Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Historical Settings

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. They feature a different top ten list every week. This week's topic is all about history. 

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know how crazy I am about dystopian novels set sometime in the future. But I really, really love historical fiction, specifically the WWII era. I love reading books that have new twists on the war or come at it from an angle that I hadn't thought of before. 

This is a list of some of my favorite books set in WWII.
1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - You can't have more of a twist than a book narrated by Death. This book will crush your soul.

2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - This book is loosely based on the true story of an eighteen year old girl in France who helped the Resistance by sneaking hundreds of soldiers across the border before they could be captured by Nazis. The best part was that she wasn't even a suspect most of the time because the people looking for the person behind this were looking for a man. They had no idea a woman could be behind it! This book was one of my favorites of 2015. 

3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank - No WWII list would be complete without this one. I am planning a trip to Amsterdam soon, where I will definitely be visiting Anne Frank's house. I may need to reread this one beforehand.

4. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - I adored this tale that talked of a blind girl living in Paris when the Nazis invaded and also of a young orphan boy and his decision to join the Nazi party. Marie-Laure is one of my favorite characters and I loved that the author gave a voice to boys who may have joined the Nazi party and their side of the war because they simply had no choice. 

5 The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult - Man, talk about twists: this book talked of a girl (Sage) who befriends a man who thinks he deserves to die. Why? Because he served in the Nazi Army. Oh, and her grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. This book goes back and forth between modern day and Sage's grandmother's experiences during WWII. This is a wonderful book about choices and whether people are truly evil and forgiveness.

6. The War Bride Club by Soraya Lane - Technically, this takes place after WWII has ended, but I felt I just had to include it. It's about a group of four women who had met and married (very quickly) American soldiers while they were at war. Now that the war is over, the women take a very long voyage overseas to America to meet their husbands, who are virtually strangers to them. The differences between each woman's expectations vs. their realities was a heartbreaking story to read.

7. Number The Stars by Lois Lowry - This one is geared towards the middle grade ages, but it's still very moving. This is about a ten year old girl (Annemarie) in Denmark and her best friend Ellen, who is Jewish. When the Nazis invade Denmark, Annemarie and her family risk their lives to get Ellen to safety.

8. Between Shades Of Gray by Ruta Sepetys - This is about a fifteen year old girl in Lithuania who is sent to a work cam in Siberia during the war. She grows up while witnessing horrific events. 

9. Front Lines (Soldier Girl #1) by Michael Grant - This is one amazing book. In this one, Michael Grant reimagines WWII as a time when women are eligible for the draft. I absolutely loved this one. 

10. Night by Elie Wiesel - Harrowing account of a boy's experience in a concentration camp. 


What is your favorite historical setting? Any recommendations for books set during WWII?




32 comments :

  1. What a list, Cynthia! Excellent choices, every last one - your taste is absolutely impeccable. I haven't read The Nightingale yet, but I can't wait! We'll chat about it soon :)

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    1. Thanks so much Ramona! I am 100% positive that you will love The Nightingale. It is such a moving story!

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  2. I love WWII books too. I need to check out so many on this list I don't know. I do have All the Light We Cannot See coming up at the library soon. Great list!!

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    1. Thanks Grace! All the light we cannot see was SO GOOD. It was one of my favorite books from a couple of years ago. Hope you love it!

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  3. Wow, awesome list! I agree with every single one of your choices! I've read several and the rest are on my lifetime TBR list. Thanks for sharing!

    My TTT

    Obsessive Compulive Reader

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    1. Thanks so much Obsessive Compulsive Reader!

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  4. I haven't read any of these, but I agree this is a fascinating period of history and there is so much out there during this time period.

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    1. Greg, there really is. And honestly, I sometimes forget that the war really did involve the whole world! There are so many books about the happenings in Europe so I love books that involve other locations or aspects of it.

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  5. What a great list! I just finished The Storyteller and loved it, and I see a few other favorites here too. I have The Nightingale on my Kindle, but think I need a few lighter reads before I start it. The War Brides club sounds great -- have you read The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes? It's a similar concept, about a bunch of Australian war brides going to meet their husbands in England.

    Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies

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    1. Thanks Lisa! I can completely understand if you need a lighter read before starting The Nightingale, especially if you just finished The Storyteller. You do not want to read those books back to back. Too many tears! And no, I have not read Ship of Brides! I do love Jojo Moyes, so I will check that one out. Thanks for the tip.

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  6. Man, All The Lights We Cannot See has been on my TBR list for eons! I should probably get on it. I'm typically not a fan of WW2 historical fiction, perhaps I just haven't read anything in my opinion good - I read Anne Frank's diary and just didn't like it at all. Eh.
    I like historical fictions set in the sort of turn of the ages, industry is booming, trains and gas-lamps sort of time period. Or anything that can weave some dragons in (which is few and far between, unfortunately).

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    1. Madilyn, I admit that Anne Frank's diary is not one of my favorites on this list, but I still enjoyed it. I think you will enjoy All the light we cannot see a bit more. It has a bit more action and emotion to it. And yes, I do think there needs to be more dragons in stories! I love them.

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  7. When I read Night, I cried so hard. Great list. I still have to read the majority of these!

    Thanks for stopping by my TTT earlier! :)

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    1. Thanks Stephanie! Night was so emotional for sure.

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  8. Number The Stars looks really good! :-) Thanks for the recommendations.

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  9. I love The Book Thief, The Storyteller and Between Shades of Grey, all such great books!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/02/top-ten-tuesday-42/

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    1. Thanks ILoveHeartlandX! The Book Thief is one of my favorite books ever!

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  10. Amazing list! I love books set during World War 2 and there are several here I haven't read.

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  11. I didn't participate this week, but am enjoying others' lists. These are terrific; I'm so glad you included Between Shades of Grey. Others I'd recommend are: "The Yellow Suitcase", a novel in verse by Jennifer Roy about one of the 12 child survivors of the Lodz ghetto in Poland; "Aleutian Sparrow," another novel in verse by Karen Hesse, about native Alaskans who were removed from their islands during the war; and "CIty of Thieves" by David Benioff, about two very different young men on a quixotic journey in wartime Russia. Two I loved as a kid (but can't 100% vouch for now) were "Twenty and Ten" by Claire Bishop, about French children hiding Jewish children in a cave and "Fireweed" by by Jill Paton Walsh, a romantic tale of two London teenagers surviving the Blitz together. Finally, it's been decades since I read it, but the nonfiction account "900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad" made a lasting impression on me.

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    1. Wendy, oh wow thank you so much for all the recommendations!! I will be checking those out for sure. They all sound so interesting. The ones about native Alaskans removed from their homes during the war sounds great for sure. That is one of those aspects I had never heard about before. Thanks again!

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  12. I'm picking up All the Light We Cannot See from the library tomorrow! I AM SO EXCITED!! *flails* I've heard really good things about it and it sounds so unique?! I really like the WWII books too, although they usually make me cry. The Book Thief. <3 DEFINITELY made me bawl though. xD

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    1. Cait, oh that is AWESOME about All the light we cannot see!! I am sure you will LOVE it!!! And I think the reason I am a WWII book fan is because I am a sadist. Most of the time they make me cry and I kind of love books that destroy me and break my heart.

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  13. Fantastic list! I'm really excited to try Front Lines!


    Check out my TTT.

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    1. Thanks Lauren! I think you will love it!

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  14. I REALLY need to read more WWII books. I don't know why I haven't honestly. Also- you should totally sign up for Val's WWII event, if you haven't already!! (www.theinnocentsmiley.com) I signed up, and it sounds like it is going to be amazing- and really unique! I need to read Front Lines ASAP, and The Book Thief, but I seriously don't know if I am ready for the feels. Fabulous list!

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    1. Oh thanks so much for letting me know about that event that Val is doing! I had not heard of it. It does sound wonderful. I just asked her if she still needed bloggers so we will see. And yeah, when you read The Book Thief, just be ready with tissues. It is beautiful and devastating!

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  15. LOOK AT SHANNON PROMOTING MY EVENT. Haha. ^^

    No but seriously, I also love WWII, and the only books I haven't read on your list is Number the Stars (Need), The Nightingale (Have but need to read asap), Between Shades of Gray (Need to read as well), and the ones I haven't heard of and will add to my TBR asap. Also I didn't not think that the Storyteller was WWII?

    Wolf by Wolf is more of a dystopian WWII alternate history where Hitler won the war (You'll probably like this if you like dystopian!) and then I also liked The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which takes place after WWII as well, I think, and it is also more humorous than sad.

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    1. Oh Valerie, you MUST read The Nightingale!! Of the three that you haven't read, that one is my favorite. I read it last year and then reread it this year because, you know, I am a sadist and wanted to be devastated all over again. Ha. And I do like dystopian, so I do believe that I will check out Wolf by Wolf. I do think the alternate histories can be just as interesting as the real ones. And thanks for the recommendations. I will check those out. :)

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  16. I really enjoyed The Book Thief and All The Lights We Cannot See. I haven’t yet read the other books but I do plan to pick up The Nightingale and The Diary of a Young Girl. My sister has a new copy of The Diary that I totally plan to borrow (perhaps without asking) at some point XD

    http://ofstacksandcups.blogspot.com/

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    1. Soudha, oh I hope you love The Nightingale. I swear, that was one of my favorite books of the year last year. You need to read it ASAP!!

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