05 Mar Is It About Timing, Or Are There Just Too Many?
Lately I’ve been thinking about book subject matter that I’m getting tired of. This doesn’t mean I think they are bad, it just means when I see them I don’t even want to read their synopsis because I am burnt out in this category of books.
There are actually three categories that come to mind, but for this post I will focus on just one.
While there are great books in these categories, there are also a lot of them, or so it seems. It might be like when you think of a particular car and of the sudden that’s the only car you see everywhere. I don’t know. Either way it feels like there are a lot books about this subject. This subject is vast and there are truly so many avenues for stories, so I do understand why there are so many—I just don’t want to read many more and am no longer drawn to them as I once was.
Have I peaked your interest?
The genre is historical fiction and the time period specifically is:
Just to be clear, I like historical fiction and WW2 as a whole. But, would you agree (or disagree) there are a lot of books concerning this time period? In my opinion, there are so many, both old and new, that when I hear “historical fiction,” I automatically think of WW2.
So I did a little research on which WW2 books I’ve read and liked, the ones I’ve disliked, and also a few I’d maybe like to read (despite my claim of being tired of them).
In all honesty I was surprised at how many books I liked versus disliked. In my judgment of there being too many books written about this time, I thought my dislike count would be higher, but that isn’t the case. Looking over my dislikes, I do believe it partly has to do with my strong dislike for one book in particular—I’ll get to that shortly.
📌 These books are in no particular order of liking one more than the other.
The above six were read over several years and they feature stories and characters that I still remember.
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
📌 I was pleasantly surprised by this book and how much I liked it because it is YA. If it hadn’t been highly recommended by a friend, I wouldn’t have tried it.
Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
📌 This book is a commitment, coming in just under 800 pages. While you may know or be familiar with the tragic point of this story, I remember thinking that the bulk of the book was more about Sophie herself and her life before WW2. I say this not to sway one way or the other, but rather as an observation.
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana DeRosnay
Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
📌 First off, I know I am in the minority when I say I did not like either of these books. In fact both books went to the DNF pile. I found myself becoming very impatient with both books, which is what led me to put them down. I have liked some of Kristin Hannah’s books in the past, but they have been a little “hit or miss,” sometimes feeling trite. Regarding The Tattooist at Auschwitz, I became board with the storyline. When it first came out I wasn’t drawn to it because it was WW2, but I kept hearing about it, then when the sequel (Cilka’s Journey) was released, I thought I should give it a try. I did try it and no dice. Maybe I’m becoming jaded to this time period?
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is my absolute least favorite of any WW2 books that I have read.
Another highly unpopular opinion, I do realize.
I anticipated reading this book for many months prior to its publication. Maybe I built it up too highly in my own mind, placing an unfair amount of hype around it? The story had so much potential and I adored the female main character, however the writing was very muddy in many parts. To seal the deal, it ended up taking home the Pulitzer in 2015, ugh. With some exceptions, the Pulitzer is usually the seal of death in my eyes. ☠️
In my cynical mind regarding the existence of too many WW2 books, there are still some I will read. Most likely I won’t seek them out, but that’s ok. The good ones have staying power and a way of standing out in the sea of similarity and overdone.
📌 My reading time is valuable, many books are not. I want to be discerning in my selections. Sometimes that does mean reading 50 or so pages and realizing it’s just not the book for me. It’s not the right time or mood and I don’t want to invest any more energy in to figuring out why.
Do you have a genre or a category within a genre that you feel is overdone? Please share it with me, and please share a favorite WW2 book as well.
PS. I thought of two more WW2 books that I did enjoy:
📌 The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
📌 Mischling by Affinity Konar
“The consequence of this is that I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both. (Death)” —Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
“Some knowledge is too heavy…you cannot bear it…your Father will carry it until you are able.” —Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place