I don’t usually participate in blog-based reading challenges because (as I’ve said ad nauseum) I don’t like it when other people tell me what to read. But a few months ago I found a book challenge that happens to mesh well with my reading habits. It’s called War Through the Generations and the challenge periods are a year long. In 2009 the theme was World War II and this year, 2010, it’s the Vietnam War. The idea is to read several books that have war as a primary or secondary theme, write about them on your blog, and send the links to the blog owners, Anna and Serena, who will post the links on the War Through the Generations site. The result is a really comprehensive list of books and their related blog posts. I think there's also something about prize drawings and such, but I didn't really pay attention to that.
I’ve read zillions of WWII books, including several last year, but discovered the challenge a bit too late to really participate. I did sign up for the Vietnam challenge, though, and have already read two books: The Man From Saigon, and The World To Come, neither of which I’ve posted about yet (but I will soon!).
I like browsing the lists at War Through the Generations. I also like it that the lists include both fiction and nonfiction, and books written throughout history, from contemporary accounts like London War Notes: 1939-1945 by Mollie Panter-Downes, to City of Thieves, by David Benioff, which came out in 2008. I’ve corresponded with Anna and have sent her links to several of my blog posts about WWII books, but she hasn’t posted them yet. I hope she will soon.
Please visit War Through the Generations (the link is on my sidebar), if only to be impressed by Anna and Serena’s hard work. I love it when people are this dedicated to a cause; in this case, spreading the word about great books in a way that is accessible and compelling.