Sunday Morning Book Thread 12-16-2012: Everything Old Is New Again [OregonMuse]
Don't lance me, bro!
Good morning, 'rons and 'ettes, and welcome to the historically accurate, but never fake, Sunday Morning Book Thread
Historical Fiction For some reason, I've been running into this genre a lot this week, and when something like that happens, it becomes fodder for the book thread. So let's start out with one I didn't like. This one here. Ugh. I thought idea of a story whose characters are trying to survive in a pre-historic Ice Age environment was kind of interesting, but the writing was dismal, the characters weak, and the sex scenes were needlessly lurid, so much so that after awhile, I thought I was looking at some kind of paleolithic porn novel. I think I finished the first book in the series and then gave up a short way into the second. On a humorous note, we all know that the Amazon customer reviews tend to be overly generous. The fan bois really come out in force when their idol is on the line. So with that in mind, I think it's quite telling that the 6th book in Auel's "Earth's Children" series, with over 1300 reviews, could only manage an average of 2 stars out of a possible five. Two stars! Egads, that must be one stinky pile of poo. But enough of that. this author while looking for Kindle deals and I was going to buy one of his books until I read one of the 1-star reviews from someone who demonstrated that Cornwell's historical setting was very inaccurate, even for a work of fiction. Also, he really has an axe to grind against the Catholic Church, he writes about in unremittingly negative terms. Now we all know that the medieval church was often corrupt, I get that, but considering it was one of the chief mainstays of western civilization back in those days, I think there's more to the story than evil popes, greedy bishops, and drunken, debauched clergy I found out about Sharon Kay Penman on another conservative blog with a book section. Her book The Sunne in Splendour, set during the War of the Roses, was recommended as "a perfect read (900+ pages) if you are snowed in with a bottle of brandy and a raging fire." This sounds like my kind of book. However, I'm not going to be able to get to it for awhile, so in the meantime, I checked out an audio version of one of Penman's other novels, Lionheart, for Mrs. Muse, so I'll see how she likes it. So I'd like to hear recommendations from all you morons, and even though I've been talking mostly about medieval history, it's certainly not limited to that. It's certainly a broad category.
Bleg I read a short story years ago when I was in 8th grade whose title and author I have long forgotten, so I wonder if any of you 'rons or 'ettes can help me out with it. It was written by a south-of-the border author and the setting is, I believe, one of Mexico's interminable civil wars/revolutions. Not to give too much of it away, but a poor man is working in his barber shop one day when the leader of one of the warring factions comes in and asks for a shave. So there he sits in the barber's chair, head tilted back, neck exposed, and as the barber is shaving him, he just can't stop thinking about what it would be like to kill him, just simply cut his throat with the razor he's using, how easy it would be, and should he do it, and perhaps he would get a big reward out of it. I can't say any more without spoiling it. So if anyone knows the short story I'm describing, don't hesitate to pipe up in the comments. Thank you. [Update]: In the comments, Coldstream says this is the Nabokov story 'Razor'. I looked up 'Razor', and that's not it. It's similar, though. In fact, it's so similar, I wonder if the one inspired the other, and if so, which one? [Update 2]: And we have a winner! Commenter 'No One of Consequence' says this story is called "Espuma y Nada Mas" ("Just Lather, That's All"). I looked it up and it was written by the Colombian author Hernando Téllez. You can read an English translation here. And here's a shout-out to moron commenter Vic, who is gone for the weekend. I hope he makes it back soon. And that's it for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, and insults may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org So what have you all been reading this past week? Something good I hope.
Posted by: FURPC at December 16, 2012 11:30 AM (0ImZM)
2 I know that story. I don't know any of the particulars, sorry.
Posted by: Truman North (D) at December 16, 2012 11:34 AM (I2LwF)
3 I'm reading The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir.
Bit of an Anglophile I'm afraid, what.
Posted by: Jones in CO at December 16, 2012 11:34 AM (8sCoq)
4 I think the story you're talking about is "Razor" by Nabokov.
Posted by: Coldstream at December 16, 2012 11:34 AM (qrCKL)
5 I read Bush's autobiography recently. Pretty good read.
Posted by: Mr. Moo Moo at December 16, 2012 11:35 AM (HDgX3)
6 I have been reading photographs of people's assholes in order to tell their fortunes. It's a good living.
No, that's true, look it up.
Posted by: Sylvester Stallone's Mom at December 16, 2012 11:35 AM (I2LwF)
7 Well as a slightly contrary view on Bernard Cornwall, I have loved his historical novels set in ninth century England about the conflict between King Alfred the Great (a Saxon) and the invading Danish Vikings who controlled much of North and Central England.
Posted by: Nc at December 16, 2012 11:36 AM (LmX/s)
8 7 Well as a slightly contrary view on Bernard Cornwall, I have loved his historical novels set in ninth century England about the conflict between King Alfred the Great (a Saxon) and the invading Danish Vikings who controlled much of North and Central England.
I suspect my Anglicized Viking surname found its origin then.
The one on my birth certificate I mean, not "North."
Posted by: Truman North (D) at December 16, 2012 11:40 AM (l1SPM)
9 My best friend read "Pillars of the Earth" and recommended it to me.
I am reading "C.S. Lewis for the Third Millenium" by Peter Kreeft. Very good so far. Five essays regarding "The Abolition of Man."
"For "man's conquest of Nature" must always mean, in the concrete, some men's power over other men, using nature as the instrument."
Posted by: Al at December 16, 2012 11:40 AM (V70Uh)
10 I'd appreciate y'all's opinion of the Kindle Fire. I'm thinking about getting one for Christmas, if it's still a good e-reader as well as a tablet, but I need to know that first. If so, which version would you suggest? (I'm inclined to the big one at the moment, but willing to change my mind if there's a reason.)
Posted by: Empire1 at December 16, 2012 11:41 AM (z3UbH)
11 Yes, I suppose you could call me "Asshole Psychic to the Stars."
Posted by: Sylvester Stallone's Mom at December 16, 2012 11:41 AM (I2LwF)
12 It's not a book, but an interesting essay: what Hannukah can inform us about the current state of America. Linked in my sig.
Posted by: Truman North (D) at December 16, 2012 11:42 AM (I2LwF)
13 I'm starting in on some "Flashman" novels today. Comedic historical fiction. Heard good things. Any opinions?
Posted by: Taro Tsujimoto at December 16, 2012 11:45 AM (celt+)
14 Been reading Raymond Chandler books/stories for the last week or so.
Posted by: garrett at December 16, 2012 11:46 AM (AOOyf)
15 I liked Clan of the Cave Bear. It turned into a crappy prehistoric soap opera after that.
Posted by: packsoldier at December 16, 2012 11:47 AM (B4/77)
16 It's December. A Time for Trumpets... On point, I haven't been able to get into any alternative history books as my grasp of real history is always growing I find it hard to add to the crap I've learned up to now from pop culture or school back in the day.
Posted by: Yip at December 16, 2012 11:47 AM (/jHWN)
17 An American Werewolf In London is on SyFy. 1981 Jenny Agutter still hot.
Posted by: Jones in CO at December 16, 2012 11:48 AM (8sCoq)
18 My most pleasant surprise after reading and recommending everything by Steven Pressfield, (Gates of Fire, Tides Of War, Virtues Of War, Afghan Campaign and Killing Rommel) all historical based fiction, I discovered he also wrote The Legend Of Bagger Vance.
Though I am a golfer and knew about that book many years before I knew who Pressfied was I never read it. I'm glad I read it after discovering Pressfield's other work. Puts it in a better perspective. What a great book. Needless to say the movie sucked big time.
Posted by: polynikes at December 16, 2012 11:49 AM (ItCyz)
Came off as too curt... I like some historical novels, just not the what-if ones like have been written on the civil war and stuff.
Posted by: Yip at December 16, 2012 11:49 AM (/jHWN)
20 OT : The nurse from American Werewolf in London is hot. That is all.
Posted by: burnitup at December 16, 2012 11:51 AM (55yhL)
21 Non-Fiction History: "Frontiers" by Noel Mostert-- About South Africa's creation and the Xhosa tribes. It is not possible to overstate how amazing this book is.
Posted by: Taft at December 16, 2012 11:51 AM (d2FFC)
22 Everyone rags on Bagger Vance the movie. I liked it. I guess I'm the only one.
Posted by: Mr. Moo Moo at December 16, 2012 11:52 AM (HDgX3)
23 Damn you Jones. Beat me to it.
Posted by: burnitup at December 16, 2012 11:53 AM (55yhL)
24 On a humorous note, we all know that the Amazon customer reviews tend to be overly generous.
This is something that his getting worse and worse, and it's sad, really. The idea of customer reviews was such a good one, and now it's broken and misused.
The reviews for that book are almost a perfect 5 stars, which is truly rare with that many reviewers.
I typically wait for a large accumulation, and read the reviews, to try to get a handle on it.
I used to rely on IMDB (way more than RottenTomatoes) for customer feedback for movies. I typically would check IMDB and Rotten's Audience, versus the critics (who are paid to push an agenda). Now, IMDB is broken.
We watched Midnight in Paris last night. It gets rave reviews on both rating sites. But, it was one of the most god-awful movies I have ever seen. Reading the filtered Hated It reviews were spot on.
Posted by: beach at December 16, 2012 11:54 AM (LpQbZ)
25 I like Sharon Kay Penman. That said, some of her books are better than others. "The Sunne in Splendor" and "Falls the Shadow" are top notch. I highly recommend them. "When Christ and his Saints Slept" is also very good.
I'd peg "Time and Chance" and "Here be Dragons" as her weakest efforts. I'm not saying to avoid them, just read the best ones first, and lower your expectations.
Posted by: Luke at December 16, 2012 11:55 AM (nqFDk)
I like Pressfield too; and didn't know he wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance. Wow. Killing Rommel is my favorite of his. I bought a first ed, emailed him and he agreed to sign it if I sent it to him and pay for reverse shipping.
So I did and he sent it back with a great inscription to me. He's the only autograph I've ever gotten that way. I have a thing where if I like a book a lot and it speaks to me, I'll try and find a 1st ed in good condition and signed.
Posted by: Yip at December 16, 2012 11:56 AM (/jHWN)
27 Nelson DeMille's "The Panther" -- About 1/4 through and really enjoying it. Recently re-read one of his early John Corey books. Good, but I think the later ones are better. The addition of his wife, Kate Mayfield, is an improvement, as is toning down the wisecracks slightly.
I used to be a big fan of Harry Turtledove's alternate history books. Read almost everything, but got away from them. Started "Hitler's War," first book (2009) of a six book series called "The War That Came Early." At 100 pages, I had a profound feeling of deja vu; I'd read something very similar before. Sad to say, but I think he is both recycling themes and character templates from earlier books, as well as padding out the text to fulfill his six book contract. Waste of time. Bad reviews on Amazon.
Some authors don't seem to be able to stop when the spark just isn't there. E.g., Tom Wolfe's "Back To Blood" or anything by Patricia Cornwell in the past eight or ten years.
Posted by: Doug at December 16, 2012 11:56 AM (u9a2o)
28 I think she was one of the unseen Controllers behind SHIELD in the Avengers film,
Posted by: phillip fry at December 16, 2012 11:57 AM (ctjsq)
29 22 Everyone rags on Bagger Vance the movie. I liked it. I guess I'm the only one.
Posted by: Mr. Moo Moo at December 16, 2012 11:52 AM (HDgX3)
It did not capture any of the book and that's usually the reason for most people's criticism. Speaking of great book's and terrible movie, they are showing Shooter on FX this week.
Posted by: polynikes at December 16, 2012 11:58 AM (INyZp)
30 Agree about Pressfield. Consistently excellent. Have not read Bagger Vance. ISTR Rush Limbaugh was very pleased with that book.
Posted by: Doug at December 16, 2012 11:59 AM (u9a2o)
31 Thanks to the Moron(s) who recommended deMille's Wild Fire -- enjoyed that, and have another in progress. Good popcorn books. On the ToBeRead pile is Ringo's The Last Centurion.
I'm adoring my Kindle Fire HD. I didn't think I would, and got it mostly to check my book formatting on, but it is a really clever device AND you can read on it too!
And in publishing news, the audio version of my book Firehearted just went live on Audible.com. I would very much like to hear the opinions of the assembled Horde on audiobooks, since I know so little about them. Can we haz audiobook thread? Or we can hijack this one; I don't care. What kind of things do you like/dislike about audiobooks? Which ones do you recommend?
Posted by: Sabrina Chase at December 16, 2012 11:59 AM (wfSF5)
Posted by: Luke at December 16, 2012 11:59 AM (nqFDk)
33 Love Edward Rutherfurd. He has one coming out in april about Paris. Morgan LLywelan (sp) is decent, writes mostly about ireland. Will be reading more of Pennman. Agree with you, Yip. Prefer What was to What if.
Posted by: bigred at December 16, 2012 12:00 PM (mIcI8)
Wolf Hall: A Novel
Bring Up The Bodies (sequel to Wolf Hall)
By Hilary Mantel. Excellent historical fiction.
Posted by: Henry Hawkins at December 16, 2012 12:00 PM (8lddR)
35 I read that story about the barber in Spanish class in college. It was called "Espuma y Nada Mas".
Posted by: No One of Consequence at December 16, 2012 12:01 PM (pR4s2)
36 It did not capture any of the book and that's
usually the reason for most people's criticism. Speaking of great
book's and terrible movie, they are showing Shooter on FX this week.
Posted by: polynikes at December 16, 2012 11:58 AM (INyZp)
That goes with most books though. I never read the book, just saw the movie. Not knowing the difference between the book and movie, I found the movie entertaining.
I feel same about Friday LNight Lights. I read the book and loved it. Then I saw the movie and was disappointed by it since it left so much out and changed the setting of the final game which took a lot away from the story.
But I can also see that for someone who didn't read the book it was a very good movie on its own.
Also the movie has one kick ass soundtrack.
Posted by: Mr. Moo Moo at December 16, 2012 12:02 PM (HDgX3)
37 The new Butcher, "Cold Days" is very good. The old badass Dresden is back.
Posted by: redclay at December 16, 2012 12:02 PM (+PlLU)
Anyone read Agenda 21? Worth the 10 bucks?
Posted by: USS Diversity at December 16, 2012 12:02 PM (MPjT8)
39 Agree about Auel and Follett, but I have loved Bernie Cornwell's books, the Sharpe series and his medieval settings as well.
Posted by: real joe at December 16, 2012 12:03 PM (PD2ad)
31Thanks to the Moron(s) who recommended deMille's Wild Fire -- enjoyed that, and have another in progress.
I have that on my kindle. I started but couldn't get into it. Husband read it and said it was good. I may have to try again. I have enjoyed all the other John Corey books.
Posted by: Molly k. at December 16, 2012 12:03 PM (9Cfw6)
41 Wait hold on. You people read? I though you are all illiterate gun freaks.
Posted by: Rachel Maddow at December 16, 2012 12:06 PM (HDgX3)
42 Finished "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green.
Really good book(in 20 best books on Amazon for this year). If you need gift for young adult this is perfect selection.
Posted by: remonkey at December 16, 2012 12:07 PM (OmxJU)
43 No, that was on TNT, They turned Bobby Lee Swagger, almost into a onedimensional caricature, of course, it had Danny Glover, Chavez lover, in it, so it was bound to go wrong, Hunter exorcised some of his anger, in his next book 'I Sniper' where he took out, manques of Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda,
Posted by: phillip fry at December 16, 2012 12:07 PM (ctjsq)
I feel same about Friday Night Lights. I read the book and loved it.
Then you might like Must Win by Drew Jubara. It's about a new coach at a Georgia school that used to be a powerhouse. I think I liked it even better than FNL, which I really liked as well.
Posted by: USS Diversity at December 16, 2012 12:07 PM (MPjT8)
45 My favorite medieval period novel is "TheName of the Rose" by Umberto Eco. The movie is OK too.
Posted by: Frankly at December 16, 2012 12:08 PM (2FEZ6)
This was an interesting note on author Penman's work at the amazon link:
As a publisher I have been lucky to be able to visit bookstores all over the country, independent and chain alike. What interests me first about these stores is what titles are being displayed in the 'Staff Recommends' section of the store. It is here that you can find treasured, beloved books quite dear to someone who works in the stores, someone waiting quite eagerly for the chance to hand sell their recommended titles.
It is in these Staff Recommend sections that I kept on seeing our Penman's titles, HERE BE DRAGONS, FALLS THE SHADOW, THE RECKONING and also SUNNE IN SPLENDOUR and WHEN CHRIST AND HIS SAINTS SLEPT.
It's funny, you can sell something for years before you notice that the author has been quietly making a powerful impact on people everywhere.
I started with HERE BE DRAGONS and I have never looked back....
Great suggestion/pick, OM. Thanks.
Posted by: beach at December 16, 2012 12:09 PM (LpQbZ)
47 As far as historicial fiction, there's Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series, and then there's everything else.
Posted by: Waterhouse at December 16, 2012 12:11 PM (76C2J)
I read a short story years ago when I was in 8th grade whose title
and author I have long forgotten, so I wonder if any of you 'rons or
'ettes can help me out with it. It was written by a south-of-the border
author and the setting is, I believe, one of Mexico's interminable civil
wars/revolutions. Not to give too much of it away, but a poor man is
working in his barber shop one day when the leader of one of the warring
factions comes in and asks for a shave. So there he sits in the
barber's chair, head tilted back, neck exposed, and as the barber is
shaving him, he just can't stop thinking about what it would be like to
kill him, just simply cut his throat with the razor he's using, how easy
it would be, and should he do it, and perhaps he would get a big reward
out of it.
I can't say any more without spoiling it.
So if anyone knows the short story I'm describing, don't hesitate to pipe up in the comments. Thank you.
I remember that one too, put it up as a bleg on a book thread here several months back, and no one remembered it at the time (thanks Coldstream). I remember the story a bit differently than the wiki synopsis. I remembered it where the guy in the chair actually scares the barber into helplessness (despite being under the blade), and walks out confidently, with the reader not knowing for sure if he MEANT to scare the barber or not.
Funny how memory plays tricks on you.
Posted by: IllTemperedCur at December 16, 2012 12:13 PM (TIIx5)
49 Loved Here Be Dragons. I am descended from that marriage.
Posted by: bigred. at December 16, 2012 12:14 PM (mIcI8)
50 reading: "Water, pure and simple" by Paolo Consigili.
Recently read, "The Hobbitt" so I could see if they screw the movie up or not.
Posted by: john stark dark at December 16, 2012 12:14 PM (PALjS)
51 I've read a ton of Cornwell's stuff and I didn't get anything like an anti-religion vibe. I'm sure if you're actively on the lookout you'll find something (people looking for reasons to get offended usually don't disappoint themselves) but he's not Phillip Pullman or anything.
Posted by: Paul at December 16, 2012 12:14 PM (g4Saz)
52 I finished Chase Novak's "Breed", which was a good modern horrer/suspense novel. I am currently reading Jason Stearns' "Dancing in the Glory of Monsters" about the, essentially, interminably conflict in the Congo region. It is pretty good, a bit preachy as he worked there during the 90's as an "aid worker".
Posted by: Penfold at December 16, 2012 12:15 PM (wT+sh)
53 >>>We watched Midnight in Paris last night. It gets rave reviews on both rating sites. But, it was one of the most god-awful movies I have ever seen. Posted by: beach
It's like every other Woody Allen movie almost word for word. I love how when he depicts the future in laws as pretentious when he himself is pretentious. What I kept trying to figure out was how they filmed it. It had this weird yellow glow.
Posted by: Walkers! at December 16, 2012 12:16 PM (jWwDJ)
So, this isn't a longbow vs. crossbow thread???
Posted by: Walkers! at December 16, 2012 12:16 PM (jWwDJ)
55 I like Diana Gabaldon's series beginning with, "Outlander". It's set in 18th century Scotland. I am currently reading the second in a trilogy by Deborah Harkness which begins with, "A Discovery of Witches".
Posted by: Kiki at December 16, 2012 12:17 PM (qEUtW)
I read that story about the barber in Spanish class in college. It was called "Espuma y Nada Mas".
Posted by: No One of Consequence at December 16, 2012 12:01 PM (pR4s2)
Yes, yes, yes. That's the one I was thinking of, except I read it in translation. From Hernando Tellez, according to wiki.
Posted by: IllTemperedCur at December 16, 2012 12:18 PM (TIIx5)
I just read this (clic nic) for a fun quick read. Funny murder mystery. Recommend if you like that genre.
As an aside, no matter the product, I only read the one and 2 star reviews on Amazon, I want to know the problems and if I can live with em. Plus you can actually buy positive reviews now, so the avg stars and the high stars may not mean anything.
Posted by: Guy Mohawk at December 16, 2012 12:18 PM (n/ubI)
58 #13, the Flashman series is superb; tremendously entertaining and filled with obscure historical characters and events that you'll never read about elsewhere. The author, George MacDonald Frazier, wrote the screenplays for those light comedy Musketeer movies back in the '70s that Ace likes so much.
Posted by: Tom Brown at December 16, 2012 12:20 PM (WcR8U)
59 As far as historical fiction I would recommend Maurice Druon series " The Accursed Kings". First book "The Iron King" will be released in March.
Amazon book description:
"Accursed! Accursed! You shall be accursed to the thirteenth generation!”
Iron King – Philip the Fair – is as cold and silent, as handsome and
unblinking as a statue. He governs his realm with an iron hand, but he
cannot rule his own family: his sons are weak and their wives
adulterous; while his red-blooded daughter Isabella is unhappily married
to an English king who prefers the company of men.
of scandal, murder and intrigue is weaving itself around the Iron King;
but his downfall will come from an unexpected quarter. Bent on the
persecution of the rich and powerful Knights Templar, Philip sentences
Grand Master Jacques Molay to be burned at the stake, thus drawing down
upon himself a curse that will destroy his entire dynasty…
Posted by: remonkey at December 16, 2012 12:21 PM (OmxJU)
60 I think I made it about a fifth of the way into Clan of the Cave Bear, and
then it started droning on about some mystical shit about how the clan
members' brains remembered everything that had happened to all their
ancestors, and I stopped reading.
Posted by: Waterhouse at December 16, 2012 12:21 PM (76C2J)
61 I just read this (clic nic) for a fun quick read. Funny murder mystery. Recommend if you like that genre.
I enjoyed it too. There's about 3 more with the same lead character (I don't remember his name).
Posted by: Tunafish at December 16, 2012 12:21 PM (pgGli)
62 I need a good Colonial Times historical fiction novel?
Posted by: USS Diversity at December 16, 2012 12:23 PM (MPjT8)
My recommendation is to spend a little more money and have a dedicated e-ink reader device in addition to the color tablet.
It's hard to beat e-ink for the combination of comfort and battery life. If they are both Kindle devices they can share the same library and even keep track of where you were in a book when you stopped reading and let you start there on the other device. This function is also shared with smartphones and PCs running the Kindle app.
Posted by: epobirs at December 16, 2012 12:23 PM (kcfmt)
64 Football warning!
Dave time for some Elbows!
Posted by: Billy Bob, pseudo intellectual at December 16, 2012 12:25 PM (wR+pz)
65 I'll third the recommendation on The Flashman series.
Also read The Pyrates and The Reavers by George MacDonald Fraser, which aren't meant to be historical fiction, and just hilarious swashbuckling romps set in their respective, uh, settings.
Posted by: Waterhouse at December 16, 2012 12:25 PM (76C2J)
66 I find real history more exciting than historical fiction. Try Roger Crowley's "Empires of the Sea." One of the most exciting books I have ever read.
Posted by: Libra at December 16, 2012 12:26 PM (kd8U8)
>>>We watched Midnight in Paris last night. It gets rave
reviews on both rating sites. But, it was one of the most god-awful
movies I have ever seen. Posted by: beach
It's like every other Woody Allen movie almost word for word. I
love how when he depicts the future in laws as pretentious when he
himself is pretentious. What I kept trying to figure out was how they
filmed it. It had this weird yellow glow.
Posted by: Walkers! at December 16, 2012 12:16 PM (jWwDJ)
My Mom keeps nagging me to watch it. She LOVES MiP. I can't help thinking of Woody's home life and the unmitigated assholery of the Lost Generation authors/artists.
Posted by: IllTemperedCur at December 16, 2012 12:26 PM (TIIx5)
68 I thought I was looking at some kind of paleolithic porn novel.
Something wrong with that?
Posted by: rickl at December 16, 2012 12:26 PM (sdi6R)
69 Love Flashman, love the Harkness series so far.
I finished up all the available Ilona Andrews series short stories, etc. Really enjoyed them.
Sabrina, I hope someone will chime in an audiobooks...I was never a fan of being read to, (even as a child!) so I have never bothered with any.
Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at December 16, 2012 12:28 PM (wdyFA)
70 I just started re-reading Colleen McCullough's Rome Series - Starts with Marius and Sulla and ends with Anthony and Cleopatra and is absolutely brilliant all the way through. There is, however, a huge commitment of time needed to get through the series ... and the early books are not available on Kindle alas.
Posted by: HawaiiLwyr at December 16, 2012 12:30 PM (IZuRU)
71 59, you mention "Isabella, the she-wolf of France" who I adore. She was married to Edward II (cf. "Braveheart") and had her nasty little husband murdered in a particularly nasty way, or so goes the story.
I have to finish "Too Much Money" by Dominick Dunne this week, and then I have to read something called "Disaster" which I believe is a history of the world through the lens of natural disasters.
After the horror in Newtown this week, I want to urge everyone to read "Crazy" by Pete Earley. It's the story of his son's journey through the mental-health "system" and, as part of it, he looks at the so-called system all around the country. I keep saying on Facebook that we have a mental health problem, not a gun problem. but you know lefties. Anyway, I read Earley's book when I got mixed up with the mental-health system when I was a victim of a crazy guy. (It was a trivial offense but when they called to say they needed me to appear as a witness, the lady said, "We've been trying to get him off the street for a long time.")
And my all-time favorite bit of historical fiction is "Gone With The Wind." If you haven't read it, you should, even though the casual racism will probably make you wince. It's darned fine writing.
I wish someone would write a book about Lepanto. Don Juan of Austria is sexy as hell.
Posted by: Tonestaple at December 16, 2012 12:31 PM (BGruy)
A good audio book can be a great product all its own. Some of the best were of books I already knew but somehow made me pick up details I'd missed before.
One of the great readers was a guy named Frank Muller. A lot of big name authors had him as their #1 guy for many years, until he had a motorcycle crash that left him unable to perform any longer. The only time I've heard an author do an addendum in praise of the audio book performer was Stephen King appealing to the audience on behalf of Frank Muller at the end of one of the Dark Tower books. Muller was replaced by George Guidall for the rest of the series. Guidall is fairly accomplished but it just wasn't the same.
Posted by: epobirs at December 16, 2012 12:31 PM (kcfmt)
73 I'd like to put in a word forCornwell's Sharpe series. There are some sympathetic clergy in the stories and an extended treatment of the God biz in Sharpe's Rifles with a devout Portuguese nobleman.
Posted by: alo89 at December 16, 2012 12:31 PM (IacRz)
74 For those who like Lord Norwich (Byzantium, History of Venice, and so on) he's got one out about the popes (Absolute Monarchs). Just getting into it but it looks good.
Posted by: joncelli at December 16, 2012 12:33 PM (CWlPF)
75 Oh, the Reavers is the best. Thems my peeps.
I like to recommend "Born Fighting" to anyone who is interested and/or descended from this group of people. Explains a lot about why Southerners ( well, the mountain folk anyway) are the way they are. You do enrich Webb's coffers, but it's an excellent book.
Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at December 16, 2012 12:33 PM (wdyFA)
76 If something doesn't have my by page 20, I pull the eject handle and waste no more time on it.
I have no patience for authors who try my patience.
Posted by: @PurpAv at December 16, 2012 12:34 PM (G0eua)
77 Football thread up
Posted by: Billy Bob, pseudo intellectual at December 16, 2012 12:35 PM (wR+pz)
Hard to explain this book, that is collecting dust in my library:
by Charles Palliser
Very thick (800 pages), but, very, very good. Another one of those to curl up next to a fire, sipping on your favorite elixir.
Read the description, and see if it tickles your fancy.
excerpt: An extraordinary modern novel in the Victorian tradition, Charles Palliser has created something extraordinary--a plot within a plot within a plot of family secrets, mysterious clues, low-born birth, high-reaching immorality, and, always, always the fog-enshrouded, enigmatic character of 19th century -- London itself.
You'll reference the complex family tree's included with the book over and over.
Posted by: beach at December 16, 2012 12:38 PM (LpQbZ)
79 I think the first audio book performance that made me say, "Wow, is there an equivalent of the Oscar for this stuff?" was david Ogden Stiers reading of Tom Wolfe's 'A Man In Full.'
Some actors make fine readers and some are a bit surprising at their ability. Guillermo Del Toro got Ron 'Hellboy' Perlman to do the reading on his Strain series of vampire novels. He did a great job.
Posted by: epobirs at December 16, 2012 12:42 PM (kcfmt)
80 57 As an aside, no matter the product, I only read the one and 2 star reviews on Amazon, I want to know the problems and if I can live with em.
I do that as well. I find it particularly helpful for technical books on subjects I know little about; sometimes the one or two star comments make complaints that make me think "this is the book for me".
Posted by: Citizen Anachronda at December 16, 2012 12:43 PM (1c58W)
81 Tammy, I will read "Born Fighting" as those are my peeps on Daddy's side, so far up in the Smokies you're almost in Tennessee.
And I love audiobooks. It's all I listen to in the car, mostly because the radio died. Sometimes I have to listen to a particular passage several times as I get distracted by silly things like actually driving, but it's totally worth it. I don't listen to novels in the car as I lose track of the plot but non-fiction works well for me. I will say that you should avoid Johnny Heller as a reader as I think he is illiterate. I would expect a reader to read the book first and look up anything he can't pronounce but Heller seems to think that isn't necessary. Alan Sklar is good, and Stephen Hoye, who is reading "In the Garden of Beasts" is easy on the ears.
Posted by: Tonestaple at December 16, 2012 12:44 PM (BGruy)
Drop everything else and read Penman. 'Sunne in Slendour' is a great read. Follow it with 'Here be Dragons', 'Falls the Shadow', and then 'The Reckoning'. These three follow the last three generations of the Welsh/English border wars. Penman's history is far far far beyond 'historical fiction' and much closer to history with 'fiction' used to 'fill-in' the gaps.
Posted by: Old Bob at December 16, 2012 12:44 PM (TgZ6X)
83 >>>My Mom keeps nagging me to watch it. She LOVES MiP. I can't help thinking of Woody's home life and the unmitigated assholery of the Lost Generation authors/artists. Posted by: IllTemperedCur
Well, Paris always looks good. It's got that going for it.
Posted by: Walkers! at December 16, 2012 12:49 PM (jWwDJ)
84 #33: Agree with the recommendation of Edward Rutherford's stuff. My dad lent me one of his books 15 years ago and I went to the used bookstore in search of the book about London, ended up walking out with all of his books. Took me months to work my way through them, but they are incredibly researched and well-written. You can learn a lot from his writing, even if it is fiction. The book about Russia was very interesting.
Posted by: skh.pcola at December 16, 2012 12:50 PM (RsRlb)
Penman is great -- she does the 11th/12th century wonderfully. She also does medieval mysteries that come close to (but don't beat) the Brother Cadfael series.
However,Penman's workwas preceded (and exceeded) by Dorothy Dunnett's superb Lymond Chronicles.
Posted by: ColoComment at December 16, 2012 12:50 PM (2vbFu)
I agree with the Pressfield comments. I have loved his books -- particularly the Gates of Fire (about the Battle of Thermopylae) and Killing Rommel.
I also have really enjoyed the Aubrey-Maturin novels, but I will disagree with Waterhouse a little bit, as I think there is a lot of really good historical fiction out there.
Which is a great segue way intotalking aboutNeal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle (which includes a fictional character by the name of Waterhouse). The Baroque Cycle is set in Europe (mainly England and France) in the late 17th and early 18thcentury (post Oliver Cromwell England - through William Mary). A lot of the story is focused on the rivarly between Newton and Liebniz (well really Newton and everybody), and enlightment Englandvs. Louis XIV's France. Its long, but good.
Posted by: Nc at December 16, 2012 12:51 PM (LmX/s)
87 Officials were also investigating whether Adam had an “altercation” with four school employees the day before the killings, NBC reported.
Posted by: Islamic Rage Boy at December 16, 2012 12:51 PM (e8kgV)
88 I've recommended this book before...and I still can't believe I'm recommending a Gore Vidal book.
But hey, he's dead so he can't profit from you and you can get the hardback used for a penny on Amazon so give it a whirl.
"Creation" by Gore Vidal
About a Persian guy who journeys wthrough the ancient world and meets up with Zoroaster, Buddha, socrates, Confucius, and a few others who lived in roughly the same time period.
A great read and his take on the Buddha is interesting and certainly worth the price of admission($0.01)
The rest of his books just suck out-loud so don't bother.
Posted by: naturalfake at December 16, 2012 12:56 PM (G9qZk)
89 Authors of excellent historical mysteries that take place in ancient Rome: Steven Saylor and John Maddox Roberts. There are other authors who write these kinds of books but I haven't read them.
Posted by: microcosme at December 16, 2012 12:56 PM (0dTjV)
I cannot, just CANNOT recommend an author more than Allan W. Eckert. READ THE FRONRIERSMAN!!! One of my fave books of all time. My sig has a link.
He details THE best about Tecumseh, Simon Kenton, and others. ALL of his books rock. I'm telling you if you like HF you will LOVE this stuff.
They are very gruesome and detailed tho. So light stomachs need not apply. Been reading them since 8th grade. Nothing like Indian torture to get a young lads attention.
Posted by: Mr Wolf, Esq at December 16, 2012 12:57 PM (MJ7uZ)
91 Historical Fiction?
Duh. "Ben Hur" by Lew Wallace rocks.
By the way, "The Agony and the Ecstasy" is also very good.
Posted by: Al at December 16, 2012 12:58 PM (V70Uh)
92 G K Chesterton's poem, "Lepanto"
Posted by: Tonestaple at December 16, 2012 12:59 PM (BGruy)
93 MiP: Silly yarn. Incredible lighting.
The "Lost Generation" suffered from too much "survivor's guilt."
Posted by: Al at December 16, 2012 12:59 PM (V70Uh)
94 I'd put in a good word for Bernard Cornwell also - the Sharpe series is great, and I really enjoyed both his Arthur series and the Saxon Chronicles. I can't attest to the historical accuracy of any of them, but if they're action-packed, full of strong, manly men doing manly stuff and the women who love 'em.
Posted by: chazmartel at December 16, 2012 01:01 PM (R6lsP)
95 A while ago, I bought a 13-in-1 e-book of the Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events stuff, that I'm finally working through.
Problem, of course, is that the movie covers at least the first four books or so, so I've got quite a bit of reading to get to unfamiliar material; just finished book 2.
Still fun, though.
Posted by: Citizen Anachronda at December 16, 2012 01:02 PM (1c58W)
96 A friend of mine has some 20 books published, mostly historical fiction. The book he's currently writing is in pre-reformation England and deals with the Catholic church a fair bit. I was a bit shocked and surprised at how negatively he portrays the Catholic church, but he is 1. a Christian and 2. concerned with historical accuracy.
So just because it's negative might not mean it's politically motivated or inaccurate.
On a semi-related note, I'm reading Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton right now. I like a lot of his other works, this one not as much, at least so far.
I always feel a bit cheated with historical fiction, even if you like it it's probably the fictional aspects that you like, and the truth is likely less interesting or unknown, since they bothered writing the fictional sections at all.
Posted by: .87c at December 16, 2012 01:06 PM (EIbnY)
97 I listen to audio books exclusively- I have MS and can't read books anymore- in a weird way it makes me "blind" to read something long anymore. It's weird... Anyway, it's a completely different experience to listen rather than read- I guess being able to skip over the boring parts of text vs. listening to every word. Also, a good book with a great narrator is the most amazing experience.
Posted by: MrsP at December 16, 2012 01:09 PM (tgRSU)
98 Is that the Bayeux Tapestry in the post? I've seen that! Not a bad story, a bit predictable perhaps, and the ending does run on a little long, but some of the minor characters are pretty funny.
Posted by: .87c at December 16, 2012 01:10 PM (EIbnY)
99 Sabrina, I hope someone will chime in an audiobooks...I was never a fan of being read to, (even as a child!) so I have never bothered with any.
Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at December 16, 2012 12:28 PM (wdyFA)
I've never bought one, but I know for people who commute long distances, they are great.
Posted by: beach at December 16, 2012 01:13 PM (LpQbZ)
100 Oh, I need to also recommend Anya Seton's Katherine for those of you who like 14 century England, and who doesn't??
I think Ms. Seton's work inspired Phillipa Gregory, of whom I am not a fan, but Katherine is one of my favorite novels.
I have all her books, but Katherine is really good. ( I am never sure of my tastes in historical fiction is too femme for the 'rons, but this is NOT a sappy bodice-ripper type book. It may be rather descriptive for you menfolk, however)
Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at December 16, 2012 01:13 PM (wdyFA)
Oh -- I have also gotten into Berlin Noir over the last year. Its a style of detective/investigative fiction set in Berlin in the period between WWI and WWII. I have really liked David Downing's "Station" series of book. Each book is named after a famous Berlin train station (e.g., Zoo Station, Stettin Station, Silesian Station, etc.). The main character is a Half American/Half British journalist who lives in Berlin and has a German son.
Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series is excellent -- as it follows a German police detective/PI's cases from pre-WWII to post-war Germany.
Jonathan Raab's Rosa and Shadow and Light are also excellent. And Rebecca Cantrell's Hannah Vogel series is not bad.
Posted by: Nc at December 16, 2012 01:13 PM (LmX/s)
I second the recommendation for Allan W. Eckhert's "Winning of America" series (which includes "The Frontiersman" and the FI War-based "Wilderness War", among others), however... they're not historical fiction. It's popular narrative history. That said, I have my doubts about how much embellishment he's done and how rigorous his scholarship was. Regardless, the entire series is gripping and superb. Any AoS moron who's into early American frontier history with Indians and Brits and Frenchies and longhunters will lap this stuff up. Serious page-turners, but beware, the Indian tortures are stomach-churning.
Posted by: Taro Tsujimoto at December 16, 2012 01:14 PM (celt+)
103 what you mean? you no have money to pay gronk for pizza delivery?
Posted by: caveman gronk at December 16, 2012 01:15 PM (jPVBi)
104 Posted by: .87c at December 16, 2012 01:06 PM (EIbnY)
Well are you going to let us know your friend's name, so we can buy a book or two??
Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at December 16, 2012 01:16 PM (wdyFA)
105 And a warning, Diana gabledon has a weird fascination with rape- I definitely think its something that is more noticeable when you listen, rather than read. I went through a stage of real Ken Follet (Follett?) love, but too much of any thing will kill it, and some of those books are 50 hours +. But, it got me through packing up a house for a cross-country move!
Posted by: MrsP at December 16, 2012 01:16 PM (tgRSU)
106 Penman's "When Christ and His Saints Slept" about the first English civil war, is probably one of the best historical novels I've read.
I'd also recommend Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Chronicles. I look forward eagerly to each new installment. Alfred the Great and Vikings . What's not to like?
His Grail Quest series about the England's great long bowmen is also quite good. He's adding a fourth novel to this series about the Battle of Poitiers early next year. Can't wait.
Both Penman and Cornwell are quite good at capturing the historical eras they write about and you can't beat Cornwell for battle scenes.
Posted by: Tuna at December 16, 2012 01:19 PM (M/TDA)
107 For early American history: Kenneth Roberts. Arundel and Rabble in Arms.
Posted by: ColoComment at December 16, 2012 01:20 PM (2vbFu)
108 I have also spentthe last year or tworeading a lot of Alan Furst's spy books set in both WWII and the period leading up to it. I have very mixed feelings about the books. One the one hand -- his research is amazing and he creates an incredible sense of time and place in his novels. On the other hand, the books have no real plot to speak of.
Posted by: Nc at December 16, 2012 01:22 PM (LmX/s)
109 "Lightning in the Night" a little bit of future history of WWII written in 1940. The Krauts and Japs invade the US, Mussolini in Iceland, and a startling prediction of the Manhatten project.
Posted by: Ken at December 16, 2012 01:23 PM (caupe)
110 I'm reading two novels simultaneously from S.M. Stirling's Emberverse series, one from "The Change" side and one from the "Nantucket" side. He was recommended by a conservative friend, but I can't make up my mind about him. There's some sort of bruhaha that he's a "racist" because he made the comment that it might be a good thing if all male Muslims kicked the bucket, but several of the main good-guy/gal characters are black or female or, in one case, a black lesbian, so I don't know what's politically incorrect about that. Plus a lot of the plot of The Change side of the series centers around a Wiccan group in Oregon's Willamette Valley, which seems pretty counter-culture to me.
The story and the writing isn't bad, and there's a lot of survivalist plot that involves a resurgence created by Renaissance Fair phenomenon. (Hello Eugene Country Fair?) I guess I'm still waiting to see whether he "palms the hanged man" card, as most politically correct authors eventually do. I know that an effort to confiscate the guns of the Nantucket residents turned out badly so perhaps he's making a comment by giving the left its head in a kind of literary practical experiment.
BTW, just finished King's *The Dark Tower*. He definitely doesn't palm the hanged man.
Posted by: Demosophist at December 16, 2012 01:23 PM (0pl3/)
111 I'm starting in on some "Flashman" novels today. Comedic historical fiction. Heard good things. Any opinions?
If you're still around, they're great and anti-PC except the last one (Zulu War) was disappointing because you were expecting it to be fully about Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift and it wasn't. It' also a pain in the butt that everyone was waiting for the American Civil War one and even pushing him about it especially as he got much older and Fraser died before completing (working on?) it.
His daughter's a journalist so there's some hope (although I haven't looked into it deeply although maybe fan sites do) that he left enough notes and that she's competent enough to get the ACW one done.
Posted by: andycanuck at December 16, 2012 01:25 PM (jPVBi)
112 #63 Epobirs --
I have an older Kindle with e-ink (6" screen with keyboard below) and love it! Also have the Kindle app on my PC. That's actually why I'm interested in the Fire!
Posted by: Empire1 at December 16, 2012 01:26 PM (z3UbH)
113 Never knewthat there are two short stories out there with apparently the same plot and conclusion by Nabokov and Tellez.
Wonder what the likelihood of them both independently coming up with the story is?
Posted by: Coldstream at December 16, 2012 01:30 PM (MVPHD)
114 The story is told that Victoriano Huerta, the Mexican general who killed Francisco Madero and took over the Mexican government in the coup the essentially started the Mexican Revolution, once had himself shaved by a man whose brother he had killed. The account I read (can't remember where) said that he sat down in the chair, the barber shaved him carefully, and he paid and left. Not a word was said. This story may well have been the inspiration for Espuma y Nada Mas.
@88 - Have you read Vidal's Burr? I thought it was first rate.
Posted by: Jerome at December 16, 2012 01:32 PM (eQa5p)
115 I need a good Colonial Times historical fiction novel?
Start with "Speaks the Nightbird" by Robert McCammon and go from there. And excellent series.
Posted by: JPeterman at December 16, 2012 01:32 PM (hwPt/)
116 Sorry Tammy:
His name's Douglas Bond, he writes a lot of young adult historical fiction but he has written a range of books. The one I was referencing hasn't come out yet.
Posted by: .87c at December 16, 2012 01:33 PM (EIbnY)
117 I need a good Colonial Times historical fiction novel?
That's the only reason why I read the constitution!
Posted by: president o'bumbles at December 16, 2012 01:35 PM (jPVBi)
118 Start with "Speaks the Nightbird" by Robert McCammon and go from there. And excellent series.
Posted by: JPeterman at December 16, 2012 01:32 PM (hwPt/)
I really liked that series - except for that really creepy scene in the barn -was a little much.
Posted by: Tunafish at December 16, 2012 01:36 PM (pgGli)
119 Thanks .87c!
I am reading plenty of YA these days, so I'll check Mr. Bond out for sure!
Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at December 16, 2012 01:36 PM (wdyFA)
120 Here is another vote for Flashman. IMO the best in the series are the back to back adventures of "Flashman at the Charge" and "Flashman and the Great Game."
For fiction set in Rome, I cannot recommend "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God" more highly. The old BBC mini series version is pretty good, too.
Posted by: the guy that moves pianos for a living... at December 16, 2012 01:39 PM (KAWvv)
121 I wish someone would write a book about Lepanto. Don Juan of Austria is sexy as hell.
It's quite old but there's a book called The Last Crusader by Louis de Wohl. (See the sock link)
Posted by: andycanuck at December 16, 2012 01:40 PM (jPVBi)
122 120 -- Agree on the Robert Graves' Claudius books.
Posted by: Nc at December 16, 2012 01:40 PM (LmX/s)
123 If your looking for better books on Pre-Columbian Americans I can recommend the books by W. Michael Kathleen Gear. I've only read a handful of their First American novels and they're pretty good with only a bit of romanticism about what were after all Stone Age savages. Certainly better than the Jean Auel crap. I'm thinking about trying the First Contact series but I fear it will be to much "Injun good! White man bad! Ugh!" nonsense.
His Spider Trilogy that mixes Native American Lore with Sci-Fi (Apaches in Space!) is excellent, though.
Posted by: Jaylord at December 16, 2012 01:40 PM (Y6qC4)
124 Finishing A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and rereading some Goethe.
Posted by: NCKate at December 16, 2012 01:41 PM (gSN6u)
125 I really liked that series - except for that really creepy scene in the barn -was a little much.
Posted by: Tunafish at December 16, 2012 01:36 PM (pgGli)
Agreed, do not know what the author was thinking by throwing that in.
"Providence Rider" McCammons latest in the series was the best, but then again almost everything McCammon has written is good.
Posted by: JPeterman at December 16, 2012 01:41 PM (hwPt/)
126 I love all Sharon Kay Penman's books - the mysteries as well as the historical novels.
@78 beach:I (mostly) loved The Quincunx. It's a pot-boiling page-turner thatout-Dickenses Dickens sometimes. But I wanted a different ending.
@31 Sabrina Chase. I'm an Audible member and so I'll check your book out.
My favorite audiobooks/readers are Jonathan Cecil reading anything by P.G.Wodehouse,Stephen Briggs or Nigel Planer reading the Discworld novels, and Bill Bryson reading his own work. I'm in it for the laughs.
Posted by: plum at December 16, 2012 01:42 PM (Z6itK)
127 >>>62 I need a good Colonial Times historical fiction novel?
Posted by: USS Diversity at December 16, 2012 12:23 PM (MPjT
Cornwell's "Redcoat" is also pretty good.
Posted by: Paul at December 16, 2012 01:43 PM (g4Saz)
128 A good one by George Millar, "A Crossbowman's Story", about a group of Spanish soldiers that were sent on a recon by Gonzalo Pizzaro looking for food. They build boats in a small stream and try to find some Indian towns to raid. Their little stream turns out to be the headwaters of the Amazon.
Vikings series by Robert Low. Well written and great fun, mead,women, treasure, fighting and all that good Viking stuff. "The White Raven", "The Whale Road","The Prow Beast", and "The Wolf Sea".
The Norman Warriors Series by Jack Ludlow. Transplanted Vikings (Normans) in France, they're on the outs politically with William the Conqueror, so instead they go south into Italy and kick various butts. True to history, especially memorable is the fight between William Iron Arm and a Muslim ruler in Sicily.
"Mercenaries", "Warriors", and "Conquest". He's written quite a bit of other historical fiction that I haven't got around to yet.
Posted by: JHW at December 16, 2012 01:43 PM (B38OD)
129 Jesus, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn depressed the hell outta me when I was a kid. I have never revisited it; I don't even remember why it depressed me.
The only thing I can remember is how her mama used to let her dump a cup of coffee down the drain as a way of feeling less poor.
Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at December 16, 2012 01:44 PM (wdyFA)
130 Thank you, Tammy! I'll have to tell him I've been doing some ad work for him when I see him next.
113. I think it's just a (formerly) common occurance. 114 mentioned a specific instance, but I imagine it was just an odd cultural/commercial interaction that involved one man trusting a stranger to hold a knife to his throat, and paying him for it. Doesn't seem like much of a stretch to turn it into a story--just throw in some greater moral or emotional component, etc. Monty Python, who may have been familiar with the short stories, didn't bother to check the dates, had a bit about a murderous barber:
So, real life oddity becomes literary trope becomes book post fodder for AoS--that's pretty much the way of things, I think.
Posted by: .87c at December 16, 2012 01:47 PM (EIbnY)
I really like Cornwell, especially Sharpe. Never once thought of his stuff as anti church. Glad to see others like Sharon Kay Penman, Pillars of the Earth and especially the very underappreciated Ellis Peters. All are excellent and cover a time period few Americans are familiar with
Posted by: Dick "I'm A Dick" Durbin at December 16, 2012 01:48 PM (9ng2u)
132 Now that I think about it, Claudius even had his own version of LIB.
"Let all of the poisons that lurk in the mud, hatch out!"
Posted by: the guy that moves pianos for a living... at December 16, 2012 01:48 PM (KAWvv)
133 I'd second the recommendation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall about Cromwell. Outstanding. Can't wait to read the sequel. Also the Masters of Rome series mentioned above (by Colleen McCullogh) is absolutely fantastic for anyone interested in Rome. Reading the long glossary at the back of the first book is a joy. Also Isle of Stone by Nicholas Nicastro for those that like Greek history. The Sand Reckoner by Gillian Bradshaw for a fun read on the life and times of Archimedes. Sounds dull but it's not. Lots of battles and action. Eagle in the Snow by Wallace Breem is also outstanding. Dealing with the fall of Rome from the perspective of the legions on the frontier. A heartbreaking novel.
Still, best of all is the Aubrey/Maturin novels of O'Brian.
Posted by: Patrick H at December 16, 2012 01:49 PM (oWKta)
134 Good historical novel: "The Year of the French" by Thomas Flanagan
Posted by: Frankly at December 16, 2012 01:51 PM (2FEZ6)
135 Who could hate Ayla the ur-Martha? Single-supermom, first domesticator of animals, diplomat, cook....
Posted by: PersonFromPorlock at December 16, 2012 01:53 PM (2VCZA)
136 Thanks, andycanuck - I'll check it out.
I forgot the most appalling bit of book-news that I ran into this weekend. I found papers sitting near the inside book-drop with an outline of two mittens on them. The paper says, "December is mitten decorating month at the Broadview [branch] Library."
I rather thought it was Christmas, but those nasty old Christians are so exclusionary. Who wants to bet we get something commemorating Eid in early August next year?
Posted by: Tonestaple at December 16, 2012 01:53 PM (BGruy)
Re the first expedition down the Amazon: I read "River of Darkness"by Buddy Levy last year. Fascinating non fiction account of that voyage
Posted by: Tuna at December 16, 2012 01:55 PM (M/TDA)
138 Posted by: Sabrina Chase at December 16, 2012 11:59 AM (wfSF5)
I really like audio books since I can get the input while having my eyes busy elsewhere. One of the things I'm disappointed in my Kindle Fire is that I can't get some sort of "text-to-speech" app that works with the books they sell.
Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette, still a Hobbit at December 16, 2012 01:59 PM (wbeNt)
120 -- I don't know if you have read Robert Harris' Imperium, Conspirata and Pompeii books -- but they are also good.
I notice that many novels I read are written by British writers. I have done no real checking on this, but I would guess that British novelists still disportionately write some of the better novels out there.
The American novelists I have liked are Pressfield, Stephenson, George R.R. Martin, Asimov, Dan Simmons -- then I start to draw blanks.
The British novelists I have liked have included, Dickens, Tolkien, Rowling, Bernard Cornwell, David Downing, Philip Kerr, Robert Harris, Neal Gaiman, Hillary Mantel, James Hogan, George Orwell and Doyle.
I am sure I am forgetting a lot of both Yanks and Brits I have liked.
Posted by: Nc at December 16, 2012 01:59 PM (LmX/s)
Re the first expedition down the Amazon: I read "River of
Darkness"by Buddy Levy last year. Fascinating non fiction account of
"The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey" is also an excellent story.
Posted by: JPeterman at December 16, 2012 02:01 PM (hwPt/)
141 I saw the movie at the suggestion of someone close to me. It made me envy the blind and that person lost some respect they were never to recoup.
Posted by: FURPC at December 16, 2012 02:01 PM (0ImZM)
142 137 , Tuna, thanks for that, I'll get the book. The one I mentioned is about the same expedition, but slightly fictionalized.
Posted by: JHW at December 16, 2012 02:01 PM (B38OD)
Uhtred, the hero of Cornwell's Saxon Chronicles is my kind of man. Captured and raised by Vikings, conflicted in his loyalties, love/hate relationship with Alfred, battle leader extraordinaire, unrepentant pagan fighting for the most Christian of kings, lover of beautiful women, including Alfred's daughter.. Well what more can I say?
Posted by: Tuna at December 16, 2012 02:06 PM (M/TDA)
144 Second 139's comments about Harris' Rome books. I also loved his "Enigma" about WW II code breakers at Bletchley Park. (Much better than the movie version.)
Posted by: Doug at December 16, 2012 02:08 PM (u9a2o)
I read "River of Doubt" when it was first published. I too recommend it. Very interesting part of Teddy's life that I no clue about. He never really recovered, physically or mentally, from what was supposed to be another grand voyage of discovery.
Posted by: Tuna at December 16, 2012 02:13 PM (M/TDA)
146 I liked Llwellyn's Celtic books when I was a teenager and there was someone who wrote well about the Byzantine empire, but I can't remember her name now.
Besides having pretty much originated the Regency romance genre, Georgette Heyer also wrote several historical fiction. Apparently that was her actual favorite genre as she really liked doing the research but she wasn't able to write very many due to the time involved in *doing* the research having to be balanced with reader's expectations of a new rromance on a regular schedule.
Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette, still a Hobbit at December 16, 2012 02:15 PM (wbeNt)
"Live by Night" by Dennis Lehane-- wow... great gangster story book i just finished-- highly recommended--
Posted by: tomc at December 16, 2012 02:16 PM (avEuh)
148 Sharon Kay Penman is my favorite author. I came across "When Christ and His Saints Slept" through a book club and was interested since I am descended from both King Stephen and Empress Matilda and did not know mich about the histor which brought Matilda's son Henry II to the throne. Then I picked up the rest of her books and never looked back. My favorite is "The Sunne In Splendor" - it changed my opinion of Richard III. The Welsh trilogy is also good, although "The Reckoning" is probably my least favorite - it seemed to move more slowly than "Here Be Dragons" and "Falls The Shaow". I follow Sharon on Facebook and she does daily history posts (kind of a this day in medieval history) and occassionally gives updates on her work on "Ransom", the sequel to "Lionheat".
Posted by: Alia at December 16, 2012 02:17 PM (S7L14)
149 Posted by: MrsP at December 16, 2012 01:16 PM (tgRSU)
As much as I love audiobooks, I've noticed as well that it brings all those "eeeeww" moments (that I'd apparently glossed over in reading) into full and living color. There were several times of that when listening to Jordan's TWoT series, where I had absolutelyno memory of *that* being in the books.
Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette, still a Hobbit at December 16, 2012 02:19 PM (wbeNt)
150 The "Roma Sub Rosa" mystery novels by Steven Saylor are great. Start with the first one and work your way through. You'll meet every major historical figure prominent in the years immediately prior to and right after Julius Caesar 's ascendancy .
Posted by: Tuna at December 16, 2012 02:21 PM (M/TDA)
151 "Live by Night" by Dennis Lehane-- wow... great gangster story book i just finished-- highly recommended--
Posted by: tomc at December 16, 2012 02:16 PM (avEuh)
I read all his books now. When the movie Mystic River came out with rave reviews I became interested, but no way was I going to watch a movie with Sean Penn, Tim Robbins etc.
So I started reading Lehane's books, in order until I got to Mystic River. Didn't have to stomach those assholes for two hours.I didn't watch Bagger Vance for the same reasons, but I will read the book.
Posted by: Tunafish at December 16, 2012 02:22 PM (pgGli)
152 One more, a classic about an Alsatian serving in The Grossdeutschland division in Russia in WW2, "The Forgotten Soldier", by Guy Sajer. Harrowing is the word that fits. At first there was controversy about its accuracy, but the Wiki entries indicate it has been shown more truthful than not.
Posted by: JHW at December 16, 2012 02:22 PM (B38OD)
153 Posted by: Tuna at December 16, 2012 02:13 PM (M/TDA)
If you liked "River of Doubt" you will really like "Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President" also by Candice Millard.
Posted by: JPeterman at December 16, 2012 02:25 PM (hwPt/)
Another book of fiction that portrays Richard III in a positive light is "The Daughter of Time" by Josephine Tey. I picked it up in a second hand book store, started reading and finished in the same day. Clever little mystery novel.
Posted by: Tuna at December 16, 2012 02:26 PM (M/TDA)
An entire thread on historical fiction and no mention of Mary Renault???!! She was my intro to the genre and no year passes without my re-reading 2 or 3 of her books. 'The King Must Die', 'The Mask of Apollo', 'Fire from Heaven', and 'The Persian Boy' are dead solid classics and foundational books for any who like good reading of the historical fiction kind.
Posted by: Old Bob at December 16, 2012 02:27 PM (TgZ6X)
Thanks for the recommendation.
Posted by: Tuna at December 16, 2012 02:28 PM (M/TDA)
Posted by: ColoComment at December 16, 2012 02:29 PM (2vbFu)
158 Y'all are costing me a bloody fortune this week. And I have even remembered to go thru Ace's link.
Someone kindly inform Vic that he is not allowed to run off at the weekend anymore, at least not Sundays. I miss him. Plus he missed the only bookthread I can recall that hasn't gone off topic!
Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at December 16, 2012 02:30 PM (wdyFA)
159 155 Old Bob, is Renault maybe the author of Byzantine historical fiction whose name I couldn't remember? Those titles sound sort of familiar but the one I *know* is by the author I'm thinking of is "Bear Keeper's Daughter".
Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette, still a Hobbit at December 16, 2012 02:32 PM (wbeNt)
160 The Frontiersmen. It's about the early settling of the Ohio Valley, and is a fictionalized account based on real documents.Town records, diaries, etc.Really great stuff, but you needa strong stomach. It doesn't pullpunches when talking about the various attrocities committed.In case you worry, it does not engage in sanitizing the record in order toglorify the Indians. Their cruel depravity is on full display, and should serve to disabuse fools of their "noble savage" ideas. But anyway, pretty inspiring stuff. Makes it seem like an even greater shame that this nation is dead.
Posted by: Reactionary at December 16, 2012 02:35 PM (jfeoD)
161 Sorry I'm late. Someone upthread asked:
"I wish someone would write a book about Lepanto. Don Juan of Austria is sexy as hell."
Anyway, I suggest:
_Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World_ by Roger Crowley.
Posted by: Thing From Snowy MOuntain at December 16, 2012 02:35 PM (h9tBu)
If you haven't read them already you'll love The Saxon Chronicles. The hero wears a miniature Thor's war hammer around his neck much to the displeasure of his Christian King Alfred. LOL
Posted by: Tuna at December 16, 2012 02:38 PM (M/TDA)
163 And for anyone interested in World War II stories, may I recommend "A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the Wore Torn Skies of World War II" by Adam Makos and Larry Alexander.
I received an advance copy and read it in two days. It's going to be released on December 19th.
It is so good.
Posted by: JPeterman at December 16, 2012 02:39 PM (hwPt/)
164 Edward Rutherford has done some great stuff. I'd start with "Sarum" which is an epic that overs the history of England from the perspective of the small town of Salisbury. He has many more but this is his best I think. He has been compaired to Mitchner but I thinnk Rutherford is much more readable. I'd call this my favorite work of his.
If you'd like to get away from the tradidional historical fiction of Roman Legions, Amerian Civil War, WWII, etc, try a series by Conn Iggulden about the life of Genghis Con and the building of his empire. The first book is called appropriatly, "Genghis: Birth of an Empire." Though relatively little is known about Genghis Con, this series follows closely what is known about his campaign to dominate Asia. Accepted theories about his life and falmily are intermingled with historical evidence of the movement of his armys. Intuitive speculation ties it all together in a great read.
Posted by: TheOtherJay at December 16, 2012 02:59 PM (5erAP)
165 Good historic fiction with some science fiction thrown in:
Declare by Tim Powers (2001)
I know it sounds like an unlikely combination, but it works surprisingly well. This historic part centers on notorious British mole/spy/traitor Kim Philby and the collapse of the USSR/end of the Cold War.
Posted by: cool breeze at December 16, 2012 03:01 PM (A+/8k)
166 Another book of fiction that portrays Richard III in a positive light is
"The Daughter of Time" by Josephine Tey. I picked it up in a second
hand book store, started reading and finished in the same day. Clever
little mystery novel.
I liked this quite alot, too. Enough to search out a few of her other books and was not disappointed.
I'm glad to see someone upthread likes Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond series. If you like your historical fiction accurate, she's the one. She makes you work to keep track of all the sub-plots but is well worth it.
Posted by: Retread at December 16, 2012 03:01 PM (zxitI)
167 And here's a shout-out to moron commenter Vic, who is gone for the weekend. I hope he makes it back soon.
I just made it back and have a LOT to do to catch up. But I did have to touch bases with at least the book thread before going off to unpack, pet poor kitteh, and check mail etc.
As for reading I have restarted the WOT thread and have been downloading the first books on the kindle because my first 3 or 4 are in paperback and the 1st one is falling apart.
This is in preparation for the last book coming out next month.
It was nice seeing brothers and others but it is nice to be back.
Posted by: Vic at December 16, 2012 03:02 PM (53z96)
168 I have text - to - Speech on my tablet and, even though the voice is not really human, I do a lot of crafting and enjoy the option. James Marsters did a wonderful job on the Dresden books, very enjoyable .
Also, I need an opinion on Gore Vidal's Lincoln. I enjoyed the movie and would like to read more about him. Finished " Team of Rivals", and "Killing Lincoln" and have the biography by
Ronald White, but hubby has Vidal's book on his tablet, so is it worth reading?
Posted by: megthered at December 16, 2012 03:07 PM (iR4Dg)
169 Posted by: megthered at December 16, 2012 03:07 PM (iR4Dg)
Which tablet and app do you use? I purchased one (not for very much though) and it doesn't recognize any of the books on my Kindle as existing. Also, do you have any reccomendations for one to use on a PC? I mostly want it so I can be looking at whatever project I'm working on as well. It's possible to knit/crochet while reading the Kindle, but would certainly speed up both to be "eyes free".
Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette, still a Hobbit at December 16, 2012 03:13 PM (wbeNt)
170 When the hell am I going to find the time to read all of these books? I guess my family will have to go hungry and wear dirty clothes.
Posted by: Kiki at December 16, 2012 03:27 PM (qEUtW)
The two best historical novels I have read are Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels and Stephen Pressfield's Gates of Fire.
I would also recommend Pressfield's The Virtues of War, The Afghan Campaign, and The Last of the Amazons. And of course the Aubrey-Maturin books.
I tried to read Clan of the Cave Bear when it first came out decades ago. Auel's description of the clan leader left me with the indelible image of Louis Di Palma wearing a (small) bearskin. I couldn't take the book seriously after that, and quit.
Posted by: NCC at December 16, 2012 03:33 PM (xwXI3)
I know. I buy books all the time, and sometimes it takes me years before I actually read them. Recently I also started reading 2 or 3 books at the same time on the theory it would help me clear my back log faster. It doesn't -- it just takes more time to read the book. I do usually have an audio book going for my commute and one or two print/ebooks for actually reading.
Posted by: Nc at December 16, 2012 03:35 PM (KHfj0)
Agree on Pressfield. Killer Angels is one of the books sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.
Posted by: Nc at December 16, 2012 03:37 PM (KHfj0)
174 @ 159 --- sorry, that's not her. Renault was at her best with Ancient Greece - Theseus, Alexander, The Pelopenesian War, and etc. If you like Pressfield's Greek books you will love Renault - I believe he dedicated one of his books to her.
Posted by: Old Bob at December 16, 2012 03:42 PM (TgZ6X)
175 Posted by: Old Bob at December 16, 2012 03:42 PM (TgZ6X)
Thanks for the answer. I'll have to look her up on Kindle and see if any of the synopses sound familiar.
Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette, still a Hobbit at December 16, 2012 03:46 PM (wbeNt)
176 "River of Doubt" was excellent. Sort of ties in with "The Lost City of Z".
Both of which makes me absolutely certain I'm never visiting the Amazon.
Not that I would have anyway...
Posted by: HH at December 16, 2012 03:47 PM (XXwdv)
177 As for oldies butgoodies I found Mary Stewart's Arthurian books written through the eyes of Merlin to be not merely readable but surprisingly credible. None of the 'sword and sorcery' garbage that mucks up so much of the rest. Start with 'The Crystal Cave' and 'The Hollow Hills'
Posted by: Old Bob at December 16, 2012 03:58 PM (TgZ6X)
178 'Clan of the Cave Bear' novel? Sorry I could not even bear to watch the movie with Darryl Hannah in it.
Just read for I guess the fifteenth time Fredrick Forsyth's 'The Shepherd.' Lindsey Davis' 'Silver Pigs' is tempting me to re-read.
But I should get back to writing. Need to finish up stuff.
Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at December 16, 2012 04:00 PM (hWrM7)
179 "Killer Angels is one of the books sitting on my shelf waiting to be read."
You're in for a treat.
The movie "Gettysburg" was very faithful to the book.
Posted by: Taro Tsujimoto at December 16, 2012 04:06 PM (celt+)
180 I like the first of the Ayla books, Clan of the Cave Bear, but like the Tarnsman of Gor series, it went all soft porn. Along with domesticating the horse, inventing the travois, creating flint firestarting, and bringing pharmaceuticals to mankind, I figure that Ayla has by now invented the steam engine.
Posted by: toby928© for TB at December 16, 2012 04:11 PM (QupBk)
181 Perhaps Ayla has now invented the longbow.
*runs for cover*
Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at December 16, 2012 04:15 PM (hWrM7)
182 You might consider "the Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis, winner of both the 1992 Hugo and Nebula book awards...part of the book takes place in 13th century England during the time of the Black Plague and the other part of the book takes place in a plague-stricken future London. Hard to believe but the book has some hilarious as well as fiercely poignant moments. Impossible to put down.
Posted by: Suzanne Hawthorne at December 16, 2012 04:38 PM (sN2sL)
183 "The Last Crusader" available for $9.99 for Kindle. Yay! I need another book.
Posted by: Tonestaple at December 16, 2012 04:46 PM (BGruy)
184 I figure that Ayla has by now invented the steam engine.
Actually, I think she's moved on to rocket scientist by now.
You might consider "the Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis,
Posted by: Retread at December 16, 2012 04:48 PM (zxitI)
185 Besides the Lymond Chronicles, Dorothy Dunnett also wrote the House of Niccolo series: 15th century in the Low Countries.
Posted by: ColoComment at December 16, 2012 04:55 PM (2vbFu)
186 I am reading The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir. Easy to see from this why Elizabeth I never wanted to get married!
Posted by: Jmel at December 16, 2012 05:05 PM (9tSXa)
You need to make sure the Kindle apps are using the same Amazon account as you're using on the Kindle. Sync should be automatic from there.
Another approach to try is the web-based Kindle app.
Posted by: epobirs at December 16, 2012 05:06 PM (kcfmt)
188 I really don't read much fiction. I have been on an Everest kick: Into Thin Air, Dark Summit, The Other Side of Everest (which is likely the only book which discusses taking a s**t at high altitude) and Ghosts of Everest, which is sort of like an archeological expedition to find Mallory and Irvine.
I've also read a couple of books on adolescence in communes, Wild Child and Notes from Nether. Honestly, it's one thing to do stupid stuff when you are young but you really shouldn't expose your children to it.
As for audio books. I find I don't retain anything from listening to them. I did go through the entire Shelby Foote Civil War series during my long commute. I'd like to actually read them again, so I can retain it.
Posted by: notsothoreau at December 16, 2012 05:12 PM (uPhCY)
189 Posted by: Suzanne Hawthorne at December 16, 2012 04:38 PM (sN2sL)
Second (third actually, I guess) the rec. That book's heroine is what gave me the idea for Eldest Kidlet's name.
Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette, still a Hobbit at December 16, 2012 05:21 PM (wbeNt)
190 Audiobooks --- The reader/s/narrator makes or breaks a book. Examples of excellent readings = excellent audiobooks include any Janet Evanovich novel. Example of a bad reading would be Greg Iles "Devil's Punchbowl." The novel was great and I wanted to share it with my non-reading partner who will 'read' audiobooks. She said the narration was so poor, she could not listen to it. If you plan on entering the audiobook world, please, please have reader auditions as it really will either turn people off or on to your books.
Posted by: CalyxtheCommoner at December 16, 2012 05:22 PM (0bfxv)
I'm reading The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir.
Bit of an Anglophile I'm afraid, what.
Posted by: Jones in CO at December 16, 2012 11:34 AM (8sCoq)
Alison Weir is very good. I have also enjoyed historical fiction by these authors:Brenda Rickman VantreaseChristi PhillipsJeanne Mackin
Posted by: ChristyBlinky, raving lunatic about Benghazi at December 16, 2012 05:27 PM (baL2B)
192 Er, sorry for format of above email...will try again:
Brenda Rickman Vantrease; Christi Phillips; and Jeanne Mackin.
Posted by: ChristyBlinky, raving lunatic about Benghazi at December 16, 2012 05:29 PM (baL2B)
193 I figure that Ayla has by now invented the steam engine.
Posted by: toby928© for TB at December 16, 2012 04:11 PM (QupBk)
Posted by: ChristyBlinky, raving lunatic about Benghazi at December 16, 2012 05:30 PM (baL2B)
194 For historical fiction I go to Edith Pargeter: "The Brothers of Gwynedd Quartet" and "A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury." Theendof Welsh independence and the Stephen/Matilda conflict, respectively.
Edith Pargeter also wrote a few mystery novels under her nom de plume, Ellis Peters.
I recently re-read "Anne of Green Gables" and all the subsequent novels about Anne. I had no idea there were any after "Anne's Little House of Dreams," so "Rainbow Valley" and "Rillaof Ingleside" were something of a revelation. Enjoyed them very much, alldownloaded for free from Kindle.
Posted by: Gem at December 16, 2012 05:40 PM (zw+pb)
195 Posted by: notsothoreau at December 16, 2012 05:12 PM (uPhCY)
Well, to add to your list...
"Everest, The Hard Way" and I think "7 Summits"
Can't remember the authors, but I enjoyed both books.
Posted by: HH at December 16, 2012 05:41 PM (XXwdv)
196 #12 Truman:
THANK YOU for the Hanukah/USA 2012 link. VERY good - and very inspirational. Shared it with some fellow disheartened Cons.
(Completey OT: typing this on my iPad, and noticed that when I hit "return" I get a real carriage return, so formatting works. Yay!)
Posted by: speedster1 at December 16, 2012 05:41 PM (yeM7r)
197 Tom Shanley's Chinggis Khan books are good and cheap on Kindle and so are S.J.A. Turney's Marius' Mules books about the Roman Legion.
Posted by: alo89 at December 16, 2012 06:06 PM (IacRz)
198 I don't know who decided Bernard Cornwell's settings are inaccurate, or which books they were reading. The Archers Tale, is very historical except for that whole Holy Grail part (aka the fiction), and Saxon Chronicles is also very accurate as far as actual events. I havent read the Sharpe series, but from what I read, you got sold a load of junk in that review.
Posted by: Miikeb at December 16, 2012 06:30 PM (XAy/L)
199 I agree with the other morons about Cornwell. His battle scenes are excellent, the historical accuracy is not lacking, and they are dang fun. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss them. I'd start with The Archer's Tale or The Last Kingdom. And Richard Sharpe is just the biggest bad ass ever.
I could never get into Pressfield. Something about his writing style.
Posted by: Linus at December 16, 2012 06:59 PM (C9WKQ)
I have a Sansung Galaxy Note 10.1 and I use the Mantaneo Reader app. It has test to speech. I have never had a Kindle ( Amazon was too proprietary) but I use Calibre on my pc and just add books to my tablet from that. I have over 1600 books on Calibre and keep about 30 on my tablet. Calibre is the best ebook library management software I have found. It is free and there are many reviews all over the internet for it. The developer is very good and is always working to improve the software. I have used it since my Nook 1st edition. I can also use it for my phone ( Samsung Galaxy Nexus)with Mantano reader.
Posted by: megthered at December 16, 2012 07:12 PM (iR4Dg)
201 "S.J.A. Turney's Marius' Mules books about the Roman Legion."
As is Pressfield.
Latest rave is "The Watchers" by Jon Steele, in case nobody else has mentioned it in the last little bit. Great great book. By a first timer.
Posted by: Chariots of Toast at December 16, 2012 07:26 PM (3m+gl)
202 I picked up the Clan of the Cave Bears eons ago. It came with high recommendations as an historical novel. " Prehistoric Porn" describes it very well. It alternated between 5 pages explaining how to shape arrowheads, followed by 20 pages concerning how to have good sex after youwere raped as a virgin by that nasty flathead guy, and as a consequence thought sex wassomething to be endureed(who knew Victorian women lived back then?) followed by 3 pages on how to make a fireproofed claypot, followed by 10 pages on how expand your prehistoric knowledge on gaining an orgasm, followed by.. well anyway, yeah I agree.
Posted by: I'd rather be surfin at December 16, 2012 07:39 PM (OTWsz)
203 For first rate historical fiction, I strongly recommend Gillian Bradshaw. Some of her titles are "The Beacon at Alexandria", "Island of Ghosts", "Render Unto Ceasar", "Alchemy of Fire", "Wolf Hunt" and "London in Chains".
A couple of older authors who are worth looking up: Rafael Sabatini and L. Sprague De Camp. Nobody could buckle a swash like Sabatini. If you have not read his classics "Scaramouche" and "Captain Blood" you are missing a treat. As to De Camp, try "An Elephant for Aristotle", "The Bronze God of Rhodes" or "The Dragon of the Ishtar Gate".
Posted by: John F. MacMichael at December 16, 2012 07:55 PM (gBwCW)
204 Posted by: John F. MacMichael at December 16, 2012 07:55 PM (gBwCW)
I didn't know De Camp wrote historical fiction. I'm mostly familiar with (his?) "Un-Beheaded King" series which is pretty much a run-down of all the different types of government available, but set in a magical world.
Posted by: Polliwog the 'Ette, still a Hobbit at December 16, 2012 08:05 PM (wbeNt)
205 Posted by: Gem at December 16, 2012 05:40 PM (zw+pb)
Gem, Montgomery's other books are great, too.....I especially love the two Pats and Jane of Lantern Hill. The Emily's are also good, but Pat and Jane are my favorites. She has many other books besides Anne.
Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at December 16, 2012 08:06 PM (wdyFA)
206 As an aside, no matter the product, I only read the one and 2 star reviews on Amazon, I want to know the problems and if I can live with em. Plus you can actually buy positive reviews now, so the avg stars and the high stars may not mean anything.
Posted by: Guy Mohawk at December 16, 2012 12:18 PM (n/ubI)
I dunno... some of those one-star reviews sound like they are written by people who never even read the book and just have some beef with the author.
I prefer to read the two reviews ranked most helpful first, one positive and one negative... you can see those by clicking "see all reviews" and it puts them at the top for you side by side. Those both tend to give me a pretty good sense of things.
Posted by: Crazy Bald Guy at December 16, 2012 08:45 PM (8ltUk)
207 @195, thanks! I've added them to my list on amazon. (I keep stuff I want to read on my wishlist, then look them up at the library.)
I got started off on the Everest kick by an article on the amount of dead bodies on Everest. It's really very sad, because conditions up there don't allow you to bring down those bodies.
That book on the expedition in 1999 that found Malloy's body was a real eye opener. They climbed basically in regular wool clothes. There were pictures of his wool stocking and half gloves that were very interesting to me as a knitter. I can't imagine how tough those men must have been to climb dressed like that in -40 below temps with heavy winds.
Posted by: notsothoreau at December 16, 2012 09:20 PM (uPhCY)
Gosh, I love that Connie Willis book. I read it right after Michael Crichton 's book about time travel came out. Read a review of his book. The reviewer didn't like it so much and suggested "Doomsday Day Book" as a better alternative. I bought it the same week and treasure it to this day. It is indeed very moving.
Oh and Bernard Cornwell's battle scenes are the best. His descriptions of the Saxon-Viking battles are brutal.
Posted by: Tuna at December 16, 2012 10:02 PM (M/TDA)
209 I also endorse Colleen McCullough's series of novels about Rome. Lots of texture. They really give you a feeling of what the society was like.
If you can stand reading some historical fact, you might take a look at Thomas B. Costain's Pageant of England series. It's a popular history of England under the Normans and the Plantagenet dynasty. Highly recommended.
Posted by: W Krebs at December 16, 2012 10:10 PM (LvqpP)
210 I read all of those books and enjoyed every last one. They knew what I like and kept feeding them to me.
The Sunne in Splendour, the author was a lawyer and War of Roses was her hobby. She said Shakespeare's Richard was informed by an earlier historian who had it out for the opposition, written by the winner, born with a tail removed at birth etc.
She did something that clued me to a thing I'm certain authors do -- come across interesting items during research and make a file. Like swearing. Wonderfully interesting files but with no good place to use it. They may spread it out or imbue it all in one person. A knight on a horse knocks over a peasant who turns around and swears. The author unloads the entire file in that one scene by that one character introduced specifically to dump the sweary word file and it's hilarious. Poxes on all your houses and such.
Sarum. The place stays the same but the centuries change from prehistoric to WWII. Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain, another cathedral.
Aztec, Gary Jennings
The Raptor, Gary Jennings. Knee-slapping hilarious hermaphrodite, Fall of Rome, goes between Visigoth and Astrogoth
Posted by: bour3 at December 17, 2012 04:26 AM (5x3+2)
211 #204 "I didn't know De Camp wrote historical fiction".
Actually, from the late 50s to mid 60s it was his main focus.
"The Dragon of the Ishtar Gate" is my favorite among his historical novels. It is a rollicking adventure that ranges from the heart of the Persian Empire to Central Africa and back again. The hero, a brawny young Persian warrior, is saved in the nick of time from a most unwelcome appointment with an impaling stake and commanded by the Great King to travel to the sources of the Nile, capture the dragon of the title and bring it back alive. The Great King's wizard requires its blood for a potion to give the king immortality. What they don't tell him is that another key potion ingredient is: "...the heart of a hero".
Posted by: John F. MacMichael at December 17, 2012 04:54 AM (gBwCW)
212 While I am here, I will add my voice to the chorus of acclaim for George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman novels. Flashman, "The Ace of Cads", is one of the great characters.
Another Fraser title worth reading is "Mr. American" set in Edwardian England. Flashman appears as a secondary character (and steals the scene when he appears).
Fraser's memoir of his WWII service in Burma, "Quartered Safe Out Here" is a classic. His "McAuslan" stories, based on his experience as a young officer in a Highland regiment just after the war, are vivid glimpses of a world now lost. They were collected in three volumes: "The General Danced at Dawn", "McAuslan in the Rough" and "The Sheikh and the Dustbin".
Posted by: John F. MacMichael at December 17, 2012 05:15 AM (gBwCW)
213 I also really enjoyed The Good and Glorious Physician. Same woman who wrote All the President's Men, I think. But this one was her life effort. She started it first and ended it near last. Says she. Reworked it endlessly, and I must admit, it does shine. Luke. Hated God. Heard about Jesus. Resisted. Miraculous occurrences in the wake of Luke's hatred. Ineluctable transformation. A truly beautiful book.
Posted by: bour3 at December 17, 2012 06:37 AM (5x3+2)
214 On the off chance anybody ever reads this day old thread, I second Bernard Cornwell, (though I couldn't get into his rev war stuff) and the Doomsday book.
I am just finishing up the Neal Stephenson Quicksilver / Confusion / System of the World series. I think its historical fiction. Super long, but this is the second time I've read it, and I liked it even better the second time. The first time I read it, I thought it was the best fiction I had ever read. Set in the era of Cromwell up through very early 1700's, mostly in England, but with action in the Mediterranean Sea, India and even Mexico, it is quite a complicated plot. Issac Newton figures prominently. Its not for everybody, but it is interesting enough to mention it.
Posted by: Matt in Maine at December 17, 2012 09:30 AM (gWLRb)
Away up-thread someone suggested George McDonald Fraser's Flashman novels - yesyesyesyes! All of them are fantastic, historical and funny as heck. And his trilogy of short stories about the British Army just post WWII are excellent, too: The General Danced at Dawn, McAuslan in the Rough, and The Sheik and the Dustbin. Count me as one who was heartbroken that Fraser passed away before he could ever write of Harry Flashman's adventures in our Civil War ... he fought on both sides, according to clues scattered through the other books. Espionage had something to do with it, apparently... but who for remains a bit of a mystery, which would have been revealed.
As long as the topic is historical fiction, can I put in a plug for my own? (Which are on Amazon.com, Barnes Noble and available in Kindle and Nook versions.) To Truckee's Trail is about the first wagon train to make it over the Sierra Nevada with their wagons in the dead of winter, the Adelsverein Trilogy is about the German settlements in Texas (Yes, there was an extensive effort to plant a large colony of German settlers in Texas in the 1840s which hardly anyone outside of Texas has ever heard of) and Daughter of Texas and Deep in the Heart are about the early days in Texas, the war for independence, and the raucus days of the Republic of Texas... again, lots of interesting shenanigans going on, like an international dispute between the Republic and France over an inkeeper's wandering pigs.
Posted by: Sgt. Mom at December 17, 2012 09:56 AM (PvxhO)
216 If you like historical fiction, Parke Godwin's books set around the Norman Conquest (Sherwood, Robin and the King, and one other one about Harold of Wessex whose title escapes me) are excellent.
Posted by: SDN at December 17, 2012 09:59 AM (T3JOa)
217 Sgt.Mom @215, I share your sorrow that GMF never gave us Flashman in the Civil War. Of course, that is only one of the lost episodes of Flash Harry's checkered career. We never do hear the story of his service in the French Foreign Legion, how he came to serve along side the U. S. Marines at the Seige of Peking or what happened after Chinese Gordon dragged him off to Khartoum. I would also like to know how it was that, at the beginning of "Flashman and the Dragon" Flashman is in Hong Kong and fluent in Mandarin. At the end of that volume we see him being shanghaied out of a bordello in Singapore. And what happened next? No clue.
Posted by: John F. MacMichael at December 17, 2012 06:50 PM (gBwCW)
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