Top Ten Books Every History Lover Should Read

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Books For Every X To Read.  Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, second only to Fantasy so it only made sense for me to choose historical fiction for this week’s TTT.  In no particular order, here we go…

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  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Really the entire series works well for any history lover because there is so much history involved in the series.  The first book revolves around 1743 in the Scottish Highlands.  Such a great series.
  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden – This book is a great read for anyone interested in what life was like for a geisha before, during, and after WWII.
  • A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley – This book had a really fascinating story with flashbacks to the past through the journal of an exiled Jacobite, Mary Dundas.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story.
  • Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier – Almost any book written by Tracy Chevalier would be great for history lovers.  I have only read this one and Lady and the Unicorn but both are really fascinating imaginings of the story behind these works of art and the artists who created them.
  • The Outlander by Gil Adamson – An exciting journey of a young widow escaping from her two brother-in-laws who are pursuing her for the murder of her abusive husband.  It takes place in 1903 in Alberta, Canada.

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  • The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory – Any book by Philippa Gregory is a great choice, especially if you love the history of Tudor England.  I have a big collection of her books because that is one of my favorite history subjects so it is fun to read historical fiction to go along with it.
  • Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – A no brainer for the Civil War and reconstruction history buff.  This will forever be one of my favorite books.
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – It’s been years since I have read this book but it is a great one.  A missionary family travels to the Congo in 1959 and go through many struggles and build themselves back up over the course of three decades.
  • The Reader by Bernhard Schlink – This is the story of a teenage German boy who meets a German woman and they have an affair.  Later in the boy’s life he is a law student witnessing the woman being on trial for a horrid crime.  He struggles to watch her refuse to release the one piece of fact that could clear her because it is a secret she regards more shameful than murder.  Such a good book.
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan – This is a bit of a tough one to describe but it starts out in the 1930s in England and moves forward through to WWII, revolving around the lives of sisters Briony and Cecelia, and their friend Robbie Turner.  Beautiful prose as well as an interesting story and setting make this a great book.

Are you a history lover?  What are some of your favorite historical fiction books?

Shelf Control – April 7, 2016

Shelf Control

Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.  Consider this a variation of a Wishing & Waiting post… but looking at books already available.  Take a look at your shelves and/or Kindle and post about a book you own but haven’t read yet.

13516154Title: The Song of Achilles
Author:  Madeline Miller
Published: Published April 12th 2012 by Bloomsbury Publishing (first published September 20th 2011)
Length: 352 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.
But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

How I Got It: I bought it at a used book store.

When I Got It: About a year and a half ago.

Why I Want To Read It: I heard about it from a fellow blogger and after hearing about it once I continued seeing things about it.  It’s fresh in my mind today because I saw it one someone’s Instagram yesterday!  I love Greek mythology and Troy is one of my favorite movies so this book really holds an interest for me.  Not to mention everyone talking about how good it is.

Have any of you read this book?  What did you think of it?

Shelf Control – March 24, 2016

Shelf Control

Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.  Consider this a variation of a Wishing & Waiting post… but looking at books already available.  Take a look at your shelves and/or Kindle and post about a book you own but haven’t read yet.

77273Title: The Historian
Author:  Elizabeth Kostova
Published: Published June 14th 2005 by Little, Brown and Company
Length: 642 Pages

Goodreads Summary: To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history….Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to “My dear and unfortunate successor,” and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of-a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known-and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself-to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed-and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe. In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler’s dark reign-and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.Parsing obscure signs and hidden texts, reading codes worked into the fabric of medieval monastic traditions-and evading the unknown adversaries who will go to any lengths to conceal and protect Vlad’s ancient powers-one woman comes ever closer to the secret of her own past and a confrontation with the very definition of evil. Elizabeth Kostova’s debut novel is an adventure of monumental proportions, a relentless tale that blends fact and fantasy, history and the present, with an assurance that is almost unbearably suspenseful-and utterly unforgettable.

How I Got It: I bought it used at Half Price Books.

When I Got It: At least 3 years ago.

Why I Want To Read It: The cover and the title immediately drew me into the book.  But when I read the jacket cover, I was hooked.  And now after re-reading the summary all I want to do right now is drop my current read and pick this one up ASAP!  Vlad the Impaler is such a fascinating historical person and this book sounds so mysterious and thrilling!

Have any of you read this book?  What did you think of it?

Top Ten Historical Settings I Love

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is:  Top Ten Historical Settings You Love/ Ten Historical Settings You’d Love To See or Top Futuristic Books You Love/Ten Futuristic Societies I’d Love To Read in Books — basically this week is all about the past or the future….spin it however you choose!

I love historical fiction.  It is tied for my favorite genre along with fantasy.  I was also a history major in college so I just love reading things related to history in general.  I do have favorite time periods I like to read about and time periods that I really don’t like reading.  Here are my top ten historical settings!

  1. Tudor England – Anything about the Tudors, I LOVE!  Philippa Gregory has some great series that take place during this era.
  2. Regency England – Jane Austen, JA spin-off types and other books set in this time I love reading.
  3. 1700s Ireland & Scotland – I really love all things Ireland and Scotland but the 1700s are the most interesting to me.
  4. Ancient Egpyt – I have always been fascinated by Ancient Egypt so any book that takes place in this era I would love to read, especially if it is about any of the Egyptian queens.
  5. Civil War era (US) – This era in US history is completely fascinating to me.  Gone With The Wind is my favorite from this era.
  6. Colonial (US) – Before and after the Revolutionary War.
  7. Westward Expansion (US) – This would include the Gold Rush and pioneer times.  Some of my favorites from this setting would be the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and The Giants in the Earth trilogy by O.E. Rolvaag.
  8. 1600s US, especially Salem – I am obsessed with the Salem Witch Trials.  Recently I acquired The Witches by Stacy Schiff and can’t wait to read it!
  9. Imperial Russia – This one is a newer fascination of mine thanks to my husband who has a fascination of all things Russian.  If you have any recommendations for this era, let me know!
  10. World War II – Ever since I read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry in elementary school, I have liked reading about WWII.  It was obviously an incredibly tragic time so it can be hard to read.

What are some of your favorite historical settings?  Do we share any?

Top Ten Books for Readers Who Like Historical Fiction

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme originated on The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a different bookish topic.  This week’s topic is Top Ten Books for Readers Who Like _____.

I’m a big fan of historical fiction so I decided to do that for this week’s post.

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  1. The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
  2. Serena by Ron Rash
  3. Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
  4. The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George
  5. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  6. Atonement by Ian McEwan
  7. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  8. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  9. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
  10. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

If you’re a fan of historical fiction, what would be your top ten?