Literature and War Readalong January 28 2013: The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

The Yellow Birds
















I decided to include The Yellow Birds after having seen a few reviews which made it sound interesting. I wanted to branch out and include literature on other wars than just WWI, WWII and Vietnam. Iraq seemed an excellent choice and I’m very curious to see what we will think of this novel.

Kevin Powers is a veteran of the Iraq war. The Yellow Birds is his first novel.

Here are the first sentences

The war tried to kill us in the spring. As grass greened the plains of Niniveh and the weather warmed, we patrolled the low-slung hills beyond the cities and towns. We moved over them and through the tall grass on faith, kneading paths into the windswept growth like pioneers.


The discussion starts on Monday, 28 January 2013.

Further information on the Literature and War Readalong 2013, including all the book blurbs, can be found here.

38 thoughts on “Literature and War Readalong January 28 2013: The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

    • That´s great. It will be very interesting to hear your opinion. I´ve never thought of reading Enemy at the Gates after having seen the movie. I hope it ´s good.

  1. Hi Caroline, I happen to be reading this at the moment, so maybe I should take part in the discussion at the end of the month – to take part do I have to read all 12 of the books for this year?

  2. I’m looking forward to this! I’ll be finishing Dispatches this week finally (now that I am back to work and back to a routine–and have gotten most of the other books I was hurrying to finish–finished!). The list you came up with this year looks great–there’s not one book that I am not looking forward to reading–good choices!

    • Thanks, Danielle. Me too actually, I think this year´s list has even more titles I´m looking forward too than last year. The only thing I´m thinking about is to advance the December book. It gets so hectic during the Christmas season. There is still some time to think about it. 🙂
      Jackie said The Yellow Birds reminded her of Tim O´Brien.

  3. I have so much reading to catch up on this year. Btw, just want to comment on your blog name, I was actually just saying that to a cat-lover friend of mine, her new calendar featured a beautiful photo of a sleeping cat 😀

  4. Caroline,
    I have ordered Yellow Birds from Barnes and Noble and it should arrive in a few days. I have several Iraq war veterans in my classes each semester. Most are having severe difficulties reconstructing their lives–lots of confusion.

    Great idea for a selection, I think!

    Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)

    • I´ve read a few very different views and am rally looking forward to see how we will think about it.
      It´s a great start. It´s also nice to have very recent books among the choices.

  5. This looks like a wonderful book, Caroline! Will look forward to hearing your thoughts on it as well as the thoughts of other participants. The cover of the book looks really beautiful. Is this about the Iraq war in 1991 or the more recent Iraq invasion?

    • It will be interesting as for us it´s a contemporary war, one we are more familiar with. Quite a few Vietnam veterans wrote novls too. It´s certainly not uncommon.

  6. I really want to take part in some of the discussions this year, however, I had decided to sit this one out. But I’m not sure I can. The more I hear about it, the better it sounds. And the cover is gorgeous! Just not sure if I can get it in time to read it before the discussion…!

  7. No breach in the book buying ban. I’ll watch from the sidelines and read the review and comments.
    It seems good. I’m always fascinated by how quickly Americans use such events in films, TV series or books. It took decades to hear about the war in Algeria.

    • Yes but that was for other reasons as in theory it wasn´t considered to be a war. I suppose we will have this discussion once we read Assia Djebar´s novel.
      How long is your book buying meant to last? I only wanted to reduce and not buy more than 1 book per week. Plus I will still buy kindle books. And I have vouchers as well… No proper buying ban, I guess.

  8. I am so so glad I found this read along and challenged myself to do it. I don’t ever read books about war but I’m trying to read outside of my box this year. I’m almost 200 pages into Yellow Birds and I only started it yesterday (and I work so it has been not very much actual time able to be spent reading). It’s a fairly quick read but deep and though provoking. To say I “like” it wouldn’t be correct, it’s graphic, and depicts terrible things. It also seems real and it is certainly engaging. I’d recommend it for sure.

    • I’m very glad to hear you “like” the book. I know what you mean by that. many of the books we read during the Literature and War Readalong are great but not exactly books to “like”. It’s great you decided to join the readalong. I’m looking forward to the discussion. (For some reason your comment was spammed btw.)

  9. Pingback: Poll Results and other tidbits | 50 Year Project

  10. Pingback: The Yellow Birds – Kevin Powers | A Fiction Habit

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