Here you’ll find books I talked about on the most recent WOSU All Sides Weekend Books, a live radio show that’s all about finding your next best read. I’ve not yet mentioned them on the blog, three novels of varied plotlines. One is inspired by the true story of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, an official in the Vatican's Holy Office who saved the lives of escaped WWII Allied POWs.
Category: World War II Literature
Six favorite books from my year of reading
This 2022 end-of-year list includes an equal number of fiction and nonfiction. The books earned their place for the unusual qualities that set them apart: storytellers that amazed me, atmospheres that erased time, facts that broadened my thinking. Four of the books have been mentioned here before; two are new.
Three novels, one reminiscence
I told myself I wouldn’t add to my reading table during December, and yet these new books sound irresistible. They take place in varying worlds, such as North Korea, an Irish shirt factory, ballet, and the Mediterranean island of Rhodes. I’ve already dipped in to two of them. What’s here, I believe, is intriguing, funny, engaging, and moving, promising memorable good reads.
Rudolf Vrba’s escape from Auschwitz and an unputdownable whodunnit
Two very different books, both written with expert style and intrigue guaranteed to fascinate: "The Escape Artist" by Jonathan Freedland and "The Enigma of Room 622" by Joël Dicker. Here's what they're about and why they're so immersive.
What I’m reading, plus promising new books
I’m deep into the fictional lives of Guy and Harriet Pringle in Olivia Manning’s classic trilogy, but I'm also looking forward to some interesting new books out this month and next. They include a novel narrated by a book (the narrator being Joseph Roth’s “Rebellion”), a small gem exploring 19th century women hysterics, a psychological thriller, a reissued story collection from the 1970s, and more. Read about the books here.
What to read next: books now and to anticipate
Here you’ll find an intriguing mix of fiction, memoir, and graphic nonfiction. One of the novels is by an internationally acclaimed Irish author. Another is by “the other Elizabeth Taylor,” a British author whose writing career unfortunately began just as the American Elizabeth Taylor came to fame in Hollywood. Her novels are considered to be a well-kept secret.
The Dayton Literary Peace Prize Winners 2021
Since 2006, this significant prize in literature has celebrated the power of the written word to promote peace. Here are the 2021 winners: one adult fiction and one adult nonfiction, both of World War II and lives revealed, both riveting reads.
What I’m reading now: fiction by Madeleine Bourdouxhe, Mollie Panter-Downes, Olivia Manning
I'm betting you don't recognize these 20th century female authors. Each has faded into obscurity for different reasons, but now have renewed and much deserved attention. One wrote a bestseller, one wrote for The New Yorker, and one just couldn't get the critics to love her work. I'm under their spell. Here's what's captivating me.
My reading life: a few good books
Here you'll find three novels that will capture your attention for their complex characters, intriguing settings, and heartrending stories. Also, I’ve included the title of an unusual book from Melbourne, Australia, and a new novel coming out next week that takes place during a bloody week in 1871 Paris.
My 10 favorite books of 2020
Literary novels, a biography, a humorous memoir, a fable, and more. "What I want to tell you about is something quite different," says one character in these unforgettable books on this year-end list.
An exceptional new World War II novel: “The Vanishing Sky” by L. Annette Binder
"The Vanishing Sky" sings to the heart and gives meaning to the soul by its seductive atmosphere and memorable, resilient characters. A favorite read of mine this summer.
The books I’m reading now
Readers looking for new stories, here's a list of five books, all new this year, a mix of fascinating JFK fact/fiction, WWII non-fiction, an "engrossing" biography, and a dark novel that's one of the six finalists for the International Booker Prize. Also, an update about delayed spring releases.
“The Teacher” by Michal Ben-Naftali
An unnamed narrator imagines the life of her austere high school English teacher, compelled to understand what the Kolozsvár native experienced during the Holocaust and why she took her own life. It's profound storytelling in an intense, moving novel.
Books I’m recommending
I've captured here the novels I mentioned on NPR member station WOSU All Sides Weekend Books that aired November 8, 2019.
A powerful memoir that reverses time
In "The Photographer at Sixteen," British poet and translator George Szirtes recalls his mother's turbulent life during World War II, the Hungarian Revolution and her final years in England. It's impressive and captivating.