I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad). The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.
5/4 - Another book from my school days that I haven't read since, at least 14 years ago (I'm not sure which year I was in when it was the set reading). Another book where my tolerance for injustice will be tested. I think the only war book that I've read from the German point of view, but except for calling the enemy 'Tommy' and the fact that most of the names aren't what you would expect to hear from a group of Australian, American, or British soldiers, this could have been written by a soldier from any army from either side of the war. This was the book that taught me that the average German soldier had a pretty similar experience to the average Allied soldier - inappropriate clothing for the conditions, not enough food, a lot of hurry up and wait, too many dead friends, men too old to go off to war encouraging the boys to join up and fight for their country - simply put no matter who you fought for it was a horrific experience for any 18-year-old boy that left a generation of men permanently damaged. To be continued...
12/4 - I consider that I have reasonably strong ties to 'the Western Front' (for an Australian of my generation) and a high level of interest thanks to the presence of my two paternal great-grandfathers. One was with the 22nd (I can never remember who was in which battalion or who went through which specific experience, so I won't be able to name them), the other the 24th infantry battalion of the AIF. Their battalions were practically neighbours on the battle field, it's amazing that they both made it back home and ended up brothers-in-law. A kneecap was blown off by the shrapnel of a passing grenade and they were both gassed, and reading the chapters of that were set in the hospital really made me think about what they went through while they recuperated in whatever hospital they were sent to (records do exist, but they're very faint and the handwriting is a nearly illegible scrawl). Were they sent to hospital with friends or did they go alone? How many men did they see being taken away and then never saw again while they lay in their bed, not knowing if it was going to be their turn next? Of course, they lost many friends, in fact one of them was discharged from the AIF a sergeant because all of his commanding officers died in battle and he was the only one left with enough experience to reliably hold the position. I never actually knew either of them, they both died before I was born, but I have heard a lot about them from their children (my grandparents) and my father who was close to both of them. 24 years later my grandfather enlisted in WWII and he went through many of the things his own father and future father-in-law did (although, knowing my grandfather as I did, I doubt they talked about their experiences). He was with the 2/6th Field Ambulance in New Guinea and the surrounding islands and almost never mentioned what he saw or did during the war. All that kept running through my head while I was reading was that the 'others' Paul and his friends were fighting could have been one of my ancestors' battalions and how it was pretty much luck that my great-grandads made it home (and thus, indirectly enabled me to be here) and Paul and his friends didn't.
2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Category: A Banned Book (this was banned by the Nazis after they came into power in 1933, it was in fact one of the first so called 'degenerate books' to be publicly burnt).