Remember When I Thought I’d Read a Few Books About War?

by Charlotte Reads Classics

Canadian Stretcher-Bearers, Flanders Fields, 1915

Back in May, I came up with an idea to read more books about War. I had several unread books about WWI and WWII on my bookshelves and on my Classics Club list and thought I would make a bit of a themed reading event (albeit just for myself) where really the main outcome was to get the books crossed off. Here is my very naive original post.

What I hadn’t anticipated when I collected these books and stacked them oppressively next to my bed was that the project would turn into the biggest interest of my reading life. Seriously. It is about five months since I started, and I haven’t even made it to WWII yet. And the list has grown and grown. I am really surprised at how much this has inspired my reading – a few years ago I couldn’t have imagined anything worse than being forced to read about horrible historical events over and over again. Ah, the misguided opinions of youth.

In the interest of collating scraps of lists that are all over the blog (and my house) in very odd places here are the links to what I have read so far:

First World War

Second World War

A slightly smaller list of books I still own but have yet to read:

First World War

  • Barker, Pat – Life Class
  • Barker, Pat – Toby’s Room
  • Boyne, John – The Absolutist
  • Ishiguro, Kazuo – The Remains of the Day (Not strictly a WWI book, but not a WWII either – I’ve read this at school and hated it but I think I’d appreciate it more now)
  • Sassoon, Siegfried – The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston
  • Wells, H. G. – Mr Britling Sees It Through

Second World War

  • Beauman, Ned – Boxer Beetle 
  • Gibbons, Stella – Westwood
  • Grossman, Vasily – Life and Fate
  • Kerr, Philip – Berlin Noir
  • Littell, Jonathan – The Kindly Ones
  • Nemirovsky, Irene – Suite Française

Science Fiction

  • Vonnegut, Kurt – Cat’s Cradle
  • Wells, H. G. – The War of the Worlds

And lastly, books that I’d like to read in the future:

First World War

  • Aldington, Richard – Death of a Hero
  • Barker, Pat – The Eye in the Door
  • Barker, Pat – The Ghost Road
  • Brittain, Vera – Testament of Youth (Non fiction)
  • Englund, Peter – The Beauty and the Sorrow (Non fiction)
  • Manning, Frederic – The Middle Parts of Fortune
  • Steinbeck, John – Once There Was A War (thanks, Laura)
  • West, Rebecca – The Return of the Soldier
  • Woolf, Virginia – Jacob’s Room
  • The Penguin Book of First World War Stories

Second World War

  • Nicholson, Virginia – Millions Like Us (Non fiction)
  • Sheers, Owen – Resistance

The list seems unlikely to stop there so I’ve made a page to keep track of these books at the top of the blog – or click here.

If there is anything on the list you fancy reading then let me know, I also welcome new suggestions for the list too!

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