ELR Book Nerd Club: An Update & Those Who Save Us


Looking for a great book to read? I’ve got you covered. Have no fear, the ELR Book Nerd Club is definitely still happening—I just slowed down a bit because I got many emails that readers needed more time! So, instead of having just a summer reading list, fall into reading this season with some great books. Check the list to see what’s still on tap for discussion—we have six left.


And, in case you missed it, here’s my master list of all time favorites. I actually printed this out (with all your comments!) and take it with me to the library—it’s a great resource!

Getting back to the book on tap for discussion today, I first read Those Who Save Us a few years ago and loved it. I’m a huge fan of World War Two literature, most specifically related to the Holocaust (I’m not morbid, but I did write my senior thesis on adolescent holocaust literature and how it effects the generation). This book in particular is really interesting because it portrays a different point of view than we normally see with this genre—the point of view of a German woman hiding out in a bakery that is secretly supplying bread to Nazi camp victims. I don’t want to give too much away if you haven’t read the book yet, but it’s definitely a page turner and worth the read.
For those of you who have read the book, what were your thoughts? How would you rank this with other World War Two historical fiction that you’ve previously read (for example, Sarah’s Key)? Also, are you a fan of the way the author shifts the story back and forth from present to past or did that confuse you? I personally am a big fan of that style and loved it because it was like reading two stories at once, with secrets on both ends.
Read previous ELR Book Nerd Discussions here:

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  • kate
    September 20, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I really should get into reading ficton. This is a great start, thanks!

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    September 20, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Yay for your book club! I was worried for a bit that it would fade out. So happy you’re keeping it going, Jenna. Even if I don’t get to read the book you’re on I always enjoy reading everyones comments and your insight. One of my favorite places (should I say in the world? it just might be) is a bookstore.

  • Samma
    September 20, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    I adore Pat Conroy too! Although, not South of Broad. A Soft Place to land is excellent, as is Susan Rebecca White’s other novel, Bound South. Have you read it?
    Also, you seem like you would really enjoy The House At Riverton by Kate Morton.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    September 20, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I am hoping that we are still going to discuss American Wife!

  • melissa
    September 20, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    I love love world war II historical fiction. I for sure liked Those Who Save Us much better than Sarah’s Key, but honestly prefer some classic WWII fiction a la “Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance” by Herman Wouk.

    Those Who Save Us has some great moments and I too liked the transition back and forth (mainly for the dueling story lines that meet up), but do prefer the book to remain in the same tone or rather generation 🙂 I also like really long books and series because they aren’t over as quickly…

    • Samma
      September 21, 2010 at 9:56 am

      I love Herman Wouk!

  • Dana
    September 20, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Hi, I love World War Two books and period dramas also. Do you have any other recommendations in this genre beside Those Who Save Us and Sarah’s Key? Thanks!!

    • Meredith (Pursuing Balance)
      September 20, 2010 at 6:30 pm

      The Kommandant’s Girl and The Diplomat’s Wife are both really good 🙂

  • Caity
    September 20, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I have this book at home in my stack of 30 to read. I will be moving it to the top of the stack to start in a few days when I finish the current book. Can’t wait to read everyone’s responses once I’ve finished it!

  • Jen @ Jen is Green
    September 20, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I read that book a couple months ago, loved it! I also ready Sarah’s Key, which was just as good.

  • eatmovelove
    September 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I haven’t read that book. I do have Sarah’s Key here to read.

    It’s weird – I used to love “older” historical, war-type books when I was younger, but now I’m more into contemporary stuff or biographies I guess…and that includes Chick Lit 😉

    I’d love to start a Book Club where I am…but this town is so small and lame noone would come…or it would be Seniors with their knitting needles and tea…not that there’s anything wrong with that 🙂

  • Alyssa
    September 20, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    @ Samme: No!! South of Broad was amazing!! Alright, not “old school” Pat Conroy amazing (Lords of Discipline is my all time favorite book), but it was definitely a good one.

    • Samma
      September 21, 2010 at 9:58 am

      Maybe I was too excited about it- I just felt it was forced. Like he tried to involve his characters in every seminal event of the last 50 years. I am really looking forward to his memoir on books which comes out in November!

  • Keri
    September 20, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Okay, I just bought 3 of the books on the master list (off Beloved, American Wife, and Those Who Save Us. Hopefully I will finish at least one in time for discussion!! Thank you! I always need new books to read!

  • Erin
    September 20, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    I’m glad to see some books I haven’t read on the list — fall is my favorite season to curl up with a good book and chill out. I loved Sarah’s Key so this sounds like a winner in my book! (so to speak haha)

  • Rachel @ Balance and Blueberries
    September 20, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    I adored Sarah’s Key, but haven’t read Those Who Save Us, yet. I also adore Through Painted Deserts. LOVE LOVE LOVE me some Donald Miller.

  • Tracy
    September 20, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Ironically, I JUST finished Those Who Saved Us this morning! I loved it and would definitely place it above Sarah’s Key. I’m also a fan of WWII fiction and that type of writing style. A great read!

  • Alina
    September 20, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    I am not great with WWII fiction – it usually makes me cry. I cry easily when reading books. But I am really excited to read the Glass Castle – it’s been on my list for a while, so I will definitely be joining the discussion for that.

  • Jen
    September 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    I just skipped all your comments in case there are Those Who Save Us spoilers, lol. I bought the book based on your suggestion and am saving it for our cruise next week. Have you read The Help by Kathryn Stockett? I’m almost finished it and wow, it is absolutely the best book I’ve read since Sarah’s Key a few years ago. Really amazing – you need to check it out if you haven’t already!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    September 20, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Omg thank you sooo much for that master list!

    Just last week I asked my readers what their fave books are b/c i will confess, blogging, blog reading, and blog related duties, my “hobby” has taken over my book reading. In between motherhood, wifehood, and 25 hr a week employment. I am so happy that some people still read real books! I want to do more of that!

    Thank you for your list!


  • Katie
    September 20, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Have you read “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusak? It is the BEST adolescent lit book on the Holocaust, and an amazing book in general. It doesn’t read like adolescent lit at all, I actually think it is a really adult book, but that is his usual genre. Everyone should read it!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing
    September 20, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Oooo that book sounds really interesting! I love anything involving the Holocaust too!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    September 20, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    I love reading anything related to WWII and the Holocaust. I’m going to the library in a couple of days and I am putting that one on my list. I just read Yellow Star, which is a Rebecca Caudill young adolescent novel about a little girl who is hiding in a ghetto during WWII. It’s written in poetry and absolutely incredible. I’m 23, but my 10 yr old students would love it as well. You have to read it.

  • cathy b. @
    September 20, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    This book TOTALLY messed with me. I think I walked around in a bit of a haze for a day or two after. My husband had to read it too, because he couldn’t believe how it affected me. It was a hard book to read, not in the fact of it not being gripping enough(after all, i read it in the space of a day) but in the fact of how stark and real the characters and situations were. Very, Very, Good.
    Cathy B.

  • cathy b. @
    September 20, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    P.S. And thank you for addressing the matter of “real” reading. Books! With real pages, and real covers and gripping plots! It is so easy to get caught up in the age of instant news and social updates. As much as I love my computer and blogging, there is nothing like the comfort of some soft jammies, a cup of hot tea, and a gripping book. 🙂

  • Low
    September 20, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I loved the book and was so glad that you recommended both Those Who Save Us and Sarah’s Key because reading both so close together really put me in the right mindset to get a message out of both books. I think I actually liked this book as much if not better than Sara’s Key. I really loved how both stories followed through until the end and I’ve never read anything from quite this perspective before. I loved how the author gave so much insight into the lives and minds of the Germans without ever once taking lightly the gravity of what happened. I walked away from the text feeling saddened, inspired and like I had really learned something.

  • Maddie
    September 20, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I just started reading your blog, and I am so glad you have this angle in your healthy living blog 🙂 Healthy Living is so much more than just workouts and food–its your mental health, and reading is such a great way to exercise your mind! (Children’s Library commercial, I think so…)

    But really, thanks for this great post!

  • Cristin
    September 20, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Oh you must have read The Book Thief! Please add it to your list if you haven’t already. It’s amazing. I will be adding Those Who Save Us to mine. I probably won’t read it in time for the book club but am so excited to have it to read!

  • Allie
    September 20, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    I ALWAYS get sucked in by WWII books – and Those Who Save Us was no different. This time period just fascinates me; and there are so many angles on the subject. I love how this one comes from the German female’s point of view and depicts issues and trials that I hadn’t even thought of before. And I do love hearing the story from both past and present, but I’m always more intrigued by the “past” chapters! This book struck me as more realistic than Sara’s Key, and was from such a new point of view that I enjoyed it more. But both books are wonderful 🙂

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    September 21, 2010 at 4:23 am

    I’ll have to check this book out! I read Sarah’s Key over the summer, and liked it. The World War II era is definitely intriguing. 😀

  • Beth @ bride in the little white dress
    September 21, 2010 at 4:30 am

    I absolutely love Holocaust memoirs and stories. Maybe its the history nerd coming out of me, but I find this time period fascinating. I read Those Who Save Us last month and I loved it. For some reason I didn’t like it at first but once I started getting into it I couldn’t put it down. I’m going to start reading Sarah’s Key this week per your suggestion. 🙂

  • Heather
    September 21, 2010 at 4:48 am

    i really love WW2 literature also…i think it’s a time that no one needs to ever forget, and the writing from that period was so heartfelt and raw. i just bought “american wife” so i’m trying to read that first, but i have all of your books on my list!

    another one might like (if you haven’t read it yet) is Like Water For Chocolate!

  • tanya
    September 21, 2010 at 4:54 am

    The Book Thief, a must read if you are interested in WWII fiction

  • Hilary
    September 21, 2010 at 6:01 am

    I also really enjoy books about the holocaust. One of my grandmothers good friends, who has unfortunately passed, was from Germany and went through the holocaust. Her father who was Jewish and brother were taken from the family by the Nazis but her and her mother were spared because her mother was German. Her stories about the bombings were always so amazing and sad to hear about. Thanks for the book suggestion.

  • Stephanie
    September 21, 2010 at 6:42 am

    I love this genre too! I just read (for class) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and it was so.good. A definite suggestion if you’re looking for another great read about this time period.

  • AnnePearl
    September 21, 2010 at 9:53 am

    I am soooo soooo glad that your still keeping the ELR book club! You have really good taste in books. I really enjoyed Sarah’s Key and I am trying to work my way though Those Who Save Us. For some reason I just can’t get into the book. I am determined to finish it though. Thank you for keeping the book club going!

  • tina
    September 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    hey jenna-
    i have been reading your blog for awhile now… commented a few times, but i love that you added a reading list!!! i recapped a few books i read while on my honeymoon 2 weeks ago on my new blog… while i don’t know if “stash” is up your alley- you HAVE to read “no impact man” and “born to run!”

    check out my post here! 🙂

  • Seglare (in Copenhagen)
    September 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Although I rarely comment myself, I love reading other comments on the book discussions. I have read many of the books you have mentioned so far, but am still looking forward to reading “Sarah’s Key”, which I have been recommended so many times. 🙂

    Have you read “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? Looking at your favorites list, I’m thinking it is a book you might like. I also highly recommend a short, but great novel called “Music of a Life” or “A Life’s Music” (it’s been translated with both titles) by a Russian/French author Andrei Makine. It can be read in just an hour or two, but it is one of the best books I have read.

  • Chase (TheChaseProject)
    September 22, 2010 at 4:39 am

    One girl’s opinion: Don’t waste your time on Three Cups of Tea. I love to read (and actually also write a book blog in addition to my health/wellness blog — and I hated Three Cups of Tea. It took me months to finish.

  • Brenna
    September 22, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Are we discussing now? I loved this book, and I cannot believe the psychological connection between the main character and the Nazi officer!

    I loved how the book went back and forth between past and present. I felt so bad for the daughter, her whole life has been so confusing for her because she doesn’t understand her past.

  • Jennifer (keepitsimplefoods)
    September 24, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Fantastic reading list. I’m gonna have to check out a few of those myself. If you haven’t read Three Cup of Tea yet, I encourage you to do it immediately! I reads like fiction but actually makes you smarter. So good.

  • Mandy
    November 24, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Hi Jenna,
    Thanks for posting your book list. I was in a reading rut until I checked out a few of your recommendations. I loved The Help. I see you have Three Cups of Tea on your stack. I loved that book as well. I hope you continue your book club.