As you all may or many not know, I adore reading. My favorite genres of literature are Historical Fiction and the Classics, but my scope of reading is not limited to those. However, for this post I am going to focus on some of my favorite Historical Fiction pieces (sorry, Harry Potter). More specifically, I am going to look at pieces that are based primarily during World War 2.
The Book Thief: This novel is my favorite piece that I have read up to this point. They used to teach it in the Elementary and Middle School curriculum, but I don't believe that those ages are mature enough to understand what this book is about. Though the plot summary make make the book's plot seem simple and rather dry, this is one of the most sophisticated and emotionally-eliciting books that I have ever read. I could not stop crying for a good hour after I finished reading this novel; it was that impactful. Zusak's prose is beautiful, and the way he tells the story is unconventional but very poised and elegant at the same time. If you haven't read this book before, or if you read it when you were too young to fully understand it, go to the book store right away! Like the New York Times wrote, "It's the kind of book that can be LIFE CHANGING." I agree wholeheartedly.
All the Light We Cannot See: Where to start with this book? This work will leave a lasting impact on you; I guarantee it. Unlike The Book Thief, this novel has an extraordinarily complex plot. You have to read carefully, but that doesn't take away from the work at all. Doerr does a beautiful job developing his characters and settings. As a reader you are able to find yourself in the places that the characters are in; Doerr's descriptions are incredibly vivid. My favorite part about this book was the shortness of the chapters. Not only are they short to hold your attention, but the chapters also all end with some kind of cliffhanger. Thus, you are forced to continue reading in order to know what's to come. I came close to crying at the end of this novel, but I was more overwhelmed with thoughts. This is the kind of work that really leaves you thinking about what you have, and it will stick with you for a very long time. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this novel if you haven't read it before.
Those Who Save To begin, I have to give a disclaimer about this book. It is incredibly graphic. The sexual violence that takes place can be very uncomfortable to read, however I believe that is the point of this novel. I read this novel because I wanted to read something a little different. So many of the books I have read that take place during World War 2 have been from the perspective of the British or the Americans. The Book Thief was also from the perspective of a German family, but the plot was completely different. This novel focuses on a German woman who comes under the watchful eye of an Obersturmfuhrer. The German woman's daughter is trying to uncover what happened to her mother during that time in history (her mom won't speak about it). That portion of the novel takes place during the 90's. It's confusing to explain, but is a very good and important read. Often people overlook the German side of the story and assume that every German person during WW2 worshiped Hitler. NOT TRUE. Please give this book a go if you are looking for something to read, but remember, it is extremely graphic.
Slaughterhouse-Five: This read is extremely different from the other books I listed, and that is partly due to a science-fiction element weaved into the novel. Slaughterhouse-Five is usually a hit or miss with people. In my case, I loved this novel. The way that is written allows the reader to really see the detrimental effects of war on the human psyche. Often times people find this book to be confusing, but I think that this confusion allows for the reader to identify with the main character's mental state. If you still need some convincing, I would suggest reading it solely based on the fact that it is often regarded as Vonnegut's greatest work. It's not a very long book to finish; it only took me about a week (and that was with major breaks in between reading). I definitely recommend giving this book a chance, and try not to give up on it mid-way through when it gets complicated.
That's all I have for now! I will try to give monthly updates on recent books I have read and recommend. If you haven't read for pleasure in a long time, get back into it! Pleasure reading is one of the things that I enjoy most in life.