I am a huge, huge book nerd. Always have been. As an English teacher, I really enjoy sharing that passion with other people– students, friends, random strangers… Just kidding. Well, not really. I have given book recommendations to random strangers at bookstores before. Previously, I’ve given recommendations for the books to read for your military relationship… but why stop there? There’s still a month of summer left– plenty of time to get a few more books checked off your to-read list. (And let’s be real, if you don’t get them done during the summer, you can always read into the fall… or winter… or spring!) These 7 books are perfect for military spouses. I’ve included nonfiction, fiction, short stories, novels… even a cookbook. And not one lousy, unhelpful self-help book. These are all amazing– promise!
You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon
This book of short stories is written by a military spouse who lived at Fort Hood and experienced her husband’s deployment to Iraq. The short stories follow families and individuals at Fort Hood who are waiting for their husbands to come home. The stories weave an overall narrative (think: the plot of Crash) but also can stand on their own. Infidelity, PTSD, the cost of war on the homefront, illness, love, loss… it’s all here in this haunting and devastating book.
Stories Around the Table: Laughter, Wisdom, and Strength in Military Life by multiple authors
From finances to love, PCSing to deployment, these stories, offered up by some of the most influential personages in the military spouse community, give helpful, real insight into military life and the struggles, sacrifices, and successes of the military family. Always beautiful, sometimes funny, sometimes tear-inducing, these stories will make you feel part of and have appreciation for a much larger, wider community of military spouses.
Spouse Calls: Messages from a Military Life by Terri Barnes
As the columnist of Spouse Calls for Stars and Stripes, Terri Barnes has written extensively about military life. This book is a compilation of her columns and are brutally, welcomingly, and refreshingly honest and intimate. Most of the pieces are only a few pages long, so it’s perfect for reading while waiting at the doctor’s office or picking up a child from school.
Home Front by Kristin Hannah
This is a war story, but it’s not the war story that we’re used to. Home Front tells the familiar story of deployment with a modern twist. Jolene, the mother of a fragile family that seems to be falling apart at the seams, is deployed overseas while her husband stays home and deals with single parenting and keeping the home fires burning. And then their lives change. Forever.
Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War edited by Roy Scranton and Matt Gallagher
Another book of short stories, the writers featured attack different angles of our decades-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by highlighting both stories on the home front and those overseas. Be careful reading if you are easily upset by war scenes.
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
A story about OIF written by someone who served twice in Iraq, this book about friendship in the face of war and sacrifice became a National Book Award Finalist. Be careful reading if you are easily upset by war scenes.
At Freedom’s Table: More than 200 Years of Receipts & Remembrances From Military Wives by Carolyn Quick Tillery
What we eat and what we prepare for others tells so many stories and connects us with our past. While you might not read this book cover-to-cover, At Freedom’s Table gives a really lovely overview of military spouse life– from 1776 until the present day. Full of recipes from military spouses through the ages– and the stories that go with them– there are a ton of reasons that this book is just really amazing… and it starts with a recipe called “Yankee Doodle Pot Roast.”
At the time of publishing this post, all of these books could be found on a nifty site called ThriftBooks.com which has over 7 million second-hand, hard-to-find, and out-of-print titles. I received free shipping (since any US order of $10 or more qualifies for free shipping) when I bought these beauts. And yes, they do ship to APO/FPOs! They also feature a Reading Rewards program ($5 coupon for every $50 spent on books) and a Tell-a-Friend program which gives anyone you refer (and yourself) a 15% off coupon, so there are a ton of ways to save on your next page-turner.
What books would you add to this list?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.