When I was a little kid, I used to read in closets. Mostly Nancy Drew.
So I read in closets, and my mother fretted, but she saw that the reading was helping me, so she kept me stocked in Nancy Drews. Thank goodness there were so many of them.
Good books = ‘Comfort food’
Lately, I’ve again been reading for comfort; I’ve been devouring World War II era fiction.
When the pandemic started, I was OK until the library closed, and then I started sweating. I knew we would need books. I put pretty much our entire homeschool budget, entertainment budget and let’s face it – any other dollars I could find – toward books.
And for myself, I ordered a lot of World War II fiction.
I have always felt tied to World War II since hearing my grandparents’ love story – dances at the army base, long distance love, he proposing within minutes of stepping off the train …
But I will admit that I knew little about what it was really like during World War II before I started reading historical fiction. (See? We all have gaps in our education!)
For example, until I read The Postmistress, (afflink) it hadn’t occurred to me that we didn’t know if German soldiers would storm our eastern coast in the U.S. I had simply never considered it.
I also became interested in rationing as our nation started to have shortages. (This is nothing, I could remind myself when I started a tizzy over the “right” shape of pasta.)
Books + Conversation
A big part of what we do here is talk.
That sounds simple – too simple. But books can open up such wonderful discussions. We often chat about what we’re reading, and my World War II era books were so fascinating to me that I couldn’t help but share them.
I can’t NOT talk about the charm of 84, Charing Cross Road – letters exchanged following World War II between an American writer and the staff of a London bookshop.
The writer, Helene Hanff, sends the staff eggs and meat and arranges a drop off of stockings for the female staff. I read it in a morning and now I want to read it again just writing about it.
Handling hard times
And so, good books have been getting me through.
In the times it all felt heaviest, and when it felt like our school year just crumbled, I could look to the heroines in my books and realize that in the past, nations have faced a lot and people have still handled hard times with kindness and care for others.
To see the growing list of World War II books that are continuing to bring me comfort, head here.
Which books have helped you through a challenging time?
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