WWII Read-a-Long: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

In March, Anna and I will begin the read-a-long for All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr at War Through the Generations.  We hope that you will join us.


From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

Here is the read-a-long schedule, with discussions here on each Friday.

  • Discussion of Sections Zero and One on Friday, March 3
  • Discussion of Sections Two and Three on Friday, March 10
  • Discussion of Sections Four and Five on Friday, March 17
  • Discussion of Sections Six and Seven on Friday, March 24
  • Discussion of Sections Eight and Nine on Friday, March 31
  • Discussion of Final Sections on Friday, April 7

We hope that you will join us for the first discussion this Friday!

War Through the Generations Reading Challenge 2017

After our one-year hiatus, Anna and I have resurrected the War Through the Generations blog with the 2017 reading challenge.

We’ll be revisiting WWII books, and we’ll hold an end-of-challenge giveaway for the participants that read the most books — fiction, nonfiction, poetry, children’s books, etc.

We hope that you’ll join us, sign up in the comments and link your reviews in Mr. Linky throughout 2017.

We’ll also be announcing three read-a-longs for March, June, and September 2017 soon, so stay tuned for that as well.

Have a great year of reading!

Read-a-Long of Anita Shreve’s Stella Bain

This year at War Through the Generations we’ve been hosting a read-a-long specific to one of the 6 wars we are covering.

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of WWI, we’ve decided to select one of our favorite authors — Anita Shreve — to honor the war.

Stella Bain is our selection for August.  Synopsis from GoodReads:

When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in.

A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops a clinical interest in his house guest. Stella had been working as a nurse’s aide near the front, but she can’t remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield.

In a narrative that takes us from London to America and back again, Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, set against the haunting backdrop of a war that destroyed an entire generation.

Discussions will be posted on Friday for the designated chapters.  Here’s the reading schedule and discussion dates:

  • Friday, Aug. 8: Pages 1-70
  • Friday, Aug. 15: Pages 71-138
  • Friday, Aug. 22: Pages 139-207
  • Friday, Aug. 29: Pages 208-end

We hope that you’ll join us for the read-a-long and discussions at War Through the Generations.

American Revolution Read-a-Long in September

Beginning in September, War Through the Generations will invite readers (participants and non-participants, alike) to join us in a read-a-long of Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Here’s a little more about the book:

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight…for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom. (GoodReads Summary)

Our discussions will be held on each FRIDAY in September.

If you’d like to join us, sign up here.

2013 War Through the Generations Theme Announced

Everyone is signing up for their 2013 challenges already, but here’s another for you to consider.

washington button

Click on the icon for more details.

2012 War Through the Generations Reading Challenge: WWI

WWI Reading Challenge

Anna and I, as you may already know, co-host the War Through the Generations Reading Challenges each year.

Since creating the blog, we have delved into WWII, the Vietnam War, and the U.S. Civil War (reader’s choice).  The website contains ever-growing lists of book recommendations for each of those wars, plus a running list of reviews for books that are from challenge participants and others that we’ve found across the blogosphere.

In 2012, Anna and I could not pass up the opportunity to delve into WWI, often considered The Great War, which occurred roughly between 1914 to 1918 and started roughly with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary.

The WWI Reading Challenge will be held between Jan. 1, 2012, through Dec. 31, 2012.

Books must have WWI as a primary or secondary theme and occur before, during, or after the war.

Here are the reading levels:

  • Dip: Read 1-3 books in any genre with WWI as a primary or secondary theme.
  • Wade: Read 4-10 books in any genre with WWI as a primary or secondary theme.
  • Swim: Read 11 or more books in any genre with WWI as a primary or secondary theme.

We’re waiting on some buttons for the challenge, but you can read all the details and sign up at War Through the Generations.

***Also, if you sign up, Please follow War Through the Generations in your feed readers and on Twitter @wargenerations and Facebook for updates, giveaways, and more***

I’ll be signing up for the Wade level of 4-10 books.  How about you?

***This Just In***

The read-a-long book for 2012 is A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Enemy Women Read-a-Long at War Through the Generations

Anna and I hope you will join us for the August read-a-long of Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles as part of the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge 2011.

We will read a handful of chapters every week throughout August, and every Friday, we will post discussion questions on War Through the Generations.

We welcome you to post your thoughts on your blog and provide a link or just type your thoughts in the comments section of the discussion post; whatever works best for you.  You can answer our questions or just discuss whatever you found most interesting in each section.

If you are interested in reading along with us, please let us know.  You don’t have to be participating in the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge 2011 to join us!

Here’s a bit about the book from the publisher:

For the Colleys of southeastern Missouri, the War between the States is a plague that threatens devastation, despite the family’s avowed neutrality. For eighteen-year-old Adair Colley, it is a nightmare that tears apart her family and forces her and her sisters to flee.

The treachery of a fellow traveler, however, brings about her arrest, and she is caged with the criminal and deranged in a filthy women’s prison. But young Adair finds that love can live even in a place of horror and despair. Her interrogator, a Union major, falls in love with her and vows to return for her when the fighting is over. Before he leaves for battle, he bestows upon her a precious gift: freedom.

Now an escaped “enemy woman,” Adair must make her harrowing way south buoyed by a promise … seeking a home and a family that may be nothing more than a memory.

Here’s the schedule for the read-a-long:

Week One: Prologue – Chapter 6; discussion on Fri., Aug. 5

Week Two: Chapters 7-15; discussion on Fri., Aug. 12

Week Three: Chapters 16-24; discussion on Fri., Aug. 19

Week Four: Chapters 25-31; discussion/final thoughts on Fri., Aug. 26

Guest Post: John Aubrey Anderson, Author of The Cool Woman

John Aubrey Anderson‘s The Cool Woman is a novel that is on my Vietnam War reading list, and I plan to read and review it here before the end of the year.   Book Reviews by Molly already reviewed the book, so check that out.

In the meantime, I’ve got a treat for you!  I’m going to tantalize you with a portion of the author’s guest post, which you can read in full at War Through the Generations.

Check out an excerpt and then head on over.

As part of a school project, my granddaughter was required to interview a Vietnam War vet . . . she chose me. Her questions served to remind me . . . that I was relaxed about going to Vietnam because that was my job, that I wept when we buried one of my best friends in Arlington National Cemetery, and that my best memory of that part of my life is of returning home to my family.

The reality of the hell of war cannot be captured in the written word — be it fact or fiction. Nonetheless, I chose the chaos of the war in Vietnam as the backdrop for my fourth novel, The Cool Woman, because I wanted my main characters in an environment that would help “refine their thinking.” I tell much of the story from the cockpit — a vantage point familiar to me.

Please read the rest of the guest post at War Through the Generations today!

Also, the new 2011 War Through the Generations Topic is posted!

Sign up for the new 2011 Reading Challenge!

Help War Through the Generations Decide on the 2011 Topic

I bet you’re wondering what the new war topic is for 2011!

Well, Anna and I decided to put that question the participants or anyone interested in joining the new challenge.

So, if you want to provide us with your input by voting in our poll, please do so at War Through the Generations.

We want to make the site as interactive as possible, and not to worry, those Vietnam War reviews are still coming…along with additions to the reading list.

What’s New at War Through the Generations?

First, I wanted to say thank you for all the support you’ve all given me since the passing of my grandfather.  It has helped.

Second, you may have noticed that I’ve only read 8 of the 11 books I had hoped to read for the Vietnam War Challenge at War Through the Generations, and that I haven’t posted a review for that challenge since July.   I hope to have some additional reviews for this challenge read by the end of the year, so stay tuned.

Third, there have been some reviews that I’ve neglected to post due to other obligations, but in the past week, Anna and I have been very diligent about pre-scheduling review snippets, book review links on the book reviews page, new books to the recommended reading list, and guest posts.  We hope to continue this trend through the end of the challenge.

In light of that, I wanted to draw everyone’s attention to a recent Vietnam War guest post from author Phyllis Zimbler Miller about where she was during the war.  We’d love to hear your thoughts about where you or your loved ones may have been during that time as well, so feel free to comment.

Thanks to everyone participating in the challenge for their patience and understanding about the lack of updates . . . it has been a rough year, and I take the blame for this one since the Vietnam War was supposed to be my year to take care of the updates.