Possible World War I theme read for 2014
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So far, these titles are suggested:
Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
Not So Quiet by Helen Zeena Smith
Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West
One of Ours by Willa Cather
Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived without Men After the First World War by Virginia Nicholson
And some I have as ebooks but not sure of their availability as paper books:
Christine by Alice Cholmondeley (pseudonym of Elizabeth von Arnim)
Fighting France: From Dunkerque to Belport by Edith Wharton
Another suggestion I just thought of is William - an Englishman by Cicely Hamilton which was the first Persephone book.
"Vera Brittain's bestselling Testament of Youth was based on these copious diaries-which have far greater intimacy and immediacy. Written in London, Malta, and France, it captures all the war's horrors and Brittain's emergence as a committed pacifist. "One of the rare books which are a landmark for a whole generation."
~Times Literary Supplement.
My Dear I wanted to tell you by Louisa Young - not a Virago but a contemporary book and not too bad. An aspect of WW1 I hadn't thought of/didn't know about.
The Mighty and their Fall by Ivy Comptom Burnett - pre WW1 was the tag
The Brontes went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson - pre WW1 again
and the Willa Cather...
There's On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry which frankly I found a bit long-winded....not a Virago again but shortlisted for the Booker from memory.
I'd be up for the Pat Barker trilogy which for some reason I've never got round to reading.
Not to mention Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks - which I've always got half way through reading and then had to return.
Possibly we could have a subcategory where members post their thoughts and reviews about nonVirago WWI books like Robert Graves Goodbye to All That, Birdsong, All Quiet on the Western Front, any number of memoirs etc.
Thank you Laura. I will be looking for that one.
>22 Liz1564: & all:
I am in agreement with staying within the Virago & Persephone publishing world for this theme read. It looks as if we would have plenty to choose from & I think more will roll in. I'm sure some have not even seen this thread yet. And considering the group that we are, I think it only right that we do limit ourselves to those books. Not that I don't love a LOT of others. But if we do not limit ourselves I think perchance we could end up reading the great masterpieces written on the Great War which would be wonderful, just not in this group.
If there are enough people interested in reading a particular non-Virago group then perhaps they could start another thread for more in-depth discussion. Or does that make it too complicated?
William, an Englishman by Cicely Hamilton
The Return of the soldier by Rebecca West
both of which I have read but would consider reading again as I thought they were excellent.
I would love to do Testament of youth as I've never read but have meant to for years.
from the lists above there looks to be some great possibilities. I like the sound of the Willa Cather novel One of Ours and the novel Not so quiet by Helen Zeena Smith and the Enid Bagnold might be interesting too. Lots to choose from how will we decide?
The start (Hamilton)
Ambulance drivers (Smith and Bagnold)
The consequences (West)
That's rough and not everything divides up neatly, but maybe a monthly theme and a suggested book or two would give us a structure and a little flexibility, for those who have read a book already or who are uncomfortable reading about certain aspects ... ?
I was planning to read the Smith this year but will gladly put it off for this year-long extravaganza. I'm so excited!!!
Also ... if the idea of a year-end free-for-all still appeals, we might do that in November tied to Remembrance Day. This would be in addition to the theme.
Back to the list of possible reads. I like the themes that Fleur suggested. I did smile though because if you read the Smith and Bagnold books back to back the Bagnold is going to look even worse by comparison. I have since read two others by Bagnold and they were great but The Happy Foreigner is crap next to Not So Quiet. I am anxious that Testament of Youth stay on the list because I definitely need to read that. The only other one I haven't read is the Cather.
Happy to stick with Viragoes and Persephones - it gives me an excuse to buy more Persephones!
I read One of Ours quite some while back, and I don't think I'll reread it, but it is an important Cather since it was her Pulitzer. I agree, though, with the general consensus that the book takes an odd turn, splits in two plot-wise, about halfway through.
I particularly like the idea of monthly themes, with a thread for a nominated Virago or Persephone (or two) and a thread for other books that fit the theme. Non-combatants and others has been near the top of my TBR list for ages, so will probably read that even though it's not a Virago.
I agree Testament of Youth should stay as it is a must-read (and a Virago though not a VMC) but I have already read it and it's a book that will stay with me forever so I will never need to read it again. Instead, for the nurses theme, I might read The War-workers by E.M Delafield which I downloaded free for Kindle at Girlebooks, but which may be more difficult to find in paper form.
I also see this as a possible excuse to buy two new and not yet published books: The Lie by Helen Dunmore and At Break of Day by Elizabeth Speller.
Edited to add that I've realised The War-Workers isn't about nurses but it is still set in WWi so will fit in somewhere!
The Beginning of the War (January and February)
Main Book: William an Englishman by Cecily Hamilton (Persephone)
Fighting: On the Frontline and on the Homefront (March and April)
Main Book: One of Ours by Willa Cather (Virago)
Aleta Day by Francis Marion Benyon (Virago)
The War Workers by E M Delafield (Project Gutenberg)
Dealing With The Human Cost: Nurses and others who cared(May and June)
Main Book: Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker
Diary Without Dates by Enid Bagnold (Project Gutenberg)
Ambulance Drivers, Pacifists & Concientious Objectors (July & August)
Main Book: Not So Quiet by Helen Zenna Smith (Virago)
The Happy Foreigner by Enid Bagnold (Virago)
Eunice Fleet by Lily Tobias (Honno)
Non Combatants and Others by Rose Macaulay (Capuchin Classics)
The Consequences of War (September & October)
Main Book: The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West (Virago)
Home Fires in France by Dorothy Canfield (Project Gutenberg)
Fighting France by Edith Wharton (Project Gutenberg)
Free Choice/Books you Missed (November & December)
I'm sure there are one or two more possibilities, but I can't bring them to mind at the moment.
I am currently reading At Break of Day by Elizabeth Speller -(published by Virago) which would be great for a free choice book.
Another book which could be an alternative for the beginning of the war - The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman - which I believe won a pulitzer in 1963 as it is about the beginning of the war.
#50 The Spanish Farm could be a another suggestion for a free choice book - but there must be other ViMC titles if we could only think of them.
I was thinking that 'At The Break of Day' looked like another that would work for May/June - maybe when you've read it Ali, you can let us know. The same for My Dear I Wanted to Tell You and Birdsong, if we open things out to include a few readily available titles that aren't VMCs or Persephone books.
And I'm sure there will be more books published to coincide with the anniversary...
The wiki page for the theme read is here, and it's also accessible from the Group Wiki main page.
It feels like the main selections are set, do others feel the same way? As for the "other possibilities" do we want this to be a finite list, or open to any/all nominations?
It would be good to have a final list Laura - that everyone could choose from - ie the main book or one of two or three alternatives. Other people might like to choose for themselves though.
Thanks so much, Fleur.
PS. Ali, nothing dire is happening besides a cracked clavical. Moving a stack of books, of course. Just lots of appointments and commitments.
#57 I hope you recover soon Elaine.
Which reminds me: the wiki can be edited by anyone. Don't worry if you find the syntax baffling -- just type stuff in, and someone else will beautify it later.
I am now off to peruse my shelves!
Golden Miles by Kathleen Susannah Pritchard
Mr Britling Sees It Through by H G Wells (a Virago author and Nicola Beauman describes this as one of the finest novels to come out of WW1)
The Setons by O Douglas (not a Virago author but she's published by Grey Ladies and this one is on Project Gutenberg)
And now I'm going to try my hand at editing ....
First two are public domain/available free, digitally in different locations -
A Hilltop on the Marne by Mildred Aldrich - letters from an American ex-pat dealing with the opening days of the war in France
Diary of a Nursing Sister on the Western Front, 1914-1915 by Anonymous
Also, Thomas Keneally's recent release, The Daughters of Mars, is the story of two Australian sisters nursing on the Western Front.
LB - I'm sure anyone of us could wind up dead under a bookcase :)
And thank you for coming up with this Great War Theme for 2014. I am so looking forward to it.
As I am suffering a book buying moratorium and I can't seem to quite figure out Project Gutenberg, I found and downloaded the following to my Kindle free from Amazon.com:
Mr Britling Sees It Through,
The War Workers,
What Not A Prophetic Comedy,
Diary Without Dates,
Non-Combatants and Others,
Home Fires In France,
Fighting France and
In the Mountains.
That leaves me missing just The Guns of August, The Regeneration Trilogy and Eunice Fleet so I think I am well set come January.
Thank you everyone for all of your thoughts and input. I really enjoyed watching this come together with all the dialogue. A great team effort.
However, I have an additional gem that I read back in 2009 Women In The War Zone by Anne Powell. There is a review in my written journal but looks like I never published it on LT.
It was a four star read for me and I would highly recommend it.
From the book page this description reflects the breadth of the book
'Incredible stories of British female doctors and nurses who served abroad during World War I include a nurse who survived a torpedo attack on a ship with serious injuries; caring for the wounded in Malta; nursing the casualties from the battles of Arras and Ypres; a radiologist who created a garden in France; and a VAD nurse in the hospital in Petrograd at the time of Rasputin’s murder. Extracts from letters and diaries provide a full picture of various first-hand experiences, and honor the often unsung contribution made by those who helped to alleviate suffering. Includes such names as Millicent, Duchess of Sutherland; Grace Ashley Smith; Edith Cavell; Vera Brittain; and Freya Stark.'
Currently 99p on kindle at Amazon.co.uk and reviews are favourable so I thought it worth a try.
I admit I'm not keeping up with adding the alternative selections ...
More information here https://www.goodreads.com/interviews/show/902.Anita_Shreve?utm_medium=email&...
Edited to add that I *do* realise that Viragos and Persephones will be the order of the day - simply got a bit over excited as this period, in relation to the role of women, is one which interests me greatly.
PS Would some clever techie soul be able to tell me if we can mark the wiki link on, say, our home page so I don't have to keep searching for Laura's lovely link in this thread? Maybe I am just being lazy ......
>88 juliette07:: Would some clever techie soul be able to tell me if we can mark the wiki link on, say, our home page
There's a link to the group wiki on our group page. The group page can be found by clicking on "Virago Modern Classics" at the top of any thread. Once you're in the group wiki you are one click away from the theme read page. Does that help?
Julie, I'll try. Go the Homepage and click 'About you' on the left hand side. Scroll down the page and there is a section called 'Your Notepad' where you can add notes and links (I think where exactly this is on the page will vary from person to person). To move 'Your notepad' to your main homepage select the little greyed out plus icon to the right of 'Your notepad'
Let me try and grab some screenshots:
Your notepad (the icon you click to add to your main homepage (or dashboard) is highlighted in yellow).
To add a link, click on the green button and enter the address of the wikipage in the url box (in yellow):
Clear as mud?
Heather - that was a really helpful piece of work as well as I had not really fully explored the new dashboard stuff. I also moved the notes bit so it is a bit more accessible - thank you ladies!
Julie, I think I have read all of Anita Shreve's work. There was a time when I was quite addicted to her, Anna Quindlen and one other that I cannot recall the name of at the moment. But I am going to pre-order this one for our 'free months' of reading. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. I believe when I checked, that it come out this coming Tuesday in hardcover edition. Paperback comes out May 27th so that is in time as well.
Have I told you lately that I love you? hee hee You are a ROCKSTAR!~!
LyzzyBee; adding my congratulations to those of many others & wishing you a long life of happiness, love & laughter.
Congrats as well on sticking to your reading lists. I managed the Elizabeth Taylors nicely but fell down in the fall on Barbara Pym, I am afraid. I will try to finish them up spread out over 2014. I am proud of you and oh, so happy for you. ♥
"Other possibilities" are books written by Virago and Persephone authors, or authors who have been published by small presses with a similar ethos, like Honno and GreyLadies.
"Reader recommendations" can take in everything and anything else that might be of interest to Viragoites.
There are probable better descriptions than the ones I've used, but I couldn't think of any ...
I will be doing a lot of outside reading for this read-along as I have read many of the main selections. However, I agree that there WILL be a rush of new books next year.
~97 - Love you too Ms Belva x
Fortunately, I have several of the books already, but I have felt the need to send for H.G. Wells....... :)))
Thank you Elaine for turning us on to this plan. I think we all are elated with these choices and especially this particular theme.
I was already excited about the theme and this exercise only served to build my enthusiasm.
Mr Brittling Sees it Through arrived today - I know I said I wouldn't buy books but it's a nice 1930's hardback v good condition and contains a second novel too In the days of the comet so all ready for January - as I have already read William: an Englishman.
Next week I am going to do a week's study at Sarum College where Jane Gledhill is a visiting scholar. She has a research degree in Victorian Studies and a PhD in modernism and the poetry of TS Eliot.
She has taught a mixture of English Literature, Art history and Literature and Theology at the Universities of Keele, Bristol, Kent and Winchester through Sarum College. Her research interests are in women’s writing and the First World War, modernism, literature and theology and Christian spirituality.
Under her books published are included these two - none of which I know nut may be of interest to friends in our group.
Women's Writing on the First World War by Agnès Cardinal (Editor), Dorothy Goldman (Editor), Judith Hattaway (Editor)
Women Writers and the Great War (Twayne's Literature & Society) Dorothy Goldman, Jane Gledhill Judith Hattaway
I am hoping to go to this.
THE KATE ADIE LECTURE
“CHRISTIAN WOMEN IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR”
“An Evening with Kate Adie” to be held at St Martin-in-the-Fields on Monday 10 February at 7.00pm.
Her book "Fighting on the Home Front - the legacy of women in World War I" has just been published. It promises to be an enjoyable evening.
Nightingales in the Mud by Marianne Barker is another work with a similar theme. It relates the accounts by the Australian Nurses working in the field hospitals during the conflict. They were only a small group but worked continuously at the front and in field hospitals during the war. According to Barker's research the nurses were the only Australian women allowed on active service.
The Aussie one is new to me - thank you mrsp!
~sorry dear Laura ...
I'm looking forward to this very much - I may read more than 6 books.
Women and the Church (WATCH) invites you to listen to the journalist and campaigner Kate Adie, who is generously giving her time to talk about the contribution of Christian women in the First World War. This features in her new book "Fighting on the Home Front - the legacy of women in World War I", written to commemorate the start of the First World War in 1914.