It’s Non-Fiction November!
Hosted by Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness), Katie (Doing Dewey), Leslie (Regular Rumination), and Becca (I’m Lost in Books), Non-Fiction November is a challenge to spend the month exclusively reading and writing about non-fiction. Each week there is a discussion topic, and the hosts also have a couple of readalongs going for the event.
Week 2 topic, November 10–14 (hosted by Leslie, Regular Rumination)
Be/Ask/Become the Expert: Three ways to join this week! You can either share three or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good non-fiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).
Since the centennial of World War I started this year and we have the National WWI Museum here in Kansas City, we’ve seen a lot of programming (art and history exhibits, library readalongs, concerts featuring music about or from the war eras, etc.) around here commemorating this war. And between this at home and my recent visit to Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, this subject has been on my mind a bit lately. The WWI books I’ve read are fewer and mostly fiction (All Quiet on the Western Front, etc.) so my non-fiction recommendations on the subject are about WWII, Vietnam, and current:
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand — An incredible, adventurous, harrowing journey for Olympic runner and WWII lieutenant Louis Zamperini, soon to be released as a movie.
Hiroshima by John Hersey — A sober account of six survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. Equal parts sad, gruesome, and gripping.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank — Inspiring in the midst of the horrors of war, especially Anne’s words, “I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe people are really good at heart.”
Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff — A gripping survival story, and a great companion read for Unbroken—WWII stories from soldiers on opposite sides of the war and opposite sides of the world.
Night by Elie Wiesel — An intense, chilling account of life in a Nazi concentration camp. Wiesel doesn’t shock with gory details necessarily, but the tenacious humanity of the prisoners and Wiesel’s relationship with his father are moving.
A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo — I read this years ago, but it’s always been one I would like to reread eventually. A decade after his 16-month tour of Vietnam, Caputo wrote this memoir about his devastating experiences, both physical and emotional.
Voices from Vietnam edited by Michael Stevens — A compilation of letters and diary entries from Wisconsin soldiers during the Vietnam War. A letter from my uncle to my grandmother is included in the collection.
Drift by Rachel Maddow — An intelligent, accessible account of our nation’s gradual shift into a state of near-constant war, despite the very real human and financial costs, starting from the Vietnam War through the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The next war-related book on my list to read is Flags for our Fathers by James Bradley, about the author’s father and his fellow soldiers raising the flag during the WWII battle of Iwo Jima, captured in that iconic photograph. My dad bought me a copy from the Pearl Harbor gift shop when we visited the site during our Hawaii vacation in August. It’s been on my list for years, knowing the Wisconsin ties—the Bradley family is from the same up-north Wisconsin town as my dad’s family.