Sunday, September 7, 2008

Military Fiction: a Call for Help

In our book club we are finishing up Brave New World. It has taken us a lot longer than it should have as there were some delays. For our next book we are doing Twilight, which has me jumping for joy. I have wanted to do Twilight for a while now, but did not think I would get it, considering that the book club was mostly guys. I gave it to the chair of the book club and she fell in love with it and decided to push for it. It helped that two girls recently joined us, giving us more balance in terms of gender. While I am looking forward to several weeks of Twilight I am concerned about how it will play out with certain members of the group. One of the problems with choosing books is that we not only have a wide range of reading interests but also of reading ability. For example there are two people in the group, one of whom has since left for college, besides for me who have very strong backgrounds in science fiction and fantasy. We had a habit of going off on side tangents which no one else in the group understands. To add to this, all three of us can quote long sections of Monty Python at each other, much to the annoyance of everyone else. The ongoing process has been the chair leaning on me to lean on them to keep them in line and to keep the conversation to things that other people can understand and follow. As for reading ability. I am working on a PHD in history. There is another person in the group who is PHD student in English. The chair just got her PHD. But then we have people in the group for whom reading books is a struggle. One such person has little interest in reading anything except for novels about modern warfare. He is particularly fond of Tom Clancy. This is life in a group full of people with Asperger Syndrome.

It is about our Tom Clancy fan that I am writing. He is dead set on us reading a Tom Clancy novel or at least something along those lines. I and others in the group have no interest in reading Tom Clancy. Besides for the fact that Clancy’s books tend to be full of right wing cold war paranoia, they are also too long to work well for us. Every time we have voted on a book this person has dutifully posed a Clancy or something along those same lines and every time he has been voted down, much to his great frustration. I would like to help him out here so I am turning to you my readers. Can anyone recommend a novel about modern warfare (World War II to the present) that is not Tom Clancy or a Tom Clancy clone? It should have plenty of action, but still have useful discussion material and be less than five hundred pages.

I welcome any and all suggestions.

1 comment:

Pierce R. Butler said...

If still looking for WWII novels: anything by Alan Furst (except satires Your Day in the Barrel & The Paris Drop) - I particularly enjoyed Red Gold.

Furst emphasizes underground resistance stories - if your group prefers a more straightforward war tale, consider Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead.