Friday, August 28, 2009

A Reading Challenge

Since what spare time I have is mostly devoted to reading and I follow a couple of book blogs, I recently became aware of a World War II themed reading challenge. After some consideration (and the fact that I've already read and own more than 5 books set during WWII), I decided to participate.

WWII has always been an interesting subject for me, especially since Nazi Germany was the main subject of my 'A' Level History exam, which I sat (gulp!) 15 years ago. I did hesitate to join this challenge though, because I'm not much of one for writing book reviews. I enjoy reading them, but on the whole feel that reading is such a subjective matter that it's hard to say with conviction that a book is great or awful or something in between.

I've read reviews extolling books I thought were rubbish and trashing books I thought were great. More importantly, rereading books has shown me that perceptions change with time. Certain books that blew me away upon first reading didn't impress me at all when re-read, while other books just seem to get better every time I re-read them.

Still, the WWII themed reading challenge is one I will rise to. My books to re-read between now and the year's end will be:

Suite Francaise - Irene Nemirovsky
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Dancing With Eva - Alan Judd
Number the Stars -Lois Lowry
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes - Eleanor Coerr
Fatherland - Robert Harris
The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje
The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

If I can get a find these books that were left at my parents' house when I moved out a few years ago, I will also re-read:
The Summer of My German Soldier -Bette Greene
Boy At War: A Story of Pearl Harbor - Henry Mazer

My copies of Captain Corelli's Mandolin and Schindler's List were borrowed by different people years ago, and I suspect I will never see them again. This is the saddest thing about lending out books you think are wonderful and want to share with other people. Many don't respect ownership and forget about them, or re-lend them out. I thought I'd learnt my lesson but still have a list of beloved books I hope will some day be returned to me. Others I have simply replaced with new copies.

Time is ticking, and while Little A sleeps, I must get reading.


Anna said...

I'm so glad you decided to join our challenge. That's a great list of books! I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Please don't stress out about writing reviews for the challenge; they're not required. We just like to post them on the site so everyone can see what everyone else is reading. But you can still participate and not write reviews.

I've added your name to the list of participants on War Through the Generations.

Diary of an Eccentric

judys424 said...

I have to try reading a WWII novel. Goodluck! I hope you complete the challenge. :)

Peter S. said...

Hello, Lya! I just love Suite Francaise. It was my best read last year.

I still owe you a book. I promise to send it soon. I'm just waiting for a few more people to send me their addresses.

Serena said...

FYI, all 2009 WWII Reading Challenge Participants; giveaway information can be found here: