MCC Reads encourages all students, staff, faculty and community friends to read the same book and share it with their family and friends. The 2019 MCC Reads program ended March 12, 2019. Copies of the book selection are still available for checkout in the MCC Library located in the lower level of the Donald C. Burns Administration/Library Building on the college's Sidney campus.
2019 Book Selection
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
Book summary courtesy of Amazon.
About the Author
Markus Zusak is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief , which spent more than a decade on the New York Times bestseller list, and is translated into more than forty languages – establishing Zusak as one of the most successful authors to come out of Australia.
To date, Zusak has held the number one position at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, the New York Times bestseller list, as well as in countries across South America, Europe and Asia.
His books, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, When Dogs Cry (also titled Getting the Girl ), The Messenger (or I am the Messenger ) and The Book Thief have been awarded numerous honours ranging from literary prizes to readers choice awards to prizes voted on by booksellers.
Zusak’s much-anticipated new novel, Bridge of Clay , is set for release in October 2018 in the USA, the UK and Australia, with foreign translations to follow.
Thoughts to Consider
Spoiler Alert! These questions will give away portions of the storyline.
- Why did the author choose Death as a narrator? Is this a trustworthy narrator? Does Death see things a human narrator might not?
- What is ironic about Liesel’s obsession with stealing books?
- The Grave Digger’s Handbook is the first book Liesel steals. Why did she take the book? Why is this the first of many turning points for her?
- Knowing that Liesel is called a “thief,” how does the book complicate our ideas of justice and judgment? Which characters do you view as just/unjust or brave/cowardly, and why?
- What is the significance of color in the book?
- Abandonment is a recurring theme. Liesel feels abandoned by her mother and by her brother’s death. How does she equate love with abandonment? Who else abandons Liesel?
- Liesel believes that Hans’s eyes show kindness, and from the beginning she feels closer to him than to Rosa. How does Hans gain Liesel’s trust? Is Liesel a substitute for Hans’s own children?
- Why is it so difficult for Rosa to show Liesel the same warmth, and how does their relationship change by the end of the novel?
- How does Zusak use the literary device of foreshadowing to pull the reader into the story?
- Liesel lived to be an old woman. Death says that he would like to tell the book thief about beauty and brutality, but those are things that she had lived. How does her life represent beauty in the wake of brutality?
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