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What Are You Reading? May 2013

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.
annis
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Post by annis » Sat May 25th, 2013, 10:16 pm

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler - zzzzz. Once again I look at the 5 star ratings for a novel and wonder if I'm reading the same book! The author has obviously read heaps about the Fitzgeralds and their circle - and makes sure the reader knows it. Name-dropping and info-dumping abound ad tedious, clunky nauseam. A lost opportunity - Fowler's clearly pre-set agenda - Zelda saint/Scott villain- has prevented her from presenting the relationship between the two with any genuine complexity.
Last edited by annis on Sat May 25th, 2013, 10:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Susan
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Joined: August 2008
Location: New Jersey, USA

Post by Susan » Sun May 26th, 2013, 1:35 pm

Sticking with Dame Frevisse...The Outlaw's Tale by Margaret Frazer
~Susan~
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Misfit
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Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Sun May 26th, 2013, 11:17 pm

I just finished The Devil in Crystal by Erica Lindley. Absolutely awesome Victorian era gothic suspense with plenty of twists and turns and surprises around every corner.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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Lisa
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Posts: 1153
Joined: August 2012
Favourite HF book: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
Preferred HF: Any time period/location. Timeslip, usually prefer female POV. Also love Gothic melodrama.
Location: Northeast Scotland

Post by Lisa » Mon May 27th, 2013, 11:23 am

Will be starting Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier tonight. I'm going to Amsterdam next week so I thought a novel set in The Netherlands would help get me in the mood :)

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon May 27th, 2013, 2:39 pm

Just finished The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. This is going straight to the top of my best of the year so far. I loved it!
I was rather amused by the back blurb though which said that if you'd read and loved A Discovery of Witches and Jonathan Strange and Mister Norell, this book would hit the spot.
I DNF both of those. The one because it ended up being a middle-class woman's lifestyle wish-list - Yoga and weekend away hotels in idyllic locations with champagne and crisp linen sheets. It was almost like non sexual porn for the well-heeled woman!
Jonathan Strange just glazed my eyes.

Happily The Golem and Jinni did not do any of these. Even though it's a fantasy, it has realism, integrity and soul - plus it's darned good story telling. I suppose the publishers should have put on the back (for me anyway) 'If you loved The Snow Child' by Eowyn Ivy, you will love this.'
Last edited by EC2 on Mon May 27th, 2013, 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

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DianeL
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Post by DianeL » Mon May 27th, 2013, 5:07 pm

Vanessa, I read "Stepsister" this year. It was enjoyable, but I didn't sink all the way in I don't think; the ending didn't bother me, but it didn't do a great deal either honestly.

I had the very great privilege of meeting William Golding in person my senior year in high school; he came to our school and gave a talk. He was remarkable, for a young writer - but I can't say I've ever been in love with LOTF either, E. :)

After all these years, I finally picked up a copy of "The Red Tent" at a thrift shop and have begun reading it. It hasn't completely convinced me either. (I seem to be running a negative theme here - but for a highly positive reaction to a book comparable to Tent, take a peek here for some thoughts on Ursula LeGuin's "Lavinia".) Tent is replacing the lunchtime book I've been trying to force myself back through for months, "Caesar's Woman" - McCullough was completely insufferable by this novel; it's an incredibly frustrating read.

Recently finished my very first e-book(s) ever; appropriately, I purchased "The Ultimate Hithhiker's Guide" as my inaugural Kindle tome. Adams will always have a place in my heart, but it's hard not to read a little more critically with age. :)
"To be the queen, she agreed to be the widow!"

***

The pre-modern world was willing to attribute charisma to women well before it was willing to attribute sustained rationality to them.
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Madeleine
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Posts: 5706
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: "Longstone" by L J Ross
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Tue May 28th, 2013, 8:41 am

I've just started Hasty Death by M C Beaton - the second book in her Edwardian crime series.
Currently reading: "Longstone" by L J Ross

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Vanessa
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Posts: 4226
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Post by Vanessa » Tue May 28th, 2013, 10:57 am

[quote=""EC2""]Just finished The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. This is going straight to the top of my best of the year so far. I loved it!
I was rather amused by the back blurb though which said that if you'd read and loved A Discovery of Witches and Jonathan Strange and Mister Norell, this book would hit the spot.
I DNF both of those. The one because it ended up being a middle-class woman's lifestyle wish-list - Yoga and weekend away hotels in idyllic locations with champagne and crisp linen sheets. It was almost like non sexual porn for the well-heeled woman!
Jonathan Strange just glazed my eyes.

Happily The Golem and Jinni did not do any of these. Even though it's a fantasy, it has realism, integrity and soul - plus it's darned good story telling. I suppose the publishers should have put on the back (for me anyway) 'If you loved The Snow Child' by Eowyn Ivy, you will love this.'[/quote]

I really fancy this one! I loved A Discovery of Witches, Jonathan Strange and The Snow Child. Jonathan Strange took me a couple of attempts.

[quote=""DianeL""]Vanessa, I read "Stepsister" this year. It was enjoyable, but I didn't sink all the way in I don't think; the ending didn't bother me, but it didn't do a great deal either honestly.

I had the very great privilege of meeting William Golding in person my senior year in high school; he came to our school and gave a talk. He was remarkable, for a young writer - but I can't say I've ever been in love with LOTF either, E. :)

After all these years, I finally picked up a copy of "The Red Tent" at a thrift shop and have begun reading it. It hasn't completely convinced me either. (I seem to be running a negative theme here - but for a highly positive reaction to a book comparable to Tent, take a peek here for some thoughts on Ursula LeGuin's "Lavinia".) Tent is replacing the lunchtime book I've been trying to force myself back through for months, "Caesar's Woman" - McCullough was completely insufferable by this novel; it's an incredibly frustrating read.

[/quote]

I'm not enjoying Stepsister as much as Wicked but it's OK, quite enjoying it.

The Red Tent didn't grab me that much either.
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

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite 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

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue May 28th, 2013, 3:10 pm

Haven't posted much on what I am reading lately because I downloaded a pile of free classics to my kindle, and I'm flipping through them.
I just finished 'Tales of the Alhambra' by Washington Irving. I know I have read this before; there's a paperback on my shelf I bought AT the Alhambra itself -- but about half of it seems completely new. Maybe my mind is disintegrating?

I ripped through Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi. Twain is engaging and fun always, a good example of a timeless writing style.

I have not been able to gag down more than half of Gaskell's North and South. High-flown verbiage aside, the writer's sympathy for lazy-ass whimpering upper-class women is driving me nuts. My daughter owns the series with Richard Armitage --I think I'll have to take this one in movie format.

I keep looking at Pat Bracewell's Shadow on the Crown on my nightstand. I heard portions of it in beta, so I'm sure it will be good. But the darn thing is hardcover and weighs a ton, and the 6-ounce Kindle has spoiled me in that direction.

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fljustice
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Post by fljustice » Tue May 28th, 2013, 4:25 pm

[quote=""MLE""]I keep looking at Pat Bracewell's Shadow on the Crown on my nightstand. I heard portions of it in beta, so I'm sure it will be good. But the darn thing is hardcover and weighs a ton, and the 6-ounce Kindle has spoiled me in that direction.[/quote]

I've had the same problem! I don't normally buy hardbacks except at charity events, used bookstores or for research. I'm currently reading Colonel Roosevelt in massive hardback and miss my Nook.
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