As a fan of historical fiction, I have a soft spot towards World War 2 related books, both fiction and non fiction. Quite recently, I had a wonderful discussion about a World War 2 fiction book on Twitter and I ended up with a truck load of great recommendations on the topic.
20+ Amazing Books on World War 2
Here are some of the books on WW2 recommended to me from readers, far and near, on Twitter.
1. The Winds of War and its sequel War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk
Like no other masterpiece of historical fiction, Herman Wouk’s sweeping epic of World War II is the great novel of America’s Greatest Generation.
Wouk’s spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events, as well as all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of World War II, as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very center of the war’s maelstrom.
The Winds of War and its sequel War and Remembrance stand as the crowning achievement of one of America’s most celebrated storytellers.
2. The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku
Eddie Jaku always considered himself a German first, a Jew second. He was proud of his country. But all of that changed in November 1938, when he was beaten, arrested and taken to a concentration camp.
Over the next seven years, Eddie faced unimaginable horrors every day, first in Buchenwald, then in Auschwitz, then on a Nazi death march. He lost family, friends, his country.
Because he survived, Eddie made the vow to smile every day. He pays tribute to those who were lost by telling his story, sharing his wisdom and living his best possible life. He now believes he is the ‘happiest man on earth’.
Published as Eddie turns 100, this is a powerful, heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful memoir of how happiness can be found even in the darkest of times.
3. I Have Lived a Thousand Years by Livia Bitton-Jackson
What is death all about? What is life all about?
So wonders thirteen-year-old- Elli Friedmann, just one of the many innocent Holocaust victims, as she fights for her life in a concentration camp. It wasn’t long ago that Elli led a normal life; a life rich and full that included family, friends, school, and thoughts about boys. A life in which Elli could lie and daydream for hours that she was a beautiful and elegant celebrated poet.
But these adolescent daydreams quickly darken in March 1944, when the Nazis invade Hungary. First Elli can no longer attend school, have possessions, or talk to her neighbors. Then she and her family are forced to leave their house behind to move into a crowded ghetto, where privacy becomes a luxury of the past and food becomes a scarcity. Her strong will and faith allow Elli to manage and adjust somehow, but what Elli doesn’t know is that this is only the beginning and the worst is yet to come….
A remarkable memoir. I Have Lived a Thousand Years is a story of cruelty and suffering, but at the same time a story of hope, faith, perseverance and love.
4. The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards
A world at war. A beautiful young star. A mission no one expected.
Celebrated singer Genevieve Dumont is both a star and a smokescreen. An unwilling darling of the Nazis, the chanteuse’s position of privilege allows her to go undetected as an ally to the resistance.
When her estranged mother, Lillian de Rocheford, is captured by Nazis, Genevieve knows it won’t be long before the Gestapo succeeds in torturing information out of Lillian that will derail the upcoming allied invasion. The resistance movement is tasked with silencing her by any means necessary—including assassination.
But Genevieve refuses to let her mother become yet one more victim of the war. Reuniting with her long-lost sister, she must find a way to navigate the perilous cross-currents of Occupied France undetected—and in time to save Lillian’s life.
5. Night by Elie Wiesel
Born in the town of Sighet, Transylvania, Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 to Auschwitz concentration camp, and then to Buchenwald. Night is the terrifying record of Elie Wiesel’s memories of the death of his family, the death of his own innocence, and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting the absolute evil of man.
This new translation by his wife and most frequent translator, Marion Wiesel, corrects important details and presents the most accurate rendering in English of Elie Wiesel’s testimony to what happened in the camps and of his unforgettable message that this horror must simply never be allowed to happen again.
6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
7. The Girl in the Red Coat by Roma Ligocka, Iris Von Finckenstein
As a child in German-occupied Poland, Roma Ligocka was known for the bright strawberry-red coat she wore against a tide of gathering darkness. Fifty years later, Roma, an artist living in Germany, attended a screening of Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, and instantly knew that “the girl in the red coat”—the only splash of color in the film—was her. Thus began a harrowing journey into the past, as Roma Ligocka sought to reclaim her life and put together the pieces of a shattered childhood.
The result is this remarkable memoir, a fifty-year chronicle of survival and its aftermath. With brutal honesty, Ligocka recollects a childhood at the heart of evil: the flashing black boots, the sudden executions, her mother weeping, her father vanished…then her own harrowing escape and the strange twists of fate that allowed her to live on into the haunted years after the war.
Powerful, lyrical, and unique among Holocaust memoirs, The Girl in the Red Coat eloquently explores the power of evil to twist our lives long after we have survived it. It is a story for anyone who has ever known the darkness of an unbearable past—and searched for the courage to move forward into the light.
8. Code Name: Lise by Larry Loftis
The true story of the woman who became WWII’s most highly decorated spy
The year is 1942, and World War II is in full swing. Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father’s footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and one plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission. It is here that she meets her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill.
As they successfully complete mission after mission, Peter and Odette fall in love. All the while, they are being hunted by the cunning German secret police sergeant, Hugo Bleicher, who finally succeeds in capturing them. They are sent to Paris’s Fresnes prison, and from there to concentration camps in Germany where they are starved, beaten, and tortured. But in the face of despair, they never give up hope, their love for each other, or the whereabouts of their colleagues.
In Code Name: Lise, Larry Loftis paints a portrait of true courage, patriotism, and love—of two incredibly heroic people who endured unimaginable horrors and degradations. He seamlessly weaves together the touching romance between Odette and Peter and the thrilling cat and mouse game between them and Sergeant Bleicher.
9. Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone
In 1916, at the height of World War I, brilliant Shakespeare expert Elizebeth Smith went to work for an eccentric tycoon on his estate outside Chicago. The tycoon had close ties to the U.S. government, and he soon asked Elizebeth to apply her language skills to an exciting new venture: code-breaking. There she met the man who would become her husband, groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman.
In The Woman Who Smashed Codes, Jason Fagone chronicles the life of Elizebeth Smith who played an integral role in our nation’s history for forty years. After World War I, Smith used her talents to catch gangsters and smugglers during Prohibition, then accepted a covert mission to discover and expose Nazi spy rings that were spreading like wildfire across South America, advancing ever closer to the United States.
As World War II raged, Elizebeth fought a highly classified battle of wits against Hitler’s Reich, cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine used by German spies. Meanwhile, inside an Army vault in Washington, William worked furiously to break Purple, the Japanese version of Enigma–and eventually succeeded, at a terrible cost to his personal life.
Fagone unveils America’s code-breaking history through the prism of Smith’s life, bringing into focus the unforgettable events and colorful personalities that would help shape modern intelligence
10. A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell
In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: “She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.”
This spy was Virginia Hall, a young American woman–rejected from the foreign service because of her gender and her prosthetic leg–who talked her way into the spy organization deemed Churchill’s “ministry of ungentlemanly warfare,” and, before the United States had even entered the war, became the first woman to deploy to occupied France.
Virginia Hall was one of the greatest spies in American history, yet her story remains untold. Just as she did in Clementine, Sonia Purnell uncovers the captivating story of a powerful, influential, yet shockingly overlooked heroine of the Second World War. At a time when sending female secret agents into enemy territory was still strictly forbidden, Virginia Hall came to be known as the “Madonna of the Resistance,” coordinating a network of spies to blow up bridges, report on German troop movements, arrange equipment drops for Resistance agents, and recruit and train guerilla fighters.
Even as her face covered WANTED posters throughout Europe, Virginia refused order after order to evacuate. She finally escaped with her life in a grueling hike over the Pyrenees into Spain, her cover blown, and her associates all imprisoned or executed. But, adamant that she had “more lives to save,” she dove back in as soon as she could, organizing forces to sabotage enemy lines and back up Allied forces landing on Normandy beaches.
Told with Purnell’s signature insight and novelistic flare, A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman’s fierce persistence helped win the war.
With all the incessant changes in the Instagram algorithm about saves and shares, it might seem like hashtags have lost their importance. But no, they have not.
Quick tips on using Instagram Hashtags
Hashtags still matter a lot on Instagram, despite all the algorithm changes.
You can use up to 30 hashtags on a post, so make the best of it. I personally use all the available thirty hashtags.
That brings me to next question: whether to add your Instagram hashtags in your caption or comment? Why not do them both? You get the best of both worlds.
Do not repeat the same set of hashtags over and over. Mix and match relevant hashtags for better reach.
Include hashtags that have large, medium and niche/small reach in your posts. I have added a bunch of them at the end of the post, and again mix and match to your heart’s content.
Try to add in some geography specific hashtags, depending on wherever you are and the photo was captured at.
Also do not forget to count in book and author specific hashtags like #StephenKing or #TheClockworkPrince.
120+ hashtags for bookstagram
Here are more than 120+ hashtags that you can use for bookstagram (or any social media platform, for that matter) for your bookish content.
I typically save the hashtags on notepad or spreadsheet with their number of posts mentioned. That avoids the last minute frantic search for hashtags, and I can just copy paste relevant hashtags for Bookstagram when I am posting one.
Bookstagram Hashtags with over 1 Million posts (20)
Set in the 1920s when the American stock market shot up the roofs and the wealthy became wealthier, the Great Gatsby is a tale about hope, love and despair.
Nick Carraway, a bond salesman, befriends his neighbour Jay Gatsby, who is obscenely rich and is always throwing the wildest parties. But Gatsby is secretly pining away in darkness for his one true love Daisy, who is married to the ‘old money’ Tom Buchanan.
What better way to spend the Arguably one of the best novels of Fitzgerald’s the Great Gatsby is filled with quotable quotes and you won’t regret reading it even on your down day.
That couldn’t have come as a surprise. One of the most famous romances by Shakespeare now stands the standard to compare any modern love to.
The young lovers Romeo and Juliet find themselves on the opposite sides of the familial feud between the Montagues and Capulets. In order to save their love they try to cheat death that seemed inevitable and fail infamously.
Even if not for the romance part, you should read it for the funny conversation between Romeo and his friend Mercutio. The play is definitely funny and will provide you a comic relief, despite its flowery, archaic language.
The colorful world of the unhappily married Anna and her lover Vronsky is seldon overlooked while talking of classic romances. Who would not fall in love with the magnificent Anna who struggled to fit in a society she didn’t feel a part of, while she pined for Vronsky?
I know the size of the book is terrorizing yet once you start reading you will have no choice but to finish it.
Tolstoy’s masterpiece should be on your must read list if you want to choose a classic romance novel for this V-day.
2) Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
Are you a firm believer of ‘true love conquers all’? Then you should read Love in the Time of Cholera for this Valentines Day. Love finds Fermina and Florentino when they are quite young.
When Fermina marries an older doctor Urbino, Florentino pines for her (though has about 622 affairs) for about 50 years until Urbino dies. He once again proposes his love for Fermina after all these years, seeking a second chance.
Yes this is a love story, but just not a love story. It talks about pain, jealousy, obsession and sex (a lot of perverse, sick sex). Above all, the language and prose of the Nobel laureate Márquez is to die for.
Gone With the Wind could easily be my favorite romance of all times. We can’t help but love Scarlett O’Hara (who is one of the most badass female character written ever) though she can be bitch-y, annoying and too head strong at times.
To make matters worse (or better) for her (and us) we have the ultimate bad boy, the arrogant, handsome devil who has a liking for her.
This American Civil War saga will feed your Valentines Day craving as long as you don’t look for your own Rhett Butler. If you have not read Gone With the Wind yet, you should definitely pick it up during this Valentines Day.
No time to read these books? I am sure all these classic novels have a film or two made on them. You can catch them up as well.
With the New Year just around the corner, it is time to pull out your planners for tracking your TBRs and reading challenges for 2021. Here are some bullet journals spread ideas for book lovers to organize your reading schedule.
Bullet Journal ideas for books and reading
I love lists and planners. But as someone with minimal artistic talent, I totally suck at bullet journaling (or BuJo). Of course, that doesn’t stop me from drooling over these amazing bullet journal set ups over Instagram. How about you?
I usually have a hard time choosing my next read, often. Having a reading list for the month or week, or even the year would be a great idea for your reading bullet journal set up. These are some of the ones that I loved for your inspiration.
Tracking your reads
How do you track what your reading habits? I do so on notion and excel but BuJo spreads are much more fun and interesting, especially if you are artistically inclined. Here are some bullet journal set ups to help you track what you read during the month.
Know your reading habits
I love being able to look at how my reading style and habits have been over the year or month. Bullet journals can help to do just that too.
Set in the roaring twenties, The Great Gatsby is a timeless classic that offers great social commentary on the rich urban lifestyle. And even today, the book is still relevant. Here are some of the most powerful quotes from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald that I love.
Powerful quotes from The Great Gatsby
Quite recently I watched the movie The Great Gatsby (2013), a classic that talks so much about the American dream, and class and race divide of the 1920s. In a short while, I returned to read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, possibly for the quotes.
Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.”
― John Green, An Abundance of Katherines
They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made..
– The Great Gatsby, Chapter 9
And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.
– The Great Gatsby, Chapter 3
In my younger . . . years my father gave me some advice . . . “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one . . . just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.
– The Great Gatsby, Chapter 1
You see I usually find myself among strangers because I drift here and there trying to forget the sad things that happened to me.
– The Great Gatsby, Chapter 4
“She’s got an indiscreet voice,” I remarked. “It’s full of—” I hesitated.
“Her voice is full of money,” [Gatsby] said suddenly.
That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it.
– The Great Gatsby, Chapter 7
I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.
Choosing age appropriate, yet entertaining books for middle schoolers can be a daunting task. But fear not, here are some wonderful books that your young reader might find joy reading and getting lost in the literary world.
Ten engrossing books for middle schoolers
Between 11 and 12 years, a middle schooler can read independently for extended time period. And keeping their piquing curiosity and short attention spans in mind, here are some great books for tween readers.
In the valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli spends her days working hard in the fields and her nights listening to her father spin fantastic tales about the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Minli’s mother, tired of their poor life, chides him for filling her head with nonsense.
But Minli believes these enchanting stories and embarks on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how her family can change their fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest.
The To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?
Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only.
Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.
Tommy and his sister Annika have a new neighbor, and her name is Pippi Longstocking. Nine year old Pippi is an unusual and unpredictable character, she lives alone with a monkey, a horse, and no rules whatsoever!
She has crazy red pigtails, no parents to tell her what to do, and a flair for the outrageous that seems to lead to one adventure after another!
Every day is a crazy adventure with Pippi, but what else would you expect from the daughter of a swashbuckling pirate captain?!
Ten-year-old Zoe Elias has perfect piano dreams. She can practically feel the keys under her flying fingers; she can hear the audience’s applause. All she needs is a baby grand so she can start her lessons, and then she’ll be well on her way to Carnegie Hall.
But when Dad ventures to the music store and ends up with a wheezy organ instead of a piano, Zoe’s dreams hit a sour note. Learning the organ versions of old TV theme songs just isn’t the same as mastering Beethoven on the piano. And the organ isn’t the only part of Zoe’s life in Michigan that’s off-kilter, what with Mom constantly at work, Dad afraid to leave the house, and that odd boy, Wheeler Diggs, following her home from school every day.
Yet when Zoe enters the annual Perform-O-Rama organ competition, she finds that life is full of surprises–and that perfection may be even better when it’s just a little off center.
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl – Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg.
She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction.
Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town.
But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.
One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own.
When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule–but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known,
Thirteen-year-old Annabelle struggles in school, no matter how hard she tries. But as soon as she dives into the pool, she’s unstoppable. She’s the fastest girl on the middle school swim team, and when she’s asked to join the high school team over the summer, everything changes.
Suddenly, she’s got new friends, and a high school boy starts treating her like she’s somebody special—and Annabelle thinks she’ll finally stand out in a good way. She’ll do anything to fit in and help the team make it to the Labor Day Invitational, even if it means blowing off her old friends.
But after a prank goes wrong, Annabelle is abandoned by the older boy and can’t swim. Who is she without the one thing she’s good at? Heartwarming and relatable, Up for Air is a story about where we find our self-worth.
Do not let a mop sit overnight in water. Fix things before they get too big for fixing. Custodial wisdom: Mattie Breen writes it all down.
She has just one week to convince Uncle Potluck to take her on as his custodial apprentice at Mitchell P. Anderson Elementary School. One week until school starts and she has to be the new girl again. But if she can be Uncle Potluck’s apprentice, she’ll have important work to do during lunch and recess. Work that will keep her safely away from the other fifth graders.
But when her custodial wisdom goes all wrong, Mattie’s plan comes crashing down. And only then does she begin to see how one small, brave act can lead to a friend who is hound dog true.
WANTED: Maid for the most popular kids in 8th grade.
Cleaning up after the in-crowd gets Rachel all the best dirt.
Rachel can’t believe she has to give up her Saturdays to scrubbing other people’s toilets. So. Gross. But she kinda, sorta stole $287.22 from her college fund that she’s got to pay back ASAP or her mom will ground her for life. Which is even worse than working for her mother’s new cleaning business. Maybe. After all, becoming a maid is definitely not going to help her already loser-ish reputation.
But Rachel picks up more than smelly socks on the job. As maid to some of the most popular kids in school, Rachel suddenly has all the dirt on the 8th grade in-crowd. Her formerly boring diary is now filled with juicy secrets. And when her crush offers to pay her to spy on his girlfriend, Rachel has to decide if she’s willing to get her hands dirty…
In Coraline’s family’s new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.
The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.
Only it’s different.
At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there’s another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.
Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.