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Six Minutes in May: How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister
Nicholas Shakespeare
The Industrialisation of Soviet Russia, Volume 1: The Socialist Offensive: The Collectivisation of Soviet Agriculture, 1929-1930
Robert William Davies
Progress: 56/512 pages
The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914
Richard J. Evans
Progress: 219/928 pages
Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser's Early Life, 1859-1888
John C. G. Röhl
Progress: 229/1016 pages

Could this be the summer of Švejk?

The Good Soldier Švejk - Cecil Parrott, Josef Lada, Jaroslav Hašek

I'm like just about every other reader in that I have some real monuments on my TBR shelf. By this I mean not the normal books on my TBR shelf that I will get to in the normal course of time, nor those that really are only on there until I realize that hey will never be alluring or important enough for me to pick them out of the pack. These are the books that I intend to read someday but are never a priority without a purpose and always seem just a little too intimidating to tackle casually. Most of mine are classical literature, ranging from The Odyssey to Grossman's Life and Fate. My desire to read them is deep, but they always seem like too much of an investment of time and mental effort without a compelling reason to do so.


One of the novels that I am most interested in reading is Jaroslav Hašek's The Good Soldier Švejk. If you're not familiar with it it's the First World War equivalent of Heller's Catch-22: an absurdist masterpiece about the insanity of war. When I discovered it for myself (far later than I should have) I picked up a copy and it's been sitting on my shelf ever since -- always tempting, but never demanding.


In the course of a Facebook rant yesterday about A Tale of Two Cities, however, a friend of mine mentioned that he had an ongoing project every summer to read the "Great Works of Fiction." On an impulse I proposed reading The Good Soldier Švejk, which would be just the thing to get me to read it, and he ordered a copy. Could this be the summer of Švejk? Watch this space to find out!