I finally broke down and spent an hour digging to find my collection of books on the Vietnam War to set aside for the 2010 War Through the Generations challenge. Serena and I took an honors seminar on Vietnam War literature in college, so I have quite a few books on the topic. There were a couple that we didn't get a chance to read in class that I plan to read for the challenge, and the others I hope to re-read. I also have a few review copies dealing with Vietnam, and I'm looking forward to reading them.
Here's my list so far; of course, I might change my mind about some books, and I definitely will be adding more books to my collection.
Fire in the Lake by Frances FitzGerald -- This is a non-fiction book that goes into a lot of detail about the politics behind the war, etc. I only read about half of it in college, as it wasn't the most exciting read. But a decade has come and gone since then, so I think it's worth another try.
Paco's Story by Larry Heinemann -- We're planning this for a group read somewhere in the middle of the year. We read this one in class, and let me tell you, it's graphic, intense, and very, very good. A realistic portrayal of a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home by Tim O'Brien -- A powerful memoir about O'Brien's experiences during the Vietnam War.
In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O'Brien -- Seriously, I don't think you can go wrong with O'Brien. This one is about a Vietnam veteran turned politician whose wife goes missing, and it turns out that he might have been involved in a massacre like My Lai. (Warning: if you don't want to see graphic images, don't click that link!)
A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler -- A collection of short stories that we never had a chance to read in class.
Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien -- I'm going to buy this one to add to my library.
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien -- Another one on my to-buy list.
The Circle of Hanh by Bruce Weigl -- A memoir, which I received as a Christmas gift from Serena. She bought a copy for herself, too, so maybe we'll do a buddy read. (What do you think, Serena?)
The Village by F.J. West Jr. -- This was a book my sister had to read in college, and she gave it to me. I have no idea what it's about because there's no book description, and I sort of want to go into it blindly. I'm someone who religiously reads book jackets, so I want to try something new.
I have a few review copies: LBJ's Hired Gun: A Marine Corps Helicopter Gunner and the War in Vietnam by John Gebhart, Days of Valor: An Inside Account of the Bloodiest Six Months of the Vietnam War by Robert Tonsetic, and The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli
And finally, I plan to re-read these poetry books:
Song of Napalm by Bruce Weigl -- Weigl came to our class, read from the book, then signed our copies.
Playing Basketball With the Viet Cong by Kevin Bowen -- Bowen also came to our class and from his collection of poems.
Full Moon Boat by Fred Marchant -- Marchant was our professor for the Vietnam War course and is known as one of the first Marine conscientious objectors.
Dien Cai Dau by Yusef Komunyakaa
The Girl is joining us for the challenge, too, and so far, we're planning to read Shooting the Moon by Francis O'Roark Dowell together.
Do any of you have a particular book in mind that I should add to my list?