August 13, 2013

Keep Calm & Carry On

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new topic/top ten list and invite everyone to share their own answers. I'm so obsessed with lists - so it makes perfect sense that I'd love this feature!

I love historical fiction, and books set during World War II are some of my favorites in that genre. I chose the title of my post - Keep Calm & Carry On - because it was originally designed by the British government as a motivational poster at the beginning of World War II. It's become a popular and well-known slogan today, but I love knowing where it originated.

Top Ten Books Set During World War II


1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Oh, this book. I just can't even begin to tell you how much I love it! Narrated by Death and set in Germany, I haven't read anything quite like this one. This is one of my favorite YA books, and it further cements why I have so much love for historical fiction.

2. The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy - Set in Guernsey (a British Crown dependency off the coast of Normandy) during the German occupation, The Soldier's Wife was a thought-provoking and lovely read of a woman in a difficult situation.

3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows - Want more of Guernsey? You've got to pick up this book! Told as a series of letters, this book is one I absolutely adore. The people, the place, the story... it's all so endearing!

4. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys - Set in Lithuania and Siberia, this book highlighted a part of history that I'd never heard about before. It was a sad read, telling a story of extreme suffering and abuse.

5. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - This non-fiction book was hands down one of the best books I've ever read. The story of Louis Zamperini was emotional, powerful and incredibly moving. I have never read a book that touched me quite like this one did!

6. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank - The diary of a young Jewish girl in hiding in the Netherlands is heartbreaking. She's relatable - just a normal teenage girl whose life changed in ways she probably never could have imagined.

7. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry - I read this book, set in Denmark, when I was younger, and I think it's one of the reasons I have such a soft spot for books set during World War II. I was already a fan of historical fiction, but this book left me wanting to learn even more about this period in history.

8. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom - This is another book that is just so moving and gripping. The ten Boom family risked their lives saving Jews from the Nazis, and they were ultimately sent to concentration camps for their actions. This is a book that just stays in your mind and takes up residence in your heart.

9. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - Set in both England and Nazi-occupied France, this is a more recent favorite read. It's a little confusing and hard to get into at first, but it ultimately packs a punch. It's a tale of courage and friendship that deserves all the praise it's been getting.

10. The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons - Opening in Austria and moving to England, this novel was written so beautifully. The language itself was moving - and I loved getting a different perspective on the war. Following a Jewish woman who flees her home for safety, I couldn't put this book down.

30 comments:

  1. Oh, The Book Thief sounds like something I'll have to investigate :D Death, really?! I've been seeing Code Name Verity everywhere, but I'm still a bit hesitant to read it as I don't do well with books with extreme torture, and it sounds like it has that in plenty.

    How is that I always take away something from your lists (like a tbr)? ;)

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    1. Yeah, The Book Thief is very unique and such a great read! While I think Code Name Verity is a hard read, I don't know if it necessarily feels graphic or super detailed the torture. Of course, I could be wrong and/or not have noticed it as much, but it's still something to investigate! And yay for adding books to your TBR :)

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  2. Oh, good topic! I've only read three of your picks, Hannah. I need to get on it:)

    my TTT

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    1. Thanks! Definitely check out some of these :)

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  3. I had to read The Hiding Place for a World Religions class. It is so moving!

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    1. Moving is definitely the right word! That one just gets to me.

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  4. Great books! Definitely a timeline that has always caught my attention next to some of the other historical fiction based around religion.
    - Krys

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    1. Yeah, this is a time period that I'm always interested in reading about!

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  5. I haven't read many books that are set during WWII (I tend to prefer my historical fiction covers an older time period), but I do love Code Name Verity and Between Shades of Gray. I've heard good things about Unbroken and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, so I may have to check out those as well. And I agree - it's so cool to know the history behind slogans/things that are commonly used today!

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    1. Those two are probably my favorites on this list, so certainly hope you'll check them out! Unbroken is one of the best non-fiction books I've ever read, and Guernsey starts a little slow but soon wins you over with its charm.

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  6. These are some good things! I also know that I need to read a couple, like Code Name Verity which I've heard so much about! I really enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

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    1. I loved the Guernsey book too! That's one of my favorites on this list :) Hope you enjoy Code Name Verity whenever you get to it!

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  7. I thought about doing this for my setting because there are so many good books set during WWII but I ended up picking alternate realm instead. Have you read the Welsh Girl, Sarah's Key, My Enemy's Cradle, or Sophie's Choice? The first two I read and highly enjoyed. The second two I have been recommended so they are on my to-read list.

    Rachel @ http://thebigbookbinge.blogspot.com/

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    1. I haven't read any of those, but now you've definitely given me some new books to add to my TBR!

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  8. Most of these I have either read and loved (Unbroken, The Hiding Place, and The Book Thief) or are currently on my TBR list (Number the Stars, Between Shades of Gray, Code Name Verity)! Great list!

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    1. Yayyy! So glad you loved those three - so did I! I'm excited about the awesome reads awaiting you :)

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  9. I have a copy of Between Shades of Gray on its way to my mailbox as we speak. I can't wait to read it. If you enjoy WWII books, I'd recommend a memoir called Two Rings. Beautiful but sad.

    My TTT.

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    1. Oh, I'll definitely look that up! Thanks for the recommendation :)

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  10. Oh dear, I haven't read a single of these because I stay away from historical fiction of any sort. Or I used to. It just takes so much of my focus and motivation to read historical fiction. I've been trying to warm up to the genre with Something Strange and Deadly.

    I hope i can get to at least one of the books in your list soon.

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    1. I hope one day you find some historical fiction that draws your fancy! It's my favorite genre - so I'm obviously biased in hoping you'll end up loving it :)

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  11. I have yet to read The Book Thief! I don't know why... well yes I do... I'm not naturally drawn to historical fiction, but for the most part, if I can convince myself to take the plunge I end up loving it. I loved Code Name Verity and Number the Stars. :)

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    1. So glad you loved those two! I definitely have genres like that - takes me a little longer to get around to trying books in them but usually end up really loving the book if it was specifically recommended to me!

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  12. I really need to read all of these books...except the Book Thief, I tried and tried. Great list.

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    1. That's okay! The Book Thief definitely isn't for everyone :) Hope you'll enjoy some of the others I listed!

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  13. I love books set during World War II as well. Fictional or non-fictional. Have you read Sarah's Key? It's one of my favourites - completely gripping. I was unable to put it down and it still haunts me to this day. Number the Stars was my favourite book growing up.

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    1. I haven't read that one, but you're not the first to mention it today and I have definitely seen it in stores before. I obviously need to add it to my TBR!

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  14. I'm slightly depressed about how few of these I've read. I think the only one I've read in full is Number the Stars. But almost all of the others have been on my to-read list for a while now, and hopefully I'll be able to get through them all, at least eventually!

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    1. I have days like that - where I look at someone's list and am like "Ummm... I haven't read ANY of these!" Haha! Hope you eventually get to try some :)

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  15. I feel very proud of myself that I've read four of these since I'm not usually a huge historical fiction fan but that's changing!! And one is Unbroken! YES. Can't tell me ANYTHING now. And I seriously need to get on the Code Name Verity bus. I'm LAME for not having read that one yet. I'm so afraid it'll make me sob.

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    1. GO GIRL! I'm seriously so proud of you for having read four and for being so open-minded and awesome and trying genres that you're not naturally drawn to. My favorite kind of reader :) Can't wait to discuss Code Name Verity with you whenever you get a chance to read it!

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