I generally steer clear of works about the Holocaust. I put Anne Frank's diary down. It's not that I don't care, but I often read to escape reality, and I generally don't want to escape to a basement in Nazi Germany. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was different in almost every way. Death's narration gives it a charming point of view, and that's coupled with these haunting ethereal descriptions that had me hooked from the first page, and don't get me wrong, there's a lot of pages. Five hundred fifty or so in my copy. It's worth it. The description never dulls. The plot never stops moving, and it never stops moving in a new and unexpected direction. I've watched enough movies and read enough books to have seen all the tawdry plot twists out there. I guess more than anything, what gives this book charm is guts. The guts to approach one of history's ugliest moments with an unflinching beauty. The guts to kill all your darlings. I don't remember the last book I read that hit my head, my heart, my eyes, and my ears all at once so well. Short of any resident neo-Nazi's, I can't imagine a literate man or woman who wouldn't enjoy this book.