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Group Books Under Discussion > The Book Thief - Enter at your own risk!

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message 1: by Lori (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:10PM) (new)

Lori (TNBBC) Ok, so.. Im 100 pages into it so far.
Death as a narrator started out interesting, but once the real story began, his personality is gone... almost as if HE is gone. A little different than what I had expected.
Anyone else feel this way?


message 2: by Lisa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:11PM) (new)

Lisa | 42 comments Lori
I totally agree that death looses all of his personality as the book progresses, but I think that this is intentional. Death is meant to be an unemotional observer; proclaiming his announcements about the characters, and simple statements of fact starting with the most obvious fact "You are going to die". I think that since he isn't human he is not supposed to have a human trait like personality. My favorite observation by death is that people don't see the colors of their life except for at the beginning and ending of the day, or likewise the beginning and ending of their life. Everyone remembers births, deaths, beginnings of marriages, ends of marriages etc. Not a lot of people stop to just smell the roses of the ordinary day. Maybe I am reading too much into him, but this was my first impression of Death.


message 3: by Roni (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:11PM) (new)

Roni (V_A_B) I agree with L about death. And that book is AMAZING!! I love it!


message 4: by Lori (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:11PM) (new)

Lori (TNBBC) L- yeah, I guess I can see that. It makes sense for him not be appear humanlike... Just different that what I had expected going in.


I like the way the author made the foster father in this novel the strong, compassionate one. In most novels I think the tendancy is to make the male dominant,strict, and the cause of fear... however here, we see that it is the foster mother who produces the fear... and not just in Lisel, but in everyone who she comes into contact with.

Lisel loves everything about him that the wife hates. The smell of cigarettes, and kerosene, his music..... I like to think that Lisel has stronger feelings towards those presicely because Mama doesnt like them.

From where I am at, the foster father has had to raise his hand to Lisel only once, when they were walking home from her first 'burning', on Hitlers birthday, and she spoke aloud how she hated the Fruheher (sp). I think at that moment, his reaction to her, slapping her face and instructing her to never speak those words outside thier home, drew a greater fear and understanding from her than anything the foster mother ever did to her.


message 5: by Kristi (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:11PM) (new)

Kristi (Target) | 14 comments I don't normally read second person books, but this one surprised me.
I love Death's dry humor. To the point, but i heard a dry sarcasm whenever I read his comments and observations.
And I agree with you about Hans, Lori.


message 6: by Lisa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:11PM) (new)

Lisa | 42 comments I didn't quite know what to expect with a narrator like Death. It is just such a original concept for me I guess.
I did like that Hans was such a strong, but compasionate figure in Lisel's life.I agree that sometimes that kind of figure speaks more to a person than a harsh, tough exterior.


message 7: by Wes, Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:12PM) (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
I just got my copy of the book thief and it is quite a thick hardcover.


message 8: by Lori (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:12PM) (new)

Lori (TNBBC) My reading is going to be slow to none for the next two days. I work long days and can barely reamin awake, let alone read... Ill be picking it back up on monday....


message 9: by Lisa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:16PM) (new)

Lisa | 42 comments It is a long book and I've been away all weekend so I have to get to it.


message 10: by Lori (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:16PM) (new)

Lori (TNBBC) I read about 20 more pages so far today (bringing me to pg 162.). I have to admit that at this moment, I am sort of just reading it to see what happens to the little girl Lisel.... While I am reading it, I like it. But once i put it down, I dont really find myself dying to get back to it like I usually am with other books.... Its just ok for me so far...

Usually by now, i would be almost done with it... I can tell Ill be chewing thru it for the rest of the week... unless something drastic and suspenseful happens soon.

How far is everyone else?


message 11: by Lori (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:18PM) (new)

Lori (TNBBC) I only have 155 more pages to go, i read quite a lot last nite....

Anyone this close to being done? I dont want to talk about whats going on unless others are as far as I am....


message 12: by Lisa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:19PM) (new)

Lisa | 42 comments I just finished the book. Wow!!! Great book, but not one that usually gives me that feeling. Its not a feel good book, but it makes you think about a lot of things. At its core is that words have great power whether read as a escape from bad things, or spoken to convince others, and how it can be devestating in the wrong hands.


message 13: by Kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:19PM) (new)

Kate | 12 comments It is a great book and it is touching. I have to admit I didn't expect to like it as much as I did (my mother recommended it to me and usually this is not a good thing). It had a very interesting premise and it does make you think. And any book that does that is a good one, in my opinion.


message 14: by Lori (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:19PM) (new)

Lori (TNBBC) Just finshed it. Like I said above, it wasnt one of those books i was dying to pick back up again once i had set it down, but i think i understand why. (1)It was really depressing. (2) Death took all the suprises out up front.

I suppose that was the authors way of making you read thru it faster, KNOWING that something was going to happen, but not knowing HOW it was going to happen. I didnt like that too much.

I agree with L, that one of the main points of the novel was the fact that words are very powerful. Hitler used them to brainwash an entire nation to exterminate a whole race of human beings, and fight a losing war. Lisels papa introduced them to her and gave her control of them. Lisel used the words in her books to soothe her and help her escape. Her Mama used them to berate and humilate her, (funny how in the end, we come to realise that was the way she showed her love for someone!)

But I also feel that abandonment was also a strong contender as well. It was sad to see everything that poor girl went thru. all the people she loved and lost throughout those all important years. How she clung to the few books she had as if her lifeline were buried in them somewhere, the only things that couldnt abandon her.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I am now ready to start The Book Thief. I am wondering if this is the appropriate week to start reading this sort of work. Should I wait till after the happy holiday's?


message 16: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 42 comments Sandra, if you are wanting something cheerful for your holiday reading this isn't it. If you look at things like this as being thankful for the good things in your life and can appreciate them all the more for reading a depressing book about war, loss,and death then read it now.


message 17: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 18, 2007 04:50PM) (new)

I am about 70 pages in. At this point I am not seeing it as too depressing. I am enjoying death's character. I do not see death as an enemy in life. Suffering is the enemy. Death can be a welcome transition for those who are ill. Therefore I am seeing compassion in his character.
Very well written and innovative.
And you are right, L. I am truly blessed.



message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

I finished The Book Thief last night. I really enjoyed it and loved the creativity of the author. Telling Leisels story and her realization of the power of words through the eyes of Death was quite facinating.
I found it moveing, but not really depressing as I saw so much compassion in Deaths character. He held the "souls in his arms" except for children who he "held in his lap".
I found it telling that Death described the souls of noble people as "lighter" as they had given more of themselves in life.


message 19: by Gremily (last edited Dec 31, 2007 01:40PM) (new)

Gremily (CosmicVagabond) "The Book Thief" left me in tears for a week. However, Death personified is interesting no matter the author. The fact that Death wasn't some big bad-ass was refreshing. And the colors. I enjoyed the perspective of a nonhuman entity on human elements.

The book has been marketed as a young adult book here in the US, but I believe much of the intricacies, not only of the Holocaust and WWII, but also the personification and metaphorical aspects would be lost on most teenagers.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

I read The Book Theif a couple of months ago, but I think it is weird that the author never told us why Leisel had live in a different house. My mom guessed that her biological father was against the Nazis and her mother was worried about Leisel's safety.


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