I unintentionally started a WW2 theme in my reading this year and ended up reading four books set in that time period. Three of the stories took place in France and by the time I’d finished I felt I’d had a good look at the effects on civilians in WW2 generally but in particular an insightful glimpse into people’s lives in the devasted and demoralised French nation also.
FAIR stood the wind for France
When we our sails advance,
Nor now to prove our chance
Longer will tarry;
But putting to the main,
At Caux, the mouth of Seine,
With all his martial train
Landed King Harry.
This was a different aspect of WW2, a story which chronicled the emotional and psychological journey of a Englishman whose French wife had been killed and their young son lost during the war in France while he was absent. He returns to France after the end of the war upon receiving news that his son may have been found. The book details his conflicting emotions as he tries to come to terms with the fact that this may or may not be his son and his agony over whether he wants to open himself to the pain of an encounter.
My copy is a lovely Persephone Classic. I love their covers.
I have this lovely copy below which also contains Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey.
I’ve shared my thoughts about this book here and here. Very thought provoking, and although I didn’t find anything I hadn’t really encountered before or knew intuitively, he caused me to think more deeply about choosing ways to nurture my children’s imaginations. I didn’t find his writing style easy to read. It reminded me a little of the way Edith Schaeffer writes, rambling and wordy, but maybe that’s good because it slows me down, makes me mull and chew over the content a bit more in order to get my head around what he’s saying. I’m still going over parts of the book and I’ve got asterisks and underlinings all through its pages.
I’ve been reading this aloud during our together time for about a year now with children aged between 7 and 17 years. I\’ve been enjoying this book very much, taking it slowly, and it has generated some interesting discussions.
This is Volume 5 of her Home Education series, another slow read and quite different from her other books in the series. I find I need to read a whole chapter at a time to keep the flow of this one so it’s not so easy to pick up at spare minutes but like her other books it has been rich.
I’ve seen this author’s books many times over the years and knew vaguely about her life but I hadn’t read anything she’d written until I picked this up secondhand a few months ago. This was a quick, easy read, not especially well written but she shared her heart and her experiences as a medical doctor in the Congo so honestly that I’d like to read her other books.
I listened to this on audiobook and although it didn’t have a particularly riveting storyline I liked the author’s way of writing. I hadn’t read anything by her before but I’d be happy to try her other books, of which there are many.
This has been my year not only of the Russian novel but also the year of Nevil Shute. This book was completely different to the others above in that it was a sort of apocalyptic/dystopian look at a community of people in Australia preparing for the arrival of airborne radiation which has already wiped out the population of the Northern Hemisphere. Nevil Shute has an ability to tell a good story and to centre his tale around ordinary people and bring out the tenderness of their relationships during adversity. It had a somewhat depressing ending but what stood out to me was the way he kept the integrity and faithfulness of two of the main characters intact when other authors might have gone along with the attitude of ‘Who cares, the world is about to end anyway…’
A biography of Marie Curie by her daughter which is available here for free. It was originally written in 1937 but was republished in 2001. I’m only part way through this book and after an initial sluggish beginning I’m beginning to enjoy it.