Reading the Great War: a Reading Project for 2014

A simple idea has grown into a wonderful project in the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics Group. 2014 is the centenary of the start of the Great War, and there has been so much wonderful fiction and non fiction written about that conflict, at the time and in the years that followed ….

2014 is the time to read those books.

great war 2014

There  are Virago Modern Classics, there are other books by Virago authors, there are books by authors who have been published by other small presses with a similar ethos.

There are themes rather than set books, and two months for each theme, so we can read together but we can also have some flexibility to read the right book at the right time.

Here are the books.

The Beginning of the War (January and February)

Main Book: William: an Englishman by Cecily Hamilton (Persephone)

Other possibilities:

Golden Miles by Kathleeen Susannah Pritchard (Virago)
Mr Britling Sees it Through by H G Wells (Project Gutenberg)
The Setons by O Douglas (Project Gutenberg)

Fighting: On the Frontline and on the Homefront (March and April)

Main Book: One of Ours by Willa Cather (Virago)

Other possibilities:

Aleta Day by Francis Marion Benyon (Virago)
The War Workers by E M Delafield (Project Gutenberg)
What Not by Rose Macaulay (Project Gutenberg)

Dealing With The Human Cost: Nurses and others who cared (May and June)

Main Book: Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain

Other possibilities:

We That Were Young by Irene Rathbone (Virago)
The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker
Diary Without Dates by Enid Bagnold (Project Gutenberg)

Ambulance Drivers, Pacifists & Conscientious Objectors (July & August)

Main Book: Not So Quiet by Helen Zenna Smith (Virago)

Other possibilities:

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)

Other possibilities:

Home Fires in France by Dorothy Canfield (Project Gutenberg)
Fighting France by Edith Wharton (Project Gutenberg)
In the Mountains by Elizabeth von Arnim (Project Gutenberg)

Free Choice/Books you Missed (November & December)

This is the time to read a book you missed, or a book that doesn’t fit into a category nicely.

You can read as many or as few of them as you like, or you can read other books and come over and talk about them. If you have suggestions you can put them forward here, and you can see a bigger list with all of the suggestions that have been put forward here.

I have been meaning to read ‘Not So Quiet’ and ‘We That Were Young’ for quite some time. I want to re-read ‘The Return of the Soldier’ and ‘One of Ours’. And ‘William’ is already on my bedside table …..

But now you tell me.

Will you be joining in? Is there a book you’re curious about? Do you have a book to recommend?

9 responses

  1. I just realized how many of those books are on my to-read list. I also have The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman, Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks, and Julian Grenfell on my TBR list. I may have to join!

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  4. What a great idea. I love VMC and I love war books…I’ll have to check out the group. I barely use librarything at all, but keep seeing interesting things like this come from it…
    Great cover pic for the reading challenge.

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