I finally read The Book Thief (and interviewed the author!) #Giveaway

by Jennifer


the book thief

I attended a press trip to NYC for The Book Thief movie, paid for by Twentieth Century Fox.

The book

The Book Thief is one of those books about which people (book bloggers and booklovers in particular) gush. It was on my list to read, and that was confirmed each time someone else read and loved it. One of our former contributors Lisa reviewed The Book Thief almost 4 years ago here on the site, giving it 5-Stars, and always talked about it as one of her favorite books.

In my materials for the phone interview I got to do with the author, I read that it’s been on the NYT Bestseller list for 300 weeks. Years ago, I saw it sitting on a shelf at a discount, so I bought it. But bringing it home and putting it on my shelf did not equate to actually reading it. Yes, I read a lot, but books that I think I want to read are generally pushed aside for the new shiny books that come in to be reviewed.

When it was one of the choices in my daughter’s independent reading unit a couple of years ago, she read it, so buying it came in handy, and her enjoyment of it reminded me that I still wanted to read it. But it still sat there on the shelf. When I got an email inviting me to participate in a conference call with the author, which was held in conjunction with the upcoming release of The Book Thief movie, I picked it up and started it that day.

The writing. It’s all about the writing. The story is incredible, too. It’s original, a holocaust story, which is common, but this one has the unique twist of focusing more on those left behind, parents of those who have been sent to war, townspeople who are going hungry, Germans who don’t necessarily support Hitler.

But the words, they are amazing. I was sort of curious about what was going to happen next, but honestly I was more interested in how Markus Zusak was going to say it. He could write about paint drying, and I think I’d have continued turning the pages. In fact, I think he did write about paint drying a couple of times. And I kept reading.

The author, Markus Zusak

In my interview with Markus Zusak, someone asked him how this book has and how the movie will add to the canon of holocaust stories. I’ve thought of his answer a lot.

There weren’t a whole lot of books and documentaries and things like that that really focused on the everyday of certain German people or communities. Those are the stories I grew up on, where, for better or worse, too, that kids still had childhoods, that idea of just a childhood as well. Those were a lot of the stories my mom and dad told me.

Then the idea of the German people who didn’t want to fly the Nazi flag, which my mom’s foster father didn’t want to do or my dad himself when he was a kid. He was forced to go to the Hitler Youth, and he didn’t really want to because he thought it was boring, so he went to the river and threw rocks in the water just for the whole time that he should’ve been at Hitler Youth.

Maybe it’s just a few little pockets of things and those little stories that just show a slightly different side to things. Maybe that’s the best way to think of it contributing. But, in the end, I think the film has to speak for itself. And the book has to speak for itself. And hopefully, the book does, and the film will.

I will be posting much more here and at 5 Minutes for Mom in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 8 limited release, Nov. 15 wide. Please stay tuned for more from my phone interview with Markus Zusak, and roundtable interviews from a Twentieth-Century Fox sponsored trip where I was able to talk with: director Brian Percival and producer Karen Rosenthal, the actors who played Hans, Rosa and Liesel: Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and Sophie Nélisse, as well as see an early full screening of the movie.

I can’t watch this preview with an introduction from the actress who plays Liesel, Sophie Nélisse, without getting a lump in my throat. I’ve actually seen the movie, and loved it. In fact, it was the movie, more than the book for some reason, that drove home the theme about the power of words.

I am usually a little annoyed by “movie tie in” books, but I decided to feature that image above because the movie resonated with me so much. The story is about Liesel, so it seems right to feature her on the cover. Actually, when we interviewed Sophie, she had read part of the book when she was auditioning, but when she got cast, she stopped reading (presumably wanting to be able to follow the director). But she did read it after she filmed, and said it was really strange reading about herself, picturing herself as Liesel. That’s not a problem most of us have.


I am happy to be able to offer one of you a copy of the book. If you’ve never read it, read it. If you just need your own copy, go ahead and enter. If you want to be able to put this amazing book in the hands of someone else, enter on their behalf. Just start off by entering your name and email address in the box below.

Check out our current giveaways. Subscribe to our feed. Follow us @5M4B on Twitter or on Facebook.

While you’re waiting on the movie

The Book Thief opens November 8 in selected markets, with a wide release on November 15.

Visit the official website
Like THE BOOK THIEF on Facebook
Follow @BookThiefMovie on Twitter


Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer

Jennifer lives in Houston with her family. In addition to reading, she enjoys travel, Bible study, food, and fun. She blogs about some of these things -- when her nose isn't in a book -- at Snapshot.

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Janet F November 2, 2013 at 4:05 pm

I want to read this book because I put it on my to read list but I have not gotten around to reading it. I would like to read it before I see the movie.

janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com


2 anne November 2, 2013 at 5:16 pm

This novel would be a treasure which I would find captivating since it is profound and meaningful. I would read it before seeing the movie.


3 Julie November 2, 2013 at 7:23 pm

I read this book probably four years ago or so, and I honestly remember next to nothing about the plot or even the characters. But I remember loving and savoring every bit of the writing. Zusak has such a brilliant way with words!


4 Elizabeth Bevins November 2, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I have read the book. I’ve read all of his books! I would love to share this with someone.


5 Jennifer November 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm

He told us he’s working on something else now — he has been for a long time, but it’s hard after writing THE novel. But he said he won’t give up until he finishes, so more good things to come from him, hopefully!

The other post is up about re-reading. I’d love to hear your take.


6 Sue November 2, 2013 at 7:48 pm

I’ve had the book for several years and have not read it. I did see the trailer for the movie recently and that reminded me that I should read it:)


7 Jennifer November 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Yes, that was me for many years. Glad I finally made myself pick it up. I had started to feel like it was a book I “should” read, but I’m glad I really loved it when I finally did read it.


8 DarcyO November 2, 2013 at 8:03 pm

I haven’t read the book, but it’s one that I want to read because of all the great reviews.


9 Jennifer November 3, 2013 at 3:19 pm

I was glad it lived up to the hype.


10 Kim Henrichs November 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm

I read the book last year after the recommendation from a friend. Loved it!


11 nicole November 2, 2013 at 10:23 pm

I first read this book this summer around the end of june. Im seriously in love with this book! I can’t wait for the movie!


12 Jennifer November 3, 2013 at 3:21 pm

I don’t think the movie will disappoint you! I was in love with the book after reading it too.


13 Jen E November 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Like you, I’ve heard about this book at least a million times in the blogging community and always with gushing reviews. How can you not want to read a book with reviews like that? I was just telling my husband earlier today how I really should read this!


14 Jennifer November 3, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Yes, you should! I was glad it didn’t disappoint after all that hype. It had started to feel like a book I “should” read, but I’m glad it was a book I loved reading.


15 Cindy Brooks November 4, 2013 at 12:16 am

I’m wondering why I haven’t heard about this book before now. Maybe I was just busy at the time it came out and wasn’t reading much. I’d love to read about this side of the Holocaust and I’m anxious to experience the writing you’ve discussed!


16 Jennifer November 6, 2013 at 10:42 pm

You’ll definitely be hearing about it now, for sure!


17 shelly November 4, 2013 at 9:09 am

I haven’t read this yet, but I want to because I think it’s important to read books about historical events like this. The more informed we are, the more likely we are to learn and not repeat the same mistakes of the past.


18 Angela s November 4, 2013 at 9:48 am

I wanna read it because I have heard so many good reviews on the book! Can’t wait to read it myself!


19 Angela s November 4, 2013 at 10:06 am

I wanna read it because I’ve heard so many great reviews for it.


20 riTa November 4, 2013 at 10:24 am

The review sold me! And I loved the movie trailer. I love words. They are my love-language. Writing is my gift and calling. So, YES, words are alive.
I want to see the movie and/or read the book!


21 Jennifer November 6, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Thank you. Yes, either the book or movie tells the story well, and no matter what order you experience them in, you’ll probably end up doing both eventually.


22 Stephanie November 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm

I have wanted to read this book for a long time! I am so excited to see the movie as well (after reading it, of course). It sounds like such a beautiful story!


23 Liz November 4, 2013 at 2:14 pm

When did you first read the book, or if you haven’t, why do you want to?

This is one of those occasions where I feel as if I’ve been visiting another planet. I’ve neither read, nor even remember hearing about, The Book Thief. So I want to read it now, to close the culture gap.


24 Jennifer November 6, 2013 at 10:44 pm

I hadn’t heard about it much lately, but I did hear about it a lot 3 or 4 years ago as a “must read.” It just took me a while.


25 Staci A November 5, 2013 at 5:11 pm

I haven’t read it yet, but am very interested after seeing the movie previews!


26 Cynthia R November 5, 2013 at 10:13 pm

I read this book about 3 years ago and thought it was amazing. One of my favorites of all time. I also liked his other book I am Messenger.


27 Jennifer November 6, 2013 at 10:44 pm

I haven’t read that one yet, but I need to.


28 soha molina November 5, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Just bought it o Kindle. Heard a lot about it.


29 Ann B. November 6, 2013 at 10:40 am

I want to read this because I saw the trailer and it looks awesome. I also think my teen daughter would love this to read also.


30 Jennifer November 6, 2013 at 11:15 pm

My daughter liked it, and she doesn’t always gravitate towards more serious or “sad” books.


31 Alisha Hawk November 6, 2013 at 11:13 am

I like 2 read all different kind of things.


32 Barbara H. November 6, 2013 at 5:08 pm

I’ve heard of it but somehow I didn’t quite grasp what it was about. This post make me want to read it NOW! I love to read, and read about those who love books and words, and this window into the life of “everyday people” during WWII sounds fascinating.


33 Jennifer November 6, 2013 at 10:45 pm

I’m glad to hear that, because I felt like the review didn’t say much, other than “read it.” But yes, I guess the information I gleaned from Markus Zusak helped me flesh it out a bit.


34 DEBIJOT November 7, 2013 at 12:06 am

I saw the movie preview and it sounds like a great story.


35 JenS November 7, 2013 at 12:23 am

I haven’t read it, but the story definitely caught my attention. I enjoy reading books before seeing the movie – and wanting to see the move ensures I get the book read!


36 Michelle H November 7, 2013 at 5:15 pm

I would like to read it because all of the advertising about it has whetted my interest.


37 rachel travis November 7, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I haven’t read it yet but I just added it to my bookshelf!


38 Tabathia B November 7, 2013 at 8:40 pm

I saw the trailer and fell in love with the story it reminded me loosely of diary of anne frank


39 samantha w November 7, 2013 at 10:19 pm

I haven’t read it, but the story just sounds so intriguing and like a book you just can’t pass up.


40 Natalia November 7, 2013 at 11:17 pm

My daughter has this book and I wanted to read it… but still no time


41 Anita Yancey November 8, 2013 at 9:11 am

I have not read the book. I would like to read it because I have been told it was a great read. Thanks for having this giveaway.


42 deanna hanson November 8, 2013 at 10:26 am

I haven’t read it but sounds like something I might try


43 wendy rozema November 8, 2013 at 11:12 am

I haven’t read the book yet, but I would definitely like to!


44 Angela Ash November 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I’d like to read The Book Thief because it sounds very interesting. If it’s been on the NYT Bestseller list for 300 weeks then it’s got to be good. I enjoyed your review which adds to my interest.


45 Mozi Esmes mom November 8, 2013 at 8:35 pm

I haven’t read the book, but it looks like one I’d really enjoy.


46 Amy M November 9, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I read it when it came out and got some buzz. I’d love to have a copy to pass on.


47 heather c November 9, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Haven’t read it. We have a rule in this house that you can’t see the movie until you’ve read the book. That’s my goal here. Thank you!


48 Christine Jensen November 11, 2013 at 12:09 am

I haven’t read it yet, but it is the favorite book of a very good friend, so I really want to read it!


49 Holly F November 11, 2013 at 7:02 am

I haven’t read it yet but it’s on my list of books to read (after the 2nd and 3rd Hunger Games books).


50 amyc November 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm

This is the first time I have heard of this book and sounds really like one read not to be missed!


51 Cordelia November 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm

I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve had it on my wishlist for the longest time.
I’ve heard so many great reviews of the book!


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