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Corner Shelf (all other genres) > History, historical fiction?

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message 1: by Reggia (last edited Feb 03, 2009 07:46AM) (new)

Reggia | 2251 comments Do you read history or historical fiction? Is there any certain period of history that especially interests you?




message 2: by Werner (new)

Werner | 2101 comments My undergraduate major was history, and I've taught a few college-level history courses, so of course I've read a fair amount of nonfiction history. I also like historical fiction, especially if it's set before the 20th century. There's a particular appeal in going back (even if only through a book!) to a time when, in many ways, individual life was freer and less regulated by a quasi-totalitarian mass society, when there were stronger family and community ties, and when individual daily activity was more consequential, and perhaps more fulfilling. (Of course, it was also a time of rampant social injustice --as is the present!-- and of much less material security and comfort, so there are definite trade-offs. :-) ). Comments on this fictional genre, and on nonfiction historiography, could fill a book easily, so this should be an interesting thread!

Recently, I started a Recommended Historical Fiction list on Goodreads' listopia feature. Any of you who'd like to add or vote for titles are invited to do so!


message 3: by Reggia (last edited Feb 03, 2009 08:53PM) (new)

Reggia | 2251 comments I'd like to take a peek the listopia feature but can't find -- can you provide a link?

Werner said: "Of course, it was also a time of rampant social injustice --as is the present!-- and of much less material security and comfort, so there are definite trade-offs." :-)

LOL, yes, indeed! Rampant social injustice lives on amid material security and comfort.

Werner said: "There's a particular appeal in going back (even if only through a book!) to a time when, in many ways, individual life was freer and less regulated by a quasi-totalitarian mass society, when there were stronger family and community ties, and when individual daily activity was more consequential, and perhaps more fulfilling."


More consequential. Is that our problem? We do so much without suffering the consequences. And technology has given us the tools to help us along here. I don't think that's what Thomas Merton had in mind when he said, "Technology was made for man..." :p Oops, I've gone off on one of my pet peeves. ;)

It's funny you should mention a "quasi-totalitarian mass society" because that's what's led to my recent history interest. Anyway, I'll have to ask everyone to be patient with me as I don't have any history education. My current focus was sparked by reading some of my daughter's required books for high school literature: Fahrenheit 451 and Anthem. I was so struck by those and my remembrance of 1984 that I went on to read We the Living. About the same time, I began Les Miserables just for an enjoyable read but I wasn't too far into it when I happened to watch the colorful & decadent Marie Antoinette movie. At that point, I thought I should/would really like to know more about this period of history so began reading the biography the movie was drawn from, and added Napoleon and Nelson to my list. Russka, too, had already been on my to-read list partly as a tribute to my mom (not that she had any Russian background but she wished for me to understand it, and then relay it to her, lol). And so that is how I got entrenched in all this French & Russian history. Interestingly, when I was reading We the Living, I discovered a passage alluding to Les Miserables. It turns out that Victor Hugo was one of Ayn Rand's favorite authors. I suspect it could take me more than a year to get through all of this. Hopefully I won't lose interest before then. ;)



message 4: by Werner (last edited Apr 05, 2016 07:22PM) (new)


message 5: by Reggia (new)

Reggia | 2251 comments Found it, thanks!


message 6: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) We are obviously living in the one of the soi-disant
"interesting times" of the Chinese curse.
( Now there's a pretentious post, an unecessary French phrase and a referral to another culture. And it isn't even midday yet)


message 7: by Reggia (new)

Reggia | 2251 comments Pretentious? I didn't recognize it as such but we all do like books, and discussing those as well as what we learn and the ideas we get from them are what we're here for. :) I'd definitely like to hear more about this "soi-disant". There are so many ways to take "interesting times" -- what did the Chinese mean by that phrase?


message 8: by Reggia (last edited Feb 04, 2009 05:26PM) (new)

Reggia | 2251 comments Y'know, ever since writing my post about current history interests, I've been tempted to edit the one paragraph out and put it elsewhere. It could simply be summed up by condensing to "the French & Russian revolutions". On the other hand, I'm trying to encourage people to talk and using books as our springboard.


message 9: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) That's nice of you Reggia! I don't actually knwow if the often-quoted ancient Chinese curse exists in the form " May you be condemned to live in interesting times" but it's a damn fine curse isn't it? Interesting times always being bloody and full of unrest and upheaval etc.

'Soi-disant' is just French for 'so-called', isn't that disappointing, like finding out that MG just stands for Morris Garages!


message 10: by Reggia (last edited Feb 05, 2009 10:23AM) (new)

Reggia | 2251 comments LOL yes, I do remember now that I have heard it seen it as a curse. ;)

Wait, MG stands for Morris Garages? the sportscar? Haha, too funny.


message 11: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) , Wait, MG stands for Morris Garages? the sportscar? Haha, too funny."

I know, such a let down!




message 12: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda (rhondak) Reggia wrote: "Wait, MG stands for Morris Garages? the sportscar? Haha, too funny."
At least that one made sense. Most of the British acronyms are a bit strange.. like BSA for Birmingham Small Arms or TVR named for Trevor Wilkinson, the company's first owner. Say what you will, at least the BMW acronym makes sense.. but then there aren't any British owned car companies any longer.




message 13: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) Or Bavarian Motor Works , (BMW). Not much romance to that..........


message 14: by Reggia (new)

Reggia | 2251 comments
Rhonda: Most of the British acronyms are a bit strange.. like BSA for Birmingham Small Arms
That is always Boy Scouts of America for me.

Or Bavarian Motor Works , (BMW). Not much romance to that..........
It makes sense though and is somewhat telling about where the car is made.



message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Finally got there only to discover I have already voted...so I voted a little more. I also saw Best Plays and tried to enter Cats. But Cats was not there. Is that from Old Possums Book of Practical Cats? I tried to enter that one since I think maybe Cats (with the song Memories) came from it?


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Reggia wrote: "Do you read history or historical fiction? Is there any certain period of history that especially interests you?

"

I like Rennie Fairs and that time period. Do you go to Rennie Faires too?




message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

My favorite one:

Texas Renaissance Festivals & Medieval FairesA complete list of Texas Renaissance Festivals, Medieval festivals, and fantasy faires and festivals in Texas including dates, and links.
www.thebards.net/txrenfaires.shtml - 30k - Cached - Similar pages


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

I have also been to Dickens on the Strand but it wasn't very good, hope they improved it. We were very disappointed. I now see they are having themed weekends which is great.


message 19: by Nicole (last edited Dec 28, 2010 11:46AM) (new)

Nicole | 1752 comments I read some historical fiction. I'm interested in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages, the Victorian era, and the turn of the 20th century, especially.


message 20: by Werner (new)

Werner | 2101 comments Just now, I checked my Goodreads shelves and found that I list, as read, 76 books in historical fiction and 39 more in history/biography. Several of the titles in the latter group deal with church history, as well as American and world history (all three being areas I've taught in).

Without counting them, it looks like a lot of my titles in the historical fiction genre fall either in American or ("long") 18th-century history, or both. But I've read some medieval historical fiction as well. Callista, if you're interested in that time period, one author I highly recommend is 20th-century Norse novelist Sigrid Undset, who was a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her Master of Hestviken series and Kristen Lavransdatter trilogy are great fictional masterpieces, and as good as taking a time machine to medieval Norway! Some other novels with medieval settings that I'd recommend (if you haven't read them already --and some you probably have!) are: Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott; The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson; Sherwood by Parke Godwin; the King Raven trilogy by Stephen Lawhead; and The Last Plantagenet by Michael Sidney Tyler-Whittle. (Several of the books in this group run strongly to the action-adventure end of the spectrum, though --which may or may not be something you look for.)


message 21: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Metz | 83 comments I love historical fiction. I haven't been good at updating all my books read into Goodreads yet (or establishing enough shelves).

I did want to add my strong second to Werner's suggestions though. Some of the books he listed are among my very favorites. Particularly Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson, and the King Raven trilogy by Stephen Lawhead.


message 22: by Nicole (last edited Dec 29, 2010 10:09AM) (new)

Nicole | 1752 comments Thanks for all the recommendations, Werner and Lee. I do actually like action-adventure, especially lately. I have already read Ivanhoe. I haven't gotten to RL Stevenson yet. Godwin is on my list, too. I tried Lawhead, and I didn't like his writing style at all.


message 23: by Sasha (new)

Sasha (sashatreid) | 6 comments I know this thread is 'Historical Fiction' but it seemed the closest thread in which to post my question to people. So I'm a huge lover of history books, mostly WW1/2 German and Russian history. I am starting to get really interested in East Asian history at the moment and am really interested in learning a bit more about the Mongolian invasion of China, which involved the defeat of the Jin Dynasty, Western Xia the Dali Kingdom and Song. Also Kublai Khan and his establishment of the Yuan dynasty seems like an interesting point in history I would like to learn a bit more about. Does anyone have any book suggestions?


message 24: by Werner (new)

Werner | 2101 comments Sasha, you might try Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present, by Christopher I. Beckwith, and/or Warriors Of The Steppe: Military History Of Central Asia, 500 Bc To 1700 Ad by Erik Hildinger. These are broader in scope than the subjects you're especially interested in, but they do provide some coverage in those areas. (I haven't read either one myself, but we have both here at the Bluefield College library.)


message 25: by Werner (new)

Werner | 2101 comments Charly wrote: "It's good to have a librarian in the group."

Thanks, Charly! :-)


message 26: by Reggia (new)

Reggia | 2251 comments Hello, Sasha! It was intended to be either/or so your question was entirely appropriate, but we're not too exacting anyway. ;-) Glad Werner was able to quickly recommend some reads for your interest! :-)


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