In the High Peaks

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Helen Dunmore's The Lie was waiting for me at the library much sooner than I expected. And the book is due on April 23rd with no renewals! I would so like to read it and finish it, if not by the 23rd then soon after. But I've been overwhelmed by more projects--writing jobs, leading many nature hikes at Garnet Hill in April and May that involve research and scouting beforehand, and preparations for my Children's Lit summer class that begins May 19.

Back to the book: The Lie, as many UK readers already know, is set in France in the First World War and in England afterward. It has received excellent reviews. I so loved Dunmore's The Greatcoat, which I read last summer, that I'm very eager to read this book. I can't believe the vast number of books published this year about World War I. At my library, there's an entire six-foot-long bookshelf dedicated to new nonfiction focused on this war. If I were an historian and expert on this war, I would not want to publish a book in 2014. All these titles are getting lost in the crowd.  I feel so badly for the authors, who've put so many years of work and research into them. Have you read any of the nonfiction that you would recommend, or do you know of any that have been highly recommended?

What about other fiction focusing on the First World War? Do you know of any or have you read any to be published this year? And of course, there are the reissues of older titles.


  1. I have been reading a lot of WW1 books along with others on the Librarything Virago group. I recently read Kamila Shamsie's new novel A God in every Stone which touches on WW1 in the first half of the novel. Elizabeth Speller's novel AT Break of Day (US title 1st July) published last year is about french and Englsih soliders in WW1. I am mainly reading older novels some available via Project Guttenberg.
    I have The Greatcoast tbr and am really looking forward to it - I really want to read The Lie too,

    1. I'm dashing for a pencil to list the titles you've mentioned! I'm wondering which novels you're reading via Gutenberg.
      I do think you'll love both Dunmore books. I'm going to read more of her.

  2. I wonder why this sudden spurt of books about WWI. I've been seeing the theme of WWII and its aftermath on crime fiction and writers' blogs all around cyberspace.

    Mari Strachan, a Welsh librarian, published a work of fiction last year, which tells the story of Rhiannon Davies, a woman living in Wales. Set in 1921, it tells of her spouse, who had fought in the war and comes home with PTSD.

    There is a lot of sympathy for WWI veterans who return to Wales and have no jobs or way to earn a living -- and they're desperately poor.

    It's an interesting take on the war.

    Of course, there is the well-recognized set of books by Pat Barker about WWII. I believe she discusses PTSD, too.

    What a terrible war, so many people lost. It really shocked me a few years ago, when I was reading about European artists and musicians who'd died in that war, young people, too.

    1. I think the sudden spurt of books is all due to the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I in August 2014.
      I do intend to eventually get to all of Pat Barker's books about World War I.
      So much good literature was written during that war, immediately after the war, and since.

  3. Pat Barker's books are well worth reading and also Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain.