I've just finished listening to (and reading portions of) Sarah Waters' novel, Night Watch. I did something with this book I've never done before: as soon as I finished it, I started reading/listening again. For the second time. I absolutely adore Sarah Waters, and would read her grocery lists. The story involves a group of Londoners and their home front experiences during the war and after. The four main characters are profoundly marked by the destruction and chaos of the Blitz. I'm interested in how brokenness manifests itself, and in the attempts we humans make to repair, or repress, the breach. Night Watch addresses this head on.
It's probably also why I'm currently on a Vera Brittain kick. I came across a book of her poetry when I was a kid. Actually, my mother came across the book in an antique store and bought it for me. I was sort of a simpleton as a youngster; I can't imagine that I would have understood her poems, or their context. She was one of the first women admitted to Oxford (along with Dorothy L. Sayers), but World War 1 interrupted her studies. She left college to become a nurse and tend to wounded soldiers in England, and eventually, in Malta. By the time of the Armistice, she had lost her fiance, her brother, and 2 close male friends. She went back to Oxford, finished her studies, and lectured and wrote a great deal on pacifism. Her views were NOT appreciated during the Second World War.
Random church geek facts: I just bought a book consisting of the letters that Brittain wrote in 1943 to her 15 year-old son, who was in America. The letters explain her pacifism. The book is a withdrawn copy from the "Presbyterian Theological Seminary of Chicago" (which is now McCormick, I think). The foreword was written by Harry Emerson Fosdick. Among his many achievements, he actually married (performed the ceremony, that is) a member of my church in the early 1930's (she's still alive at 95).