Tag Archives: WWII

What I Will be Reading #38: For the Younger Audiences

First off, I’m adding Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyemi to my list, the first book in a new YA series. I like the interesting magic and West African setting. I’m trying to read more books set outside the U.S. and this would definitely fit the bill. It was reviewed on a books episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour.

The next three books came from a friend who is a school librarian. We traded book recommendations at a gymnastics meet (our daughters compete together). She recommended The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock as a middle grade book set in the Middle Ages. The main character is a bit different from the other in the village, which sets him apart. He gets taken around Europe, looking for relics of St. Peter, which makes it a bit of a treasure hunt.

She also recommended Front Desk by Kelly Yang. The book is set in a motel and touches on immigration issues. That’s a tricky issue to discuss with kids, but the setting makes it a more natural fit.

Finally, there’s Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. This is a WWII book told from the perspective of four characters whose stories slowly intertwine.

Anything sound good to you?

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The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

This was our book club choice for November. I had heard many people talk about it and thought it might be a good choice for us to read.

Subtitle: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Published: 2013

Genre: nonfiction historical sports

Length: 370 pages of story, 404 pages total

Setting: mostly 1899-1936, near Seattle, and 1936, Berlin

Summary: Short version: The background to the amazing men’s crew win in the Berlin Olympics Continue reading

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Hour of the Cat by Peter Quinn

It gave me a Q author for my alphabet reading challenge and looked like something I might enjoy.

Published: 2005

Genre: historical fiction

Length: 400 pages

Setting: 1936-1939, New York City and Berlin

Summary: Short version: The rise of the Nazis alongside a hard-boiled detective story Continue reading

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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I needed a book to read and didn’t have my TBR list with me. So, I decided to wander the library. Sometimes I can’t find anything that looks appealing, but this book happened to catch my eye. I knew it had a lot of good buzz around it, but didn’t know much beyond it was a WWII story. I decided to take a chance and go in otherwise blind to the plot.

Published: 2014

Genre: historical fiction

Length: 531 pages

Setting: Germany and France, 1934-1945 with an epilogue Continue reading

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Das Steingeschopf by G. V. Anderson

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer. This story also won the World Fantasy Award in 2017.

Published: December 2016 in Strange Horizons (read it free online at the link)

Genre: fantastical historical fiction

Setting: Germany, just before the start of WWII

Summary: Out narrator is a journeyman Schopfer – he trained to carve and repair Steingeschopfe (animated statues carved from Queckstein). He is sent to his first commission and discovers it is repair work on a Steingeschopfe originally carved by one of the 17th century masters. Our narrator agrees to do the work, which involves pouring some of his energy and memories into the statue as he works.

Final thoughts: This story managed to pack quite a bit into a small plot – someone comes to fix a statue. However, we get the rise of racism against Jews in Germany, a bit of a love story between our narrator and one of his fellow apprentices, the conflict between art and practicality, and the specter of death hanging over it all. Not bad for a short story!

Title comes from: It’s the German name of the animate statues that our narrator works on

 

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Borrows

This was our book club choice for October. Many of us had read it already (it’s really hard to find a book that 1/3 of us haven’t read. That’s what you get for having a group of dedicated readers in a book club), but we had never done it as a book club book. The library had enough copies so we decided to read it again.

Published: 2008

Genre: fiction

Length: 274 pages

Setting: London and Guernsey, just after WWII Continue reading

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A Bird, A Broad, and a Mess of Kyodatsu by Stephen Lickman

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published:January, 2017 in Mothership Zeta: Issue 2

Genre: alternate history fantasy

Setting: Japan, post-WWII

Summary: Our narrator is a Tengu, a mythical Japanese bird soldier. Japan has been conquered, so he’s trying to make a living as a detective. Really, his goal is to make enough money to drink himself into oblivion. But, he’s been hired by a murder of jungle crows to recover a Buddha that was stolen from Crow Castle at the end of the war. He’s slipping into kyodatsu – a general state of depression because Japan lost that can be seen in people across multiple every aspect of Japanese society. However, the crows shame him into trying to recover the Buddha.

Final thoughts: Interesting because of the setting and new mythology. Our narrator was transformed into a Tengu to work off a debt to karma. He’s not doing a very good job at it at the beginning of the story. He’s slipping into despair, like so many people around him. He won’t even fly anymore – the skies are for the victors. But, he decides to do something instead and recover the Buddha and even takes to the sky to do so. We are left hanging – the thief has taken a ship to America, but he’s going to chase her. He’s got a purpose again in life.

Title comes from: The bird is our narrator – a crow-like creature; the broad is the thief of the Buddha; the kyodatsu is the state of mind of everyone around our narrator.

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