Mark Reads ‘The Book Thief': Chapters 10-11

In the tenth and eleventh chapters of The Book Thief, Liesel’s accidental bedwetting inspires Hans not only to spend more time with his foster daughter, but to begin to teach her to read. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Book Thief.

CHAPTER 10: THE OTHER SIDE OF SANDPAPER

Zusak returns us to the world of the Hubermanns after spending time with Rudy Steiner, and I’m reminded again why I like Hans so much. He is the perfect father figure for Liesel and this chapter is proof of that. I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I may not have had the most positive influence as a child and mistakes like those Liesel makes would be met with the same fury Rosa gives her.

The chapter opens with a scene of the NSDAP marching in the brown shirts down Himmel Street, a source of the nightmares Liesel will later have that lead her to wet her bed. I’m intrigued that Death states that Hans is one of the 10% who does provide “unflinching support” for Adolf Hitler, only because he says, “There was a reason for that,” and then doesn’t provide that reason.

Regardless, what’s more important is that those images of marching brown shirts begin to invade Liesel’s dreams, and one of those dreams in spring of 1939 causes her to wet her bed for the first time. The shame that’s mixed with the terror of the situation causes Liesel to be reluctant to share with her Papa what has happened, but Hans is a very gentle, understanding father for her.

“We take the sheets off,” Papa said, and when he reached under and pulled at the fabric, something loosened and landed with a thud. A black book with silver writing on it came hurtling out and landed on the floor, between the tall man’s feet.

Hans is very matter-of-fact about this all. (He talks in a similar manner to Death’s narration, for what it’s worth.) He picks up the book, reads the title aloud, and simply asks if the book is Liesel’s. When she confirms, he asks if she wants to read it.

Again, “Yes, Papa.”

A tired smile. Metallic eyes, melting.

“Well, we’d better read it, then.”

Thus begins the “midnight lessons” that Death mentioned earlier. (Another sidenote: Death has a penchant for telling us later story points, almost as if he can’t resist “spoiling” us for what is to come. OMG DEATH, USE SPOILER TAGS, PLZ.) This is also the very first moment that Death doesn’t just summarize the story, but we actually get to read some of the words that she later writes. (SEE? HE IS SPOILING US OMG.)

You wouldn’t think it, she wrote, but it was not so much the school who helped me read. It was Papa. People think he’s not so smart, and it’s true that he doesn’t read too fast, but I would soon learn words and writing actually saved his life once. Or at least, words and a man who taught him the accordian….

Man, this book sure teases us a lot with the future. YOU ARE MAKING ME FAR TOO INTRIGUED.

The book that Liesel decided to hang on to is not necessarily the best reading material for a child’s first book, but it doesn’t dissuade Hans from using it to teach her to read. He asks her why she held on to such a morbid book, but how does a child explain that it’s the only thing tying them to their dead brother and the mother who abandoned her? Hans doesn’t need this explanation, though, because he’s ready to jump right in it with a healthy sense of humor intact:

He ran a hand through his sleepy hair and said, “Well, promise me one thing, Liesel. If I die anytime soon, you make sure they bury me right.”

Bless his heart.

And so the two of them begin to read The Grave Digger’s Handbook. It proves to be a bit more advanced than Hans’s own reading skills, but still he presses on. He also realizes it’s going to be a lot harder than he expected when he learns that Liesel can only read variations of a single word in German: “the.”

Instead, he starts her off at the beginning. He helps her with the alphabet. In one of the more touching scenes of this novel, Hans works his way, one letter at a time, through the German alphabet, asking Liesel what each letter is that he draws and a word that starts with it. When she guesses correctly, he will draw that object for her.

As they progressed through the alphabet, Liesel’s eyes grew larger. She had done this at school, in the kindergarten class, but this time was better. She was the only one there, and she was not gigantic. It was nice to watch Papa’s hand as he wrote the words and slowly constructed the primitive sketches.

I was always the sort of student who could quietly learn in a classroom of thirty to forty students. I learned pretty early on not to raise my hand often to answer the teacher’s questions because that identified me as both someone people could come to to bully me into doing their homework or someone people could just plain bully. (Yes, I was seriously Hermione as a child/teenager. SO INSUFFERABLE AT TIMES.) But when I couldn’t learn or figure something out, it was exactly this style of personal teaching that always worked best for me. Hans is absolutely fantastic at this, too:

“Ah, come on, Liesel,” he said when she struggled later on. “Something that starts with S. It’s easy. I’m very disappointed in you.”

She couldn’t think.

“Come on!” His whisper played with her. “Think of Mama.”

That was when the word struck her face like a slap. A reflex grin. “SAUMENSCH!” she shouted, and Papa roared with laughter, then quieted.

“Shhh, we have to be quiet.” But he roared all the same and wrote the word, completing it with one of his sketches.

AND THEN WE GET A PICTURE OF SAID SKETCH. Oh my god, it is amazing. Is this in the actual copies of the book, too? (I’m using an e-reader.)

“Papa!” she whispered. “I have no eyes!”

He patted the girl’s hair. She’d fallen into his trap. “With a smile like that,” Hans Hubermann said, “you don’t need eyes.” He hugged her and then looked again at the picture, with a face of warm silver.

SERIOUSLY. THIS MAN IS AMAZING.

Chapter ten ends with another one of my favorite images, as the two end their first midnight study session. With the promise to play accordian the next day, Hans leaves for the night:

He switched off the light, came back, and sat in the chair. In the darkness, Liesel kept her eyes open. She was watching the words.

For me, that was the joy of books as well. They stayed with me long after I was done. In particular, I would spend nights pretending I was asleep for an hour or two, and then pull out my mini-flashlight and make a small tent under my blanket and begin to read. And when I finally became too drowsy to continue, I’d lay in bed, facing the ceiling, words floating by.

CHAPTER 11: THE SMELL OF FRIENDSHIP

Zusak makes an interesting distinction here and one I’m hoping is going to prove to be valuable to the larger story. As Liesel and her Papa continue lessons at the end of spring and into summer, always late at night, the two of them obviously grow closer. But Hans makes an important decision weeks into their lessons: He decides that Liesel is not going to go with Rosa to deliver her ironing this particular afternoon. She is going to come with him to practice reading.

Rosa, naturally, is completely flabbergasted by the suggestion. (Do her and Hans really not communicate much at all?) She demands Liesel and balks at the idea that Hans could ever teach Liesel anything about reading.

The kitchen waited. Papa counterpunched. “We’ll take your ironing for you.”

“You filthy—“ She stopped. The words propped in her mouth as she considered it. “Be back before dark.”

HAHAHAHAHA. Just like that. I love it. In a moment of excitement, Hans tells Liesel what things she needs to collect for their first daytime lessons. As they walk away from Himmel Street towards Amper, Rosa watches them with concern, yelling at Liesel to hold the ironing straight, to wear warm clothing, and Hans and Liesel seem like children escaping their overbearing mother. It’s the first sign of what Zusak does to these characters that’s spelled out at the end, especially when Hans asks Liesel to roll a cigarette for him.

After delivering the ironing, the spend a wonderful afternoon reading and teaching, and when night begins to fall, Hans pulls out his accordion to play for Liesel. But this confused me:

There had been a change in him. A slight shift.

She saw it but didn’t realize until later, when all the stories came together. She didn’t see him watching as he played, having no idea  that Hans Hubermann’s accordion was a story. In the times ahead, that story would arrive at 33 Himmel Street in the early hours of the morning, wearing ruffled shoulders and a shivering jacket. It would carry a suitcase a book, and two questions. A story. Story after story. Story within story.

Ok, what are you talking about. I don’t understand this at all. I can’t even decipher what this means. SPOILER TAGS, DEATH. PLZ.

The lessons continue, problems and all. Hans sometimes would get frustrated with Liesel’s pace, and sometimes they’d have to read by kerosene lamp in the basement. That’s because of Hans:

“Rosa,” Hans said to her at one point. Quietly, his words cut through one of her sentences. “Could you do me a favor?”

She looked up from the stove. “What?”

“I’m asking you, I’m begging you, could you please shut your mouth for just five minutes?”

You can imagine the reaction.

They ended up in the basement.

WELL, OOPS. But those basement sessions spawned a new form of learning: painting. Using Hans’s paint brushes, Liesel is allowed to paint words she can spell aloud on the wall:

After a month, the wall was recoated. A fresh cement page.

Such a lovely image.

So, I brought up the fact that Zusak makes an important distinction about Liesel and Hans’s relationship in chapter eleven, and it’s planted all the way at the end of this chapter:

“You stink,” Mama would say to Hans. “Like cigarettes and kerosene.”

Sitting in the water, she imagined the smell of it, mapped out on her papa’s clothes. More than anything, it was the smell of friendship, and she could find it on herself, too. Liesel loved that smell. She would sniff her arm and smile as the water cooled around her.

Liesel and Hans are friends. Not just foster father and foster daughter. They are friends. I don’t know many people who describe their parents explicitly as friends, but there truly is something pure and simple about the love and respect these two have for each other. They are best friends and it’s really beautiful, especially after the trauma Liesel has been through. In fact, she hasn’t mentioned her mother in a long while either.

It’s just feels like a good place for her to be in.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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85 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Book Thief': Chapters 10-11

  1. cait0716 says:

    Can I make a quick request? I've been reading along with you, at a chapter a day, and now I'm behind and can't read this review for fear of spoilers. I realize chapter 10 was short, and maybe I should have expected you would combine two chapters in a single review today, but I didn't and now I'm behind and I can't catch up until I have time to sit down and read later tonight. If you are going to do more than one chapter at once, can you announce it before hand, so we can all keep up and continue discussing? Even just a tweet the night before would be a huge help. Thank you!

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I can't because I don't know what I'm doing until I actually read and then write the review, sometimes on the night before it goes up. That's the logistical problem with doing chapter-by-chapter reviews and then doing a book like this.

  2. ThreeBooks says:

    OBVS IF YOU WANT TO AVOID SPOLIERS, YOU HAVE TO STOP READING THE BOOK ALTOGETHER! :D

    (seriously I just had a mental image of you giving your book to someone and they just Sharpie out all the spoilery bits.)

  3. (He talks in a similar manner to Death’s narration, for what it’s worth.)
    Whaaaaat DEATH IS LIESEL'S FATHER?? LIESEL IS SUSAN STO-HELIT?!?!?!

    (Another sidenote: Death has a penchant for telling us later story points, almost as if he can’t resist “spoiling” us for what is to come. OMG DEATH, USE SPOILER TAGS, PLZ.)
    Death spoils the crap out of everything. Honey badger doesn't care. Honey badger doesn't give a shit.

    Is this in the actual copies of the book, too?
    Yep! I'm glad it shows up in the e-reader.

    Ok, what are you talking about. I don’t understand this at all. I can’t even decipher what this means.
    Well, it's something about a story, I'm betting.

    I don’t know many people who describe their parents explicitly as friends
    Rory Gilmore! But she's not real.

  4. @Zippy8604 says:

    The only thing I could think of while reading this was how much I love the Book Thief's Papa.

  5. stellaaaaakris says:

    I’m intrigued that Death states that Hans is one of the 10% who does provide “unflinching support” for Adolf Hitler, only because he says, “There was a reason for that,” and then doesn’t provide that reason.
    I don't have my copy of the book on me, so maybe I'm remembering wrong, but isn't Hans part of the 10% of the population that doesn't show unflinching support of Hitler?

    I know exactly when I started loving books. I was in first grade. I had a teacher who I hated (I got into trouble all the time for I don't know what, I remember sprinting down the halls once, and she yelled a lot) but she made the entire class read all the time. Parents came in and read to us, we tried reading to ourselves. In the next few years, I started reading above my grade level (hello, Baby-Sitters' Club) and by the time I was in 6th grade, I could read an entire Nancy Drew book in one night (I remember this because a friend bet me I couldn't finish the book in the time before the next library class; I won). I brought books to meals with me and I had one anytime I had to go somewhere. I was really a mix of Hermione and Rory Gilmore, and proud of it. Still today, whenever I read something particularly well written, it keeps me up at night, intrigued and excited. So I guess I owe something to that teacher I didn't like as she did introduce me to some fascinating worlds.

    And Death is a future tease. Stop just giving me hints! Either tell me flat out or keep it to yourself, Death!

    • knut_knut says:

      Yes, Death mentions that Hans is in that 10% that doesn't support Hitler. What about people like Rudy's father, though? Is he in the 10%? He supports Hitler because he feels it's what will protect his family, but it clearly isn't unflinching support.

      • Ellalalala says:

        I wondered about that too. Maybe it's about demonstrating support rather than having a full ideological commitment? I'm sure there must've been more than 10% of the population who were less than unflinching. "Meh, Hitler's all right, I'll talk the talk and walk the walk even though sometimes he's a bit of a fanny, cos he's better than the opposition."
        …wait. There was no opposition. My bad.

    • monkeybutter says:

      There are TWO Rory Gilmore mentions today! I love these comments! I'm definitely a book-fiend (it's why I love Hermione so much; I can be just as irritating), and I can't really remember a time when I didn't love books. Having loooong series like BSC to mainline definitely helped feed the addiction.

    • lindseytinsey says:

      You're right.

      "SOME CRUNCHED NUMBERS
      In 1933, 90 percent of Germans showed unflinching
      support for Adolf Hitler.
      That leaves 10 percent who didn’t.
      Hans Hubermann belonged to the 10 percent.
      There was a reason for that."

    • andreah1234 says:

      GILMORE GIRLS. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
      [youtube ANEM-uynMso http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANEM-uynMso youtube]

      I am the same. I have Hermione's insane love for books (and Rory's too, I guess) and The Gilmore's crazy humor.

  6. monkeybutter says:

    Haha, be nice XD

    I actually read chapters 9 & 10 together because they were so short (though 10 &11 go together better), and I was hesitant to reply to some comments yesterday because of what's mentioned about Hans and the 10% in chapter 10. I didn't want to give the impression that I thought people who were silent because they were afraid or disempowered by an authoritarian regime were terrible, but people who go along because, "fuck it, I'm not one of those people, and I've got bills to pay" do share in the guilt. Anyway, I have a friend whose grandparents were anti-Nazi and anti-war, though eventually the men were drafted. One set even took in a kid displaced by the war, though I forget exactly why (I should ask). They're good people. I appreciate Hans and that real 10%; the world needs more people like them. (Oh, and Mark, I think you meant "doesn't provide unflinching support.")

    On a lighter note: "wearing ruffled shoulders and a shivering jacket" might be my favorite phrase so far. It's like Death doesn't quite know how adjectives and language are supposed to work, and the result is beautiful.

    • Spugsy says:

      I'd be very surprised, (but do correct me!) if 90% support is wholly accurate. As far as I can remember from history lessons, Hitler needed the support of other parties after elections in order to have a majority. Although certainly many people did vote for him. I completely agree with your sentiments though.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Haha, "elections." But no, you bring up a very good point! Everything — elections, plebiscites, any measure of popular sentiment — after the Reichstag fire cannot necessarily be taken at face value. Hitler and Nazis basically had control after that, and even though they got less than 50% of the vote in the election just after the Reichstag fire, they had to rely on coalitions with other rightist and centrist parties to cement control. In the last election that you could call "fair," I think they only got about a third of the vote. I believe 90% (and higher percentages) are from plebiscites after the Enabling Act, and those amounts should definitely be questioned. I have no idea what his actual public approval numbers are, and while they definitely varied throughout his reign as dictator, they were probably still very high at times.

        What's important though is that 90% is what was reported and publicly circulated. That would be effective in convincing people on the fence to go along, and to isolate and terrify those who disagree.

      • A lot of people in America and the UK supported him too, until he showed his true intentions. We like to pretend that it isn't the case, but it was.

  7. andreah1234 says:

    LOL, SPOILER TAGS.
    <img src="http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff431/andy930930/spoilers.gif"&gt;

    Hans. YOU ARE THE BEST PARENT EVER. YOU ARE JUAS AS GOOD AS THE WEASLEYS. AND THAT'S SAYING A LOT.
    <img src="http://i882.photobucket.com/albums/ac21/HChelf80/ONTD%20Gif/1zof6zd.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://i265.photobucket.com/albums/ii205/lassie_faire/GIF%20central/Glee/thbike-08.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://i1018.photobucket.com/albums/af309/elanor12/AVPM-AVPS-RonHarryHug.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://i522.photobucket.com/albums/w348/Richtoon18/29444f19e32bbb14cfa54e6c7b9453ef.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff431/andy930930/aww.gif"&gt;

    And Rosa, You're not bad either.
    <img src="http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f56/weazel05/Merlin%20GIF/27ymqyr.gif"&gt;
    And even if you are, Hans will try to fix her.
    <img src="http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff431/andy930930/fixyou.gif"&gt;
    (No, I did not just wanted to post that gif)

    I think this two chapters are beautiful. The feeling of support and stability and love, is tangible even if it's not Liesel who's narrating the story, and you can still tell she feels love and safe and OMG <3 <3 <3 <3. Also, the reading classes where wonderful. BRILLIANT.
    <img src="http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff431/andy930930/you.gif"&gt;

    Yes, I only have good things to say about this book. Even if they are not always coherent. Deal with it.
    <img src="http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff431/andy930930/delawithit.gif"&gt;

  8. anninyn says:

    Hans reminds me of my father before my father started drinking. I was such a daddies girl, and we would snuggle up in my narrow bed together and he would read books to me, with his finger under the words, even though he'd taught me to read years ago. He did all the voices, and he read my books that weren't 'appropriate' for my age.

    It was nice, and safe.

  9. That drawing is the best thing ever. I was thinking of making it my avatar here. But then I was too lazy to make it happen.

    Things like the drawings in the book as well as Death's little formatted asides make me worry about those who listen to the audiobook. So much can't carry over.

  10. hilarius11 says:

    I've been thinking about why Death is such a spoiler, and I think I have a theory. Death is omniscient. He's not God or anything like that, but he is ever present and all knowing, so he gets his timelines confused. He forgets what time is like for people who live it, so this story is, for him, just about the overall message of it, not so much about the individual events. That's why he has such a hard time separating the timelines and telling it in a linear way.
    Just my thoughts.

  11. Fuchsia says:

    My sister and I are great friends with my mom, but that didn't happen until my father died. Interesting. For a while, I attributed our friendship to growing up and forgiving my mom for not understanding our past conflicts, but really the things that brought us together were the tragedies: losing my father, almost losing my sister. But yes, my mom is really my friend now. When I was in high school and college, we'd go to concerts together (like, 3-4 a week on average), and even now I can talk to her about pretty much anything. It's a special relationship that I know most people don't have, but I know that it was also born out of heartbreak so I'd be very hesitant to wish it on anyone else.

    These chapters have so much that I love. The midnight painting classes are wonderful. I love the concept. Finally, a chapter that doesn't break our heart. But Death is the ultimate spoiler!

    And yes, the books have the drawings. I'm glad to see that the e-reader version does as well, I was worried about that. The drawings just give that extra bit of something.

    • In my latter years of high school my mum became my best friend. What brought that around was counseling after my head-injury, and her understanding that most of my outbursts were irregular brain activity and not a desire to be insufferable.
      Most of my friends never had a relationship with a parent like that, and so they kind of "borrow" my mum.

      It sounds like your mum is a special lady. I'm sorry for your loss, though glad that it brought something special about. I have a friend who became close with her mother after her dad and brother died, so I've seen similar situations. I know my friend would rather have her family whole and healthy, though..

  12. My dad was a Lieutenant-Major in the Army and had a really demanding job when I was a young kid. After we moved here from Germany when I was a kid he retired and got a contracting job which was equally time-consuming. Every night, no matter how stressed, tired, or frustrated he was, he'd come home and take my older brother and I, sit on the couch, and read the Redwall Series by Brian Jacques to us. I remember leaning over his arm to watch as he moved down the page so I could spell out the more difficult words as he read them. He'd do voices, sound effects, and even put all the little songs to music. (next part in reply)

    • I didn't realize how fortunate I was for many years, until the kids I babysat told me that I was the first "grown-up" to read out loud to them. I started bringing them my old Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drews on the sly, and one day their mum said, "Caity, Bill has started entering reading contests in school. He said you brought him a lot of books." I half expected to get in trouble, but his mum was ecstatic. Now he's in college and is probably more educated in Literature than I am. Sometimes all it takes is someone presenting it the right way.

      • ldwy says:

        So true. Reading with your dad sounds awesome. My parents definitely read to my sister and I when we were little, more my mom because my dad worked late. But when he could, he would read with us too, and that would make it all the more special. I have a huge family with many cousins, and my sister and I have always been the "bookish cousins." Now that we're both grown, we have passed on many recommendations and even some of our old kids books (there are some I'll never part with) to younger cousins and read them with them. It's nice to foster reading with people you care about. You sound like you were a fantastic baby sitter!

        • I was an… unusual babysitter. Meaning the kids would hide in this little play tent while I pretended to be a T-Rex and attacked it for them! It's funny, because they weren't *that* much younger than me (the oldest boy is only about four years younger than I am), but they treated me as a "grownup" when I babysat, and a kid when I was just their friend. I loved it, because I never had any younger siblings to "mama".

          You're lucky, I always wanted a big family!

          • ldwy says:

            That sounds similar to a family I babysat for-the oldest girl was only four years younger than me, and a friend of my younger sisters (they were in the same class at school). She probably could have stayed home alone, but she wasn't old enough to care for her two younger brothers, one quite young. So there I was. But we all got along great and they were great kids. We would do little mini-reenactments and art projects.

            I love having a big family. My immediate family was only my sister and myself, and my parents, but on my dad's side there's many many aunts and uncles and many cousins. I'm good friends with some of them.

    • Emily Crnk says:

      Oh goodness the Redwall series… so many fond childhood memories… i bet the voices and songs your dad did were fantastic, with the moles especially :)

      • Burr aye—I mean—they were, though his hare impressions were my absolute favourite! (Top hole, wot?)

        I cried my eyes out when I found out the author died last month.

        Books are such treasures, so Liesel collecting them like memories makes such sense to me!

  13. doesntsparkle says:

    I really like the way that Death skips ahead and spoils a little bit, it's like a friend trying to tell you a story about what they did last weekend. But more interesting.

  14. Llysana says:

    After you finish this book, the next time you're in a bookstore, pick up this book and look through it. Pay close attention to the drawings. There are so many wonderful surprises that don't come across in the e-book format. This is the first time I felt an e-book actually let me down.

  15. FlameRaven says:

    The ebook I'm reading neglected to include the sketches. I am so disappointed. D:

    • FishGuts says:

      YOU SHOULD SUE

      or, y'know, just buy the real version…

      • FlameRaven says:

        I will buy a real version, as soon as I find one. I tried to grab a copy from my library, but despite having something like 30 libraries in the city with a copy, they were ALL checked out or waitlisted. D:So an ebook it is, for now.

        • Fuchsia says:

          Yeah, it was on hold for me for a while, even though I live in Chicago and literally every library in the city has at least one copy (some have more). I finally got it over the weekend, though!

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      Late, but I posted it below. If there turn out to be more sketches along the way, I'll probably post those as well, or at least upload them and post a link to them in my account. I have an e-book with all the images intact, plus a hard copy (well, paperback), so for me it's NBD.

  16. jennywildcat says:

    The more I read this book, the more I love Hans. That is all. :)

  17. Harriet says:

    Didn't know where to post this where you'd be most likely to see it, but it is perfect for you. http://www.whatshouldireadnext.com/

    • ldwy says:

      Very cool. I tried an old favorite of mine, and I'd read at least half of the ones it suggested, and liked most.

  18. Joanie says:

    I'm getting tears in my eyes just revisiting this book.:')

  19. canyonoflight says:

    I was friends with my dad. He was a lot like Hans in some ways. He read to me when I was kid, but so did my mom. But, when I was reading on my own, we'd sit together in comfortable silence and read; sometimes he'd listen to me as I retold entire plots complete with the details of important scenes and my horrible acting. We'd also watch basketball together and play one on one in the driveway. Neither one of us was particularly talented, but we had fun. We'd also watch the Discovery and History channels together and he'd listen to my 10 year old theories about space and time and the meaning of life. He even tried to teach me poker once, but I was rubbish at it. We were both really snarky and so whenever we were at a family event that was boring or too crowded, I'd go find him (somewhere outside usually) and joke around or use his arms as pull-up bars or play fight. At the reception after his funeral, I left the too crowded kitchen for the empty living room and felt completely lost. I walked in a small circle before falling to the floor and breaking down. He wasn't there to cheer me up and it ripped my heart out all over again. Man, I miss him.

  20. Inseriousity. says:

    haha when I was reading this book, I did think 'death hasn't read Mark's spoiler policy!!' and I wondered when you were going to mention it. Luckily, the spoilers just make you go MOAR STORY rather than grrrrrrrrr :D

  21. MissRose99 says:

    My prediction: there is a comment about how learning the accordion helped save his life. I believe that man that taught him will be part of the reason why he does NOT have undying support for Hitler.

    • MelissaK says:

      I think that the man who taught him will be Jewish or some other sort of social undesirable under Nazism.

  22. Hotaru-hime says:

    There is a great joy in learning to read, so I liked these chapters very much.
    When I was a very small child and my mother was teaching us about Islam, she told us that the first words from the Angel Jibra'eel (Gabriel) to the Prophet was "Iqra" or "Read". The way my mother said it gave me shivers down my spine and cemented my love for books, for reading.
    Also, a small, shining moment for Rosa, who wonders if Liesel will be cold.

  23. hungriestgame says:

    i just love his writing. and stupid dumb papa who is so great. this book makes me so mad. i love it so much i'm angry.

  24. Yes, Death is a huge Spoiler Whore; my best advice is to ignore him and his teasers. Thank god I got this on Kindle and not an actual book because then I would have been more tempted to skip ahead to see what he was talking about.

  25. Emily Crnk says:

    I personally think that writing on walls is the best way to learn anything ever. Just imagine a whole wall full of words, new ones every few weeks. Its just a beautiful thing to me. And hans is a wonderful artist, seriously, almost as an artist as a father.

    One of the reasons that I was looking forward for you to read this book (Aside from the fact that it is the BEST THING EVER!) is Death's propensity for spoilers. Its almost as ironic as River Song. He has noooo problem hinting at whats ahead, sometimes I honestly can't believe what he says.

  26. Mauve_Avenger says:

    I don't really have much to add to the discussion for these chapters, but I do want to post the illustration for people who may not have it in their e-books. I kind of wonder how an audiobook would deal with this sort of thing. Liesel and Hans actually talk about the drawing in the next paragraphs, which makes it easier on the listeners, but what about books with drawings that aren't described in the text itself?

    ***A TYPICAL HANS HUBERMANN ARTWORK***
    <img src="http://i1133.photobucket.com/albums/m593/the_mauve_avenger/The%20Book%20Thief/ATypicalHansHubermannArtwork.jpg"&gt;
    ***artwork actually by Trudy White***

  27. Sarah M says:

    I didn’t appreciate this until the second time I read the book through, but Death’s spoilers…they made me so angry the first readthrough. But after I finished it and read it again, I was like, “Wait. Death doesn’t know not to give spoilers.” Death doesn’t have the same concept of time as we do, since he/she/it is eternal. I thought that was a wonderful play by Mr. Zusak.

    Also, unrelated question: is there a new comment system? What happened to IntenseDebate? Am I just that unobservant?

  28. Stephanie says:

    I just reread my two favorite chapters, which happen to be two of the saddest chapters. I've read the book at least five times and I STILL wasn't prepared.
    Oh, Mark. You have no idea what you've gotten yourself into.

  29. MelissaK says:

    Can I make some predictions? When Hans says "You make sure they bury me right," I groaned. You guys, I think that Hans is a goner. I mean, that has got to be blatant foreshadowing, and we all are quite aware that we never get to have nice things in the books that Mark reads.

    • Same thing crossed me mind. I told my husband I wanted him to hold me because I knew I wouldn't be able to handle this book. Just like I couldn't handle Hunger Games.

      I'm already trying to prepare myself for the worst. Sigh.

  30. Brieana says:

    Death is definitely a spoiler whore. And as someone who doesn't even like to know what books are about before I start reading (because honestly, that makes the first 20 or so pages so unnecessary) I was really annoyed at first. However I found that there is a huge difference between knowing the facts of what happened and walking through the story.

  31. Suspicious Cookie says:

    Was I the only one who found the drawing of Liesel with no eyes kind of creepy? No?

    Guess I've been watching too much horror :/

  32. xilopia says:

    Oh Mark, you'll just have to learn that Death is too cool for spolier tags ;)

  33. Gabbie says:

    For once, I actually love the character I'm supposed to. (The main characters) Leisel and Hans are my favorites. <3

  34. Kelly L. says:

    I didn't realize how much spoilering Death was doing until I hit somewhere around chapter 20 (I honestly have no idea where I am, since they're not numbered. I think I just started Part 4?) but I've found myself flipping back a few pages to check if something had been hinted at.

    And now, catching up on your reviews…. holy hell. They're fucking everywhere. I'm going to have to turn around and re-read this when I'm done so I can catch all the hints and spoilers that I missed the first time, because I didn't realize they were hints and spoilers, or else I had too much time lapse between them to realize that the current action had already been mentioned.

    I love this book so far. It's so complex and carefully woven together.

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