Top Ten Tuesdays

Posted 30 August, 2016 by Lianne in Meme / 13 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week’s topic: Back to School Freebie

Hmm, this has to be the first September in ages that I’m not going back to school or anything but anyway, for this week’s freebie I decided to go with Books to Complement a History Lesson because duh, studied history and everything 😉 For this week’s list though I’m going to format it a bit differently…

If you’re studying Russian history, read…

Fathers & Sons by Ivan Turgenev (review) — I was studying 19th century Imperial Russian history when this book was on the required reading list. Good choice on my professor’s part as it really captures the state of the intelligentsia and the ideas kicking around during the early 19th century. Highly recommended!

If you’re studying Soviet history, read…

Animal Farm by George Orwell — The classic alliteration of the Russian Revolution of 1917. I was personally glad to have read it when I did and not any sooner as knowing the events of the revolution and the characters and political groups involved really adds to the richness of Orwell’s short tale. I also recommend 1984 if you’re studying Stalinist history & histories of authoritarian regimes!

The Archivist’s Story by Travis Holland (review) — For those studying Stalinist history. This is a different take as it focuses more on the Great Terror and the mass arrests that was happening in the late 1930s, the censorship involved, the rewriting of history and covering up events. Again, eerie stuff, but the book is beautifully written.

Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay (review) — Okay, so basically if you’re studying Soviet history, I’m a trove of information if you’re looking for fiction set during the period 😛 I also recommend reading this book if you’re studying the Stalinist period leading up to World War Two; this book focuses a lot on the intelligentsia (the writers and the artists/stage performers) living under the regime at the time and the policies that they had to work under (Socialist Realism, the role of the Central Committee in the production of art and thought). I was personally pleasantly surprised as the intelligentsia was the focus of my graduate thesis.

The Dream Life of Sukhanov by Olga Grushin (review) — For the flipside of Soviet history, this is definitely the book to check out if you’re studying the decline of the Soviet Union leading to its collapse. The author does such a wonderful job in portraying the effects of Soviet policy on society, the resulting stagnation, the ideas of art and thought floating around underneath the veneer in the latter 20th century, and the status of the apparatchik. I cannot recommend this book enough.

If you’re studying World War One, read…

A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japrisot (review) — It’s a mystery, it’s a love story…It also sheds a very frank look at the politics during the First World War in France and the way the troops were treated at the front, as well as the government’s attitude towards particular practices during the war immediately afterwards. Again, beautifully written, highly recommended!

Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres (review) — Not directly set during World War One per se but alongside the events of the war. This book is set in Turkey during the dying days of the Ottoman Empire, and it does such an amazing job in portraying the complications of nationalism and national idependence on communities that have lived together for centuries. It’s both an eye-opener and absolutely heartbreaking and very good to read if you’re studying the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

If you’re studying the Spanish Civil War, read…

Nada by Carmen Laforet (review) — I remember pushing this book like crazy a few years ago, it’s one of my favourites hands down not because it was stunningly written but it also gives such a glimpse of life in Barcelona shortly after the Spanish Civil War and the way that society and social interaction was greatly affected by the events of the war. Very atmospheric too, you can feel the stifling tension all the way through.

If you’re studying World War Two, read…

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky (review) — A very informative book in giving readers a first-hand glimpse of what it was like to live under Nazi Occupation in France from the everyday perspective. Stunningly written, heartbreaking to read.

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (review) — There are so many books out there set during World War Two set in France, Germany, the UK, the big players, that one can forget at times that smaller countries were also affected by the war. Whilst this book is set for a good chunk in France, it does also reveal a lot of how Hungary was affected during the war, which was an eye-opener.


And those are the books I’d recommend to complement history lessons! What books would you recommend for the above categories? I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

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13 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesdays”

  1. You do have a lot of interesting Russian/Soviet titles there. A couple of recent reads I would also recommend are Symphony for the city of the Dead (nonfiction, about Shostakovich and the siege of Leningrad) and The Summer Guest (partly set in the Ukraine, about the relationship of Anton Chekhov and a blind young doctor). So many fascinating takes on different periods of history out there!

  2. Wonderful list. I’d like to read both of your WWI books, and have a copy of The Invisible Bridge on my shelf that I really need to read! I think I’ve seen you recommend Russian Winter previously, and I’d like to read that one too, one of these days.

  3. Love this list! I haven’t read either of the WW2 novels you mentioned, but they are both on my to-read list! I just finished Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave, which mostly deals with London during the Blitz but also takes a detour to Malta under siege.

  4. So I have not read ANY of these ever buuut it’s kind of a dream to get serious about studying Russia someday so this looks like an epic list to start with! *takes notes* 😀

  5. What a great topic! Suite Francaise is the only one I’ve read so I’m envisioning my TBR pile getting a little taller after reading your post 🙂

  6. LOVE how you set this week’s (or rather last weeks) topic up, Lianne. “Long Engagement” sounds familiar and I meant to watch the “Suite Francaise” film adaptation a while back and never did. Great post – and apologies it took me until now to stop by. Thanks for the Finding Wonderland visit, friend. 🙂

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