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(Owlet header image found via a Google Image search, and came from Etsy artist Bestiary Ink)

27 October 2011

What I'm Reading Now: October 27, 2011

I actually started this one yesterday, but I forgot to post an update. Good thing my trusty new Goodreads widget (on the right-hand side of the ol' blog) is working!

So, I guess first I'll say that I did not mean to read three books with WWII references in a row. I don't have any sort of unhealthy fixation on that time period - it just happened. To that end, I also didn't mean to pick two WWI-related books (Unbroken and Sarah's Key) in a row for my online book club--that was totally accidental. But interesting (at least to me) is that all three books speak to aspects of WWII history about which I knew very little until reading these. Unbroken is about the Pacific war that took place between the U.S. and Japan, and specifically, the American POW experience in Japan. In my in-between book, The Pleasing Hour, which is not actually about WWII, the mother of one of the key supporting characters was shamed by her actions during the War, an experience that shaped both her own future and that of her daughters. That book takes place in France, mainly in Paris and in a small provincial town called Plaire. I am embarrassed to admit that my knowledge of French action during WWII is also limited. And now I'm reading Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, which also takes place in Paris. While I've only just begun reading, this story is already grabbing me by the throat in terms of its WWII content. It takes place in Paris in both July 1942 and in 2002. In July 1942 the French Police, on German orders, rounded up thousands of Jews in Paris, including somewhere close to 4000 children ages 2-12. They were held in a sports stadium before being taken by train to Auschwitz. The 1942 part of this book tells the fictional story of a little girl who was rounded up during this stain on France's historical record, the event called the Vel' d'Hiv'. The 2002 part is told from the perspective of an America journalist living in Paris who is assigned the task of writing about the Vel' d'Hiv' for its sixtieth commemoration. Something about these two threads will clearly overlap. Another story that handles a part of this many-fingered hand of history about which I know little or nothing. I'm intrigued and hooked, though already, just under 60 pages in, I'm very sad reading about it.

Have you read anything lately that you think would make a good discussion book? Our online book club (linked above) is scheduled through January, but I'm looking for titles to add to our monthly reading list for what will be our second year (!yay!). Suggestions are always welcomed!

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