Although I completely dropped the ball on remembering to highlight my steps towards this particular challenge I’ve well and truly exceeded my personal goal which was to attain the Daring and Curious level of the challenge by reading 5 books. When I look back at my reading for the year I’ve read 19 books which would count towards this challenge, which apparently makes me obsessed heading towards bookaholic status, though some have been counted towards other challenges too. Anyway it looks like I’ve rediscovered my historical fiction mojo after a few years in the wilderness which makes me happy (thanks once again to Norman for reigniting my interest).
I’ve learned something interesting during this year. Although I like to think myself fairly adaptable to a wide variety of writing styles I don’t seem to cope too well with historical fiction which uses modern language. I understand why authors choose this option, especially for books set in times or places where the language is far removed from modern English, and intellectually I am in complete agreement with their choice. But when reading I like to get lots in a story and I find it hard to get lost in historical fiction which uses modern language. I know it’s silly of me. I wouldn’t understand a word of Ancient Greek if it were written in front of me so it shouldn’t matter whether a book set in that time uses today’s English or yesterday’s but, on some level that I can’t seem to overcome, it does.
I’ve listed all the books below in the order I read them and notice I really got hung up on historical Australia in the second half of the year. It wasn’t particularly intentional, though I was reading books eligible for some awards here and historical fiction often does well here. I’ve put a star next to the ones I rated 3 stars or more (which on my scale means that I enjoyed reading them and would happily read something similar again). If I had to pick a favourite it would be a toss up between Geraldine Brooks’ Caleb’s Crossing and Ernesto Mallo’s Needle in a Haystack (two very different books).
- Ariana Franklin, The Serpent’s Tale (1100’s England) *
- Boris Akunin, Pelagia and the White Bulldog (1800’s Russia)
- Diane Day, The Strange Files of Fremont Jones (1900’s America)
- Andrew Croome, Document Z (1950’s Australia) *
- Elizabeth Peters, The Snake The Crocodile and the Dog (1800’s Egypt) (no review)
- Sam Eastland, The Eye of the Red Tsar (1930’s Russia)
- Ariana Franklin, Relics of the Dead (1100’s England) *
- Geraldine Brooks, Caleb’s Crossing (1600’s America) *
- Colleen McCullough, Naked Cruelty (1960’s America)
- Ernesto Mallo, Needle in a Haystack (1970’s Argentina) *
- Gary Corby, The Pericles Commission (Ancient Greece) *
- Sulari Gentill, A Decline in Prophets (1930’s Australia) *
- Chris Womersley, Bereft (1909-19 Australia)
- Kerry Greenwood, Dead Man’s Chest (1920’s Australia) *
- Geoffrey McGeachin The Diggers Rest Hotel (late 1940’s Australia) *
- John Lawton, Second Violin (1930’s to 1940’s, Austria and England)
- Carolyn Morwood, Death and the Spanish Lady (1919 Australia) *
- Cora Harrison, Scales of Retribution (1500’s Ireland) *
- Gary Corby, The Ionia Sanction (Ancient Greece) *
Thanks to the ladies of Historical Tapestry for hosting this year’s challenge. I’m sorry I was such a poor participant (forgetting to do the Mr Linky thing most of the time) but I did enjoy the books which is the main thing (I hope) and am confident that my re-awakened interest in historical fiction is not a spent force even though next year I’m radically reducing my challenge participation. In fact I have just selected Rebecca Cantrell’s A Trace of Smoke (set in 1930’s Germany) from my TBR shelves to read next. And there’s not even a challenge in sight 🙂