Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief is one of my all-time favorite books.
When The New York Times reviewed The Book Thief it was described as "life changing." One of the reasons this is one of my favorite books of all time is because I think it is just that. I vividly remember finishing it for the first time, staying awake until nearly 2 in the morning, sobbing...feeling simultaneously filled by the experience of reading such a novel, and emptied that it was over. Regardless of how many times I read it, my breath is constantly taken away-- overcome by how fictional characters can matter, how someone can craft language in such a beautiful way. Zusak's work is masterful and universal, a modern classic. I am so thankful that such a book exists.
I have the added privilege of being able to teach this novel. My Enrichment Literature classes just finished reading it, and it's always amazing to read it besides them. They approach the novel and the subject matter-- Nazi Germany-- with innocence and delicate hearts, and the enlightenment they experience is profound. I witness my students mature with this book in their hands, and it is one of the aspects of my job that I love-- that I get to put The Book Thief in the hands of so many adolescents every year, and know that some of them will finish the novel changed people.
"I have hated the words, and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." -Zusak