Silver Lining: What to Read: Beautiful World War II Novels

January 11, 2016

What to Read: Beautiful World War II Novels

What better way to cheer ourselves up from the post-holiday blues than by reading emotional, heavy, complex World War II novels, right?

Okay, part of me is crazy for posting these books as we're all coming off our holiday high. But part of me loves to curl up with a good book and get lost in beautiful language during the long, dark, cold days of January. Also, I know a lot of people who made New Years Resolutions to read more really good books, and I have to say, these are (in my opinion) really good books.

A note of caution: These are World War II books. If you're looking for something light and happy, don't read these books. If you're looking for something that has no sadness or violence, don't read these books. If you're looking for something in which nobody dies, don't read these books. That being said, none of these books are too graphic, and they do such an incredible job of telling beautiful stories about what it means to be a human during wartime.

So here we go: What to read if you're in the mood for a literary World War II novel.

The Book Thief
Marcus Zusak, 2006
You guys, this is probably my favorite book ever. I recommend it to everyone. It's about a foster girl outside Munich who steals books and hides a Jew in her basement. The best part: it's narrated by Death, and he makes the terrors of the Holocaust almost poetic. It's modern, metaphorical, unique and beautiful.

Code Name Verity
Elizabeth Wein, 2012
I almost didn't include this in the list because it's a little graphic in some parts. But in the end, it's actually a pretty light book because the violence is masked with lots of humor (sounds weird, I know, but just trust me). Code Name Verity is about two women (a spy and a pilot) and the friendship between them during the war. Pay attention to every detail in the first half, because it all becomes very important during the second half! 

All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr, 2014
If I did a post about books that have beautiful language, this would be number one. The story is poetic and beautiful and meaningful. It's about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide during the war. I have a few huge problems with this book (someone who's read it - discuss it with me!), and it gets a tad bit slow in the middle, but overall, I really liked this book. 

See more of my What To Read series here, and see what I'm currently reading and reviewing by following me on Goodreads here!

What did I miss?
Favorite WWII books?
I've heard The Nightingale is also great. It's on my to-read list.

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