The Book Thief

Markus Zusak's Hit YA Novel on Film

Given that The Book Thief spent over 230 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller List, some may be suprised to see the film hovering at 30th place nationally following its much-hyped opening weekend.  So far, The Book Thief has received equally lackluster reviews: three and a half stars from the Washington Post, 2.5 out of 4 stars from USA Today, a measly 1.5 from Roger Ebert, and then there were 6.7 out of 10 stars given by "audience" votes recorded on IMDB (can we just assume that interns at film companies log in these votes pre-release?).  Hardly impressive, but the film is burdened by the classic challenges of the book-to-film genre shift, as well as further text-specific issues like it's Young Adult reading level, intricate plot twists, and the important role played by death, the book's narrator, in the original story.  As it turns out, this may be a situation when it would be better to just go back and read the book again.  What do you think?  Should one choose to do so, below is a wealth of supplementary resources to enrich the reading experience. 

1. Learn about the Communist Party of Germany, which Liesel's father belonged to 

2. Check out the Dachau Concentration Camp.  A road to this camp runs through the town of Molching, Germany; near Munich, this town may be what Markus Zusak modeled the Hubermann's town Mulching off of. 

3. Learn about Liesel's experience in Hitler Youth on Novelry

4. Watch historical footage of Jessie Owens 

5. Discover more about Hitler's invasion of Poland and how it led Europe into war

6. The books Liesel reads (and steals) are fictional titles created by Markus Zusak; instead of finding them, find more books like The Book Thief on Novelry.

7. Find out what dominated the global stage after World War 2 at the J.F.K. Library

8. Check out Hitler's book Mein Kampf on Novelry

9. See Hitlers (Thomas Kinkade-esque) paintings and find out more at The New Yorker