Saturday, March 21, 2009

Weekly Geeks

The Geeks are travelling back in time this week, with these ponderables:

Let's take a magical history tour this week, with a focus on Historical Fiction. That is, contemporary novels with a historical setting. I like to give choices, so here they are, pick the question(s) that appeal to you:

Is there a particular era that you love reading about? Tell us about it--give us a book list, if you'd like. Include pictures or some fun facts from that time period, maybe link to a website that focuses on that time. Educate us.
Um. Hmm...
I do like historical fiction. I prefer ancient history to more recent fare, I think. One of my favourite series is the Masters of Rome, by Colleen McCullough. It begins with The First Man in Rome, in 110BC and the series goes from there to the last book, Antony and Cleopatra.
It's everything that historical ficiton should be: well-researched, well-written, satisfying to read ... my brother, who mostly reads science fiction, pinched the first one from me on a family holiday and loved it.
It covers such a massive time scale, that I'm just going to link to the Wikipedia article about the series, but it looks to be a decent jumping-off point:

Do you have a favorite book that really pulled you back in time, or perhaps gave you a special interest in that period? Include a link to a review of it on another book blog if you can find one (doesn't have to be a Weekly Geek participant). Um. I can't really think of anything. For all of my declarations of liking historical fiction, I haven't really read a lot lately. I think the last one was The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette, last year. Oh no, wait _ The Heretic Queen, by Michelle Moran, which I only liked, even though I love me some Ancient Egypt. What I would like to find is a really well-written novel set in Ancient Egypt. Or ancient anywhere. I think the Masters of Rome series made me a bit picky.

A member of your book group, Ashley, mentions that she almost never reads Historical Fiction because it can be so boring. It's your turn to pick the book for next month and you feel it's your duty to prove her wrong. What book do you pick? Boring, eh? She's obviously never read Phillippa Gregory. I'd give her Wideacre, and bucket of ice to stick her head into when the action heats up a bit too much. Heh.

If you're in agreement with Ashley on this one (or even if you're not):Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to browse through this week's WG posts, and by the end of the week, pick a book from one of the posts to read. Report on which book you picked, linking to the Weekly Geeks post where you found it.
I'm interested to see what other Geeks come up with. :)


Louise said...

Actually, I cannot think of a decent series set in Ancient Egypt. They are either totally cheesy or totally booooring. So I'm with you on that one.

A semi-decent series is an old one by Lynda S. Robinson. They are thrillers (though not overly thrilling) and is a series of 3-4-5 books, all with Lord Meren, sort of a secret service-agent for Pharaoh, as main character. That series is okay.

I hated the Christian Jacq series about Ramesses II (actually, I only read number one and detested it) and I can't really stomach those Nefertiti-books either ;o)

Anonymous said...

I have one of McCollough's books somewhere that I haven't read yet...I'll have to actually read it sometime. The Thorn Birds is my all time fave, just a romantic at heart.

I haven't read much on Egypt, but I loved The Red Tent by Anita Diamont. Beautiful story.

claire said...

The Masters of Rome series looks like something I might like.. thanks! :D

Ali said...

I love that your science-fiction reading brother loved the Masters of Rome book. That's a great endorsement!

pussreboots said...

Sounds like an interesting book. My post is here.

SariJ said...

I tried this series about 5 years ago and just could not get into the first book; however now that you have talked it up, I may just try again.

I personally would love a really good series on ancient to early 1700 England. I tried reading Edward Rutherford's Londinium, but it was way to much of a soap opera for my taste.

Maree said...

Louise: thanks for the recommendation :)
Melissa: I haven't read The Thorn Birds. I did read The Red Tent many years ago and I agree; it's a beautiful story.
Claire: you're welcome :)
Ali: he ended up finishing it before I did!
Pussreboots: Thanks :)
SariJ: The first book can be a little hard to get into, but it is well worth persisting with. :)

Kerrie said...

You might like a book by Kelli Stanley called NOX DORMIENDA: a long night for sleeping, which recently won the Left Coast Crime historical Award

Anonymous said...

My post is about ancient Rome this week. What a coincidence. I never heard of the masters of Rome. I must go and have a look. Thanks for the recommendation.

susan said...

I prefer more recent history but I enjoyed reading your post about what you like.