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Monday, February 1, 2016

TTT: Favorite books set in a historical time

Hosted at Broke and Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite books set in Europe and the Pacific during World War II.
I have read a lot of books about World War Two over the years. Here are a few of my favorites, listed in random order, after Night by Elie Wiesel and The Diary of Anne Frank, which everyone knows and has read:

5619091. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
375013A nonfiction account about two sisters arrested in the Netherlands for hiding and sheltering Jews. Half of the book is about their experiences saving Jewish individuals from sure annihilation. The second half is about their experiences living in a concentration camp. Corrie ten Boom survived and used her story as a positive Christian message of hope and forgiveness. I read this book years ago and it has stayed with me all these years.

2. Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally
Yes, everyone has seen the movie but I recommend everyone also read the book. It is a fiction book about a real man, Oscar Schindler and how he personally saved thousands of Jews by creating a list and making sure the people on that list were not touched by the Nazis. This book blew me away.

3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Two intertwined stories, one in France, the other in Germany before and during WWII. This was my favorite novel of 2015.
4. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
This story about a young foster child living with a German family during the lean years of the war. She learns to read and hordes books. She also helps her foster parents save a Jewish man by hiding him. This book ranks in my top ten YA novels.
5. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
Set in Pacific during WWII and then Australia afterwards. The first part of the book covers the story of British woman and children who become prisoners of war when Japan captured the island where they lived. They were then forced to march all over Malaya before settling down in a village to wait out the end of the war. I loved the mini-series and have read and re-read the book many times.
6. Unbroken: a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.
The amazing, AMAZING story of Louis Zamperini, a US Olympian, whose plane went down over the Pacific. He survived months in the life raft just to be captured by the Japanese. This reads like an adventure novel but it is all true.
7. In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors by Doug Stanton. Another true account. This one about the last ship sunk at the end of the war. Because the war was nearly over, no one was looking for the ship not did they send out a rescue team to save the sailors floating in the ocean. This book made me mad, but it is very well-written.
8. The City of Thieves by David Benioff
Set in Leningrad during the 900 days of siege on the city by the Nazis. This book has humor, but at the same time a lot of heart. Another two favorites on this topic: Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostkovich and the Siege on Leningrad by M.T. Anderson AND The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean about the artwork in the Hermitage Museum and how it and the people who worked there survived the terrible war.
9. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Lithuania during WWII under Stalin where he did worse things to his own people than even imaginable. This story is based on the story of what happened to the author's family.
10. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Oh my. What a book. It revealed the deplorable acts of the French people against the Jew in the Vel' d'Hiv arena. Very sad.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
11. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Shaffer and Barrows.
WWII in Guernsey island. Written as a series of letters. I enjoyed this book a lot.

There are so many more. I will stop.


  1. Some of my very favorites are listed here! Great list.

    1. I know a couple of gals in our book club are sick of WWII books, but I'm not one of them. I find it fascinating there are still stories to be told even seventy years after the war ended that are based on facts, like The Nightingale which was inspired by the actual brave Belgian girl. I just read a book, The People of the Book, which included a part concerning WWII in Croatia. I'd never even thought of that corner of the world in terms of the war. And then there is all kinds of information from Russia and its satellites which is just now coming to light. Interesting stuff.

  2. I've heard great things about numbers two and three on your list. :)

    1. It has been years since I read Schindler's list but I still think of it quite often. All the Light We Cannot See is so beautifully written. What a gem.

  3. I really need to read All The Light We Cannot See. It looks SO good!

  4. Great list, seriously, this is the fifth list Ive seen today that had The Book Thief on it. Must be a sign.

    My TTT: Marie @ Pages to Explore

  5. I hated The Book Thief, and found it beyond overrated. My blog post on why I hated it so much is one of my most-viewed posts (in my Top 20, I believe). I just don't get all the hype and popularity at all.

    The most haunting, unforgettable WWII books I've ever read are The Painted Bird and Fragments of Isabella.

    1. I started Book Thief and had to set it down the first go round. The narrator (death)was too off-putting. But the second go round I found it lovely and heart-breaking.

  6. I have a hard time with WWII books, because they are just so heartbreaking and sad. I always have to google endings before I will even consider starting one, cause most of the ones I read growing up had heartbreaking endings!

    My TTT.

    Also, feel free to check out our giveaway.

    1. I must be a glutton for punishment. Even though they break my heart, I still like to read them.

  7. Great list! I've read quite a few book set during WWII, but none that you have listed so this definitely gave me some ideas. MY TTT

  8. I'm excited to hear that Guernsey is coming to the big screen. I'm really curious as to who will star in the movie.

    1. I remember the charm and the setting of this book. Not so depressing as most WWII books.

  9. I loved The Book Thief! I'd say it's one of my favorite books of all time. Other than that though, I haven't really read any books about WWII. I've read The Diary of Anne Frank, of course, but that's it. I'll look into the ones you've listed. Thanks! Here's my TTT. Happy reading!

  10. The Book Thief promises to be on a lot of lists this week. It's one of my favorites, so I'm glad to see so many others have enjoyed it too. Have a great week!

  11. I love The Book Thief, and Between Shades of Grey too!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/02/top-ten-tuesday-42/


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