38: by Lamilla (last edited Feb 14, 2013 02:40PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lamilla Sylvia wrote: "I've check this title and it's available in Dutch and German. I've put it on my wishlist-to-read. Did you write a review? What's your opinion about it?
I checked and found that I wrote surprisingly little about it!
This book is not for squeamish people, a great part of it concerns childbirth one way or the other (labor, abortion). I really enjoyed the poetic language of the author, especially on the second part (which stands out on its own. I was surprised by its placement, it makes much more sense after reading the main storyline). Also, it was nice to see the life of the ordinary people of that time. The other downside for me (apart from graphic scenes and strange structure) was that I couldn't care less of the girl, who became dominant element in the last part of the story.

Sylvia wrote: "I see if I can make a start with Inkheart. I'm reading 7 books at the moment and some of them are tough ones"
OK! Don't stress yourself - there are enough people willing to read it soon


message 39: by Lamilla (last edited Feb 14, 2013 02:51PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lamilla I browsed other people's reviews, this one sums up it very well: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


Lamilla I finished part 8. The language is truly picturesque, esp. in scenes like Hans' new work.


message 41: by Sylvia (last edited Feb 15, 2013 09:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sylvia (RheaSilva) Lamilla wrote: "I finished part 8. The language is truly picturesque, esp. in scenes like Hans' new work."

Sure, Zusak's writing is lovely. He is able to write in a way so you can visualize the scenes. The whole story about "the Word Shaker" (I translated the Dutch chapter title, maybe it's completely different in the English version) is wonderful. I also like the little drawing Max has made.

What really shook me, was the scene where Hans has seen the dead body of a young boy and then meets the mother who is looking for her son. It's still a bit strange, an unexpected interuption, when Death enters the story and tells his part. I mean the moment when Hans carries away the wounded man and Death tells that Hans was still carrying him although the man had died.


Lamilla Question: what do you think about Ilsa Hermann (major's wife) and her relationship with Liesel?

I feel like we're loosing a lot because of Liesel's POV.


Lamilla I finished the book at last! I was so enthusiastic about it in the earlier days, and now I think I wouldn't have missed anything if I hadn't read it.
I accidentally read a spoiler about Max, so the second to last scene with him wasn't a huge shock. I was surprised to find that the person I thought was as good as dead lived in the end.
That's it for me.


Sylvia (RheaSilva) It's been a nice read, with all the comments we've made. How many stars will you rate this book. I gave 5. It's a wonderful story, but you have to get used to the way the author is telling it. I'm going to read one of his other books in the future. How about you?


Lamilla Sylvia wrote: "It's been a nice read, with all the comments we've made. How many stars will you rate this book. I gave 5. It's a wonderful story, but you have to get used to the way the author is telling it. I'm going to read one of his other books in the future. How about you? "
Yes, I'm waiting for "I am the messenger" to arrive later this year. I didn't rate the Book Thief.


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The Book Thief (other topics)
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (other topics)
If This Is a Man (other topics)
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