Historical Fiction Genre Help for November

For November 2015, we will be reading a Historical Fiction novel.
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joanofarc2015
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Re: Historical Fiction Genre Help for November

Post by joanofarc2015 » 30 Oct 2015, 18:56

just my reflection: i think classics are a separate genre in itself and depicts the time period the author exists in.
example: "i know why the caged bird sings" by maya angelou defines a specific time period and setting of angelou's childhood dealing with the south, racism etc. the book has also been discussed over time by scholars in its context of setting, time period, and themes

but historical fiction deliberately puts unrealistic facts into real parts of history.
example: "all the light we cannot see" by anthony doerr defines the setting of france during the war but its characters are presumed to be not real people or just based on people who have witnessed the bombing.

but yes since classics were'nt part of the group i think we're also safe
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Post by Topcho » 31 Oct 2015, 06:22

Mmm, I've never thought of classics this way. For me, they are not a separate genre (again, just a personal opinion) as each and every classic can fit into another genre. It is more like we tag a book, or an author, as a classic as an admition that this is a true and timeless piece of art. Wether the book would be historical or not, depends on the story.
For example, for me The Count of Monte Cristo is both a classic and a historical fiction, as it covers, even if from the side, events from the history of France.

I've never thought much on the subject, but this is what popped up in my mind when I saw the discussion.
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Post by joanofarc2015 » 31 Oct 2015, 06:36

cool! i like your insight :)
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Post by VictoriaR » 01 Nov 2015, 01:36

stoppoppingtheP wrote:I really enjoy Historical Fiction. Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors of this genre.
Can we count Jane Austen as historical fiction? She wrote her books about her present day, although to us they are historical. That would make any fiction written in the past, historical fiction.
Don't want to be nit-picky, I just wondered.

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Post by Ryan » 01 Nov 2015, 08:54

VictoriaR wrote:
stoppoppingtheP wrote:I really enjoy Historical Fiction. Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors of this genre.
Can we count Jane Austen as historical fiction? She wrote her books about her present day, although to us they are historical. That would make any fiction written in the past, historical fiction.
Don't want to be nit-picky, I just wondered.
Agreed. Something simply being written in the past does not make it historical fiction. Otherwise, everything is historical fiction.
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Post by Gravy » 01 Nov 2015, 16:51

It's one of those myths that one hears :eusa-think:
Even goodreads counts her as historical, I believe.

Also...it's November!
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Post by bookowlie » 01 Nov 2015, 17:18

VictoriaR wrote:
stoppoppingtheP wrote:I really enjoy Historical Fiction. Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors of this genre.
Can we count Jane Austen as historical fiction? She wrote her books about her present day, although to us they are historical. That would make any fiction written in the past, historical fiction.
Don't want to be nit-picky, I just wondered.
I completely agree. Jane Austen's novels should be count as historical fiction because the time period in the plot is historical.
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Post by gali » 01 Nov 2015, 22:52

I have opened the sub-forum for November. 8)
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by Gravy » 02 Nov 2015, 03:06

gali wrote:I have opened the sub-forum for November. 8)
Awesome 8)
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Post by DATo » 02 Nov 2015, 05:58

I have always thought of historical fiction as a "micro" - an event set against the backdrop of historically sweeping and/or powerful events.

A good example (I think) which comes to mind is Tolstoy's War And Peace.

A graphic way of describing what I mean is the opening of the movie Saving Private Ryan. The movie opens with a tremendous battle - the battle of Normandy - and at the conclusion of the fighting the camera slowly descends upon an American soldier lying face down on the beach with the name "Ryan" stenciled on his backpack. Thus the enormous, historical background event becomes focused on one individual, perhaps more precisely stated ... on a name, which is the basis of the story to follow. I thought that was a very interesting way to meld the historical event with the individual event.

Another title which comes to mind is Honore de Balzac's, The Human Comedy which was actually a collection of something like 90 stories which were very very loosely connected by characters from one story sometimes appearing in other stories sometimes 20 novels later. In one the character might be the main character and in another perhaps a minor character, or a character which only touches very slightly upon the events of the current story. The stories all take place in the same period of history in Paris. Balzac was trying to illustrate the interconnectedness of the human condition. David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas) does the same thing on a (so far) much more limited scale. The point is that Balzac is painting an historical background setting, and though it does not apply to any particular historical event it depicts the idea that amid the haste and turmoil of any period of history there are individual stories taking place ... and the sum total of all of these stories is, as appropriately titled, The Human Comedy.
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Post by Squirrel2 » 02 Nov 2015, 21:07

I'm a huge historical fiction fan! My favorite book is Pope Joan! I think that it's the only book that I have ever read twice. It is about a woman in the middle ages who wants to be educated, but because she is a women she is not allowed. She disguises herself as a man in order to obtain higher leaning, and is eventually elected Pope. Of course I was a huge fan of the side love story as well.

I also loved The Red Tent, Orphan Train, and Pillars of the Earth!

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Post by babika1962 » 03 Nov 2015, 12:49

I suggest THE BONE GARDEN by Tess Gerritsen. It alternates between the present and the past although the majority of the book is historical. The historical part is set in 1830's Boston and focuses on Norris Marshall, a medical student trying to make his way through school by digging up corpses to be sold in the cadaver trade (one of the best customers being the medical school who needs the cadavers for study). This was a terrific historical book that brought to light how primitive and horrible medical conditions were back then. The book also contained a wonderful love story and had a good mystery punch to it. I highly recommend it.
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Post by myBuby01 » 03 Nov 2015, 13:15

The Aviator's Wife is one of my favorites.

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Post by pedwar64 » 05 Nov 2015, 00:23

bookowlie wrote:Does anyone have any suggestions for Civil War or World War II novels? I've already read The Postmistress a few years ago.

Hi Bookowlie, was wondering if you've read the John Jakes trilogy. These 3 books are set in, and after, the American Civil War. It has been some time since I read them (I think they were originally published in the 1980's) but i remember them to be a very entertaining and informative read. There was also a mini-series starring Patrick Swayze which is possibly out there somewhere on DVD.
The books are North and South, Love and War, and Heaven & Hell.
Happy reading!

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Post by nozora » 08 Nov 2015, 19:55

I really like "Between Shades of Gray", by Ruta Sepetys. Beautiful book that starts out in Lithuania in 1941. Takes place in World War II. However it isn't about what the Nazis did, but more about the atrocities Stalin committed.

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