Remembrance Day reads about the sacrifices of war


vpl-logo Vancouver Public Library and V.I.A. have teamed up to help you discover new reads, hidden book gems and surprising literary finds. Check back every couple of weeks for the latest reading recommendations from the experts at Vancouver’s library.

On Nov. 11, we pay homage to those who fought, died and suffered in warfare. In honour of Remembrance Day, here’s a selection of Canadian war-themed books from VPL’s reading experts to reflect on the sacrifices and effects of war.

VPL photo 17401 webShown above: Military personnel on the Cambie Street grounds in Vancouver, 1919. VPL 17401. View more historical photos from VPL’s Special Collections here.

Broken Ground by Jack Hodgins

In this vividly poignant historical fiction, Jack Hodgins tells the story of a soldier who returns from war and the hardships of postwar life. With the ominous memories of the First World War still present, inhabitants of a desolate veterans settlement on Vancouver Island struggle to maintain daily life while trying to suppress the lasting effects of war.

Obasan by Joy Kogawa

Inspired by her personal experience, Vancouver-born Joy Kogawa tells a powerful and intimate story of her own internment and persecution as a Japanese-Canadian during the Second World War. Obasan symbolizes the haunting memory of wartime mistreatment in the history of Canada and Vancouver.

Lucky by Kathryn Para

Lucky is a story about the harrowing experience of Anika Lund, a Canadian freelance war photographer determined to capture the horrors of war in the Middle East. Local author Kathryn Para illustrates the moral and ethical aspects of armed conflict and the severity of post-traumatic stress disorder that is experienced beyond the immediate war zone.

The Ones Who Have to Pay by Robert Ratcliffe Taylor

Local history enthusiasts can explore a uniquely West Coast perspective of the First World War in this examination of 20th century poetry written by Greater Victoria soldiers. Robert Taylor supplements the poetry with an examination of the Great War at a historical and regional scale.

Forgotten Victory by Mark Zuehlke

B.C. historian Mark Zuehlke offers an emotional and factual account of the Canadian armed forces and their sacrifices in the Second World War. Zuehlke blends research and storytelling to present a contemplative look at the Canadian war experience, and offers a voice to the dedicated men and women who served.

For more great reads, visit and find us on Facebook and Twitter @VPL.