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      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     

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Hey!

 

I was wondering if anyone knew of some good books set in the World War II era that may depicted what life was like for the people at that time period. It can be fiction or non-fiction, I really don't have any preference. I have read and enjoyed Night by Ellie Wiesel. Something similar would really tickle my fancy.

 

I hope you guys can help! :motz:

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Well, I just happened to watch Defiance, and I know that the movie is based on a book of the same name. That would probably fit the bill quite nicely!

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What gender of book? Atonement by Ian McEwan, for instance, is taking place before and during World-War II and deals with the themes of love, consequences of lying and the effect that war has on people's lives.

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The Secret Purposes by David Baddiel is excellent.

From Amazon:

THE SECRET PURPOSES, David Baddiel's third novel, takes us into a little-known and still somewhat submerged area of British history: the internment of German Jewish refugees on the Isle of Man during the Second World War. Isaac Fabian, on the run with his young family from Nazism in East Prussia, comes to Britain assuming he has found asylum, but instead finds himself drowning in the morass of ignorance, half-truth, prejudice, and suspicion that makes up government attitudes to German Jews in 1940. One woman, June Murray, a translator from the Ministry of Information, stands out - and when she comes to the island on a personal mission to uncover solid evidence of Nazi atrocities, her meeting with Isaac will have far-reaching consequences for both of them. A haunting and beautifully written tale of love, displacement and survival, THE SECRET PURPOSES profoundly questions the way that truth - both personal and political - emerges from the tangle of history.

 

 

And although I've not yet read it, The Reader by Bernhard Schlink is supposed to be very good.

From Amazon:

For 15-year-old Michael Berg, a chance meeting with an older woman leads to far more than he ever imagined. The woman in question is Hanna, and before long they embark on a passionate, clandestine love affair which leaves Michael both euphoric and confused. For Hanna is not all she seems. Years later, as a law student observing a trial in Germany, Michael is shocked to realize that the person in the dock is Hanna. The woman he had loved is a criminal. Much about her behaviour during the trial does not make sense. But then suddenly, and terribly, it does - Hanna is not only obliged to answer for a horrible crime, she is also desperately concealing an even deeper secret.

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Have you read The Book Thief by Markus Zusac, Adam? That's set in WW2 and I (and many others) thought it was excellent! :motz:

 

Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank shows what it was like for Jewish people trying to hide during WW2. It really gives a feel for how awful it was for them, although some parts of it drag because they're also typical thoughts of a teenage girl.

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There's also Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres.

From Amazon:

It is 1941 and Captain Antonio Corelli, a young Italian officer, is posted to the Greek island of Cephallonia as part of the occupying forces. At first he is ostracised by the locals, but as a conscien-tious but far from fanatical soldier, whose main aim is to have a peaceful war, he proves in time to be civilised, humorous - and a consumate musician. When the local doctor's daughter's letters to her fiance go unanswered, the working of the eternal triangle seems inevitable. But can this fragile love survive as a war of bestial savagery gets closer and the lines are drawn between invader and defender.

 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne.

From Amazon:

Lines may divide us, but hope will unite us ...Nine-year-old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. All he knows is that he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas. Bruno's friendship with Shmuel will take him from innocence to revelation. And in exploring what he is unwittingly a part of, he will inevitably become subsumed by the terrible process.

 

Lovely Green Eyes by Arnost Lustig.

From Amazon:

Fifteen-year-old Hanka Kaudersova has ginger hair and clear, green eyes. When her family is deported to Auschwitz, her mother, father and younger brother are sent to the gas chamber. By a twist of fate, Hanka is faced with a simple alternative: follow her family, or work in an SS brothel behind the eastern front. She chooses to live, her Aryan looks allowing her to disguise the fact that she is Jewish. As the German army retreats from the Russian front, Hanka battles cold, hunger, fear and shame, sustained by her hatred for the men she entertains, her friendship with the mysterious Estelle, and her fierce, burning desire for life. Lovely Green Eyes explores the compromises and sacrifices that an individual may make in order to survive, the way a woman can retain her identity in the face of appalling trauma, and the value of human life itself. This is a remarkable novel, which soars beyond nightmare, leaving the reader with a transcendent sense of hope.

 

--------------

 

It's interesting to see how diverse these books are, even though they are all set during the same period with the same major event as the central theme!

Edited by Kell

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'Gone To Soldiers' by Marge Piercy. She is considered a Woman's writer, but this has got to be an all-time favourite book of mine. It is many stories told from many perspectives, a very good read.

 

'Band Of Brothers' by Stephen E Ambrose is also a very good read. I can thoroughly recommend it.

 

I have read two of Sebastian Faulkes France Trilogy; 'Birdsong' and 'Charlotte Gray'. They were both fascinating reads. 'The Girl at the Lion d'Or' is the third book of the trilogy.

 

Hope these help. :motz:

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Birdsong is actually set in WW1 though - although brilliant nonetheless. :motz:

 

I must check out the sequels sometime!

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Birdsong is actually set in WW1 though - although brilliant nonetheless. ;) I must check out the sequels sometime!

Of course it is! :motz:

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Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky is told from the point of view of some smart Parisians and a more rural French community during the German occupation.

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Ann Mary Shaffer and Annie Barrows is a more light-hearted look at the German occupation of the island of Guernsey.

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And a few I've not yet read (all info from Amazon)...

 

Waiting for Leah by Arnost Lustig:

"Leah" is set in Theresienstadt, the ghetto created by the Nazis in northern Bohemia as a staging post for the transport of Jews to Poland. The time is September 1944; the war is going badly for the Germans, and they are in a hurry to complete their "Final Solution". Rumours are rife among the Jews in the ghetto, even though nothing definite is known of the Nazis' intentions, or perhaps it is deliberately not believed. The heroine of the novel, Leah, an eighteen year old girl from Holland, has, like most of those around her, given up living in accordance with her beliefs. The narrator is a lad of seventeen, likewise still relatively unaffected by the moral disinteragration around him. By chance, he encounters Vili Field, a pre-ward acquaintence who had seduced his young girlfriend. Vili takes the narrator to the tiny attic he shares with Leah. Thus begins an erotic entanglement that ends with the narrator and Vili being sent to their deaths in the East. Leah travels with them, but in a different part of the train. Conditions on this journey are unspeakable; Lustig evokes them memorably in this novel about impossible in appalling circumstances.

 

Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada:

Berlin, 1940, and the city is filled with fear. At the house on 55 Jablonski Strasse, its various occupants try to live under Nazi rule in their different ways: the nervous Frau Rosenthal, the bullying Hitler loyalists the Persickes, the retired judge Fromm and the unassuming working-class couple Otto and Anna Quangel. Then the Quangels receive the devastating news that their beloved son has been killed fighting in France. Shocked out of his quiet existence, the usually taciturn factory foreman Otto is provoked into an action that will endanger both his and Anna

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Wow, thank you guys so much. This is exactly what I was looking for. Not so much the fighting, but what life was like for the people. Thank you guys so much for the quick responses. I think I might have to place an online order for some of these books very soon ;)

 

I don't know what it is about this topic, it has always fascinated me. I'm a big history buff so these books look like they fit the bill. Thanks again :motz:

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'Band Of Brothers' by Stephen E Ambrose is also a very good read. I can thoroughly recommend it.

I'm reading that now and can recommend it too!

A very well written and researched fiction book, set around the code-breakers at Bletchley Park, is Robert Harris' Enigma. It also paints a pretty vivid picture of what it was like to live in wartime England.

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Those Who Save Us - Jenna Blum:

 

'Impossible' Max breathes. 'This is impossible - ' Anna bends to put her lips to his ear 'No, it's not' she whispers. 'I know where to hide you. I have the perfect place.' For 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 guilt about her supposed Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the dramatic and heartbreaking truth about her mother's life.

 

Love Without Resistance - Gilles Rozier:

 

An exquisite novel about love, faith and the transforming power of language. With a passion for the limpid, crystalline prose of the great German writers, the narrator of Gilles Rozier's sublime novel lives, in other respects, on the fringes of life. A tutor in occupied France, it is the conjugation of verbs rather than the mystery of conjugal relations that comes naturally. Marriage was a duty. Language is a passion. But not, even remotely, the living language of love. That exists only in the literature devoured in the basement; the forbidden volumes of Heine, Mann and Rilke. Then Herman appears, awakening desire of the deepest sort. Impelled by adolescent memories, the narrator saves him, a Polish Jew, from the Germans. Hidden with the other secret, buried passions in the basement, Herman also shares them, unexpectedly devouring the literature of love. And so develops an extraordinary and shattering affair within which two bodies and two antagonistic languages, Yiddish and German, are magnetically attracted. Sparely told, compelling, and both morally precise and uncertain, Gilles Rozier's novel invites comparison with Bernhard Schlink's The Reader. An achingly beautiful exercise in emotional intelligence, it sees its protagonists wrestle with collective guilt, individual motivation and the power of words - words that are written, spoken and left unsaid.

 

Two of the best (and most disturbing) WWII novels I've read. :motz:

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Love Without Resistance - Gilles Rozier
Awww, If only this thread had been up a few days ago... ;)! I had this on my swap thread for ages (I abandoned it after it had scarred me by page 2) but since no one was snapping it up I charity shopped it - I'm moving house so no point in boxing up what I'm not going to keep... sorry, it could have been yours if only I'd known :motz:!

 

On a brighter note, may I suggest "When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit" by Judith Kerr? It's halfway between adorable and very moving.

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On a brighter note, may I suggest "When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit" by Judith Kerr? It's halfway between adorable and very moving.

You've just reminded me that I have this upstairs - I was going to start it but had just finished a Young Adult book so put it to one side and forgot about it! Thanks. :motz:

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Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky is told from the point of view of some smart Parisians and a more rural French community during the German occupation.

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Ann Mary Shaffer and Annie Barrows is a more light-hearted look at the German occupation of the island of Guernsey.

 

Both of those are excellent reads, and I'd like to add A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous, it covers 8 weeks in a woman's life after the Russians took over the one section of Berlin directly after WWII.

 

Also The Arms of Krupp by William Manchester. It is not only/specifically about a particular war, although it covers a great deal of WWII, but the family Krupp, the munitions makers that armed and funded the Third Reich.

It actually covers the family from 1587 - 1968.

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More great selections guys, thank you :motz:

 

My Visa is warming up. I might place an order this week for some of these titles.

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*adds several of the suggestions above to her wish-list*

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard:

 

The Light Years

Marking Time

Confusion

Casting Off

 

It's the story of, not surprisingly, the Cazalet family, set in London before, during and after WW2. It's a fairly light read, nothing terribly deep, but the author obviously did her research as it includes many nice details of what life was like then. The characters are beautifully drawn, as well.

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I agree MuggleMagic! As usual, the book is far far better and more in depth than the film, it's a very interesting idea.

 

Adam, I can recommend female fiction writers who base their books during war time britain, but I'm not sure you'd be interested in those??

 

I really like war time books too! Fiction or non fiction

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I usually think that I don't like 'war novels' but when I read this thread I found I'd read some of the books listed here and loved them and some of the other books are on my TBR. And some I hadn't heard about but I'd be willing to read them. What a great thread, thanks Adam for starting it and thanks to you who've contributed to the thread! :D

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Another book I thought of the other day, which is based during war time but in Auschwitz is I Was Dr Mengele's Assistant by Miklos Nyiszli. It's a non fiction book. I think I read this in about two days, it's extremely interesting to hear the story from someone who was actually inside Auschwitz and is very disturbing and upsetting in parts, but I think people need to keep reading and seeing things about the holocaust to remind them how awful it was so that it never happens again!

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I`d agree with The Book Thief, it`s excellent.

The Boy in the striped Pyjamas was good too.

Suite Francaise looks good as well, haven`t read it yet but it`s waiting on my bookshelf. :D

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