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Genre Challenge 2015-17 > War/Revolution - July 2016

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message 1: by Liz, Moderator (last edited Jun 27, 2016 09:09PM) (new)

Liz | 3500 comments Mod
Hi all, well it's War/Revolution for July. Seems suitable considering what's going on with both the Labour party and the Tories at the moment....

This genre will certainly help with the Round the World Challenge!

I really enjoyed Cold Mountain, which is set during the US Civil War. Half of a Yellow Sun takes place in 60's Nigeria and is also very good. I was in tears reading Sebastian Barry's A Long Long Way, the story is set during WW1 and it's become one of my favourites. And the Booker Prize-winning The Narrow Road to the Deep North, is very, very good, (plus it will get you Thailand as it's about soldiers building the Thai/Burma Railway during WW2).

That's off the top of my head, I am going to take a look at my to read list for some more ideas.... What are your recommendations?

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan


message 2: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 355 comments Er... I don't know. I am completely unprepared for this genre it seems. Wait... The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Yes, I am probably the only one in all of Goodreads that hasn't read this one yet, but it's sitting on my book shelf. No time like the present genre challenge, right?


message 3: by T. K. Elliott (Tiffany) (last edited Jun 28, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

T. K. Elliott (Tiffany) (t_k_elliott) Oh, excellent! I shall read The Generals, which is about Arthur Wellesley (who became the Duke of Wellington) and Napoleon Bonaparte. It's been on my reading list for ages, so it also satisfies the "Shelf Love Challenge".

And I haven't read The Book Thief either. :-)

The Generals (Revolution, #2) by Simon Scarrow


message 4: by Liz, Moderator (last edited Jun 28, 2016 02:30AM) (new)

Liz | 3500 comments Mod
Leni wrote: "Er... I don't know. I am completely unprepared for this genre it seems. Wait... The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Yes, I am probably the only one in all of Goodreads that hasn't read this one yet, ..."


I hope you enjoy The Book Thief, Leni. I loved it, although I know some didn't.


message 5: by Tania (new)

Tania | 1008 comments I am going with The Yompers With 45 Commando in the Falklands War by Ian R. Gardiner as i already have it. Do me for the Falklands as well.


message 6: by Danielle (new)

Danielle (daniellecobbaertbe) | 374 comments I have just read The War of the End of the World which I enjoyed.

So not sure what I will be reading. I could re-read All Quiet on the Western Front. I can read A Long Long Way or Half of a Yellow Sun....


message 7: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
Unexploded by Alison MacLeod by Alison MacLeod is excellent. About a woman, her strained marriage and hidden and not so hidden prejudices. Set in Brighton during WW2.

I can also recommend City of Women by David R. Gillham by David R. Gillham which is also set during WW2 but in Berlin.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Leni wrote: "Er... I don't know. I am completely unprepared for this genre it seems. Wait... The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Yes, I am probably the only one in all of Goodreads that hasn't read this one yet, ..."


Leni, I haven't read it either but also have it on my bookshelf. Started it once but couldn't get into it. This might be a good time to try again.


message 10: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 355 comments Caroline wrote: "Leni, I haven't read it either but also have it on my bookshelf. Started it once but couldn't get into it. This might be a good time to try again. "

Cool! We can both try the Book Thief then.

Liz mentioned Catch-22 by Joseph Heller in the Intro thread, and that reminded me that I had determined to read that this year. My husband has been trying to get me to read it for years. He is utterly baffled that I haven't yet. I can't really explain it myself either. I'm sure it's brilliant. So that's two books I'll attempt for this genre.


T. K. Elliott (Tiffany) (t_k_elliott) Leni - You could read The Road Back. Technically, it's a post-war story, but should still count as it's about the effects of war.

The Road Back by Erich Maria Remarque


message 12: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 355 comments T. K. Elliott wrote: "Leni - You could read The Road Back. Technically, it's a post-war story, but should still count as it's about the effects of war.

The Road Back by Erich Maria Remarque"


Well, yes, I could. And now that you mention it, I should read All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque as well. Yet another of those books that I'm embarrassed that I haven't read yet. But let's not get too carried away now! I have other challenges too. :-/


message 13: by Bill (new)

Bill | 2764 comments I got a book in the mail today which I may choose, Bomber by Len Deighton Bomber: by Len Deighton.


message 14: by Laura (new)

Laura I think I'll go for Darkness Falls from the Air but I also want to read Silver Stallion at some point.


message 15: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 29, 2016 02:36AM) (new)

Leni wrote: "Liz mentioned Catch-22 by Joseph Heller in the Intro thread, and that reminded me that I had determined to read that this year...."

I read Catch-22 last month (if only I'd waited...). Have to admit I'm not a fan - it gave me a headache!


message 16: by Tania (new)

Tania | 1008 comments Got this from Book Deposit today

http://www.bookdepository.com/war-sto...


message 17: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) | 2929 comments Hmmmm I've no idea... going to need a bit of a think!

The Secret Life of Bletchley Park The WWII Codebreaking Centre and the Men and Women Who Worked There by Sinclair McKay The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The WWII Codebreaking Centre and the Men and Women Who Worked There by Sinclair McKay was interesting and war-time related without being front line - bit of a different kind of a war-time read.


message 18: by Bill (new)

Bill | 2764 comments Em wrote: "Hmmmm I've no idea... going to need a bit of a think!

The Secret Life of Bletchley Park The WWII Codebreaking Centre and the Men and Women Who Worked There by Sinclair McKay [book:The Secret L..."


This is a book I've been looking for. It does sound interesting.


message 19: by Mercia (new)

Mercia McMahon (merciamcmahon) | 610 comments If I can find the time I may read JG Ballard's Empire of the Sun
Empire of the Sun (Empire of the Sun, #1) by J.G. Ballard


message 20: by Tania (new)


message 21: by Bill (new)

Bill | 2764 comments Tania wrote: "Would One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in this genre?"

It's more of a prison type story as I recall.


message 22: by Kiwi Sarah (new)

Kiwi Sarah (mjs13) | 169 comments Rather less "historic" and a play rather than a novel but I have just finished The Fear of Breathing - stories from the Syrian Revolution which was compiled from interviews undertaken in 2012 by various reporters with a range of people in Syrian as the revolution took hold.


message 23: by Kiwi Sarah (new)

Kiwi Sarah (mjs13) | 169 comments Agh mistaken pressed post! It's a very short play, and interesting to read given all that has since happened in the intervening years, although rather distressing in places.


message 24: by Tania (new)

Tania | 1008 comments Bill wrote: "Tania wrote: "Would One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in this genre?"

It's more of a prison type story as I recall."


Thanks Bill will wait till we have a prison genre then or of a mind to read it. Got it on a whim at a charity shop.


message 25: by Bill (new)

Bill | 2764 comments Tania wrote: "Bill wrote: "Tania wrote: "Would One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in this genre?"

It's more of a prison type story as I recall."

Thanks Bill will wait till we have a prison gen..."


It is an excellent story. I read quite a few Solzhenitsyn back in my university days. He did write one book set in WWI.


message 26: by Kate, Moderator (new)

Kate | 1380 comments Mod
I have chosen to read Island Madness by Tim Binding. Which is about the German occupation of Guernsey during WW2. Hopefully it will tick the War/Revolution box.


message 27: by Bill (new)

Bill | 2764 comments I'm starting off with Ashenden by W. Somerset Maugham a series of stories set in WWI


message 28: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) | 2929 comments i>Leni wrote: "Caroline wrote: "Leni, I haven't read it either but also have it on my bookshelf. Started it once but couldn't get into it. This might be a good time to try again. "

Cool! We can both try the Book..."

I thought Catch-22 was worth the effort but it took some concentration to keep up with the changing viewpoints and timeframes - I plan to re-read it at some point but I'm not in the mood right now.... still can't totally make up my mind for this month but I am feeling drawn to Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


T. K. Elliott (Tiffany) (t_k_elliott) I've given up on The Generals - got 27% of the way through it and decided I'd had enough. It suffers from being a fictionalised account rather than what I'd call a novel - so there's a lot of they-did-this-then-they-did-that-and-then-they-went-here. I think it's because there's just not enough page space to cover so many events in the lives of two different people.

So I'm going back to Scarrow's other series (Macro and Cato) and I'm reading Britannia, which is the latest.

The Generals (Revolution, #2) by Simon Scarrow Britannia (Eagle, #14) by Simon Scarrow


message 30: by Bill (new)

Bill | 2764 comments I've started the second book in the Guy Crouchback trilogy by Evelyn Waugh, Officers and Gentlemen.


message 31: by Bill (new)

Bill | 2764 comments Ashenden: Or the British Agent by W. Somerset Maugham was excellent. I love his writing style. He's a great observer. I guess it might have been more spy than war, although it was set during WWI.


message 32: by Sue (new)

Sue | 1340 comments I'm finally reading Suite Française which is not at all what I thought it was ie. the story of the author. It is about people fleeing from Paris in WW2. Interesting but heartbreaking - too many parallels with today.


message 33: by Bill (new)

Bill | 2764 comments I'm starting The General by C.S. Forester The General by C.S. Forester.


message 34: by Kate, Moderator (last edited Jul 17, 2016 11:53AM) (new)

Kate | 1380 comments Mod
Just finished reading Island Madness which was a murder mystery set during the German occupation of Guernsey. It was a really well written story looking at both sides and how lives intermingled and uneasy relationships developed. I gave it 4 stars. 1 deducted due to poor proof reading - words missed out quite frequently!


message 35: by Bill (new)

Bill | 2764 comments Officers And Gentlemen is the second book in Evelyn Waugh's Guy Crouchback trilogy. It's a war series (set during WWII), but more about the fog of war and the characters, than about war itself.
In this story, Crouchback is back from a mission in Africa with the Halberdiers and is assigned, as a punishment, to a Commando training unit on an island off Scotland.
Eventually they find themselves sent to Alexandria, where they sit and wait and then move on to Crete. Their arrival couldn't be at a worse time, as the Germans have just invaded and the British and allies are being turned back quite effectively. This is the fog of war, men rushing towards the beaches hoping for a ship to take them off the island, troops (the Commandos) moving up the island trying to find out what their mission is; a calamity of actions.
I like Guy's straight-forward way of dealing with things, when all about him seems to be going crazy. It's an interesting, satirical look at war. Worth reading. I will try the final book. (3 stars)


message 36: by Liz, Moderator (last edited Jul 21, 2016 05:24AM) (new)

Liz | 3500 comments Mod
Still haven't started mine.... I have The Orchard of Lost Souls coming from the library.

BTW Mercia, I thought Empire of the Sun was excellent. I hope you're enjoying it (although that may not be the right word to use!)

The Orchard of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed Empire of the Sun (Empire of the Sun, #1) by J.G. Ballard


message 37: by Tania (new)

Tania | 1008 comments Tania wrote: "I am going with The Yompers With 45 Commando in the Falklands War by Ian R. Gardiner as i already have it. Do me for the Falklands as well."

Am still plodding through this. Feel like I'm playing name them politician/general while reading this.


message 38: by Mercia (last edited Jul 20, 2016 09:18AM) (new)

Mercia McMahon (merciamcmahon) | 610 comments Empire of the Sun (Empire of the Sun, #1) by J.G. Ballard

JG Ballard's Empire of the Sun promised themes of internment camps, Asian setting, and the only nuclear bombs ever used in war, so it sounded right up my street. At the time I did not link it to the Spielberg movie.

I gave up watching the movie of this book when it became clear that it was about the cruel fate of a rich little British Empire boy denied his right to rule by the thuggish Japanese. I kept reading the novel and it turned out to be quite different in the presentation of the Japanese running the internment camp the novel moves onto. It ends up as a thoughtful young teenage view of the collapse of the British Empire in Asia.

It includes an epilogue of an interview given by Ballard in which he defended the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and at that point I returned to thinking of him as the spoilt little boy who thought he was born to rule.


message 39: by Liz, Moderator (new)

Liz | 3500 comments Mod
Mercia wrote: "Empire of the Sun (Empire of the Sun, #1) by J.G. Ballard

JG Ballard's Empire of the Sun promised themes of internment camps, Asian setting, and the onyl nucluear bombs ever used in war, so it sounde..."


Glad you enjoyed it. I thought it showed the madness, complexity and complete randomness of it all, very effectively. The characters often exhibited morally ambiguous behaviour in the struggle to survive... It felt authentic to me.


message 40: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
Re-read the excellent Vietnam War novel The 13th Valley by John M. Del Vecchio by John M. Del Vecchio and Another World by Pat Barker by Pat Barker which is also a great read.


message 41: by Sue (new)

Sue | 1340 comments Read Suite Française. Told in two parts but should have been more but sadly the author was taken to Auschwitz. One of her daughters packed her manuscript, thinking it was her diary, and carried it around France as she was being pursued by the police although still a child. The first part deals with peoplee fleeing Paris and tbe second about life in tbe country under german occupation. Very good.


message 42: by Laura (new)

Laura Just finished Silver Stallion which tells the story of the Korean war from the point of view of some ordinary rural Korean villagers. A very interesting read and very unflattering to the NATO soldiers, communist soldiers and to traditional Korean society.


T. K. Elliott (Tiffany) (t_k_elliott) Just finished Britannia and reviewed it here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Macro and Cato are involved in trying to exterminate the druids on Anglesey. In winter. Fun times...

Britannia (Eagle, #14) by Simon Scarrow


message 44: by Liz, Moderator (new)

Liz | 3500 comments Mod
Started The Orchard of Lost Souls (Set in 80's/90's Somalia). I am gripped already. I know it's all about to spiral into chaos. Will I need the tissues?

The Orchard of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed


message 45: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
Liz wrote: "Started The Orchard of Lost Souls (Set in 80's/90's Somalia). I am gripped already. I know it's all about to spiral into chaos. Will I need the tissues?

[bookcover:The Orchard of L..."


er......yes......but a beautifully written fab 5 star read.


message 46: by Leni (new)

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 355 comments Catch-22 reads like a M.A.S.H set during WW2, with more and crazier characters in even more absurd situations and conversations. I'm enjoying it, but finding it a bit hard to follow at times.

I won't get around to The Book Thief this time around. I am soon to depart for an Arctic island where I will have no wi-fi, but will be reading my kindle under the midnight sun. I'll be back with updates and to find out what the next genre is in a couple of weeks.


message 47: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
It can be a crazy read plot wise but just stay with it as the characters and the beautifully crafted sense of the absurdity of war will remain with you for ever.


message 48: by Bill (new)

Bill | 2764 comments I finished my 2nd War book, The General by C.S. Forester, set during WWI. Very interesting.


message 49: by Tania (new)

Tania | 1008 comments Target America by Scott McEwen a story about terrorists attacking USA with nuclear bombs


message 50: by Danielle (new)

Danielle (daniellecobbaertbe) | 374 comments I re-read The Attack.


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