Announcing Our 2017 Readalongs!

We’ve decided to host a few readalongs for the 2017 WWII reading challenge. Here are the books we’ll be reading:

March:

all-the-light-we-cannot-seeWINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

June:

unbrokenIn boyhood, Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent. As a teenager, he channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics. But when World War II began, the athlete became an airman, embarking on a journey that led to a doomed flight on a May afternoon in 1943. When his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean, against all odds, Zamperini survived, adrift on a foundering life raft. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

September:

those-who-save-usFor fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy’s sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuhrer of Buchenwald.

Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the dramatic and heartbreaking truth of her mother’s life.

Combining a passionate, doomed love story, a vivid evocation of life during the war, and a poignant mother/daughter drama, Those Who Save Us is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame.

Generally, we read the book over a period of a month (schedules TBA). We’ll post some discussion questions every Friday and encourage you to weigh in, and even post your own questions in the comments.

We hope you’ll join us!

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Favorite WWII Books: Ours and Yours

We thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite WWII books in case anyone needs some recommendations for the 2017 reading challenge. We’d also love for you to share some of your favorites in the comments to give us some ideas for our own reading!

It was really hard to pare down our lists, so we’ve chosen 5 individual favorites, and 5 books that we both read and loved.

Our shared favorites, in no particular order:

a-moment-forever

Anna’s review

Serena’s review

the-bakers-daughter

Anna’s review

Serena’s review

the-race-for-paris

Anna’s review

Serena’s review

guernsey

Anna’s review

Serena’s review

the-sea-garden

Anna’s review

Serena’s review

******

Anna’s favorites, in no particular order

(click the cover to read her review)

the-book-thief

code-name-verity

the-plum-tree

every-man-dies-alone

shadows-walking

******

Serena’s favorites, in no particular order

(click cover to read her review)

secretofmagic

monumentsmen

grandcentral

tallgrass

womenvalor

******

We hope you’ll consider reading some of our favorites for the challenge. Please share your recommendations in the comments!

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WWII Reading Challenge 2017

wwii-2017

Happy New Year! Welcome to the WWII Reading Challenge for 2017.

This is a no-stress reading challenge. Feel free to set your own goal. Read fiction, nonfiction, poetry, children’s books, etc. Whatever strikes your fancy. These can be the years leading up to the war, during the war, or in the few years after the war.

Please link your reviews (blog, Amazon, GoodReads, wherever you post) below:

As a thank you for participating, we’ll host an end-of-challenge giveaway for those who read the most WWII-related books between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2017. (Details coming later in the year!)

Thank Our Veterans

veteransday

Pearl Harbor Remembrance

pearl-harbor-remembrance-day-clip-art-2

Honoring Our Veterans, Today and Every Day

Memorial Day 2015

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Memorial Day is a federal day of remembrance. It began as a way to remember those who died during the U.S. Civil War, but now it is a day to remember all who have served in the military, including our current troops.

Many people take the time to visit the graves of their loved ones who were veterans of war, while some have just placed flags on graves for those who served, even without knowing those soldiers personally. This is a day of remembrance for those who lost their lives in war.

While I agree that these men and women should be remembered, I also urge you to remember those who currently serve (and yes, they are celebrated in November). But I think the sacrifices these troops make, and in some cases, the legacy that they continue, is just as important as those who have passed before us.

I’m lucky to know many current members of the military who have bravely fought, served, and returned home in one piece, but there are so many who are still emotionally, psychologically, and physically scarred. These men deserve our care and consideration on this day. Rather than have a cookout or place a flag on a grave — though you can still do those things, too — why not volunteer in a VA for an hour or take some hard-earned cash and donate it to a veterans organization, like the Wounded Warrior Project.

Enjoy the time you have off with veterans and family. Make the most of it before it’s gone.

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