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What are you reading October 2018?

For discussions of historical fiction. Threads that do not relate to historical fiction should be started in the Chat forum or elsewhere on the forum, depending on the topic.
User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Re: What are you reading October 2018?

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue October 16th, 2018, 4:12 pm

red805 wrote:Finished Gone With The Wind at last. I'm trying to finish reading the logo books up at the top of this website! Only one more to go on this view, although I know there are 4 others that rotate in. Hadn't read GWTW since high school. Either I had forgotten a lot, or I wasn't attuned to it then, but as great & memorable as the story is, the racism of the author just smacked me in the face & shadowed the whole reading experience for me. Mitchell was obviously a product of her time & Southern birth, but I didn't realize the movie had toned down the non-dialogue portions so much. You expect the characters to voice racist thoughts, but the narrative actually is more racist than the dialogue. So many times the slaves, or freed slaves were described as apes, children, ignorant, etc. that it just became frustrating. After reading Grant by Ron Chernow, which gave me basically the non-fictionalized opposite view of the post-Civil War time, & learning of the Southern terrorism inflicted on Mitchell's "carpetbaggers & scallawags" & the former slaves, Mitchell's lack of even a pinch of even-handedness was, again, frustrating. In GWTW all Southerners believe in the Cause, the slaves don't want to be freed, & the Yankees are killing, looting rapists. Rhett, Scarlett, Melanie, & Ashley were as vivid characters as I'd remembered, & the atmosphere created by Mitchell was so well-drawn, but at the end of the book I was very ready to be done with them all.

Yes, it reads very differently when viewed from the current perspective. But it's a good example of portraying the emotional state of the characters in their times. I don't ascribe to Mitchell quite as much racism as she gave her characters--after all, she was writing people she knew, Southerners of the beginning of the last century, so of course she wrote them as they were, But she gave regularly--and, considering her income, sacrificially-- to a scholarship fund for black medical students. That knowledge helps me see her writing choices for just that--choices.
The book could have used a counterpoint from a black character who wasn't childlike or manipulating. Although you DO see the loyalty and intelligence in Mammy and Pork.
Another aspect that made my stomach churn was Rhett's relationship with Scarlett. Do you realize that he was actually a contemporary of Scarlett's mother Ellen? From the same town, even. And what an alcoholic!
But if the measure of fiction is its ability to stir emotion in the reader through vicarious attachment to the characters, GWTW is still in the top rank.

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell & And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Re: What are you reading October 2018?

Postby Vanessa » Wed October 17th, 2018, 8:16 am

Gone with the Wind is my all time favourite book. I wish Audible did an audio edition - I'm surprised there isn't one! I don't generally re-read books but I do like to listen to favourites - it doesn't matter if my attention wanders!

I've just started The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell, a Gothic ghost story set in 1865.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: A Trail through Time by Jodi Taylor & Angel by L J Ross
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Re: What are you reading October 2018?

Postby Madeleine » Wed October 17th, 2018, 11:52 am

I'm about halfway through the Silent Companions Vanessa, it's quite creepy!
Currently reading "A Trail through Time" by Jodi Taylor & "Angel" by L J Ross

User avatar
princess garnet
Bibliophile
Location: Maryland

Re: What are you reading October 2018?

Postby princess garnet » Wed October 17th, 2018, 3:28 pm

Finished Twilight of Empire by Greg King and Penny Wilson (NF)
The book traces the events leading to the deaths of Rudolph and his teen mistress Mary Vetsera and its aftermath on the Habsburgs.

Now: The Making of Jane Austen by Devoney Looser (NF)
Last edited by princess garnet on Wed October 17th, 2018, 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Re: What are you reading October 2018?

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed October 17th, 2018, 7:04 pm

Vanessa wrote:Gone with the Wind is my all time favourite book. I wish Audible did an audio edition - I'm surprised there isn't one! I don't generally re-read books but I do like to listen to favourites - it doesn't matter if my attention wanders!

I've just started The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell, a Gothic ghost story set in 1865.

I have listened to GWTW in audio--and it was a smashing performance, too! Just found it in my audible library, but it wants to update my version. I declined--loved the reader I have! (although it might be the same file with a few formatting changes.)

User avatar
red805
Reader
Location: Southern California

Re: What are you reading October 2018?

Postby red805 » Wed October 17th, 2018, 7:22 pm

Vanessa wrote:Gone with the Wind is my all time favourite book. I wish Audible did an audio edition - I'm surprised there isn't one! I don't generally re-read books but I do like to listen to favourites - it doesn't matter if my attention wanders!

I've just started The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell, a Gothic ghost story set in 1865.


Actually, is was the Audible audiobook that I just finished. The narration was spectacular. I pretty much "read" 70% as audiobooks these days.

User avatar
red805
Reader
Location: Southern California

Re: What are you reading October 2018?

Postby red805 » Wed October 17th, 2018, 7:56 pm

MLE (Emily Cotton) wrote:
red805 wrote:Finished Gone With The Wind at last. I'm trying to finish reading the logo books up at the top of this website! Only one more to go on this view, although I know there are 4 others that rotate in. Hadn't read GWTW since high school. Either I had forgotten a lot, or I wasn't attuned to it then, but as great & memorable as the story is, the racism of the author just smacked me in the face & shadowed the whole reading experience for me. Mitchell was obviously a product of her time & Southern birth, but I didn't realize the movie had toned down the non-dialogue portions so much. You expect the characters to voice racist thoughts, but the narrative actually is more racist than the dialogue. So many times the slaves, or freed slaves were described as apes, children, ignorant, etc. that it just became frustrating. After reading Grant by Ron Chernow, which gave me basically the non-fictionalized opposite view of the post-Civil War time, & learning of the Southern terrorism inflicted on Mitchell's "carpetbaggers & scallawags" & the former slaves, Mitchell's lack of even a pinch of even-handedness was, again, frustrating. In GWTW all Southerners believe in the Cause, the slaves don't want to be freed, & the Yankees are killing, looting rapists. Rhett, Scarlett, Melanie, & Ashley were as vivid characters as I'd remembered, & the atmosphere created by Mitchell was so well-drawn, but at the end of the book I was very ready to be done with them all.

Yes, it reads very differently when viewed from the current perspective. But it's a good example of portraying the emotional state of the characters in their times. I don't ascribe to Mitchell quite as much racism as she gave her characters--after all, she was writing people she knew, Southerners of the beginning of the last century, so of course she wrote them as they were, But she gave regularly--and, considering her income, sacrificially-- to a scholarship fund for black medical students. That knowledge helps me see her writing choices for just that--choices.
The book could have used a counterpoint from a black character who wasn't childlike or manipulating. Although you DO see the loyalty and intelligence in Mammy and Pork.
Another aspect that made my stomach churn was Rhett's relationship with Scarlett. Do you realize that he was actually a contemporary of Scarlett's mother Ellen? From the same town, even. And what an alcoholic!
But if the measure of fiction is its ability to stir emotion in the reader through vicarious attachment to the characters, GWTW is still in the top rank.


You know, Emily, I was totally prepared for the dialogue to be of it's time, but the narration was what I was surprised at, in terms of the descriptions of the slaves/former slaves. I realize it is more of a modern viewpoint not to call characters or groups by slurs, but I just hadn't remembered it being so pushed forward in the narration. I thought, similarly, that Mitchell's characterization of the Yankees & poor white characters was really pretty despicable. But, yes, Mitchell was an amazingly gifted writer who created timeless characters. And of course, I still wondered, did Scarlett & Rhett get back together?!

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell & And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Re: What are you reading October 2018?

Postby Vanessa » Thu October 18th, 2018, 9:06 pm

red805 wrote:
Vanessa wrote:Gone with the Wind is my all time favourite book. I wish Audible did an audio edition - I'm surprised there isn't one! I don't generally re-read books but I do like to listen to favourites - it doesn't matter if my attention wanders!

I've just started The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell, a Gothic ghost story set in 1865.


Actually, is was the Audible audiobook that I just finished. The narration was spectacular. I pretty much "read" 70% as audiobooks these days.


Unfortunately the audiobook isn't available on the Audible UK site. :cry:
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: A Trail through Time by Jodi Taylor & Angel by L J Ross
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Re: What are you reading October 2018?

Postby Madeleine » Fri October 19th, 2018, 8:42 am

I've almost finished "The Silent Companions", they remind me a bit of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who! :o
Currently reading "A Trail through Time" by Jodi Taylor & "Angel" by L J Ross

User avatar
Nefret
Bibliomaniac
Favorite HF book: Welsh Princes trilogy
Preferred HF: The Middle Ages (England), New Kingdom Egypt, Medieval France
Location: Temple of Isis

Re: What are you reading October 2018?

Postby Nefret » Sun October 21st, 2018, 1:59 pm

Just started The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell.
Into battle we ride with Gods by our side
We are strong and not afraid to die
We have an urge to kill and our lust for blood has to be fulfilled
WE´LL FIGHT TILL THE END! And send our enemies straight to Hell!
- "Into Battle"
{Ensiferum}


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