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What Are You Reading? October 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.
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Lisa
Bibliophile
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 » Thu October 31st, 2013, 9:33 am

[quote=""annis""]Back on the steppes with R.F. Tapsell's Year of the Horsetails- liking it a lot (a bit reminiscent in style of Ronald Welch, though not a YA novel). Tapsell apparently also wrote a novel about the birth of the Persian Empire and Darius the Great called Shadow of Wings that I'd like to check out, but it's rare as hen's teeth. I might be able to interloan a copy with any luck, though. Not many novels around about the Persians from their own POV rather than the Greeks'.[/quote]

Maybe that one will get re-released on Kindle eventually? I notice Year of the Horsetails is on Kindle and very cheap in the UK. I don't know if it helps much, but I went on to the Amazon Shadow of Wings page and hit the "I'd like to read this on Kindle" button for you, since the button still seems to be available in the UK!

annis
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4585
Joined: August 2008

Post by annis » Thu October 31st, 2013, 6:21 pm

Posted by LadyB
I went on to the Amazon Shadow of Wings page and hit the "I'd like to read this on Kindle" button for you, since the button still seems to be available in the UK!
Thanks very much, LadyB - that was a kind thought :)

Interesting reading some of these older novels - it's a reminder that fashions in writing styles are also subject to change over time. In the mid- 20th century the style was much more "tell than show", though since I grew up with that it doesn't bother me too much!

Carla
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Post by Carla » Sun November 3rd, 2013, 5:43 pm

[quote=""annis""]

Interesting reading some of these older novels - it's a reminder that fashions in writing styles are also subject to change over time. In the mid- 20th century the style was much more "tell than show", though since I grew up with that it doesn't bother me too much![/quote]

I quite like the old-fashioned 'tell' style. Too much of it gets dull (some of Nigel Tranter's and Jean Plaidy's novels can go a bit this way), but it can be much more economical than 'show'. Especially for scene-setting and sketching in a character, where a couple of paragraphs of 'telling' can lay foundations that would have taken several chapters to 'show'. Too much 'show' can be equally dull in a different way.

This was spectacularly illustrated to me a few years ago by a radio adaptation of some of Kipling's Plain Tales from the Hills. Kipling frequently tells you about a character and their background in a sentence or two, then gets straight on with the story. The radio dramas seemed to think they had to 'show' all this. Sometimes it was excruciating. One example that's stuck in my mind: Kipling described a character with typical economy '...he objected to whist, cut the cloth at billiards, sang out of tune and wrote long letters home to his mother and sisters'; and the adaptation dutifully 'showed' the character doing all this, turning a sentence into what felt like half the episode time and then having to rush the actual story. Okay, so the Plain Tales are a masterclass in economy, so it's not a very fair comparison, but still, I wish they had used a narrator to do a bit of 'telling'.
PATHS OF EXILE - love, war, honour and betrayal in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review, August 2009
Now available as e-book on Amazon Kindleand in Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader), Palm and other formats on Smashwords
Website: http://www.carlanayland.org
Blog: http://carlanayland.blogspot.com

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
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) » Sun November 3rd, 2013, 6:45 pm

[quote=""Carla""]I quite like the old-fashioned 'tell' style. Too much of it gets dull (some of Nigel Tranter's and Jean Plaidy's novels can go a bit this way), but it can be much more economical than 'show'. Especially for scene-setting and sketching in a character, where a couple of paragraphs of 'telling' can lay foundations that would have taken several chapters to 'show'. Too much 'show' can be equally dull in a different way.

This was spectacularly illustrated to me a few years ago by a radio adaptation of some of Kipling's Plain Tales from the Hills. Kipling frequently tells you about a character and their background in a sentence or two, then gets straight on with the story. The radio dramas seemed to think they had to 'show' all this. Sometimes it was excruciating. One example that's stuck in my mind: Kipling described a character with typical economy '...he objected to whist, cut the cloth at billiards, sang out of tune and wrote long letters home to his mother and sisters'; and the adaptation dutifully 'showed' the character doing all this, turning a sentence into what felt like half the episode time and then having to rush the actual story. Okay, so the Plain Tales are a masterclass in economy, so it's not a very fair comparison, but still, I wish they had used a narrator to do a bit of 'telling'.[/quote]
Let's hear it for some 'telling' when it moves the story along. Altho the 'show-don't-tell' mantra has made me think long and hard about each scene setting, making every choice do triple work for illustrating the important points, sometime there just isn't any substitute for telling.

Also, it's in the telling that a reader hears the writer's voice.

Carla
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Post by Carla » Sun November 3rd, 2013, 7:15 pm

[quote=""MLE""]

Also, it's in the telling that a reader hears the writer's voice.[/quote]

Yes, good point. That's something that is often lost in adaptations, although the Radio 4 Classic Serial often gets round it neatly by using a narrator as the author's voice, which can be very effective. Jane Austen adaptations for TV sometimes give the author's most famous lines ('It is a truth universally acknowledged....' etc) to one or other of the characters. I'd like to think that's because they recognise that losing the author's voice is a loss.
PATHS OF EXILE - love, war, honour and betrayal in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review, August 2009
Now available as e-book on Amazon Kindleand in Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader), Palm and other formats on Smashwords
Website: http://www.carlanayland.org
Blog: http://carlanayland.blogspot.com

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SonjaMarie
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Post by SonjaMarie » Tue November 5th, 2013, 4:36 am

Oct 2013 22
"The Criminal Conversation of Mrs. Norton: Victorian England's "Scandal of the Century" and the Fallen Socialite Who Changed Women's Lives Forever" by Diane Atkinson (437pgs, 2013) (10/5) (K)*
"Taken In Death" by J.D. Robb, short story in anthology "Mirror, Mirror" (93pgs, 2013) (10/5) (K L)
"Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark & the Spending of a Great American Fortune" by Bill Dedman & Paul Newell Jr (413pgs, 2013) (10/7) (K L)
"What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House" by Tevi Troy (258pgs, 2013) (10/10) (K L)
"The Borgias: The Hidden History" by G.J. Meyer (563pgs, 2013) (10/11) (K L)
"Duel with the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr Teamed Up to Take on America's First Sensational Murder Mystery" by Paul Collins (275pgs, 2013) (10/11) (K L)
"Birth, Marriage, and Death: Ritual, Religion, and the Life Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England" by David Cressy (483pgs, 1997) (10/11)*
"Heartless: Alexia Tarabotti/The Parasol Protectorate #4" by Gail Carriger (374pgs, 2011) (10/12) (K L)
"Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex" by Mary Roach (293pgs, 2008) (10/13) - HILARIOUS!
"The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds, and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures" by Philip Mould (246pgs, 2010) (10/17) (K L)
"A Brief History of Life in the Middle Ages" by Martyn Whittock (284pgs, 2009) (10/19)*
"Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination" by Neal Gabler (679pgs, 2006) (10/21)*
"Heretic Queen: Queen Elizabeth I and the Wars of Religion" by Susan Ronald (329pgs, 2012) (10/23)
"For Whom The Funeral Bell Tolls #4" by Livia J. Washburn (233pgs, 2012) (10/23) (K)*
"Before Versailles: Before the History You Know...a Novel of Louis XIV" by Karleen Koen (394pgs, 2012) (10/24) - I wonder if she'll continue Louise's story.
"Timeless: Alexia Tarabotti/The Parasol Protectorate #5" by Gail Carriger (386pgs, 2012) (10/27) (K L)
"Life at the Marmont: The Inside Story of Hollywood's Legendary Hotel of the Stars - Chateau Marmont" by Raymond Sarlot & Fred E. Basten (339pgs, 2013) (10/27) (K L)
"The Angel Stone: Fairwick Chronicles #3" by Carol Goodman (303pgs, 2013) (10/30)
"A Taste of the Nightlife: A Charlotte Caine/Vampire Chef Mystery #1" by Sarah Zettel (297pgs, 2011)
"All the Best Rubbish: The Classic Ode to Collecting" by Ivor Noel Hume (353pgs, 1974orig, 2013ed) (10/31) (K L)
"Good Old Days My Ass: 665 Funny History Facts & Terrifying Truths about Yesteryear" by David A. Fryxell (212pgs, 2012) (10/31)
"Homicide in Hardcover: A Brooklyn Wainwright/Bibliophile Mystery #1" by Kate Carlisle (295pgs, 2009) (10/31) (K L)
Pages: 7529 - 342pgs aver (7 BF, 4 Own (1 K), 11 K L)

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Gordopolis
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Post by Gordopolis » Tue November 5th, 2013, 11:17 am

Currently braving the high seas in a deathtrap of a canoe with Papillon and his fellow escapees.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Harper-Perennia ... 0007179960
Shocking, heartwarming and inspiring stuff indeed!

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Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4233
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 November 5th, 2013, 12:44 pm

I'm reading My Lady Deceiver by Freda Lightfoot.
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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Gordopolis
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Post by Gordopolis » Thu February 5th, 2015, 11:34 am

About to start Kate Quinn's 'Lady of the Eternal City', set in the time of Emperor Hadrian. Loved her short in 'A Day of Fire' so hoping this will live up to that standard too.

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