Shared Read: The Book Thief

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Shared Read: The Book Thief

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feb 12, 2012, 9:44 pm

A few of us are reading this book at the same time (VictoriaPL and Roro8 and me), so I thought we might as well start a thread. I was afraid to use the big GROUP READ subject line since it's a bit informal, but anyone is welcome to join in.

We started the book on Friday, at least in theory; I was so exhausted that I only got through the prologue and still haven't managed to read on. Hopefully I'll be able to stay awake longer tonight. Those of you who have started, what do you think so far?

We should probably preface all our posts with potential spoiler warnings and a note about how far we've read up to, in case some of us (i.e., me) fall behind.

Redigeret: feb 13, 2012, 8:46 am

Thanks Zoe! I'm about 130pages in. The biggest surprise so far to me is the language. Not that it's the Fword or anything, but I didn't expect any at all.

feb 13, 2012, 9:51 am

I'm finding the language surprising too, in a different way: it's just odd. Words are used in unnatural-seeming ways. I've still only managed to read the prologue, though, so I'm hoping the reading gets a bit smoother in the main text.

feb 13, 2012, 8:54 pm

Death does make an interesting narrator. I don't mind his voice in the regular text but anything in asterisks annoys me. Pg 185 - getting more into Hans & Max's stories and I'm enjoying it much more. Can't wait to discuss it with you!

feb 14, 2012, 12:34 am

Thanks Victoria for the link. I am probably only 130 pages in too. I found the narration style a bit quirky at first, but I am enjoying it now. It is something a bit different. All the headings throughout the chapters are interesting too. It is interesting reading the story from the perspective of a German child.

feb 14, 2012, 7:55 pm

I am about half way through now. I wonder what is going to happen to poor Max. Imagine trying to stay alive while carrying all that guilt for putting other people at risk for the sake of yourself.

feb 14, 2012, 8:18 pm

Pg240. I love that Max made her a book. Any thoughts as to why the bird?

feb 14, 2012, 8:39 pm

I think he was a bird because she said his hair was like feathers and that seemed to stick in his mind. What were your thoughts about the bird? Perhaps there was a bit of a metaphor, Max being frail and feeling caged.

feb 14, 2012, 10:16 pm

I had honestly forgotten about Liesel's feather comment. I noticed that in the beginning both he and his father and Walter (his fighting buddy) are all birds. And infant Max is a bird, even before he could know what being caged is like. Unless he's making a statement about race or class. Will have to ponder it a little more.

feb 16, 2012, 9:16 pm

I missed or forgot about the bird references you mentioned. It is interesting how different sections remain in our minds as we read.

I am now about three quarters through.

That parade of the Jews through town would have been terrible to watch. I'm sure there were many other people in that crowd who felt like Hans Hubermann but their sense of self preservation restrained them. I don't think I would have had the strength to stand and watch like they did,

feb 17, 2012, 5:47 pm

I have finished! i won't make any further comment until your have finished too.

feb 17, 2012, 6:17 pm

RL has been kicking my butt these last few days. I should make more headway tonight.

feb 18, 2012, 1:42 pm

I'm far behind! Hoping to make some progress over the long weekend, though. The problem is that I read multiple books at once, and my non-fictions keep calling to me....

feb 18, 2012, 2:36 pm

I just finished. Wow. That last third is really a doozey! We'll wait for you Zoe.

mar 1, 2012, 4:37 am

How are you going Zoe?

I am reading a non-fiction at the moment and can't wait til it is over. Not because it is good though. Only 2 chapters to go. One tonight and one tomorrow if I stick to the plan.

mar 1, 2012, 8:18 am

Sorry, I've been super-slow! I keep wondering whether I should tell you to go on without me, and then I think maybe I can just make a good push and finish in the next day or two, and so it continues.... I'm on page 336 now. As always, I "hope" to finish in the next couple of days, but my hopes have obviously failed before. So I certainly won't be upset if you decide to give up on waiting and begin the main discussion now!

mar 1, 2012, 5:51 pm

I'm sure now you are that close to the end it won't take much longer now. My local book club has been reading this for our next meeting which is in two weeks so I'll get to have a chat with them about it too.

What have you thought of it so far?

mar 1, 2012, 7:46 pm

I'm liking it much more than I'd originally expected. Occasionally some particularly odd sentence will jar me out of the story, but on the whole it's a lot more readable than the prologue had led me to expect. And the content is certainly interesting. I've even found myself thinking that I might want to read more about WWII or Nazi-era Germany in the near future, and it's a period that I've generally avoided as too depressing.

The only thing that's really bothered me so far is Liesel's treatment of Ilsa Hermann. That woman was so kind to her, and she really just threw it all in her face.

In an irrelevant aside, I just heard that the director of Downton Abbey will be doing the movie of The Book Thief.

mar 1, 2012, 8:25 pm

Wow, a movie version. That will be interesting.

I agree with you about the Ilsa Hermann situation, I felt bad for her too. Leisel does feel bad about it though and I guess I excused her as she is really just a child that has had to deal with so much herself.

mar 3, 2012, 9:19 am

Done at last! Time for reflection.

I'm glad that things did end up working out with Ilsa Hermann. I think it was almost immediately after I had commented about it that I came to the part with the dictionary.

mar 3, 2012, 7:17 pm

I finished the book in bed one morning. My husband woke up to me crying over it. He says he doesn't know why I read books that make me cry! I told him that it is better to cry over a book than to be crying over real life.