MCC Reads


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,, 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.


  1. Why did the author choose Death as a narrator? Is this a trustworthy narrator? Does Death see things a human narrator might not?
  2. What is ironic about Liesel’s obsession with stealing books?
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. What is the significance of color in the book?
  6. 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?
  7. 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?
  8. 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?
  9. How does Zusak use the literary device of foreshadowing to pull the reader into the story?
  10. 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?

Recommended Reading


  • Alex's Wake: A Voyage of Betrayal and a Journey of Rememberance by Martin Goldsmith
  • The Seamstress: A Memoir of Survival by Sarah Tuvel Bernstein

Anne frank

  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family by Miep Gies with Alison Leslie Gold
  • Anne Frank: The Book. The Life, The Afterlife by Francine Prose
  • Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography by Sidney Jacobson and Ernie Colon

by Ellie Wiesel

  • Day (Previously titled The Accident
  • Dawn
  • Open Heart
  • And the Sea is Never Full: Memoirs, 1969
  • After the Darkness: Reflections on the Holocaust


  • Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson

  • The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

  • Margot by Jillian Cantor

  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

  • Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

  • We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

  • Schindler’s List/Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally

  • The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski

  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


    Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein


  • The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman

  • Voices from the Holocaust by Harry James Cargas

  • The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Saved 1,200 Jews, and Built a Village in the Forest by Peter Duffy 

  • A Holocaust Reader: Responses to the Nazi Extermination by Michael L. Morgan

  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

  • Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance and Hope by Wendy Holden \

  • A Noble Treason: The Story of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose Revolt Against Hitler by Richard Hanser 

  • At the Heart of the White Rose: Letters and Diaries of Hans and Sophie Scholl by Hans and Sophie Scholl 

  • Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman 

" Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart. "
Anne Frank