GROUP READ: All Quiet on the Western Front

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GROUP READ: All Quiet on the Western Front

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1lindapanzo
Muokkaaja: helmikuu 25, 2013, 4:06pm



Welcome to the group read of All Quiet on the Western Front!

We're planning to read this during the month of March so, if you're interested, now is the time to track down your copy. (I know I own a copy but where, oh where, did I put it?)

Feel free to post about anything you'd like, but if you plan to reveal any plot spoilers, please include a warning to that effect.

2ivyd
helmikuu 25, 2013, 4:08pm

I've ordered a copy, which should be here this week, so I'll be ready to go. I have -- or used to have -- a copy, but if it's still around, I don't have a clue where it might be. Wish I could find it, because I know it has notes and comments from when I read this in a college class, back in about 1968. It was the stand out book in that class, much to my surprise since I hadn't expected to like it. I don't remember much except that I was blown away by it, and I'm looking forward to reading it again.

3lindapanzo
helmikuu 25, 2013, 4:13pm

Welcome, Ivy.

I rarely re-read books but, with this one, I think I'll make an exception. I read it in 1979 and I'm curious to see how my 50-something self will respond to it, 30+ years later, vs how my college-aged self did back in '79.

This was also the first "Classics Illustrated" comic book I bought back in the 1960s. I read and re-read that one.

4ivyd
helmikuu 25, 2013, 4:29pm

>2 ivyd: I'm curious to see how my 50-something self will respond to it, 30+ years later, vs how my college-aged self did back in '79.

Me, too, although in my case it's 60-something, and 40+ years later. Pehaps also worth noting that my first reading was right at the time that the Vietnam War was really heating up.

5PawsforThought
helmikuu 25, 2013, 5:07pm

I got my copy from the libary today and it's waiting patiently for me at the top of Mount TBR.

6rabbitprincess
helmikuu 25, 2013, 5:58pm

I was a tad hasty and read this last week! But I'll be very much interested in following the discussion :)

7sjmccreary
helmikuu 25, 2013, 9:22pm

I have it on hold at the library so it should be here soon. I might wait until mid month to get started, though, as I'm doing a couple of other group reads in March too.. This will be my first time - I've never read it before.

8plt
helmikuu 26, 2013, 9:38am

Really looking forward to this - my experience with the book is the same as yours, Linda!

9fuzzi
helmikuu 26, 2013, 12:29pm

I have a copy, TBR, and the timing of this challenge is perfect!

Adding to my challenge list...

10electrice
helmikuu 26, 2013, 9:02pm

I have my own copy ready. I'm doing À l'Ouest Rien de Nouveau this month as well as Le Comte de Monte-Cristo. I'll start first with Remarque and I can't wait. It will be part of the AlphaCAT too as the the french title as an O in it.

I remember reading it in the summer of junior high school so it will be more or less 15 years for me. I don't remember much except that I really loved it at the time.

11fmgee
maaliskuu 1, 2013, 1:15pm

I am a little over 100 pages in and I have decided to not read it just before bed... the best reading time for me. Clearly an intense read I will partner it with something light and fluffy.

12fuzzi
maaliskuu 1, 2013, 2:03pm

fmgee, thanks for the heads up!

13electrice
maaliskuu 1, 2013, 2:27pm

Well as fuzzi already said thanks for the head up fmgee. I wanted to start it but it's already 9 pm there, I will wait tomorrow then.

14lindapanzo
Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 3, 2013, 1:34pm

Once I finish a baseball autobiography I'm reading, I'm planning to get to this one. Note that I'll probably also start a light and fluffy cozy mystery, just in case this gets too intense.

Soldiers have trouble returning to civilian life after experiencing extreme combat. Remarque comments in the preface that All Quiet on the Western Front "will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war."

I never realized it but there is a sequel to this book called The Road Back. Might have to look for them.

15electrice
maaliskuu 3, 2013, 2:46pm

Hi Linda, I didn't know that there is a sequel, I will look it up.

I'm at page 108 so far. It's really easy to read, profoundly human and you don't have any pain to understand how this war destroyed a whole generation.

Going to read something light before bed.

16electrice
maaliskuu 5, 2013, 6:57am

I've finished the book. This one will be reread.

17fuzzi
maaliskuu 5, 2013, 7:43am

I've not started yet, but it's on my next or next/next for the month...shhh... ;)

18electrice
maaliskuu 5, 2013, 8:12am

Didn't see a thing ... Nope ...

19lindapanzo
maaliskuu 5, 2013, 8:42am

I'm about a quarter of the way into it. The writing is spare, but powerful.

20ivyd
maaliskuu 5, 2013, 1:05pm

I haven't started yet. I think I'm over-committed on group reads this month and decided to begin The Count of Monte Cristo first, thinking I'd probably want a break from it after a few chapters. Instead, it has turned out to be easy reading and just sweeping me along. The good thing is that I can probably use it in place of a cozy for relief from the intensity of All Quiet (though I'm eager to get to Fonduing Fathers after all the good reviews), so I'm planning to start it tonight.

21lindapanzo
maaliskuu 5, 2013, 1:37pm

Ivy, I thought I'd do the same but All Quiet isn't all that long so I may not need the break I'd expected.

I also picked up the Kindle version of All Quiet in Classics Illustrated format (I suspect the original costs hundreds perhaps) and am looking at that as well. Amazingly, 40+ years later and I still remember some of the drawings from that, such as the one from the scene where the corporal orders the soldiers to ground in the newly-plowed field.

22ALWINN
maaliskuu 5, 2013, 2:53pm

All Quiet does not make a good bed time story. Found that out the hard way, and not because I just couldnt put it down either.

23fmgee
maaliskuu 5, 2013, 9:03pm

I just finished the book. Wow it is very powerful and amazing that so much comes through with the simple writing.

24electrice
maaliskuu 6, 2013, 3:50am

>23 fmgee: Exactly, it's really impressive.

25fuzzi
maaliskuu 6, 2013, 7:42am

Okay, you all have 'got' me...it will be my next book.

26ALWINN
maaliskuu 6, 2013, 11:16am

Finished the book last night and it made me cry. My other half was poking fun at me saying he has seen people cry over a movie but a book. Silly man that is why I normally like the book way better then the movie because there is no way I can put what I have pictured in my mind when Im reading on too a screen. SO YES I CRY OVER A BOOK.

27fuzzi
maaliskuu 6, 2013, 12:28pm

Nothing wrong with crying over a book. I cry over Disney cartoons like Bambi...

...it just means the person did a good job conveying the story, so that it touched you emotionally.

28electrice
maaliskuu 6, 2013, 1:42pm

>26 ALWINN: I finished it at night too, I was so sad that I didn't want to sleep, I talk to my sister til 1 am before being able to sleep ... SO YES I LOST A LITTLE BIT OF SLEEP OVER A BOOK but what a story, so profoundly human ...

29fuzzi
maaliskuu 7, 2013, 12:05pm

Okay, I'm starting it today. :)

30Yells
maaliskuu 7, 2013, 7:37pm

Now that people are finishing, I will copy my favourite quote from the book. This is what I said last month when I read it:

All Quiet on the Western Front by Remarque. What an amazingly powerful novel. One of the few 5* reads I have.

I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slaying one another. I see that the keenest brains of the world invent weapons and words to make it yet more refined and enduring. And all men of my age, here and over there, throughout the world see these things; all my generation is experiencing these things with me. What would our fathers do if we suddenly stood up and came before them and proffered our account? What do they expect of us if a time ever comes when war is over? Through the years our business has been killing; -- it was our first calling in life. Our knowledge of life is limited to death. What will happen afterwards? And what shall come out of us?

31lindapanzo
maaliskuu 8, 2013, 12:35pm

I finished my re-read of this late last night. What an incredibly powerful, yet plainly written, story!! A 5-star book for me.

When I read this in college, I think it was, my focus was more on the story and what happened to these school friends who went to war together.

This time, I was thinking deeper about it, what it means to lose a whole generation, how horrible it would be to be unable to connect to the civilian world anymore.

Lots of thought-provoking commentary but the portions dealing with his home visit during his leave were tough for me.

32mstrust
maaliskuu 8, 2013, 1:30pm

I'm just on Chapter Two, as I started last night.

33PawsforThought
maaliskuu 8, 2013, 1:52pm

I'm just skimming through the thread as I don't want to risk spoiling myself. I've only read the first chapter so far but it's great so far.

34ALWINN
maaliskuu 8, 2013, 5:08pm

Just how sad would it be to die so young and not know what real life is. Yes everyone has saddness but most people know some sort of happiness also. Your first love, Marriage and your first baby born to name just a few. But the only thing this generation of men knew about was death and killing.

35ivyd
maaliskuu 9, 2013, 3:46pm

I'm about 1/2 way through, and I'm finding the subject matter difficult. What an emotionally wrenching and powerful description of war! This book -- written from the point of view of "the enemy" -- underscores the personal horror and devastation, and how little the politics mean to a soldier in the midst of it.

36sjmccreary
maaliskuu 21, 2013, 12:45am

I started the book first thing this morning and have just finished- staying up late to do so. An easy book to read- short and clearly written, but at the same time incredibly difficult. The senselessness of the war is staggering.

In Kansas City, where I live, there is an excellent WWI museum. The only one in the country, perhaps - one of the best, certainly. I need to plan another visit sometime soon. They have a life-sized exhibit of a trench, minus the rats, that I'd like to take another look at after so many descriptions of them in the book.

Linda, thanks for suggesting this group read. It was excellent.

37ALWINN
maaliskuu 21, 2013, 11:39am

sjm I also live in KC. Are you talking about The Liberty Memorial (across from the Union Station) or is that for WWII?

38sjmccreary
maaliskuu 21, 2013, 11:46am

Yes, the Liberty Memorial. Have you been there yet? Highly recommended.

39Yells
maaliskuu 21, 2013, 11:54am

I was lucky enough to visit Vimy Ridge for school and I must say, actually being down in a trench is an eerie and surreal experience. And that was on a quiet, sunny day without a war going on around you.

40mstrust
maaliskuu 21, 2013, 2:18pm

Within the first couple of pages I wondered if I would want to continue, as my nineteen year-old nephew is graduating from Army training next week and I didn't expect the narrator and his friends to be the same age. But I did because of both the story and the writing.
>36 sjmccreary: Perfectly stated: clearly written, but at the same time incredibly difficult. There's so much suffering packed into that slim book.

41lindapanzo
maaliskuu 21, 2013, 3:48pm

I'm glad people are enjoying it. I've read a lot about the Civil War and WW2 but not much about WW1 so I am hoping to do more reading in this area.

For Santa Thing, I asked for WW1 books and so, soon, I'd like to get to Robert Graves's memoirs of life in the trenches during WW1. Good Bye to All That. I'd also like to read a few histories about the war, as well.

42PawsforThought
maaliskuu 21, 2013, 4:00pm

41. Oh, please let us know what you think abot Good-Bye to All That! I've read a few WW! novels in the past few weeks and it's wetted my appetite for it so Graves is on my TBR list.

43ALWINN
maaliskuu 22, 2013, 10:47am

Yes SJM in fact I was there last weekend showing it to a friend that is not from Kansas City. We went to the union station then across the way over to Crown center and then over to the memorial. And I even gave him the alternative name and why. Just glad they have the eternal flame still going.

44plt
Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 23, 2013, 6:36pm

Hello all. Finished the book this morning. I've done a lot of thinking about what made this reading so much more powerful than when I read it some 40 years ago. My review is here (#88). P.S. There are no spoilers in the review.

Thank you Linda for setting up this group read.

45PersephonesLibrary
maaliskuu 24, 2013, 10:43am

Hello everbody! I read the book yesterday. Although I knew the story, I read the book for the first time. So thanks a lot for the group read, because it was the perfect motivation to finally pick it up.
The novel is very touching and overwhelming - and one of the few five-stars-unconditionally-recommended books in my library.

If you're interested, you can find my review including some of my favourite quotes here (no spoilers).

46ivyd
maaliskuu 24, 2013, 3:03pm

I finished the book a week or 2 ago. It's still haunting me. Comments from my 2013 thread:

The cover of my book says "The Greatest War Novel of All Time." I agree.

The first time I read this book was in 1968 or 1969. I was then the same age as Paul and the others. I was terrifically moved, and saw it as a testament supporting the peace movement and protests against the Vietnam War. This time, I see the soldiers as children, and it made me even more sad. There has to be a better way than war!

47lindapanzo
Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 29, 2013, 2:11pm

Thanks to all who participated and/or commented on All Quiet on the Western Front this month. I hope you enjoyed it.

I've been especially interested in seeing the responses people had after they re-read it as adults, like I did.

I'm not sure I'll read Remarque's follow-up but I have planned the Robert Graves World War 1 memoir, Goodbye to All That for April. I've done a lot less reading on the first World War than I have on World War 2.

If you're interested in reading more about World War 1, I'll be organizing a group read of Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August in August.

48plt
maaliskuu 29, 2013, 2:12pm

Will keep a look out for the Tuchman read. Thanks again Linda!

49lindapanzo
maaliskuu 29, 2013, 2:19pm

#48 We'll be glad to have you.

No reason to choose August except to make it easier for me to remember. (My birthday is in March so March is also easy for me to remember).

50plt
maaliskuu 29, 2013, 2:40pm

August will be help though by then, what's left of my brain has melted in the heat.
Belated? happy!

51PawsforThought
maaliskuu 29, 2013, 2:43pm

47. I'll be very interested in your thoughts on Good-Bye to All That. I'm planning on reading it some time later this year (whenever there is time left over).

52sjmccreary
maaliskuu 29, 2013, 3:37pm

Linda, I'm glad you mentioned the Guns of August group read. I thought I was all set to go, but realized that I had not placed a reservation for my book. Done now, and I'm looking forward to it.

53lindapanzo
maaliskuu 29, 2013, 3:38pm

Glad to hear that you'll be joining us, Sandy.

I intended to read a history of the war then the memoir-type books after that so I'm sort of doing this backwards. I think WW1 might be more of a multi-year reading project for me.

54sjmccreary
maaliskuu 29, 2013, 3:56pm

Linda, I recently finished a book called The American Civil War by John Keegan. Keegan is a Brit who has spent time teaching in the US. One of his recurring themes is that each war influences those that come after. He called out several specific ways that events in the civil war showed up in WWI. It's primarily focused on the civil war, but maybe you'd be interested in taking a look at it.

55lindapanzo
maaliskuu 29, 2013, 4:02pm

Thanks for the suggestion. I read that the year I had my Civil War category. 2011?

I'm always so eager to read even more about WW2 that I tend to give short shrift to WW1.

56sjmccreary
maaliskuu 29, 2013, 4:14pm

#55 It may have been from you that I got the recommendation!

57kelleylinea
huhtikuu 28, 2013, 7:42pm

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