Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Books Like Whoa: Historical Fiction Favorites

Inspired by the lovely folks at The Broke and The Bookish, I offer my favorite historical fictions. This tends to be a well loved category for me, it was difficult to pick my favorites, but here's an attempt (interesting how many of these are YA):

  1. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro: This is tied for my favorite fiction book ever, so I definitely couldn't leave this perfect gem of a novel off the list. 1930's repressed English butler? Yes please! Plus, the movie is the oh-so-rare wonderful movie adaptation from a wonderful source book.
  2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows: Another favorite, I put this down and immediately thought, damn. I wish I'd written this. I defy you to find many other books that achieve the level of humor, grief, and hope into the same kind of magical, page turning candy
  3. The Last Silk Dress by Ann Rinaldi: Ms. Rinaldi is the James Michener of the YA set and this is the one that hooked me into the rest of her work. Time Enough for Drums is a particular favorite.
  4. The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Pope: Historical fiction + fantasy + YA? With beautiful writing to boot? Yes please!
  5. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: I was late to the party on this historical mystery, but it is a really satisfying read. Some people resent the denouement, which is fair, but the other 98% is page turning fun and well written
  6. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: The depiction of pre-craziness Afghanistan is rendered with beauty and thoughtfulness
  7. The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Revert: Not sure if this 100% counts as historical fiction, but as so much of the action is tied to the past, I'm going to call it fair game. This quirky read is a literary (read: cogently written) alternative to Dan Brown
  8. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry: This middle grade weeper hit me deep and locked me forever into a fascination with the truth and horror of the Holocaust (I'm reading The Book Thief right now, which I think will prove to be a favorite in a similar vein)
  9. The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl: Not a perfect book, and about 20% too long, but an interesting take on 19th century Boston that has an intriguing mystery as it's premise
  10. Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland: Interconnected short stories are my kryponite, and these are quiet but gripping all the way through. The stories track the history of a single painting from the last owner to when it was painted
What about you? What are your favorite historical novels? Anthony wants to know...

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