Thursday, July 05, 2012

"The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - book cover
Release date: September 11, 2007
Publisher: Knopf
Pages: 576
Amazon(US) |  Amazon(CA) |  Barnes & Noble

With the increased place electronics are taking in our daily lives it is quite easy to forget that only a few decades ago, books where most people’s favorite form of entertainment.

After all, just like video games and movies, books allow the reader to escape reality, travel to a completely different universe… without forgetting that books are way more effective than any kind of media when it comes to feeding the mind and the soul.

Author Markus Zusak looks into the place books occupied in people’s lives in his own book called The Book Thief. The story is centered around an accordionist’s daughter named Liesel living just outside of Munich during World War II. In order to get by she has to contend herself with petty thievery, stealing bits of food an junk from anyone she could.

One day however a book caught her eye, intriguing her beyond belief: there were so many pages with something to say to her… but she couldn’t understand them. And so, with the help of her father she learned how to read and starts to focus her life on stealing books rather than anything else. Instead of keeping the books for herself or selling them, she actually shares the books with her neighbors during bombing attacks, without forgetting the Jewish fist fighter dwelling in her basement.

All in all, while you are going to find some descriptions of the war in this story, most of it is centered around the life led by Liesel and the influence books had and still have on people. It looks into how books can feed our soul and keep the light of hope lit deep within us even in the darkest moments, providing means of escape from a cruel and tormenting present we may be forced to live through. A heartwarming read that will show how the human spirit cannot be conquered, even in the darkest days.

Markus Zusak (June 23, 1975)

Markus Zusak (June 23, 1975)

Markus Zusak is an author from Australia whose most well-received and acclaimed books have been, so far, The Book Thief and The Messenger, novels geared towards young adults. In 2014 he won the annual Margaret Edwards Award, which in itself is a grand honor and only adds to his extensive list of them, which includes the 2001 and 2002 Honour Book, CBCA Children's Book of the Year Award, the 2006 Kathleen Mitchell Award in literature, and the 2009 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis.

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