Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Favorite Quotes from "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

Warning: The following quotations may contain spoilers!
Goodreads Amazon | My Review (coming soon)
All up, she owned fourteen books, but she saw her story as being made up 
predominantly of ten of them. Of those ten, six were stolen, one showed up at the kitchen table, two were made for her by a hidden Jew, and one was delivered by a soft, yellow-dressed afternoon. (p. 30)

Don’t ask him for help, Mama pointed out. That Saukerl.” Papa was staring out the window, as was often his habit. “He left school in fourth grade.”
Without turning around, Papa answered calmly, but with venom, “Well, don’t ask her, either.” He dropped some ash outside. “She left school in third grade.” (p. 40)

On the whole, it was a street filled with relatively poor people, despite the apparent rise of Germany’s economy under Hitler. Poor sides of town still existed. (p. 47)

Frau Diller was a sharp-edged woman with fat glasses and a nefarious glare. She developed this evil look to discourage the very idea of stealing from her shop, which she occupied with soldierlike posture, a refrigerated voice, and even breath that smelled like “heil Hitler.” (p. 51)

Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness. (p. 91)

As Liesel would discover, a good thief requires many things.
Stealth. Nerve. Speed.
More important than any of those things, however, was one final requirement.
Luck. (p. 126)

In years to come, he would be a giver of bread, not a stealer—proof again of the contradictory human being. So much good, so much evil. Just add water. (p. 178)

He sat propped against a wall with a child in his arms. His sister. When she stopped breathing, he stayed with her, and I could sense he would hold her for hours. (p. 180)

The two of them gradually became friends due to the fact that neither of them was terribly interested in fighting. They preferred rolling cigarettes to rolling in snow and mud. (p. 189)

After a momentary, head-shaken stoppage, Hans returned to Munich, expecting never to hear from those people again. What he didn’t know was that his help would most definitely be needed, but not for painting, and not for another twenty years or so. (p. 194)

If only he’d turned for one last look at his family as he left the apartment. Perhaps then the guilt would not have been so heavy. (p. 209)

You don’t always get what you wish for.
Especially in Nazi Germany. (p. 211)

Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day. (p. 229)

I didn’t know, or else I could have given you something.” A blatant lie—he had nothing to give, except maybe Mein Kampf, and there was no way he’d give such propaganda to a young German girl. (p. 241)

He’d have cried and turned and smiled if only he could have seen the book thief on her hands and knees, next to his lifeless body. He’d have been glad to witness her kissing his dusty, bomb-hit lips. (p. 262)

As we’re both aware, she’d stolen books previously, but in late October 1941, it became official. That night, Liesel Meminger truly became the book thief. (p. 314)

He must have loved her so incredibly hard. So hard that he would never ask for her lips again and would go to his grave without them. (p. 326)

They say that war is death’s best friend, but I must offer you a different point of view on that one. To me, war is like the new boss who expects the impossible. (p. 331)

Summer came.
For the book thief, everything was going nicely.
For me, the sky was the color of Jews. (p. 372)

They rode home on rusty bikes.
They rode home a couple of miles, from summer to autumn, and from a quiet night to the noisy breath of the bombing of Munich. (p. 397)

Max, Hans, and Rosa I cannot account for, but I know that Liesel Meminger was thinking that if the bombs ever landed on Himmel Street, not only did Max have less chance of survival than everyone else, but he would die completely alone. (p. 411)

When she faced the noise, she found the mayor’s wife in a brand-new bathrobe and slippers. On the breast pocket of the robe sat an embroidered swastika.
Propaganda even reached the bathroom. (p. 490)

The bombs came down, and soon, the clouds would bake and the cold raindrops would turn to ash. Hot snowflakes would shower to the ground. (p. 528)

Suffering had most definitely come, and if they could blame the Jews as a warning or 
prologue, they should have blamed the Führer and his quest for Russia as the actual cause — for when Himmel Street woke later in July, a returned soldier was discovered to be dead. (p. 533)

Years ago, when they’d raced on a muddy field, Rudy was a hastily assembled set of bones, with a jagged, rocky smile. In the trees this afternoon, he was a giver of bread and teddy bears. He was a triple Hitler Youth athletics champion. He was her best friend. And he was a month from his death.
“Of course I told him about you,” Liesel said.
She was saying goodbye and she didn’t even know it. (p. 550)

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. (p. 562)

I saw him hip-deep in some icy water, chasing a book, and I saw a boy lying in bed, imagining how a kiss would taste from his glorious next-door neighbor. He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry. (p. 565)

In her final visions, she saw her three children, her grandchildren, her husband, and the long list of lives that merged with hers. Among them, lit like lanterns, were Hans and Rosa Hubermann, her brother, and the boy whose hair remained the color of lemons forever. (p. 578)


  1. This has been on my list to read for 2 years, I do want to watch the movie but if I do I won't read it, hopefully this helps me get to it sooner.

    1. I too avoid watching the movie before reading the book version. However, there are a few exceptions such as The Time Traveler's Wife.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...