Monday, April 29, 2013

Historical Fiction

I have recently discovered that my favorite book genre is historical fiction. At first, this is very surprising but when I thought about it more, not that surprising.

It would be surprising because it just sounds like it would be so boring, right.

But then I think back to the American Girl series I loved as a kid (I'm pretty sure you could put that in a broad historical fiction category) and my obsession with Genesee Country Village and Museum as a kid (ok I'll admit it pre-teen). If you are unfamiliar with the Genesee Country Village and Museum, it is a 19th century living history museum in upstate New York. Long story short, I guess my love of historical fiction is not that surprising.


Blah Blah Blah...Here is a list of my top 10 favorite historical fiction books I have really enjoyed and highly recommend!

Yes, some of these are also movies. Yes, the book is better. Read the book!

1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer





This book was referred to me by my aunt. I had my book club read it and we all  LOVED it! The whole story is told though letters, which at first I didn't think I would like, but once you get started it sucks you right in. By the end you want to be a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society! Its very interesting to see how people kept their spirits up during the German occupation of the Channel Islands.




2.  The Great Gatsby by  F. Scott Fitzgerald




If you haven't read this, or haven't read it since your middle school english teacher forced you to, read it again! The excitement of the roaring twenties and the lives of Gatsby, Nick, and Daisy are glamorous and fascinating! Come on Ol' Sport, just read it!






3. Devil in the White City by Eric Larson

 
 WOW! When you read this book it is hard to remember that it is based on actual events! Why isn't this a movie yet? This pairs the creation of the Chicago Worlds Fair with the United State's version of Jack the Ripper. You will want to schedule a trip to Chicago as soon as you finish, and you might need some time to wrap your head around Dr. H. H. Holmes.

4. The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain

I loved this book! I am a big 1920's fan, but this was great for any book nerd! You will fall in love with, and hate Hemingway, all in the same book. You will also fall in love with Hadley and probably book a vacation to travel through Europe to see the things they saw!








5. Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen


You might want to run away and join the circus after reading this, or you might not. (It gets a bit rough and tumble) In the middle of the Great Depression, the circus still entertained people all across the United States. You get to see some of the challenges faced by those who turned to the circus for work, plus a love story thrown in there to tug at your heart strings.





5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett



A peek into life in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960's. You will love and hate the characters in this story because, well some of them deserve to be loved, and others don't! You will probably get so excited and nervous while reading it as if you were were watching your team in the super bowl.







7. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon



This was a book club book that I would have never picked out, but I'm so happy I read it! It takes place in Barcelona in the 1930's during the Spanish civil war. Its not at all about the war tho! It follows the main character Daniel, who discovers a book that sets him off on an adventure. Its also a bit of inception because its kind of a story within a story.  Also, you might want to take a tour of Barcelona when you finish. They thought you might feel this way so they put a map for a book tour in the back!




8. Gone with the Wind

Ok I have to re-read this because it has been years! If you haven't read or don't remember, it takes place during the Civil War (and before and after). But the thing I remember loving about it was Scarlet! What a brat, what a sassy brat!  You can't help but love her! Because it has been so long, and I need to re-read it I don't to guess at what I remember and be totally wrong. (especially if this popped up when you googled the book for your book report!)

9. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd




This takes place in South Carolina during the early 1960's. It follows  the story of a little girl names Lily who runs away to search for information about her mother with her maid. The relationships between Lily, Rosaleen and all the women in the pink house is very touching. It is also another peek into our country's history in the middle of the civil rights movement.





10. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan



Loving Frank was the very first book I read with first book club. So I guess you can say it has a special place in my heart.  It takes place in the early 1900's and follows the life of Frank Lloyd Write and his "mistress" Mamah.  It not only talks about the amazing buildings Write created but goes into their private lives. The ending will SHOCK you and you will immediately google it to see if its true... it is!





Ok! so there you have it! My current top 10 historical fiction books! Now, because I just cant seem to get enough...

The Next Historical Fiction books I plan to read are:

1. Z: a Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

2. The Chaperone by  Laura Moriarty

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

4. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

5. Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan

6. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kinslover

7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

8. Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano


Anyone read any of these yet? Let me know if I should move anything toward the top of the list!



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2 comments:

  1. I recommend "Midnight in the Garden of Beasts" (Or I think I will, I just started it). Also, very loosely historical fiction, but "The Red Tent" is one of my all time faves. And can't go wrong with anything by Phillippa Gregory!

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    1. Thanks for the advise! I will add it to my list!

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