Monday, September 30, 2013

The Book Thief Read Along FINAL DISCUSSION

Today's discussion is hosted by Kathy on her blog, Read This Instead. I love her blog so be sure to check it out!

1. How did you feel when Max had to leave the Hubermanns? What did you expect would happen to him?
Sad. Scared. I feel Hans' regret for him. And I can't imagine how the Hubermanns must have felt when the soldiers didn't punish them further for Hans' actions with the bread. Max could have stayed!

2. Why do you think Liesel ran out to Max when they finally did cross paths, even after she had seen what happened to Hans earlier in the book?

Okay, am I the only one who wonders if Liesel and Max get married? I know she loves him like a brother in a lot of ways, but is there a special connection that runs deeper? The age difference isn't all that crazy. I know from losing my dad at a young age that it means a lot to me that my husband knew my dad. There is something special about being with someone who knows where you've come from, and Max definitely knows where Liesel has come from. Could Liesel move on after such a tragic youth and start over completely, or would part of her always want to hold on to those memories from Himmel Street? Does Liesel love Max more than a brother!? I'm dying to ask the author this.

3. What did you think of Death spoiling the ending a couple chapters before it actually happened? Did the warning make it easier to handle?
I do think it made the ending a little easier to handle, in a way, but I still cried!

4. Which death impacted you the most?
Honestly, Max's death would have. That's why the ending was still so sweet (in a very small way) for me. I'm not sure why his character intrigued me so much. I think it has to do with the greatness I see within his character, the greatness that was squelched due to circumstance. I doubt he lived to his full potential as he could have had he been born during a different era. He could have been a great boxer! He could have done so many wonderful things.

Rudy's death was super sad. I loved Rudy! Why couldn't Liesel have just kissed him!? Hans' death definitely wrenched my heart out the most though!

5. How did your view of Ilsa Herman change over the course of the book? 
Ilsa definitely grew on me. I loved it when she left cookies for Liesel and Rudy, and I loved how she gave Liesel the black book/journal.

6. The power of words is such a big theme throughout the book. Which instances of powerful words stuck out to you? Or, which quotes from the book stuck out to you?

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

“He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.”  (Death)

“She leaned down and looked at his lifeless face and Leisel kissed her best friend, Rudy Steiner, soft and true on his lips. He tasted dusty and sweet. He tasted like regret in the shadows of trees and in the glow of the anarchist's suit collection. She kissed him long and soft, and when she pulled herself away, she touched his mouth with her fingers...She did not say goodbye. She was incapable, and after a few more minutes at his side, she was able to tear herself from the ground. It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on...” 

“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."

“His soul sat up. It met me. Those kinds of souls always do - the best ones."

And SO many more!

7. In this post Markus Zusak says:
In many ways I felt that the book is about Liesel’s different kind of loves - for Hans, for Rosa, for Rudy and Max, and for books and living in general.
Which of those loves resonated with you most?

Her love for Max and Hans.

8. Thoughts on Liesel and Death finally meeting? 
I wanted more of that scene! It ended too quickly. They shared so many experiences, in a way, with each other. It's like they were old friends reminiscing endearingly painful memories together.

9. If this was your first time reading The Book Thief, is it what you expected?
If it was a reread, what did you notice this time around?
This was my first time. I think the narration was the most surprising aspect of this novel. I quickly fell in love with it though. This book was amazing. The story was so intriguing, so emotionally intense. Everything from the point of view to the characters and the way the story was told made this novel unique. The characters felt real to me. Their story is deep, tender and painful. I laughed, I cried. The Book Thief is a story I will remember.

10. Will you see the movie?


  1. So... the author has been asked a gazillion times if Max and Liesel get married and he mostly answers by saying... it's up to us the readers, but for him... his feelings are that no they did not. Here's a video link to when he came to our library and answered this (and a couple other questions) that you may be interested in: Anyway, so glad you enjoyed this your first read of the book!

    1. How cool that he came to your library! I loved watching your video. I feel more at peace now knowing what the author's opinion is! lol! :)

  2. I wondered that exact thing about Liesel & Max when I finished! I guess I'm ok with his reasons for them not ending up together. But I still wondered. :)
    And Rudy! It's so sad that she didn't kiss him. I was crying ugly tears when everybody died, but at least Max didn't. That was like a little bit of happiness at the end.
    Thanks so much for doing the readalong with us! I've really enjoyed your posts.

    1. I'm glad I wasn't the only one! :) Ditto on the sadness over Rudy! :( I have enjoyed your posts as well and loved getting to know you and your blog.

  3. The author has said that Rudy was the only one for Liesel, and if Rudy couldn't have her than nobody could. I wonder about this though because she does get married and have a family, and I suppose if Rudy can't have her, Max would have been next in line.

    Great answers! Thanks for participating!! I've had fun getting to know you and your blog!

    1. Yes, I totally agree. Have you read the Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah? When I heard that Liesel went on from such a tragic experience and married/had a family, it reminded me of that book.

      I have enjoyed getting to know you better as well, Kami! Hope we can stay in touch.

  4. I was definitely surprised by how amazingly well done the narration was and by how emotional I got about the story! I really couldn't see anything romantic between her and Max, although I do think she loved him in a different way.

    1. A very emotive story indeed! Thanks for the comment! :)

  5. I hadn't thought of Max and Liesel getting married, but now that you bring it up, I'm TOTALLY curious! I could really see that happening. Ask the author on twitter. He may just respond :)

    And GREAT quote choices! I definitely cried again just now when I read the one about Liesel kissing Rudy after he died. Heartbreaking! Why couldn't she have done it sooner? Ah!

    This book. So sad. So brilliant.

    1. YES, Britney, I agree; this book is brilliantly done. Definitely a memorable one!