When I was a little kid, I used to read in closets. Mostly Nancy Drew.
My mother worried, but of course no one talked about introverts much back then. It was years before Jamie’s book and community would be born.
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.)
I ended up ordering a ration book off of Ebay so I could share it with my kids. And in Secrets of a Charmed Life, I learned toilet paper was hard to get during World War II too!
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?
What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!
During this Covid time we were watching Wartime Farm. My kids started pointing out the similarities between what we were facing with the pandemic and what they dealt with in Britain during WWII. Kids made a board comparing similarities and differences. 🙂
Summer Rae Garcia
Yes! We have been all about wartime homefront w 1940’s house and wartime farm! Looking forward to a unit study maybe in the future. (🙏)
Connie Willis’s Blackout and All Ckear (to volumes you make on story) is my favorite WW2 read. It’s the story of three time-traveling Oxford historians who go back in time to study WW2 first hand and, due to a glitch in the machine, are trapped in London during the Blitz. (Warning: make sure you have All Cleat on hand before you get near the end of Blackout.)
Annie’s latest post: Making mistakes
I kinda thought I was the only one! WWII books, and even some movies, have been so helpful to me at this time too. So excited to look through your list, thank you for that!
I’ve been reading the exact same things! WWII has always fascinated me, but there are so many things to glean from the experience of that generation during this time. It’s also reminded me that things can be so much worse – so thankful for those gentle reminders to stay hopeful.
I love it. I bought 84, Charing Cross Road on your suggestion and loved it! It was a great one to follow Secrets of a Charmed Life. Now onto Lovely War I go! If my family has to eat powdered eggs because I’m buying too many books on Amazon, I’m blaming you! 😉
Thanks for the article, 84, Charing Cross Road is now on my list!
We’re so different! This reaction to Covid-19 actually kept me AWAY from my beloved WWII books! It felt so real to me – the lockdowns, the travel bans, the requirements for going out in public, the food shortages. I just really didn’t think I could bear to read about all that.
I was just started into Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, and I had to stop reading it.
Now that some time has passed, I’m feeling more okay with this all (actually, it was a personal attitude adjustment! *L*), and I’m nearly finished Frankl’s book.
84, Charing Cross is one of my favorite books!
I love the list!
Michele L Palmer
It is so interesting reading/hearing/listening to what others turned to for comfort and entertainment during the first part of the pandemic. It WAS a shock to everyone’s system surely. I personally could not handle reading/watching/listening to anything that involved suffering and the uncertainty of one’s livelihood. My own anxiety over those issues were skyrocketing. I had to do the opposite. Probably not a good coping method, but it helped me get grounded again and pull it together.
I had to spend time being reminded of times where life was easy and free. So, I watched a lot of Rick Steves as he casually traveled around Europe, the newly released Cirque Du Soleil shows on YouTube, and Dude Perfect with my kids. I re-read books that reminded me of comforting memories (Harry Potter and Percy Jackson) and listened to old podcasts from Julie Bogart and you guys! I also amped up my meditation time and LOVED the free Oprah and Deepak’s “Hope in Uncertain Times.” Wow…that was a great freebie!
Like I said, I’m not sure if it was the best coping strategy, but it worked great. I can now watch the news, calmly plan my online orders to stock up on necessities, and go to the grocery store without having heart palpitations. haaaa
Sorry to write a book, but I wanted to share those things in case they might help someone else. Or just to hear that it’s okay to “escape” for a bit.
Love you Kara!!!!! Thank you for always being so open & honest in sharing your struggles with anxiety!