This post is old, so what you see here may not reflect my current opinion and mindset, certain information may be outdated, and links may be broken.
In 2013, I actually kept track of what I read — books, ebooks, mangas, comic books. I did a lot of my reading on my Kindle Paperwhite, due to convenience. I read 101 total, but the actual number is closer to 150+ since I didn’t count all the manga scanslations I read over the year. In fact, my original goal was 50 books, but I went over it. I decided to set my goals for 50 books again for 2014, and I finished one book today, a book I started in November 2013. I cannot recall taking that long to finish a book, but The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was just not a book I could rush through. I am not sure why — maybe the pacing was just too slow at the beginning? That’s how it felt to me since once I read about 60%, the rest of it I was able to zoom through. Regardless, though, it was a beautifully written book.
The way I described this book to several people is that it’s like a young adult version of Slaughterhouse-Five. Both books use WWII as its time period, both books take place in Germany (well, Slaughterhouse-Five takes place in Germany part of the time), both have a similar tone to them (the black humour and the surrealistic narration), and both reveal the plot throughout the story. However, Slaughterhouse-Five did not make me cry. The Book Thief broke me at the part where Liesel found Max in the Jewish March through Molching, and my heart cried at Himmel Street’s “climax” towards the end. Yes, I knew it would occur since Death kindly reminded me every chapter or so, but reading the actual scenes brought tears to my eyes. Liesel and her relationships with Hans, Rosa, Rudy, Max, and Ilsa were all portrayed realistically and with the right emotion and words. Zusak really amazed me with his characterisations and the wacky plot structure.
My words do not do this book any justice. I do highly recommend it to those who like historical fiction, unusual plot structure, and a unique narrator. If anything, just read this book at least once.