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Unforgiving Years | Victor Serge
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4⭐️ My first Victor Serge and I loved it! This is also my first spy thriller. My fav part is when he told the story about Germany‘s side after losing the WWII, which I‘ve never found in the books I‘ve read so far. I guess I need to read #PersephoneClub book (On the Other Side) to understand more.

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I am grateful that this book exists, and that its choice for #PersephoneClub led me to read it, if somewhat belatedly. It's not easy or comforting reading, especially at this particular moment, but I feel like it will stay with me for a long while.

Tamra I keep thinking about it. 2w
jlhammar Agree completely. So glad that Persephone republished this and that we were able to read it. 2w
Aimeesue A tough read, indeed. But an important one, that sticks with you. 2w
LeahBergen Yes, this one was tough. 💔 1w
64 likes5 comments
Peace, Perfect Peace | Josephine Kamm
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Here are my picks for the vote on our Sept 2024 #FurrowedMiddlebrowClub read. Both are WWII tales described as poignant and humorous/hilarious - I am trying to make up for my dark war choice for the last #PersephoneClub read!
Spam is an autobiography. I posted the back cover summary to help and will tag in comments.

elkeOriginal Tag for: (edited) 2w
CarolynM Yet again I want to read both. Coin-toss and it‘s 2w
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catebutler Coin toss for me too! 2w
Tamra Did you choose “On the Other Side?” If so, I thank you. I wouldn‘t have discovered it otherwise. I‘m still thinking about it and I referenced it in class last week. I really believe it humanizes war and that is so important. ❤️ 2w
Ruthiella I‘m going with this one because I love the title! 2w
Tamra Oh jeeze, this is impossible to choose. Either sound good! I‘m going with Spam Tomorrow only because my state has the Spam museum and a Hormel plant. 😆 @jlhammar (We‘ve always passed by on the interstate, but someday we‘ll stop to visit just to say we have.) 2w
Pogue @Tamra when my son and I drove through we HAD to stop at the spam museum. 2w
elkeOriginal @Tamra I did choose On the Other Side and am so glad you were touched by it and could reference it in class! 2w
jlhammar I haven‘t been to the Spam museum. Someday! 😆 Hmmm, really want to read both, but I‘ll vote for the one I already own 2w
elkeOriginal @Tamra I am not sure I could not stop at the Spam Museum! 2w
rubyslippersreads I own both, but I‘ll vote for Spam (not to eat, just to read. 😂) 2w
elkeOriginal This looks like another close race! 2w
batsy This was going to be one of my choices for January before I went with two other options , so my vote is for 2w
LeahBergen Oh, man! Another difficult choice where I own both books. I‘ll go for 2w
elkeOriginal Well, @LeahBergen - the problem is you own ALL THE BOOKS😉 2w
LeahBergen @elkeOriginal I aspire to it, anyway 😆 2w
Kimzey I‘ll vote for Spam! 2w
quietjenn This is a tough one, but I‘ll go with Spam Tomorrow. 2w
Tamra @Pogue 😜 Was it everything and all that?? 2w
Tamra @elkeOriginal it hasn‘t been enough of a magnet (yet) to get us off the interstate. 😉 2w
Pogue @Tamra from what I remember it had the history of spam, WW II, production, Monty Python, wild variety, and a gift shop. Oh and when we went it was free. 2w
Tamra @Pogue free samples??? The last time I tried Spam it was so salty I couldn‘t eat more than one or two bites - and salt is my thing! 2w
Pogue @Tamra I don‘t remember if there were free samples, the museum was free. That is why we stopped. Oh and I forgot about the cookbooks. Spam cookbooks. 2w
jlhammar Oh, and I loved our last #PersephoneClub read so thank you! 2w
elkeOriginal @jlhammar That is good to hear! 2w
elkeOriginal @julieclair I did not tag you on this post - apologies! Will update the list I use to include you right now! 2w
julieclair Thank you, @elkeOriginal ! Great choices, and I've added both to my TBR, but I'm giving the edge to 1w
kwmg40 Please add me to the tag list too, thanks! I'd like to vote for 1w
elkeOriginal @kwmg40 Gotcha! Hopefully @LeahBergen will give us the full updated tag list when the choices are all final & announced too - I fear I haven‘t noted all the newbies myself 🙁 1w
kwmg40 @elkeOriginal Thank you! 1w
elkeOriginal @kwmg40 and welcome! 1w
LeahBergen @elkeOriginal I‘ll go through our recent posts and (try to) tag everyone. 😆 1w
29 likes34 comments
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I will echo @LeahBergen comments abt how hard this was to read as the depiction of life in wartime seems to suggest that the world has learnt little over 80yrs. This series of letters written to her children by Tilli a woman living in hamburg 39-46, + discovered in the 70s is heart-rending, particularly when her + the city's ⬇️
#Persephoneclub @Cathythoughts @rubyslippersreads @quietjenn @CarolynM @elkeOriginal @jlhammar @Gissy @Aimeesue @Tamra

andrew61 Dislike of the regime and its treatment of Jewish people in the country and her family is clear. The afterword about the blanket bombing policy during the war and complete destruction of city's is disturbing. A remarkable piece of writing which I am glad I read entirely as a result of this group. 1mo
jlhammar Beautiful photo! I agree, remarkable and very glad to have read it. 1mo
batsy Love the photo! 1mo
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Tamra I‘m glad it was chosen too. I wouldn‘t have known about it otherwise. 1mo
Cathythoughts That is a beautiful photo. I still must read the book. 1mo
LeahBergen Great review, Andrew! I‘m so glad we read it, too. 1mo
Aimeesue Great review! I Hope to finish this soon, but I keep needing to step away from it. So much is directly relevant to what‘s going on today, so it gets overwhelming. Great writing, though! 1mo
Anna40 Great review! 1mo
40 likes2 stack adds8 comments
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In 1974 Ruth Evans found a manuscript package of letters that her mother had written in Germany in WW2: unsent letters to her adult children in far-flung areas of the world describing daily life in an upper middle class household in Hamburg.

This was a bit of a hard read at times (and especially with the current news) but I think it‘s an important eyewitness account from “the other side” about the ravages of war.


jlhammar It really was hard to read at times. I loved how they took comfort in literature and music whenever possible. I also appreciated how she realized and acknowledged their luck and advantages. 1mo
Tamra So glad Matilda decided to keep up with writing them and to save them. 1mo
LeahBergen @jlhammar Yes! I especially liked when they were reading that “exciting” Dorothy L. Sayers out loud at night. And Tilli always seemed to appreciate her advantages and then we hear from her daughter (in the afterword) how their food was inedible to her when she visited. 💔 It was very eye-opening to me as I don‘t think I‘ve ever read anything from a WW2 German woman‘s perspective before. 1mo
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LeahBergen @Tamra And to just stow them away and not ever tell her children about them. Imagine her daughters reading them in 1974? 😢 1mo
Cathythoughts Great review Leah ❤️💔. I havnt got to it yet … I‘m definitely going to be late with this one. X 1mo
LeahBergen @Cathythoughts Thanks, Cathy! I hope all is well with you and you‘re enjoying lots of grandbaby time. 😘 1mo
CarolynM Lovely review. I‘m hoping to get to this one soon. 1mo
LeahBergen @CarolynM I took a few breaks from it to read other things. It‘s quite grim. 😬 1mo
Aimeesue Spot on. I have to keep stepping away for breaks too. Important read, though. 1mo
LeahBergen @Aimeesue Right? It‘s so heavy. 💔 1mo
andrew61 Great review, Leah. I have just finished it, and like you found it difficult given the current headlines, it is an interesting perspective on the blanket bombing policy of ww2. 1mo
LeahBergen @andrew61 Thanks, Andrew! I found the afterword really interesting as well about the changing attitudes towards these bombings. 1mo
Karons1 I purchased this one in Oxford 2 weeks ago and it‘s next to my bed 🛌 ready to go I‘m late reading it as Iv been stacked out ! Glad it‘s a goodie they don‘t disappoint do they ? But he‘s in current world events it‘s all too sadly familiar 1mo
LeahBergen @Karons1 Yes, that‘s true! I hope you enjoy it when you get to it. 😊 1mo
69 likes1 stack add14 comments
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This collection of unsent letters is a treasure. An absorbing account of daily life in Hamburg during WWII and its immediate aftermath. I love history and have read some about the wartime experiences of average German citizens (I‘ll tag some good ones in comments below), but these letters added something new, helping to bring that time and place into sharper focus.


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Tamra Thanks for the suggestions! 1mo
quietjenn Thank you for sharing other titles! 1mo
LeahBergen I‘m still only about halfway through. Thanks for the other titles to check out! 1mo
jlhammar @sisilia I just saw that you are reading this with us and realized I missed tagging you. 1mo
Aimeesue I‘m looking forward to starting this one tonight! 1mo
CarolynM Great review. I hope to get started soon. 1mo
62 likes10 comments
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Ooof 😣 This is either exactly the right time to read this raw personal account of the war years in Germany or exactly the wrong time.

Tilli‘s letters encapsulate all of the human and inhuman complexities of war. I have no more words - just feelings all over the place. #Persephoneclub

LeahBergen I‘m feeling the same way as I read it. 1mo
Tamra @LeahBergen heavy, very heavy. 1mo
48 likes2 comments
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This selection is taking on an even more depressing aspect given the current state of affairs in Ukraine & Israel. I‘m feeling rather pessimistic about human progress. #Persephoneclub

Ruthiella Yes, me too. ☹️ 2mo
LeahBergen I‘ve been thinking that, too. 😞 2mo
jlhammar Same. Hoping to devote some time to this book tomorrow. 2mo
45 likes3 comments
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My current reads!

For some reason I‘ve never felt drawn to read A Tale for the Time Being but it is a current pick for my IRL book club and I‘m really enjoying it.

Also, this month‘s #PersephoneClub. 👍

Hooked_on_books I really need to read the tagged book. I really enjoyed another of her books, yet this one languishes on my shelves (alongside so many others 😬). 2mo
merelybookish It's a good one! 2mo
jlhammar I loved A Tale for the Time Being! Glad to hear you're enjoying it. I've only read the preface on our Persephone so far. Look forward to reading more. 2mo
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LeahBergen @Hooked_on_books Oh, how I can relate! 😆 2mo
LeahBergen @merelybookish I‘m liking it! 2mo
LeahBergen @jlhammar I‘m about halfway through our Persephone but taking frequent breaks from it. I‘m finding it a bit grim at the moment on top of all the news from Israel and Gaza. 😞 2mo
Cathythoughts This one looks good 👍🏻 I havnt started Persephone yet … 2mo
Amiable Oh, I adored this book! I also didn‘t think I would, but it hooked me right away. 2mo
LeahBergen @Cathythoughts I‘m still working on both of them. 😆 1mo
LeahBergen @Amiable Good to hear! 👏 1mo
Suet624 This one is my favorite of hers. 1mo
LeahBergen @Suet624 I really enjoyed it! 1mo
68 likes12 comments