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"The Book Thief": Amazon Asks Markus Zusak

BookThief200 MarkusZusak350The Book Thief is still one of my favorite books even though it's been years since I read it (and frankly, it's time for a re-read).  Last week the movie adaptation opened in a limited release and starting today it will be in theaters around the country.

We were able to get our hands on an exclusive trailer for the film that you can see below, and I also had the chance to ask author Markus Zusak a few questions about the movie and what he's reading these days:

Seira Wilson: It took a long time for The Book Thief to make it to the big screen--when you found out it was really happening were you excited? Nervous?

Markus Zusak: I’m often too wrapped up in the book I’m working on to be too excited or nervous about a lot of things. People sometimes think I’m being casual when often I feel like I’m actually showing at least a half-decent level of excitement or dread or anything in between…In this case, I think I’m more excited for the producers and the director. For me, it’s sort of nice, in that I’ve lived with this book for a decade now, in both the writing of it and everything that’s happened since. Maybe I’m a bit relieved that it’s someone else’s turn now, and I get to call out from the sidelines a little, to wish them luck and no regrets.

SW: Do you have a particular genre you like to read?   What 3 books could you not live without and why?

MZ: I tend to take Fiction as a category, even if it has a multitude of categories within it. I’ve always just loved the idea that you’re turning pages, believing something that isn’t real--but you believe it when you’re in it.

Three books I couldn’t live without are:

1. The Half-Brother by Lars Saabye Christensen - for its ambition and memorable characters.

2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – because there’s a gem on every page.

3. The Outsiders by S.E Hinton – because it made me want to be a writer.

SW: What's on your nightstand/bedside table/Kindle?

MZ: I like to reread books, especially when I’m writing. I brought my old beat-up copy of The Old Man and the Sea on this trip through America, knowing I’ll pick up other books along the way. Waiting for me (and roasting in my car back home in Sydney) is the audio version of David Sedaris’s Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.

SW: What was the best piece of advice you ever got?  From whom?

MZ: It’s from my dad, when I was very young, and I complained that I was placed sixth after a race I thought I’d won at Little Athletics one Saturday. He said, ‘I thought you won, too, but you made one big mistake – you didn’t win by enough. You have to win by so much that no-one can take it off you.’ It resonates now not in terms of winning or losing anything, but in the sense that I want to write so much like myself that no-one else could have possible written it. (I hope I’m making sense.)

SW: If you had to choose an alternate dream career (I’m making an assumption here, of course) what would it be?

MZ: I’d love to work in a secondhand bookstore, without any shadow of a doubt. Maybe I will one day…

SW: I’ve heard you are working on a new book--can you share anything about it?

MZ: It’s taking a very long time!  As for the story, it’s about a bridge builder named Clay, and I’m interested in what it takes to make one perfect thing.

Markus Zusak "The Book Thief" Movie Trailer from Amazon Books on Vimeo.

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