Before I Blogged I Read: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

There’s a lot of books I read before I started this blog in June of 2010 and I figured it might be fun to spotlight those! They won’t be an actual review because OMG YOU GUYS THAT WAS SO LONG AGO but I’ll just note a few things about it, if I enjoyed it and what my Goodreads rating was. So thus “Before I Blogged I Read…” was born. Because you know…I’m so original with my names for things. Check out PAST “Before I Blogged I Read” posts.

the Book thief by markus zusak review

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

(Amazon | Goodreads )
Rating: I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads
Date I Read it: January 2009

1. The Book Thief is one of my all time favorite books ever. I just reread it in October with book club and it still held up for me. While there wasn’t the rawest emotion of a new read, I still felt like I was punched in the gut. This book just has everything — the writing is phenomenal, it’s unique, the characters were so important to me and it wrecked me. 5 years later and I can’t say I’ve ever read anything like this book.

2. While this book is set during a war it’s not at all a war book. I do tend to enjoy historical fiction set during WWII but this book was way more than that and it makes me sad that people might dismiss it because of that. I love that the perspective was different than so many books I’ve read before — it focused on a normal German family during this time. So often I read books where it’s the Jewish perspective and I always wonder what it was like for just your every day people who didn’t necessarily buy in to everything Hitler was about.

3. Death was a most memorable narrator. I think this is why I can’t get this book out of my head after 5 years. Personifying Death and using him as a narrator for the book? Totally risky business but it paid off for me! SO MUCH. Very unique and very effective for me.

4. It is definitely a more slow moving book but very powerful and amazing. I like slow, more quiet books personally but I’ll be real: It moves slow. It does. And it might take some people a little bit to get into it but it’s WORTH IT. The payoff is big. It’s very character driven and these characters are AMAZING. Some of my favorite characters ever and that is what makes me so nervous about seeing it translated on the big screen. WHAT IF THEY DON’T GET THESE CHARACTERS RIGHT??

Favorite Quotes:

““I am haunted by humans.”.” 

“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.” 

” Rudy Steiner was scared of the book thief’s kiss. He must have longed for it so much. He must have loved her so incredibly hard. So hard that he would never ask for her lips again and would go to his grave without them.”



Have any of you read this one? Did you like it/not like it? Tell me what you thought! Are you going to see it in theaters?? Book club is going this weekend! EEEE!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. You are so right! First of all, it did move slow but I enjoyed it. This isn’t some action packed suspenseful page turner or a romance. It’s just a great book that I felt like I had to work to get through, but it was worth it. I love what you said in #2. That’s one of the reasons I loved this book. I don’t think there’s many books told during this time period about German families. It shows that not everyone believed in or sided with Hitler. I really liked that aspect. I’m interested to see how the movie turns out. More than likely, I feel like I’m going to be disappointed because that’s what always happens when they make movies based on books.

  2. The Book Thief is probably my second favorite book of all time! I’ve reread it more times than I can count, and while I do agree with you on the whole “raw emotion of the first read” thing, it still gets to me every time. And the writing is just beautiful! Usually I highlight my favorite quotes in my books, but if I could highlight The Book Thief from start to finish I would. As for the movie, Markus has written that he is extremely happy with the casting and the writing and everything, and I trust him so I’m sure it’ll be awesome, it’ll be interesting to see how “death” factors into the whole thing. Sadly, movies take a bit longer to come out in my country, so I’m gonna have to wait about a month for it 🙁

  3. I’m so glad to see it still holds for you years after you first read it! I read it for the first time this year and fell in love with it for many of the same reasons you did. The characters were so rounded and well-developed, and choosing a German family to focus on was refreshing, like you said. I liked that these characters weren’t black or white: they didn’t agree with Hilter’s regime, but they were also very passive when it came to standing up for the Jews – Hans only helped Max as a favour for an old friend, right? Hopefully all of this will be translated onto the big screen, but I’m nervous that everything I loved about the book will be ruined in the film. 🙁

  4. I need to read this!!! Especially after reading those quotes. The writing sounds beautiful. I love books set during the WWII era and agree that it’s interesting to see from the German side of things. That’s actually why I really want to read Prisoner of Night and Fog which come out in April? of next year? Don’t know if you’ve heard of it yet, but it’s told from the perspective of Hitler’s niece. It’s on Edelweiss right now. 🙂

  5. I LOVED this book! I had it on my shelf and was putting off reading it because I was afraid it was going to just be depressing. I totally did not expect it to become one of my all time favorites! I felt like it was a side to WWII that I had never read about before, and death as the narrator was so powerful. I’m planning to see the movie… I love comparing books to their movie versions.

  6. This is in my favorite books of all time. I want to see the movie, but I’m worried it’s not going to do the book justice.

  7. I’ve re-read this book a countless times now (I believe around 8x) and I can say it’s each and every time special to me. I’m so happy I have a good reason to re-read it now, with the movie coming up 😀 I hope I can take some people with me and force them to read the book if they like it, haha.

  8. With the movie coming out, I know I need to tick this one off my to-read list soon!

  9. I really wish that I’d read this one when it came out. I’m so excited about the movie and have bought the book to read beforehand (over Thanksgiving weekend!). I can’t wait!

  10. I just finished listening to The Book Thief on Friday. It is one of the best books I’ve ever read, I cried so much and so hard (and I was driving!), but every tear was totally worth it. Incredible! I’m somewhat afraid to see the movie, I don’t know how they would ever capture the gem that the book is on the screen.

  11. I first read The Book Thief 5 years ago and I loved it. I absolutely loved it. Up until the wee hours of the morning, sobbing, using a full box of tissues loved it. At the time it was life changing for me. I had a post-it note on my desk at work that said “Be like Hans” to remind me to be my best self.

    Skip ahead to this past October where I participated in The Midnight Garden’s Book Thief read-along. I’m not sure what it was. Maybe it was reading the book in segmented portions once a week. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for it. Or maybe I’ve genuinely grown beyond it? This is distressing for me! It’s like “book existential crisis”. A few months ago I would’ve replied “The Book Thief” without hesitation when asked what’s my all time favorite book and I was forever pressing copies of it into other’s hands. I’m definitely going to see the movie soon I hope! I am eager to see what I make of it…

    I’m going to read The Book Thief again someday when I can read it all at once and when I really feel in the mood for it. I don’t want to give up on it!

  12. I just read The Book Thief this year, and I completely agree and relate to your love for it. It started off slow for me, and I nearly let it go; but I’m so glad I didn’t because the slow burn was worth the incredible pay-off in the end. It’s such a moving book, and I really think that people should read it if they want something fresh and different. I haven’t watched the film yet, but I’m really nervous about it. I hope it turns out well!

  13. I love the idea this idea. I am adopting it for a Throwback Thursday post. I will credit you fondly and accordingly. If you want to check out my post you can find it at

    Thanks for the inspiration!


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