Mind the Gap

In the the second season of Gilmore Girls, Lorelai takes a road trip and she and Rory visit Harvard University. They are standing outside one of the Harvard libraries (the oldest in the U.S.) whose total collection numbers in the 10 of millions of volumes and Rory freaks out. “I’m and failure,” she says, “I am stupid. I am uninformed and ignorant, and I can’t even think of a second synonym for ‘uninformed.’ I suck!” Rory bemoans the fact that she is 16 years old and has already (only) read 300 books. How long it would take to read 13 million books?! Being the overachiever that she is and wanting to have intelligent conversations with other Harvard students about books, she decides she needs to read a few books from every genre and sub-genre. You hear her calling out, “I sleep too much. I’ve been frittering away my whole life!” as her mom pulls her away from the library and back into reality.

Why, on earth, am I telling you this? It’s because I had one of these moments recently. I was nestled in my reading room, thoroughly enjoying The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart. The novel describes the exodus of young Canadian men to the battlefields of Europe, the aftermath of the war, and the creation of the Vimy Ridge memorial in a most tender and sincere way. It was while reading about tunnel system, that was created underground for the battle of Vimy Ridge, that it occurred to me. There is a gap in my “Read Book List (RBL)”! I have not read many, if indeed any, books about World War I. And, there I was…having a bookworm moment Rory Gilmore would be proud of. I studied Canadian and European History! I have read a lot of books about WWII! But, I can’t think of a book I have read set in WWI! How did that happen? Why haven’t I read more about the war to end all wars?

So, what do you do when you realize there is a gap in your RBL? You find a way to fill it. Therefore, I decided to research book titles that will do just that and I tried to take a Rory Gilmore approach to my list making – taking books from many different genres.

On my TBR list are:

  • A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway (Historical Fiction)
  • Barometer Rising – Hugh McLennan (Historical Fiction)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque (Fiction)
  • The Great War and Modern Memory – Paul Fussell (Non-Fiction)
  • Storm of Steel – Ernst Junger (Biography)
  • World War One: The Unheard Stories of the Soldiers on the Western Front (Autobiography)
  • Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood – Nathan Hale (Graphic Novel)

I loved The Stone Carvers so much that I can’t believe it is my first Urquhart and my one of my first WWI reads. Honestly, I am grateful that my book club leader chose it as our November read because I may never have noticed the gap otherwise. I mind the gap. I feel I owe it to myself to read more, learn more, and keep expanding my mind as much as I can so I can fill the gap.

During my research of WWI books, I realized there is one other book I have read. Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery which features a female heroine and depicts Anne and Gilbert and their sons coping with the onset of war in PEI.