Move me!
October 9, 2008 7:16 PM   Subscribe

Book-filter (again)! I just read Markus Zuzak's "The Book Thief" and loved it and loved being moved by it. Give me more books that do the same.

I really liked reading about the German people living under Hitler, and through the war and how that affected them, particularly about people who didn't necessarily agree with Nazi ideals, but were forced to live by them nonetheless.

Please recommend me books that touch on a similar vein. They don't have to be set during WWII Germany either. Feel free to expand on my criteria to include general war fiction (or non-fiction).

posted by robotot to Writing & Language (15 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by...(googling...) John Boyne is in a similar vein- told from a child's point of view, being a part of war but not understanding it, finding human connection and relationships among horrible times. It's a very short book, but no less powerful for it.
posted by twirlypen at 7:21 PM on October 9, 2008

I've been meaning to give The Power of One a re-read, to see if it's as good as I remember it (I think it's been about fifteen years, if not more - and I never saw the movie).
posted by peagood at 7:44 PM on October 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Children's Books:
Soldier X by Don Wulffson
Daniel Half Human by David Chotjewitz

Graphic Novel(s):
Maus by Art Spiegelman

Maus is probably one of my favorite books of all time. I'm missing a ton of books, but these are the three that I have in my room/came to mind first. I may post more later.
posted by papayaninja at 8:01 PM on October 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation -- long title, great book. I don't want to give too much away about it, but it was published around the same time as The Book Thief and both of them are serious (and moving) young adult/adult crossover titles. It also deals with war and with people living under a system that they don't necessarily agree with.

(Disclaimer: I know the editor. But the book is amazing.)
posted by cider at 8:02 PM on October 9, 2008

As promised....
Red Scarf Girl by Ji-li Jiang is a true story from a child's POV, this time taking place during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. It's also a really easy read.
posted by papayaninja at 8:11 PM on October 9, 2008

Best answer: I loved these books, they're both about Chechnya so a little more modern that you asked for. Definitely about people living through war, under regimes they're not comfortable with. One Soldier's War by Arkady Babchenko, and A Small Corner of Hell by Anna Politkovskaya.
posted by Alex Voyd at 8:54 PM on October 9, 2008

Lily's Crossing is a Newbery Honor WWII homefront novel.
posted by adamwolf at 8:54 PM on October 9, 2008

I've found that there's a lot of current German fiction about living under Soviet occupation (in the DDR or in various Eastern European countries) that rather fills the bill (I just read "Die Bücherdiebin" myself.) Both "Wunderzeit" and "Zaira" and I guess also "Der Blinde Masseur" by Catalin Doria Florescu fit the bill. Ingo Schulze's books - I've read "Simple Storys" - also fit the bill, though they focus on Germany, not Romania. I realize, though, that not all of these may have been translated into a language that you can read, if you can't read German - but if they have, they're all worth a try!
posted by ubersturm at 9:21 PM on October 9, 2008

German Boy by Wolfgang Samuel
posted by gudrun at 10:22 PM on October 9, 2008

Ah, I forgot When The Tree Sings By Stratis Haviaras. Hard to get hold of but worth it.
posted by gudrun at 10:46 PM on October 9, 2008

A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell is about Italian soldiers and citizens and Jewish refugees during World War II. I liked it for many of the same reasons I liked The Book Thief.
posted by mbrubeck at 12:12 AM on October 10, 2008

Don't miss The Kite Runner.
posted by flabdablet at 3:29 AM on October 10, 2008

Haven't read TBT but from your question, I recalled two possibly similar books I loved:

The Tin Drum—NOT a YA book, but about a YA.

The Summer of My German Soldier—An AMAZING YA book.
posted by dpcoffin at 6:59 AM on October 10, 2008

Best answer: I read The Book Thief back when it first came out. Right after that, I read The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer, just by coincidence, and it struck me as a perfect companion read because in some ways it was very similar, and in others it was the polar opposite of The Book Thief. For one it's only about 100 pages, which is what Zusak originally intended when he started writing. Anyway it's post-war Netherlands.

Also I just read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and loooooved it. It's another unusual perspective on the war--takes place just post-war and deals with (one of) the English Channel islands, which had been occupied. Like The Book Thief and The Book of Everything, there are themes of how books helped people through and how people helped each other through. The main difference is that The Book Thief made me laugh a little and cry a lot--this one made me laugh a lot and cry only a very little.
posted by lampoil at 7:07 AM on October 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also by Zusak and also very good, I Am the Messenger
posted by woodway at 2:57 PM on October 14, 2008

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