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F2F Book Discussions > F2F81: September 2018 | Historical Fiction

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message 1: by Monique (new)

Monique (attymonique) | 2127 comments Hello, everyone! It's me (again), Monique, and I'll be your moderator for September. (It's the -ber months, yay!) How's your reading coming along for the year, so far? If you have set any reading challenges for yourself this year, you still have a lot of time to catch up. :)

As for this month, we will have a discussion on historical fiction books. If you've done this before, you know the drill: just pick a book (or books) that falls under the genre "historical fiction," read it, and be ready to talk about it during our discussion. For those who are new here, welcome and see instructions above. :D

Every week, I will be posting guide questions on this thread. I would love to read about your thoughts! And then, I'll see you in the F2F discussion at the end of the month, and we'll talk some more about our historical fiction books, yes? :)

Let's start off with this week's questions. :)

Week 1 Questions:
1. What historical fiction book/s will you be reading this month? Why did you pick it/them?
2. What is your notion of historical fiction? How are books classified as historical fiction?


message 2: by Monique (new)

Monique (attymonique) | 2127 comments Week 1 Questions:
1. For this month I'll be reading A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles . I've always wanted to read them.

2. Historical fiction is my favorite genre. I like reading about historic events, people, and places in a fictionalized setting. I find that I often learn about historical details in this way and then I do my own research on the facts. I think books are classified as historical fiction when the main crux or basis of the book is rooted in a historical event or person and then the concomitant setting is fiction. That's where the author's magic comes in.


message 3: by Rox (last edited Aug 31, 2018 11:29PM) (new)

Rox An (arfern) | 2 comments My choice of book:

I have already finished three historical fictions this year but I plan to read Catch-22 by Joseph Heller to participate in this month's reading challenge. I've been meaning to read this book but other books had me occupied. This has long been overdue and this time I will finish it for real.

Catch-22 (Catch-22, #1) by Joseph Heller

My thoughts on historical fiction:

Historical fiction post cultural and political significance to the present era. Their narratives, though fictional, are surrounded by relevant events, places and people. They convey messages that are written to entertain but still hold truth and meaning.


message 4: by Lik (new)

Lik C | 16 comments My favorite genre!

I'm planning to read:
1. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

A Gentleman in Moscow.
I'm going to buddy read this with Monique. I've been seeing this book in my Goodreads feed for some time ("Since you liked Historical Fiction..." recommendation by Goodreads). I also want to read something about Russian history, and it just happens that I also found an ebook of this. Originally, I wanted to read The Kitchen Boy, but I couldn't find a copy of this. Of course, I'm open to more recommendations about Russian history., except Anna Karenina.

2. Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy, #1) by Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart.

I just found my old copy stashed at home. We were required to read this when we were in 2nd year high school, but after so many years, I forgot what this was about. I remembered my classmate who broke a palayok during a class presentation.

3. The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

Birth of Venus.
I also like historical fiction with art -- this helps me to appreciate the artwork more, or perhaps to remember it better. I was thinking of something like Girl With a Pearl Earring. I'm also open to recommendations about art and history books.

I like how historical fiction present past events in a relatable manner ,or a story format, and not in a textbook format. Some authors are effective in making me believe that their characters really existed (some do exist, some don't). I also like how it makes me remember and appreciate historical events. With so much information, it's hard to remember them all!


message 5: by Lynai (new)

Lynai | 1188 comments Helllooo! I miss you guys, and I missed the Classic and Mystery discussions. :( I'm hoping to get my reading groove back (it's been a while!) so I'll be joining in this month's online discussion.

I'll be reading Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke Tree of Smoke. I'll also read Last Night in Montreal to catch up with the Mystery month, albeit late.

I read Historical Fiction from time to time and I love reading about war times -- i.e. WWII. Historical Fiction makes me appreciate the past more, learn from its lessons (char), and better undertsand people and humanity (char char). I think a book falls under Historical Fiction when the author makes up a story based on an event that had happened in the past. (The time when the author wrote the book vis-a-vis the past event he is writing about in his book.) I don't know if I make sense here haha.


message 6: by KaZaam (new)

KaZaam | 151 comments Hello!

1. I'll be reading any one or two or all of the following books which are all in my TBR list:
City of Thieves by David Benioff A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

2. Historical fictions are fiction but which are steeped in history. Therefore, it may contain some historical truth. While I do read historical fictions, I would have to be in the right frame of mind because they can be intense and detailed sometimes. So if I just want some light reading, I can't be reading historical fictions. And I've been so busy lately that I just want light readings.


message 7: by Jinkay (last edited Sep 06, 2018 05:06PM) (new)

Jinkay  (kayjin) | 7 comments Hello everyone!
1. I'm planning to finish The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris . I'm currently at 38%. :)
I've also wanted to read Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate and The Alienist (Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, #1) by Caleb Carr . I've actually finished the Netflix original series for it and I loved it so much that I want to read the book. Hopefully I could finish everything in my list despite tons of school work.

2. When I was younger, I never read historical fictions because I thought that they are boring. But when I've read Redeeming Love, all my prejudice are gone. Now, I can say that it is one of my favorite genre.
Historical fiction is actually fiction in which the setting of the story is in the past. Its "historical" component must be a recreation of the past or the setting that is not based on the author's experience, rather through research.


message 8: by Elaine (last edited Sep 03, 2018 10:20PM) (new)

Elaine (itslainee) | 227 comments 1. What historical fiction book/s will you be reading this month? Why did you pick it/them?
I plan to read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut because it has been on my shelf for a while gathering dust so maybe it's time to read it. It's also one of the top 100 historical fiction books according to a website I have read way back. It's also short so maybe I can squeeze one more book after. If I finish Slaughterhouse Five, I would read Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin. It's a historical fiction + fantasy so it's right up my alley. Hehe.

2. Historical fiction is a genre where the plot is set in the past, and key moments in history and/or the existing condition of the era is highlighted or happens in the background. It is fiction so it doesn't necessarily have to be 100% accurate.

I'm not really a fan of the genre, I have only ever read historical fiction because of our discussions but it is always something I would be open to reading.


message 9: by Louize (new)

Louize (thepagewalker) | 1830 comments Week 1 Questions:
1. What historical fiction book/s will you be reading this month? Why did you pick it/them?
> I very much want to readGood Time Coming and EL LABERINTO DE LOS ESPIRITUS kung makakahabol.

2. What is your notion of historical fiction? How are books classified as historical fiction?
> This is one of my most favorite genre. It's how seamless the historical facts and people were interweave into the fictional premise that really interests me every time. I learn a lot from those books. And HF + mystery= double excitement.


message 10: by Monique (new)

Monique (attymonique) | 2127 comments Hm, for those who answered the Week 1 questions, your book choices look interesting! That being said, on to the next--

Week 2 Questions

1. Given that not all of us are fond of reading historical fiction, which historical period/event/person would you be most interested in reading about? Why?
2. The Historical Novel Society has their own criteria in order for a novel to be deemed "historical" - a novel must be written at least 50 years after the events described, or written by someone who was not alive at the time of those events (who therefore approaches them only by research). Do you agree? Why or why not?


message 11: by Maria Ella (new)

Maria Ella (mariaellabetos) | 1351 comments Sorry for the late answers, habol-habol~

Week 1 Questions:
1. What historical fiction book/s will you be reading this month? Why did you pick it/them?

Tree (Rosales Saga, #2) by F. Sionil José

I am done with this last night! Gosh, it's a love-hate kind of prose, but what an experience actually. I picked this because of the Rosales Saga. Also, I recently watched Goyo, Ang Batang Heneral and it made me remember reading Po-on and its setting as a pivotal point for Mabini and the Philippine-American war. However, Tree is a story of the society during the Commonwealth and the Japanese Occupation. No cameo appearances of the National Heroes, though.

Shiokari Pass by Ayako Miura
This time, I am planning to read this. It was based on a true story of a man who saved the train passengers in Shiokari Pass. I have this copy way back 2015(?) and this is the only time I have the chance to read it. Perhaps, I missed going to Hokkaido and I forgot this in my Itinerary. LOL :D

2. What is your notion of historical fiction? How are books classified as historical fiction?

Historical fiction are those stories with a touch of truth in the setting or on the plot, but mostly on the setting (place and time period). It has its appeal because you can see the author reimagine the events based on the historical facts, keeping the theme of the time period resonated to you as a reader.


message 12: by Maria Ella (new)

Maria Ella (mariaellabetos) | 1351 comments Week 2 Questions

1. Given that not all of us are fond of reading historical fiction, which historical period/event/person would you be most interested in reading about? Why?


World War II is something we can relate, as a citizen of any country lol. I guess for me, I wish to understand how the people think about that time. Do they only think of survival? Do they still dream, or do most of them feel fatalistic? Mga ganyan.

Next time period is the Zengakuren (1969) when the Baby boomers came of age. The period of World Protest still piques my curiousity. Also, it brings out appealing proses by Murakami (Norwegian Wood), Milan Kundera (Unbearable Lightness) and Kyung Sook-Shin (I'll Be Right There) even F. Sionil Jose has his take (My Brother, My Executioner)! Anong meron noong 1969? Was it because of the Communism philosophy being widespread and all other liberal ideologies came into light?


2. The Historical Novel Society has their own criteria in order for a novel to be deemed "historical" - a novel must be written at least 50 years after the events described, or written by someone who was not alive at the time of those events (who therefore approaches them only by research). Do you agree? Why or why not?


Not sure of the 50-years qualification, but I think the second qualification helps in noting if a work is really a fiction. Kung buhay ka noong panahon na iyon, it might be qualified as an auto-biographical work(?)


message 13: by Jinkay (new)

Jinkay  (kayjin) | 7 comments 1. Given that not all of us are fond of reading historical fiction, which historical period/event/person would you be most interested in reading about? Why?
I'd like to read more about the Holocaust, just like the book The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I'd like to know what the prisoners feel, the things that they have suffered, and how they've kept their sanity (if they did) in that insane situation. I want to empathize with them.

2. The Historical Novel Society has their own criteria in order for a novel to be deemed "historical" - a novel must be written at least 50 years after the events described, or written by someone who was not alive at the time of those events (who therefore approaches them only by research). Do you agree? Why or why not?
Well, I think the 50 years gap is reasonable but in my opinion, it can be lowered down to atleast 20 years. I still consider things that happened 20 years ago as history. And, yes, the author should not be alive during the setting of the story because that would make it a memoir.


message 14: by Louize (new)

Louize (thepagewalker) | 1830 comments Week 2 Questions

1. Given that not all of us are fond of reading historical fiction, which historical period/event/person would you be most interested in reading about? Why?

>I may have to answer this in a roundabout manner. I love historical fiction, so there are very few periods or events I don't want to read -like the 1600s, involving the Dutch West India Company. They remind me of those agonizing lessons on shipping trades, back in HS history.
I would like to read from Egypt, particularly about Merit Ptah. How did the chief physician of the pharaoh's court served the pharaoh, when pharaohs were believed to be reincarnation of gods?

2. The Historical Novel Society has their own criteria in order for a novel to be deemed "historical" - a novel must be written at least 50 years after the events described, or written by someone who was not alive at the time of those events (who therefore approaches them only by research). Do you agree? Why or why not?

>Well, Martial Law ended less than 50 years ago, yet most people seemed to have forgotten already. I'm digressing.
I disagree with both criteria. Because (1) it disregards key events that may have occurred only 10-20 years before, which may have dramatically pivoted the course of life; (2) it's possible for an author to write in the 3rd person narrative about events or people from his own lifetime.


message 15: by Monique (new)

Monique (attymonique) | 2127 comments Hello, all! I enjoyed reading your answers. I'll reserve the last questions that I have for the actual discussion, which brings me to...

F2F discussion is this Saturday, Sept. 29 at Main Street, Kapitolyo. Reservation is under my name (Monica De Mata) and we'll start at 2pm. See you there! :)


message 16: by Louize (new)

Louize (thepagewalker) | 1830 comments Have a wonderful discussion, guys!


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