War Through the Generations Challenge – World War One

I’ve been thinking about Reading Challenges for next year. At first I thought I would only do one or two, because I start out full of enthusiasm and then find that by listing the books I want to read often ends up with me forgetting about them and reading something completely different. I’m very much a ‘mood’ reader. This made me feel a bit pressured when I remembered that I haven’t read the books/finished a particular challenge.

But then I realised that the pressure is purely of my own making, and as I really enjoy making lists and seeing which books I already own would fit into a challenge, I’ve decided to go ahead, make my lists and if I do complete the challenge, so much the better. This of course, means that I’m not treating it as a ‘challenge’, but then I don’t consider reading is or should be a ‘challenge’.  I  think I’ll call it ‘themed reading‘.

My books fit so well into this theme, so I’m signing up for The War Through the Generations:World War 1 Challenge.

Here are the details:

The challenge will run from January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2012.

The books, whether fiction or non-fiction must have WWI as the primary or secondary theme and occur before, during, or after the war, so long as the conflicts that led to the war or the war itself are important to the story. Books from other challenges count so long as they meet the above criteria.

  • Dip: Read 1-3 books in any genre with WWI as a primary or secondary theme.
  • Wade: Read 4-10 books in any genre with WWI as a primary or secondary theme.
  • Swim: Read 11 or more books in any genre with WWI as a primary or secondary theme.

And these are my books:

  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque – a book I mean to read each year. I started it a couple of years ago and never finished it. I’ll have to start again.
  • The Ghost Road by Pat Barker – set in 1918 as the War came to an end. This is the third in the trilogy. I haven’t got the first two, so hope this stands well on its own.
  • Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain. This is Vera Brittain’s autobiography. She was 21 in 1914.
  • Chronicle of Youth by Vera Brittain. This is her war diary 1913 – 1917 on which she based Testament of Youth.

11 thoughts on “War Through the Generations Challenge – World War One

  1. Thanks so much for joining the WWI reading challenge. I’ve got you on the participants list and will make sure these books are added to the recommended reading list.


  2. Oh, this one is very tempting. I have Testament of Youth and quite a few others that would fit. All Quiet is an amazing book and can I recommend (not that you need recs) Not so Quiet by Helen Zenna Smith about female ambulance drivers in WW1. And The First Casualty by Ben Elton is not bad either.


  3. You have the same edition of Testament of Youth that I read a very long time ago. I’m trying not to sign up for too many challenges but I have sighned up for this one – I think the WW2 challenge a couple of years back might be my favourite reading challenge ever.


  4. I’ve signed up for this challenge too. I prefer not to make lists in advance as I never manage to stick to them, but I’m also considering All Quiet on the Western Front and Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy. I read Testament of Youth a couple of years ago and found it a very moving and powerful book.


  5. I dipped into the War Through the Generations challenge in 2011, Civil War Challenge, I have one more to read, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. You are so right about the level of enthusiasm that comes with the declaration of a challenge and then we stray.


  6. That’s an interesting challenge. I found All Quiet on the Western Front heartbreaking. It’s poetic at times and absolutely brutal at others, not really in the sense of violence, more in the sense of showing what happens to all those men (and boys) in the trenches.
    I think I’m going to sign up for this, I need to read more on WWI.


  7. I enjoyed Pat Barker’s trilogy some years ago, but liked the first volume the most. To be honest, I can’t remember a lot about the Ghost Road, but the two main characters do build up throughout the trilogy…


  8. This one looks interesting. I have the Vera Brittains which re very moving. I also have All Quiet on the Western Front, and Birdsong (Sebastian Faulks), both unread, while my husband has The First Casualty and a collection of WW1 memoirs, letters etc. Problem is would I find the theme too harrowing – and would I manage it alongside other challenges?


  9. Of your selections, I’ve read all of them but The Ghost Road… and it’s sitting on my TBR shelves. This is a challenge that I really should sign up for.


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