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message 1: by Elena (new)

Elena So the first discussion point I wanted to form was something I was thinking about as I am beginning to read this book. Having heard so many great influences the book has had on people, it makes me wonder what about it exactly does that. How does it make such an unforgettable impact on us? So as we read, let's share stories about this book on how it begins to influence us, and make an impact that we might not forget for a long while.

message 2: by Aniela (new)

Aniela | 1 comments I am at the middle of the book and I am still wondering why people love it. Except for some interesting style games, I find the story as flowing in a very slow pace, a rhythm which is not justified by anything in the book so far (no complex characters, no worth remembering musings on what happens, no new perspectives on things etc.).
The topic of Jews' drama in the WW2 has been dealt with in much better books, so I do not really see the point of having a redundant novel on this in 21st century.
So far, I find the book to be dull and uninteresting. Maybe it gets better in the second half, who knows...

message 3: by Val (last edited Jun 02, 2012 11:19AM) (new)

Val I have not started reading it this month yet, so my comments are based on my memory of reading it for the first time.
I agree with Aniela that it does not add anything to the many books on the Jewish drama, but the book is not primarily about the Jewish character, it is more about the Aryan German ones. The author tries to show all shades of opinion among his German civilians, from keen supporters of the regime through innocence to resistance. Some of the characters die as a result of Allied bombing.
The book uses an omniscient narrator, Death. I think we are intended to identify ourselves with the narrator. (J Robert Oppenheimer, leader of the Manhattan project, quoted from the Bhagavad Gita: "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.").
Within that context I didn't simply feel sad about the deaths of some of my favourite characters, I felt responsible.

message 4: by Susan (new)

Susan I agree with Val - the book was primarily about the German reaction to the war and how ordinary people dealt with what was happening. I absolutely loved this book, although I do read a fair amount of fiction set in and around WWII, so it is obviously something that interests me (recently read "HHhH" about the assassination of Heydrich and loved that too). I thought the novel was non judgmental and gave an interesting perspective, from the point of view of a child who suffered under this changing world - had lost her parents, her brother, and who was struggling to make sense of events.

message 5: by Val (new)

Val I was not as affected by this one as much on second read as I was the first time, although I still think it is a very good book.
With some books it doesn't matter if you already know the story, but with this one it is the way you are taken through each stage of the story and the children's realisation of what is going on which has the impact.

Beth (bibliobeth) Hi everyone, have finished The Book Thief now and really enjoyed it. I did feel it made an impact on me and I'm not sure why that was. The interesting style in which it was written is something I'm not going to forget for a while - the narrator Death, the sprinklings of explanations of words like a dictionary, and the unique illustrations. I agree that it was more about reactions than the war itself and I think the author did take a back seat from bias one way or another and just let the story roll.

message 7: by Susan (new)

Susan Good to hear you liked it Beth - it's a really fantastic read I think.

message 8: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Furniss (kellyfurniss) Yes it's one of my ultimate favourite books but I have not managed to get round to re-reading it this month.:0(

message 9: by Val (last edited Jun 28, 2012 06:08AM) (new)

Val I remember a Barry Norman review for a film set in 1930's Germany where he condemned it by saying 'There seemed to be only two Nazis in the whole of Germany and one of Them (emphasised) was Himmler'.
Zuzak is much more realistic in his portrayal and does try to avoid bias. Only Hans is actually anti-Nazi by conviction, although Liesel becomes so as she grows up and sees what is going on, and Max is by circumstances (he wants to see himself as a German who happens to be Jewish, not as a Jew). He (Zuzak) does not entirely avoid bias: the most ardent pro-Nazis, Frau Diller and Franz Deutscher, are both unpleasant characters in other ways.

PS I forgot Herr (or Comrade) Meminger, although we don't actually get to meet him.

message 10: by Susan (new)

Susan There are a great number of novels set during that period though that are fantastic - I especially like the sub-genre of mysteries set in and around that time period.

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