Reading Through the Ages discussion

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Inter-war Europe

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message 1: by Melanie (last edited Dec 14, 2018 01:39AM) (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Life between WWI and WWII. There is certainly a lot of material available specifically for Britain.

Need some inspiration, check the bookshelf (link: https://www.goodreads.com/group/books...)

Share your recommendations and ideas, thoughts and so on down below.


message 2: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
In January, I will be tackling for this Old Baggage by Lissa Evans which sounds delightful about a middle-aged woman who used to be a suffragist and now that it is 1928 and all women have the vote, she feels a bit at a loose end. So she comes up with a plan which sort of goes a bit wrong.


message 3: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (Eve's Alexandria) | 26 comments Mod
Melanie wrote: "In January, I will be tackling for this Old Baggage by Lissa Evans which sounds delightful about a middle-aged woman who used to be a suffragist and now that it is 1..."

I'm looking forward to this one too.

For anyone looking for a short, sharp and weird read I'd recommend The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley. It's a novella set just after the First World War, about the relationship between a young woman and her former schoolteacher.


message 4: by Natalie (new)

Natalie  | 5 comments My recommendation for this period is The Hide and Seek Files by Caeia March.

The book chronicles the life of two working class women in England (I think it is set somewhere near Manchester?). Their paths cross in the early 1920's and we follow their relationship throughout the years.

I was in my late teens when I stumbled upon this book and fell in love with it. Don't quite remember the writing style and not quite sure if it has 'aged well'. The characters and setting are still very vivid in my memories.


message 5: by Anja (new)

Anja | 9 comments Does Jeeves and Wooster count as inter-war?


message 6: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Gobelina wrote: "Does Jeeves and Wooster count as inter-war?"

It is interwar, but not really historical fiction as they were contemporary, however, if that's how you want to interpret the challenges, then please do :)


message 7: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Natalie wrote: "My recommendation for this period is The Hide and Seek Files by Caeia March.

The book chronicles the life of two working class women in England (I think it is set so..."


This book sounds brilliant :)


message 8: by Britta (new)

Britta Böhler Melanie wrote: "In January, I will be tackling for this Old Baggage by Lissa Evans which sounds delightful about a middle-aged woman who used to be a suffragist and now that it is 1..."

I'm reading Old Baggage as well! In January. With Shawn :-)


Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) | 21 comments Melanie wrote: "Gobelina wrote: "Does Jeeves and Wooster count as inter-war?"

It is interwar, but not really historical fiction as they were contemporary, however, if that's how you want to interpret the challeng..."


That’s exactly how I’m going to interpret this category. I’m planning an Age of Weimar Republic read this year, including lots of contemporaneous German fiction.


message 10: by Anja (new)

Anja | 9 comments lizzysiddal wrote: "Melanie wrote: "Gobelina wrote: "Does Jeeves and Wooster count as inter-war?"

It is interwar, but not really historical fiction as they were contemporary, however, if that's how you want to interp..."


That sounds very interesting. I'd like to see your reading list for that! :-)


message 11: by Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) (last edited Jan 05, 2019 11:01AM) (new)

Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) | 21 comments Gobelina wrote: "lizzysiddal wrote: "Melanie wrote: "Gobelina wrote: "Does Jeeves and Wooster count as inter-war?"

It is interwar, but not really historical fiction as they were contemporary, however, if that's ho..."


For my Age of Weimar project, it’s basically anything published between 1918-1933, which may or may not be set within the Republic itself. For Reading Through The Ages though I’ll confine it to novels set at the time. Such as:

1929 Berlin Alexanderplatz - Alfred Döblin
1930 Grand Hotel - Vicki Baum (Superb! May reread)
1931 A Small Circus - Hans Fallada
1931 Going to The Dogs - Erich Kästner (Definitely for Grown-Ups - not what you’d expect from the author of Emil and The Detectives at all!)
1931 Gilgi - Irmgard Keun
1931 Käsebier Takes Berlin - Gabriele Tergit (Forthcoming from NYRB Classics)
1932 The Artificial Silk Girl - Irmgard Keun

Then there’s the British take on all this:

1937 Goodbye to Berlin - Christopher Isherwood

More in line with the intent of Reading Through The Ages though is Volker Kutscher’s historical crime series featuring Gereon Rath, starting with Babylon Berlin.

5.01.19 Adding Philip Kerr’s forthcoming Meyropolis to this reading list.


message 12: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
lizzysiddal wrote: "Gobelina wrote: "lizzysiddal wrote: "Melanie wrote: "Gobelina wrote: "Does Jeeves and Wooster count as inter-war?"

It is interwar, but not really historical fiction as they were contemporary, howe..."


I keep meaning to read Volker Kutscher's series, it does sound very good. Tried listening to it but the German narration was dreadful. I adore Keun and Baum and Doeblin's novel is one of my favourites. I mean to read Tergit's novel, I used to own it but it got lost during a move.


message 13: by Anja (new)

Anja | 9 comments I picked a non-fiction book for this category and just read Robert Beachy: Gay Berlin: Birhplace of a Modern Identity. It gives a very detailed view on male homosexuality in Berlin between the wars, including medical approaches, prostitution and diary entries, e.g. from Isherwood.


message 14: by Shaun (last edited Jan 10, 2019 04:31AM) (new)

Shaun (sturnerstuff) | 15 comments Have a few options in mind for this category. I might read Wake and am also considering a reread this year of Atonement.

Although I am tempted by both the Philip Kerr Bernie Gunther series and the Volker Kutscher's Babylon Berlin novels. Heard good things about both.

{Added] Possibly Death Wears a Mask too, or is that considered too much of a mystery book?


message 15: by Regina (new)

Regina Lemoine I’ll either read God on the Rocks (England in the 1930s) or Troubles (Ireland 1919) for this one.


message 16: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Regina wrote: "I’ll either read God on the Rocks (England in the 1930s) or Troubles (Ireland 1919) for this one."

Both of these books sound amazing.


Shaun wrote: "Have a few options in mind for this category. I might read Wake and am also considering a reread this year of Atonement.

Although I am tempted by both the Philip Kerr B..."


All of these are great options, even Death Wears a Mask. I am contemplating reading Volker Kutscher's series, we could buddy read that, if you don't mind that I am reading it in German.


Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) | 21 comments Melanie wrote: "We could buddy read that, if you don’t mind that I am reading it in German.
I’d love to join a buddy read of Kutscher’s Babylon Berlin ....


message 18: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Lizzy of course :) are you on Voxer?


Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) | 21 comments Melanie wrote: "Lizzy of course :) are you on Voxer?"

I’m not. What do you use it for?


Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) | 21 comments Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) wrote: "Melanie wrote: "Lizzy of course :) are you on Voxer?"

I’m not. What do you use it for?"


OK. Have downloaded and think I’ve got the idea.


message 21: by Nic (new)

Nic (bibliolicious_reads) | 24 comments So many options for this one, but I think I'm going to go for Merce Rodoreda's Death in Spring. It's set in the Spanish Civil War. Probably (sounds like there's some ambiguity).


message 22: by Sharon (new)

Sharon I'm going to choose a children's historical fiction set around this time period.

I'm thinking The Silver Sword, also known as Escape From Warsaw by Ian Serraillier.


Tanya Willis Anderson (thesamplergirl) I plan to read CONSEQUENCES by Penelope Lively for this section - I believe it’s main story is set before WWII.


message 24: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Nic wrote: "So many options for this one, but I think I'm going to go for Merce Rodoreda's Death in Spring. It's set in the Spanish Civil War. Probably (sounds like there's some ambiguity)."

Excellent choice :)


message 25: by Melanie (last edited Jan 17, 2019 05:18AM) (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
I finished Old Baggage for this category and adored it.

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message 26: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (Eve's Alexandria) | 26 comments Mod
Shaun wrote: "Have a few options in mind for this category. I might read Wake"

Oh I love love love Wake. That's such a great choice.


message 27: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (Eve's Alexandria) | 26 comments Mod
Melanie wrote: "I finished Old Baggage for this category and adored it.

"


Yep, me too. It was completely delightful. :) I'm looking forward to reading more Lissa Evans now.


message 28: by Jodie (new)

Jodie (jodiebaker) | 2 comments Melanie wrote: "In January, I will be tackling for this Old Baggage by Lissa Evans which sounds delightful about a middle-aged woman who used to be a suffragist and now that it is 1..."

I read this in Jan & am going to count it for this square. Mattie is a delight in many ways.


message 29: by Shaun (new)

Shaun (sturnerstuff) | 15 comments I actually ended up reading All Among The Barley by Melissa Harrison for this. Set in the early 1930's in rural England, I thought it beautifully evoked the lost world and culture of a farming community on the cusp of the major changes of mechanisation and farming intensification.


message 30: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Victoria wrote: "Melanie wrote: "I finished Old Baggage for this category and adored it.

"

Yep, me too. It was completely delightful. :) I'm looking forward to reading more Lissa Evans now."


Jodie wrote: "Melanie wrote: "In January, I will be tackling for this Old Baggage by Lissa Evans which sounds delightful about a middle-aged woman who used to be a suffragist and ..."

Such a lovely book.


message 31: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Shaun wrote: "I actually ended up reading All Among The Barley by Melissa Harrison for this. Set in the early 1930's in rural England, I thought it beautifully evoked the lost world and culture o..."

I will be picking this up, especially since it is most likely on the Walter Scott Longlist


message 32: by Anita (new)

Anita | 2 comments I just finished reading Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear for this category. Loved it.


message 33: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie (bonnie_poole) | 32 comments I think I will order SAPLINGS by Noel Streatfeild from Persephone Books as this will give a unique perspective of the war from a child’s view. What do you think of Saplings for this prompt?

From Persephone’s website: Noel Streatfeild is best known as a writer for children, but had not thought of writing for them until persuaded to re-work her first novel as Ballet Shoes; this had sold ten million copies by the time of her death.

Saplings (1945), her tenth book for adults, is also about children: a family with four of them, to whom we are first introduced in all their secure Englishness in the summer of 1939. 'Her purpose is to take a happy, successful, middle-class pre-war family - and then track in miserable detail the disintegration and devastation which war brought to tens of thousands of such families,' writes the psychiatrist Dr Jeremy Holmes in his Afterword. Her 'supreme gift was her ability to see the world from a child's perspective' and 'she shows that children can remain serene in the midst of terrible events as long as they are handled with love and openness.' She understood that 'the psychological consequences of separating children from their parents was glossed over in the rush to ensure their physical survival... It is fascinating to watch Streatfeild casually and intuitively anticipate many of the findings of developmental psychology over the past fifty years.' 'A study of the disintegration of a middle-class family during the turmoil of the Second World War, and quite shocking' wrote Sarah Waters in the Guardian.

Saplings was a ten-part serial on BBC Radio 4 in 2004.


message 34: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Bonnie wrote: "I think I will order SAPLINGS by Noel Streatfeild from Persephone Books as this will give a unique perspective of the war from a child’s view. What do you think of Saplings for this prompt?

From P..."


You can totally read this for this prompt, but it's not historical fiction. But many people chose to read a classic from the time period.


message 35: by Liz (new)

Liz (lschubert) | 7 comments I picked up J.L. Carr's A Month in the Country last night because it's been in my tbr stack for months and I keep putting it off for other books. I realized it probably fits this category and is quite slim if someone wants a quick read. Set in 1920, published 1980.
A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr


message 36: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (valroos) I just finished Antonio Tabucchi's Pereira Maintains for another challenge and realised it was a good fit for this prompt as it is set in 1938 Portugal. I loved the book and it is a quick read, so would highly recommend.


message 37: by Noël (new)

Noël (the_book_rook) | 5 comments New suggestion for this:

https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Aspect-N...

Came out in March 2019. It’s a dual story about a young Jungian analyst who is working at an asylum for the criminally insane in an ancient castle outside Prague in 1935. He believes that we all have The Devil Aspect inside us and that he can use narcosynthesis to unlock and cure these patients.

Concurrently it tells the story of a serial murderer in Prague who is a copycat of the Ripper called Leather Apron, and the police detective who is trying to catch him.

I’m about a third in and the story is loaded with references to interwar Prague and Czechoslovakia, the rising Nazi threat and all the different groups that made up Czechoslovakia at that time. Really nice descriptions of the architecture of the city and the castle.


Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) | 21 comments That sounds excellent. Will add to my list.


Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) | 21 comments Another suggestion for the German readers: Theresia Enzensberger’s Blaupause (Blueprint), set mainily during the Weimar and Dessau eras of the Bauhaus.

To be published in English translation in August.

I wasn’t entirely convinced by it, but it did have some defenders at the Glasgow Goethe Institute Book Club ....

Full review at:

https://lizzysiddal.wordpress.com/201...


message 40: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) wrote: "Another suggestion for the German readers: Theresia Enzensberger’s Blaupause (Blueprint), set mainily during the Weimar and Dessau eras of the Bauhaus.

To be published in English translation in A..."


I read your post and added it to my wishlist


Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) | 21 comments sergeantsantiago wrote: "For this period I am currently reading Der Trafikant by Robert Seethaler (English edition: The Tobacconist). I saw the film trailer on YouTube, realised it was based..."

Didn’t know there was a film. Will have to check it out.


message 42: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
sergeantsantiago wrote: "For this period I am currently reading Der Trafikant by Robert Seethaler (English edition: The Tobacconist). I saw the film trailer on YouTube, realised it was based..."

I also had no idea they made that into a movie. I loved that book.


Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) | 21 comments I set myself a modest target of reading 10 prompts from the overall challenge, but if I carry on like this, I’ll fail!

Just posted reviews of 4 books on the blog with settings during the Weimar Republic in the years 1928/1929.

Post at https://lizzysiddal.wordpress.com/201...

Includes thoughts on:

- Salka Viertel’s The Kindness of Strangers which doesn’t count for this challenge, as it’s a memoir. Fascinating, but nevertheless a memoir.

- Jason Lutes’s Berlin: City of Stones - the 1st part of his graphic trilogy

- Philip Kerr’s posthumous Metropolis - very impressive. I like Bernie Günther when he’s still slightly soft-boiled.

- Volker Kutscher’s Babylon Berlin

Now moving onto 1930 with Volker Kutscher’s The Silent Death.


message 44: by Nic (new)

Nic (bibliolicious_reads) | 24 comments I just read Merce Rodoreda's Death in Spring for this prompt, on the basis that it's apparently set in inter-war Iberia. In practice, its inter-war-ness has nothing much (if anything) to do with the story, although it was still very striking and I do recommend it: it's set in a remote mountain village where life is full of surreal and often cruel traditions and habits, like people sealing themselves up inside (living) tree trunks to die.

A few months back I also read Rachel Seiffert's The Dark Room, which is about memory and guilt over several generations in Germany; its first section is set in the interwar period.

So between the two of them, I reckon I've pretty much filled this prompt!


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