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Austen to Zafón

Reading widely since 1972.

Currently reading

A London Family, 1870-1900: A Trilogy
Molly Hughes
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Galloway
Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher
Lewis Thomas
All the Names
José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa
A History of the World in 100 Objects
Neil MacGregor
Down the Garden Path
Beverley Nichols
Virtue Betray'd, Or, Anna Bullen
John Banks
Year of Wonders
Geraldine Brooks
Swallows and Amazons
Arthur Ransome
Illusion in java
Gene Fowler
On The Wings of Heroes - Richard Peck Richard Peck is an amazing writer. Despite how short his novels are, he fleshes out interesting characters and hints at whole other stories attached to them. His historical detail is accurate, interesting, and often funny. This book is no exception. It takes place just before and during WWII in a small town. The main character is 11-13 and the story is told from his perspective. He gathers newspapers and metal for the war effort, learns to identify planes, and notices how the town becomes a place of only the young and the old as all the draft-age men leave and the women go to work in factories. Woven in are also details of life at that age: teachers, bullies, family issues. But what really shines through is the depiction of the main character's father, based on Peck's own father, a WWI veteran with a zest for life but also hidden sorrows and worry about his older son, in the Air Force.

Peck never panders to young adults and while he doesn't go into detail about depressing or tragic events, he doesn't leave them out either. I thoroughly enjoyed this tender and funny story and Peck even managed to surprise me with some details about WWII that were new to me even though I've heard and read a lot about the era.