2011 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

OK, I lied the other day when I posted about my last challenge for next year. But I didn’t realise someone was hosting a historical fiction challenge and I already own lots of books that would qualify so it seems a little crazy not to sign up, right? Plus I have really been enjoying the historical crime fiction I’ve read over the past year or two (thanks once again to Norman of the excellent Crime Scraps for reawakening my interest in this genre via his wonderful reviews of historical fiction).

The challenge is being hosted by the bloggers at Historical Tapestry and has several levels to aim for. I’m being conservative and going for the Daring and Curious level which requires the reading of 5 books but I’ll see how I go and might aim higher if I reach this level early in the year.

These are the qualifying books sitting on my shelves, eReader or iPod awaiting consumption

  • Ariana Franklin – City of Shadows & The Serpent’s Tale
  • Arturo Perez-Reverte – Purity of Blood
  • C. J. Sansom – Dissolution
  • David Ebershoff – The 19th Wife (a book I read half of 2 years ago and forgot to finish)
  • Dianne Day – The Strange Files of Fremont Jones, Fire and Fog , The Bohemian Murders & Death Train to Boston (I hope I like this author as I have four of her books without having read one of ‘em – that’s the way things roll when you use bookmooch though – you don’t collect books in order and I wanted to start with the first book)
  • Edward Marston – The Railway Viaduct (plus I’d like to start his theatre series next year)
  • Elizabeth Peters –The Snake, The Crocodile and the Dog
  • Ernesto Mallo – Needle in a Haystack
  • Iain Pears – An Instance of the Fingerpost
  • Ken Follett – The Pillars of the Earth (one day I will finish this, have read the first half twice which should count for something)
  • Maureen Jennings – Except the Dying (a book I mooched because I liked the TV series based on the books – I rarely enjoy books after I’ve seen the TV shows but we’ll see)
  • Phil Rickman – The Bones of Avalon
  • Rory Clements – Revenger (actually I don’t own this one yet, but I have pre-ordered the paperback version due in February)
  • S J Parris – Heresy
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8 Responses to 2011 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

  1. Marg says:

    Yay! So glad you are joining in on our challenge! I will be waiting for the next Ariana Franklin, really need to read CJ Sansom, need to get back to Amelia Peabody, and I am really excited about getting hold of CW Gortner’s next book which is set in the Tudor court!


  2. Looking forward to it Marg, though will be afraid to read any other reviews as I trying to reduce my TBR piles. There’s always a wishlist though 🙂


  3. Norman says:

    Bernadette, thanks for your very kind comments.
    A dreadful case of “man flu” [one of my Christmas presents from my children] has temporarily stopped me blogging, but I will return and this challenge is right up my street.


  4. Maxine says:

    My husband has just started reading Dissolution. So far (a chapter or two in) he thinks Wolf Hall was better – certainly better written. But I know you didn’t think all that much of Wolf Hall.
    I hope Dissolution does meet with favour as for complicated reasons we have the first four books in the series in our house and someone needs to read them. Perhaps I should start reading more historical crime myself – it hasn’t been my favourite area (though I did read a lot of historical novels in my teens), though I do like the Stratton series by Laura Wilson, set in WW2 and the 50s/60s.


  5. @Maxine I suspect Wolf Hall is more historically accurate than any of the stuff I plan to read but I’ve realised I don’t much mind people taking liberties with the facts if it means things are a bit more entertaining. I can hear my history tutor tutting in my head but have decided he can sod off. I used to read loads of historical novels (not crime specifically) then got sick of them and didn’t read one for about 15 years but thanks to Norman I have really started to enjoy them again, though probably for different reasons. These days I can see all the similarities between our time and all the times that have gone before – it’s not exactly inspiring but it is comforting in a way 🙂


  6. kathy durkin says:

    Historical fiction has never been my thing, and I’ve shied away from it. However, this sounds like an interesting challenge. I’ll read the blog’s reviews (and Norman’s), and may be tempted to break my habits, and try some new books. I’ll stay away from WWII books, unless they omit Nazis, highly unlikely. But there are many other epochs in which to reside, so I’m open on this score. (I did read Kelli Stanley’s wonderful book, “City of Dragons,” which takes place in late 1930s San Francisco, and recommend it.)


  7. Bernadette – I’m excited to see you’ve signed up for this challenge! As you know, I very much like historical fiction, too, so I’m eager to see what you think of these books. And as far as historical accuracy goes, well……I like accuracy and a certain amount of believability is important but beyond that? The plot is far, far more important.


  8. JoV says:

    When you mentioned your experience wiht David Ebershoff – The 19th Wife and The Pillars of the Earth, it brought a smile. I remember you commented on my 19th wife post 2 years back; and I also have The Pillars of the Earth on my TBR, would be nice if you decide to have some company to read the book, it does look daunting to me!

    Good luck with the challenge!


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