War is hell.....

Despite all of our protests last year, A Reader's Respite caved and signed up for too many reading challenges. We can't think why we do this, unless it's to satisfy our unreasonable desire for lists. We're inexplicably drawn to any type of list, especially a list that is vaguely related to books.

So this being November, it is now the inevitable time of year where we start realizing how many reading challenges we are clearly NOT going to finish this year. We then kick ourselves, promise not to join any further reading challenges and then - and you saw this coming - sign up for a half dozen more come January 1st.

It is indeed a vicious cycle.

One of the worthy challenges that we are just not going to complete this year is the fabulous War Through the Generations Challenge, hosted by Anna and Serena. The challenge required participants to read a set number of books with a WWII theme in 2009. A Reader's Respite fell short of our goal of eight books, ultimately ending up with only five books read with this theme.

We're not sure how that happened, unless it was because we got slightly sidetracked this past year by some fabulous Arthurian fiction and became smitten with novels set during WWI. Either way, you might consider our failure a tad shameful, but A Reader's Respite is holding our head high because our five WWII-themed books this year were, on the whole, excellent reads.

Our last one this year was a novel written by Betsy Carter, called The Puzzle King. The novel falls slightly short of being a true family saga, but it does encompass the life of one man from birth to death.

Simon Phelps was sent to America in 1892 at the tender age of nine. Alone and homesick, Simon pulls himself up by his bootstraps, acquires an education, marries Flora and becomes a millionaire businessman in his lifetime. But he never stops searching for the family he left behind.

As Europe is swept up in the tide of Hitler and his Nazis, Simon and Flora are desperate to save their families from the impending war and atrocities.

They say that truth is stranger than fiction and although this is a novel, it is indeed rooted in fact. The lengths to which Simon and Flora went to rescue Jews from Hitler's Germany make for a compelling read and a important history lesson. Add this book to your list of WWII reading material....you won't be disappointed.

Oh....to Anna and Serena....we're hoping you'll run the challenge again in 2010. Despite our "challenge bitching" we'll be back for more!

Sound interesting? Leave us a comment saying so and you'll be entered to win a copy of Carter's The Puzzle King. International entrants are always welcome. Be sure you check back on December 10th to see if you won!


  1. Yes, The Puzzle King does sound interesting and I would love to win a copy.

    I wanted to let you know that you are not alone in joining too many challenges. I vowed not to for 2010 and have already added three. I feel that if I can complete half of them and read half of the others I'm better off then I would be if I hadn't joined. I did a challenge update last week.

  2. I made it through this challenge, but will end up not finishing at least one other challenge.

    I saw something somewhere indicating that next year the War Through the Generations blog was going to be on the theme of Vietnam, which I really haven't read anything on as far as I can recall.

  3. I'd never be able to manage a challenge of any sort. My reading plans are always going sideways by new discoveries :p

  4. Marg is right, it will be Vietnam next year. Personally, I can't imagine my life without WWII books in it. I think this challenge was probably the first one I finished (But I failed on Outlander! I tried!). I will definitely sign up for Vietnam, but probably won't go for the 10 book list, but something a little more modest. I have a long list going right now of challenges I want to participate in. I am a glutton for punishment!

  5. I've got The Puzzle King, so there's no need to enter me. Don't feel bad about the challenge - you gave it a shot.

  6. Indeed, The Puzzle King sounds interesting and I would love to be entered in the giveaway. I can relate to your comment at the beginning of this post. I share your unreasonable desire for lists, esp. as relating to books.

  7. The Puzzle King sounds good, and a end date on my birthdate.... hint hint... lol

    Good luck on the challenge.

  8. No need to enter me, I just think it's funny how you posted about not completing a challenge...I just did that yesterday! I think I will be able to finish the WWII challenge, but the Chunkster kicked my but this year.

  9. I'm heading for a heartbreak with all the challenges I've signed up for (plus the ones that are still coming), but I'm committing to the lowest level on any I'm joining - the wimpy level if you will. :) Good luck with future challenges.

  10. I've had The Puzzle King on my wishlist for awhile now. Please throw my name into the hat. Thanks.


  11. I don't think it matters a bit if you don't finish a challenge. The point is, it brings books into your life which you might not otherwise read.

  12. The Puzzle King sounds very interesting and I like the cover. Thanks for a chance to win :)

  13. Of course this is interesting. One man's saga in one book.

    Please count me in.

  14. Please enter me in this giveaway! I love reading novels that involve the Holocaust as well as the WWII era.

    saemmerson at yahoo dot com

    Sarah Emmerson

  15. We're glad you participated, and just so you know, you did officially complete the challenge by reading 5 books. ;) YEA! We just used the personal reading goals to try and make things more interesting for the post-challenge giveaways, but we'll be doing things differently next year.

    Yup, we'll be back. In 2010, the challenge will be Vietnam. We haven't officially announced it yet, but the signup page is live on War Through the Generations.

    Also, we'll get your review for this book up soon (fingers crossed), and I'd be happy to be thrown into the hat. Thanks!

    Diary of an Eccentric
    diaryofaneccentric at hotmail dot com

  16. I'd love to be entered for The Puzzle King!

    I'm hopeless at challenges...I love the idea of them but I never can seem to complete them...it's embarrassing!

  17. Please add my name to this giveaway...love the cover.


  18. Please enter me for the Puzzle King. I'd seen the book on blogs before but never really read any of it's blurbs before so I didn't know it had a WWII connection.

    I've done ok with my challenges this year, but have already signed up for a ton for next year...

  19. Michele: Anna is right you did complete the challenge officially because you read five of 8 books...and five is the minimum to complete the challenge.


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