What is something you've learned while reading historical fiction?

For March 2018 we will be reading historical fiction books
Post Reply
User avatar
hsimone
Lilimaster of Bookshelves
Posts: 5210
Joined: 17 Jul 2015, 20:19
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 74
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 96
Currently Reading: The Bigfoot Paradox
Bookshelf Size: 434
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-hsimone.html
Latest Review: Picture Perfect by D.G. Stern
Publishing Contest Votes: 27

What is something you've learned while reading historical fiction?

Post by hsimone » 01 Mar 2018, 05:35

Since one of my favorite ways of trying to understand others and the situations they may have suffered through is reading historical fiction, I figured this might be a good opportunity to share what we've learned while reading.

For me, I remember distinctly the first historical fiction book that touched my heart and made me realize that the world is so much bigger than I imagined. It was the first time that I realized that there are truly unstable people in the world that seem to have no qualms in making others suffer. This book I read was in fifth grade, and it was Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.

Prior to reading Number the Stars, I had no concept of WWII, concentration camps, the suffering, the loss, and so much more. Though I was a poor reader and didn't enjoy books at the time, this one stuck in my heart and one I've read multiple times. It was an introduction to what I would further learn of the pure evil in this world. It became the stepping stone in truly appreciating what I have and remembering that my life isn't as challenging as others.

Do you have a historical fiction that touched your heart? How about one that you learned something that you never really knew existed? Or perhaps, a book that you've gained a deeper understanding of a time period in history or about someone's life?
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4

User avatar
Lincolnshirelass
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1507
Joined: 30 Oct 2017, 04:36
2017 Reading Goal: 0
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by Lincolnshirelass » 01 Mar 2018, 06:05

I have learnt much from historical novels, and not all of it about history. I sometimes think it takes an especial gift for an author to bring a subject that, in itself, is not fascinating to life and make us see how it affects individuals. For instance, before she turned to earlier periods, Philippa Gregory wrote the 'Wideacre' series about land enclosures, and managed to do this.
An Eye for an Eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

Mahatma Gandhi

User avatar
hsimone
Lilimaster of Bookshelves
Posts: 5210
Joined: 17 Jul 2015, 20:19
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 74
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 96
Currently Reading: The Bigfoot Paradox
Bookshelf Size: 434
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-hsimone.html
Latest Review: Picture Perfect by D.G. Stern
Publishing Contest Votes: 27

Post by hsimone » 01 Mar 2018, 13:53

That's a very good point, Lincolnshirelass, that we not only learn about time periods or people, but a variety of things. I must say I don't much about land enclosures, but it's great to know that there are authors out there teaching others about all kinds of topics.
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4

User avatar
DennisK
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 458
Joined: 12 Jun 2015, 19:00
Favorite Author: Ken Follett
Currently Reading: Light in August
Bookshelf Size: 39
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-dennisk.html
Reading Device: B00L89V1AA
fav_author_id: 3559

Post by DennisK » 02 Mar 2018, 00:21

Thanks for the interesting post, hsimone! I have a particular interest in historical novels. I find that I naturally have a very unimaginative perception of where I came from and even who I am. For me, people, and their environments from the past, seem abstract, objective historical recordings that have no relationship to me. Of course, who I am and where I came from has a great deal to do with the past. A good historical novelist subjectifies characters from the past. Through the writer, I am able to empathize with them – a bridge between them and myself is formed. I personally assume an added dimension.
I believe Ken Follett and James Michener are excellent historical novel authors.

User avatar
Nena_Morena
Posts: 91
Joined: 19 Feb 2018, 20:39
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 20
Favorite Book: The Notebook
Currently Reading: Born of the sun
Bookshelf Size: 29
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-nena-morena.html
Latest Review: Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base

Post by Nena_Morena » 02 Mar 2018, 02:24

I particularly enjoy historical fictions because despite the story being made up , they allow you to see how things really were in a different times and places. A book I really loved was " Talos' Shield " written by Valerio Massimo Manfredi. It didn't just have a great story, but it gave beautiful insights into Ancient Greek culture.
I learned a lot about the differences between Athens and Sparta; the different laws, mentalities, and even the way they fought. The best thing In the book is that there are really famous battles that actually happened in history seen in a much more entertaining way than I read about them in school.

User avatar
DancingLady
Posts: 281
Joined: 11 Feb 2018, 10:31
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 92
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 105
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-dancinglady.html
Latest Review: Believe What You Want To Believe by Alicia Kristine and George Williams

Post by DancingLady » 03 Mar 2018, 23:25

I learned so much from historical fiction as a homeschool kid that when I entered a private HS, I breezed through world history without having to put much time into it, which was a big surprise to me as I expected HA to be hard.

I would also have to credit Number the Stars as a very important book in my life, continuing to today. Quo Vadis is by far the most life changing historical fiction I’ve ever read. Others that were incredibly educational include The Russians series by Judith Pella and the Zion Covenant/Zion Chronicles series’s by Bodie Thoene.

User avatar
KLafser
Posts: 290
Joined: 05 Mar 2018, 07:57
2018 Reading Goal: 40
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 87
Currently Reading: Catch-22
Bookshelf Size: 576
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-klafser.html
Latest Review: The Road From Money by Sylvester Boyd Jr.

Post by KLafser » 08 Mar 2018, 12:39

I think I align in thought with DennisK ... I have learned about history in history classes and can (sort of) spout of timelines and incidents that contributed to or lead up to major events. Historical fiction, for me, helps me understand / empathize with what the 'people on the ground' might have experienced. In my local book club, we have two ladies that gravitate toward specific historical periods, one WW2 and the other the American Civil War. They've introduced me to books that tell the story of that time from so many different perspectives.

For WW2, we read "All the Light We Cannot See" and "Secrets of a Charmed Life", both discussing the plight of children and families caught up in the effects of war. I've recently added (not part of book club) "The Hiding Place" which was a fantastic view of the Dutch resistance during WW2. For the American Civil War, I found "The Kitchen House" to be amazing and offer perspective on slavery, including both African American and indentured Irish. We also read "The Widow of the South", which I liked but not as well just because I found it depressing. It presented the story of the battle near Knoxville, TN and the resulting aftermath of death and burials.

I guess for me, beyond providing a means to empathize with the people of the time, these books also provide a view into a smaller aspect of the time period and I really like that. I often wonder how the time we live in will be represented in 50 or 100 years and will someone capture the sentiment of the common folk rather than the loudest voices that seem to be painting the broad brushstroke for an era.

User avatar
DennisK
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 458
Joined: 12 Jun 2015, 19:00
Favorite Author: Ken Follett
Currently Reading: Light in August
Bookshelf Size: 39
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-dennisk.html
Reading Device: B00L89V1AA
fav_author_id: 3559

Post by DennisK » 13 Mar 2018, 17:34

KLafser wrote:
08 Mar 2018, 12:39
I guess for me, beyond providing a means to empathize with the people of the time, these books also provide a view into a smaller aspect of the time period and I really like that. I often wonder how the time we live in will be represented in 50 or 100 years and will someone capture the sentiment of the common folk rather than the loudest voices that seem to be painting the broad brushstroke for an era.
I really like your thoughts, Kalfser. I also wonder how today will be perceived tomorrow. I can only guess at that by considering how I, today, perceive the past. Funny thing … that: The further back in time from which you can learn, the further ahead in time you can see.
This post has an interesting subject. I hope more people join in on the discussion.
:tiphat:

User avatar
Tcutshall
Posts: 12
Joined: 11 Mar 2018, 22:03
2018 Reading Goal: 35
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 17
Currently Reading: Mine to Protect
Bookshelf Size: 15

Post by Tcutshall » 13 Mar 2018, 20:51

I’m new to this genre but I’ve learned quite a bit. I’ve learned that depending on the era, some words and phrases haven’t changed yet others have.

It’s also interesting to learn that these authors do tons of research to make sure things are written accurately, or at least the authors who care do.

It’s fun seeing fiction and history blending and seeing the creativity of different authors who write in the same genre yet show completely different views.

User avatar
Jeyasivananth
Posts: 233
Joined: 07 Jan 2018, 18:17
2018 Reading Goal: 60
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 28
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 193
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jeyasivananth.html
Latest Review: Heartaches 3 by H.M. Irwing

Post by Jeyasivananth » 20 Mar 2018, 09:55

One learns so much while reading historical fiction about that particular age and culture. But most importantly we get a peek into the historical figures of the time and the workings of their mind. That adds more flavour to the tale.

User avatar
BriennaiJ
Posts: 257
Joined: 15 Apr 2017, 12:02
Currently Reading: Island Games
Bookshelf Size: 33
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-briennaij.html
Latest Review: A Thread in Time by Jess Thomas

Post by BriennaiJ » 29 Mar 2018, 19:16

I love reading historical fiction because it gives a face to the people in the past. It is easy to overlook the struggle of the people living in the South during the Civil War until you read a historical fiction talking about how they would hide their food from the soldiers and how they never knew if their male family members would return from the war. I really like to hear the stories based off of the in-depth research that the authors do. I only wish that "regency romance" wouldn't automatically count as historical fiction. Some are actually historically based, but some just seem like the author just added a ball and some dresses and a romance story. I want historical fiction to really be about the stories of the people.

User avatar
Jamasenu
Posts: 173
Joined: 25 Mar 2018, 11:21
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 65
Favorite Author: Valerie Wilson Wesley
Currently Reading: Change Your Thinking Transform Your Life: 21 Truths to Renew Your Mind in Christ
Bookshelf Size: 1548
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jamasenu.html
Latest Review: Roadmap to the End of Days by Daniel Friedmann
Reading Device: B00IKPYKWG
fav_author_id: 125603

Post by Jamasenu » 13 Apr 2018, 19:16

[bco=][/bco]Historical fiction permeates thoughts into you mind and you want to learn more about the era, the society and how they lived.
To survive, you must tell stories.
― Umberto Eco, The Island of the Day Before

User avatar
Cswrawr
Posts: 81
Joined: 02 Apr 2018, 01:32
2018 Reading Goal: 52
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 53
Currently Reading: El Conde Karlstein
Bookshelf Size: 1015
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cswrawr.html
Latest Review: Concealment by Rose Edmunds

Post by Cswrawr » 13 Apr 2018, 19:27

I was always terrible at history in school, barely slid by every year. I didn't truly appreciate learning history until I read Gone with the Wind. It totally changed my outlook and now I dig into either historical fiction or first person accounts of historical events as often as I can.

BriennaiJ wrote:
29 Mar 2018, 19:16
I love reading historical fiction because it gives a face to the people in the past. It is easy to overlook the struggle of the people living in the South during the Civil War until you read a historical fiction talking about how they would hide their food from the soldiers and how they never knew if their male family members would return from the war. I really like to hear the stories based off of the in-depth research that the authors do. I only wish that "regency romance" wouldn't automatically count as historical fiction. Some are actually historically based, but some just seem like the author just added a ball and some dresses and a romance story. I want historical fiction to really be about the stories of the people.
@regency romance, I completely agree. It's incredibly frustrating when browsing for a historical fiction to read and all the lists are unresearched stories that the author just inserted into a time period for the sake of the stable hand on the cover. :roll:

User avatar
BriennaiJ
Posts: 257
Joined: 15 Apr 2017, 12:02
Currently Reading: Island Games
Bookshelf Size: 33
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-briennaij.html
Latest Review: A Thread in Time by Jess Thomas

Post by BriennaiJ » 13 Apr 2018, 20:30

Cswrawr wrote:
13 Apr 2018, 19:27
I was always terrible at history in school, barely slid by every year. I didn't truly appreciate learning history until I read Gone with the Wind. It totally changed my outlook and now I dig into either historical fiction or first person accounts of historical events as often as I can.

BriennaiJ wrote:
29 Mar 2018, 19:16
I love reading historical fiction because it gives a face to the people in the past. It is easy to overlook the struggle of the people living in the South during the Civil War until you read a historical fiction talking about how they would hide their food from the soldiers and how they never knew if their male family members would return from the war. I really like to hear the stories based off of the in-depth research that the authors do. I only wish that "regency romance" wouldn't automatically count as historical fiction. Some are actually historically based, but some just seem like the author just added a ball and some dresses and a romance story. I want historical fiction to really be about the stories of the people.
@regency romance, I completely agree. It's incredibly frustrating when browsing for a historical fiction to read and all the lists are unresearched stories that the author just inserted into a time period for the sake of the stable hand on the cover. :roll:
I have disliked nearly every history class I have taken in my school because the teachers usually never give personality to the time period. Only one of them actually spent the time relating our material to news events in current life! These are both important to making a history class bearable. I also hate when authors don't do any research about the time period. I have found a few good ones, but most of the Regency romance just leans more towards romance than actual historical fiction.

User avatar
Cswrawr
Posts: 81
Joined: 02 Apr 2018, 01:32
2018 Reading Goal: 52
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 53
Currently Reading: El Conde Karlstein
Bookshelf Size: 1015
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cswrawr.html
Latest Review: Concealment by Rose Edmunds

Post by Cswrawr » 13 Apr 2018, 22:08

BriennaiJ wrote:
13 Apr 2018, 20:30
Cswrawr wrote:
13 Apr 2018, 19:27
I was always terrible at history in school, barely slid by every year. I didn't truly appreciate learning history until I read Gone with the Wind. It totally changed my outlook and now I dig into either historical fiction or first person accounts of historical events as often as I can.

BriennaiJ wrote:
29 Mar 2018, 19:16
I love reading historical fiction because it gives a face to the people in the past. It is easy to overlook the struggle of the people living in the South during the Civil War until you read a historical fiction talking about how they would hide their food from the soldiers and how they never knew if their male family members would return from the war. I really like to hear the stories based off of the in-depth research that the authors do. I only wish that "regency romance" wouldn't automatically count as historical fiction. Some are actually historically based, but some just seem like the author just added a ball and some dresses and a romance story. I want historical fiction to really be about the stories of the people.
@regency romance, I completely agree. It's incredibly frustrating when browsing for a historical fiction to read and all the lists are unresearched stories that the author just inserted into a time period for the sake of the stable hand on the cover. :roll:
I have disliked nearly every history class I have taken in my school because the teachers usually never give personality to the time period. Only one of them actually spent the time relating our material to news events in current life! These are both important to making a history class bearable. I also hate when authors don't do any research about the time period. I have found a few good ones, but most of the Regency romance just leans more towards romance than actual historical fiction.
There's an interesting documentary called "The Revisionaries" that illustrates what goes into writing US public school text books, particularly history text books and why they are written to be so bland. There's actually a committee that sits around voting to strike out any subject, or even single words, that they find too controversial.
Which good ones have you found? Do you have any recommendations?

Post Reply

Return to “March 2018 Genre Discussion”