Thursday, November 22, 2012

Book Club Discussions: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Thursday, November 22, 2012
If you remember from last month, I just joined a book club! I'm very excited about this and thought that you guys might be interested in our discussions. Hopefully you'll join in in the comments! This month's book is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. (Another one that I had read before my book club started, but I love it, so it's okay. (:)
The Book Thief
*Please be aware that there WILL be spoilers for The Book Thief if you have yet to read it.*

What did you think of this book?
There were three people (including myself) at this book club meeting because a bunch of my friends couldn't make it. (I'm making sure they come next month, though!!) We'll call the people who were there J and S. J said that he didn't like the first 150 pages, but after that he really liked the book. He just felt the beginning was a bit dry. S and I both loved it, especially the doodles (S) and Death's random commentaries (me).

We all thought that the thing that makes this book so unique is that it's a Holocaust book told from a German perspective. I've read a ton of Holocaust books and this was a fresh twist. 

Who was your favorite character?
Everybody agreed that they loved Hans and his accordion. S especially appreciated the accordion symbolism. We all loved Rudy and decided that Isla was the most interesting character in the book. I also love Max.

    On Isla...
    She and Leisel have a very special, quiet bond. There's a mutual respect and wariness. Since Isla had lost her son, we thought that perhaps she saw some of him in Leisel. It must have taken so much courage for her to connect with Leisel since she had cut herself off from the world for so long.
     
     On Rudy...
     Who wasn't devastated that he didn't get his kiss? We said that we either blocked that foreshadowing out when we were reading it or just remained in denial. Well, except for J, who didn't remember that part, haha.

A few questions on the Word Shaker.
S was a little confused by the significance of the Word Shaker, which I was, too, the first time I read it. What we interpreted it to mean that words are powerful. They can shape the world in both positive and negative ways. Leisel represents the proper way to use words, to make something beautiful, while Hitler is her antithesis, using his words to create the greatest evil.

Which character benefits Leisel the most?
All of the relationships shape her over the course of the novel. However, her relationship with Hans is one of the most significant.

What is the significance of the first book she steals? (The Gravedigger's Handbook)
It's to have something relating to her brother to hold on to, now that all of her family is gone. Perhaps stealing books is also something she can control when the rest of her life is out of her hands.

On Death narrating.
All of us thought it was God narrating at first until we figured out it was Death. We all really liked that Death is a sympathetic character. As S said, you don't think of Death having a heart, but in The Book Thief, he does.

A few random notes...
S: All of the characters felt so real! After I finished the book, I actually missed them.
Me: I loved Rosa. Her character was hysterical.
J: Yeah, she was definitely the comic relief.
Me: She's all tough on the outside, but inside, she's a big teddy bear.

What did you think of The Book Thief? Who was your favorite character?
P.S. Happy Thanksgiving!

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