Finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This is by far the best book I have experienced this year. I listened to an audiobook version, read by Allan Corduner, whose performance is outstanding.
Set in Nazi Germany, it is the story of Liesel Meminger, a nine year old girl who is sent to live with foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubberman, who she quickly learns to call Mama and Papa. Papa is a house painter. He is a patient and kindly man who teaches Liesel to read. Rosa is impatient and kindly, and the queen of colorful language. Once Liesel learns to read she does whatever she can to get her hands on a new book, even stealing one off a pile that has been torched by the Nazis. The story follows this family (and the Jew they are hiding in their basement), their friends, neighbors, and enemies during the years of World War II.
What makes this book so fascinating and original is that it is narrated by Death. As a firsthand observer during these dark years, Death has a lot to report and has some interesting opinions on what he sees. This book was gripping as well as hilarious. I cannot recommend it enough.