Veterans Day (November 11th) honors individuals who served in the United States Armed Forces. It marks the anniversary of the end of World War I. The major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
Here is a list of fiction books that explore different aspects of war that your book club may wish to discuss:
Perfume River by Robert Olen Butler
Presents the story of a single North Florida family shaped and overshadowed by the Vietnam War and the estrangements between the fathers, sons, and brothers who supported or protested against it.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A blind French girl on the run from the German occupation and a German orphan-turned-Resistance tracker struggle with respective beliefs after meeting on the Brittany coast.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
Asked to be part of the Dallas Cowboys’ halftime show on Thanksgiving, Specialist Billy Lynn, one of the eight surviving men of the Bravo Squad, finds his life forever changed by this event that causes him to better understand difficult truths about himself.
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
A tragic wartime romance set against the brutal and chaotic backdrop of World War I is the classic story of a volunteer ambulance driver wounded on the Italian front and the English nurse he loves and leaves behind
Hurricane Street by Ron Kovic
In the spring of 1974, as the last American troops were being pulled out of Vietnam, Ron Kovic and a crew of other severely injured veterans in a California VA hospital launched the American Veterans Movement. … Kovic corralled his fellow AVM members into staging a sit-in, and then a hunger strike, in the Los Angeles office of senator Alan Cranston, demanding better treatment of injured and disabled veterans.
We Come to Our Senses: Stories by Odie Lindsey
Exploring the lives of veterans returning to their homes in the South, an intense debut centers around men and women affected by combat directly and tangentially, including a vet turned office clerk whose petty neuroses derail even her suicide and a woman who redeploys to her Mississippi hometown and confronts the superior who abused her at war.
Casualties by Elizabeth Marro
Shattered by her Iraq war vet son’s suicide, Ruth, an executive for a successful military defense contractor, flees her regrets during an east-bound road trip that forces her to confront her past, her choices, the war and her relationship with her son.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
Heroic young men carry the emotional weight of their lives to war in Vietnam in a patchwork account of a modern journey into the heart of darkness.
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
In the midst of a bloody battle in the Iraq War, two soldiers, bound together since basic training, do everything to protect each other from both outside enemies and the internal struggles that come from constant danger.
The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli
Helen Adams, an American combat photographer during the Vietnam War, captures the wrenching chaos of battle on film and finds herself torn between the love of two men, one an American war correspondent and the other his Vietnamese underling.
(All summaries from the publishers.)
This article also appears in Syosset Public Library’s Book Club Insider newsletter for November 2016.
-posted by Lisa J., Readers’ Services