Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Top Ten Tuesday #14

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It was created because of a particular fondness towards lists. Each week, a new top ten question will be posted on the hosting blog for other blogs to join in with on their own blogs. All you need to do to join in is link back to the host somewhere on your post, and add your link to the linky list via the host.

In all honesty, I think I might struggle to find ten for this one - but I'll still give it a go! I might have to cheat a little though.

This week's post is:

Top Ten Historical Novels
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The Book of Fires by Jane Borodale: I really loved this one. It's set in London in the 18th century, around the time when fireworks were being developed and used in public displays for the first time. It follows the protagonist, Agnes, as she struggles to come to terms with her personal problems and her new surroundings, being a Firework Maker's assistant. It's a really beautifully-written novel!

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen: Technically this isn't historical fiction, as such, but I did say I might cheat a little bit. I'll call is 'recently historical', if that will make you feel better. If it's set in the past, and it's more than just 30 years ago, then I'd say it's vaguely historical. Whatever it's classed as - it's a wonderful novel, and one of my favourites!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: This is an epistolary novel, meaning that it is written in letters/diary entries (although this one is just letters), and it follows the relationships between a group of people who lived through the German occupation in Guernsey (one of the channel islands, off the coast of Britain, if you didn't know), and a woman from England, who writes to them in letters, and eventually goes over to stay with them. It's a really beautiful story, and one I will definitely read again!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: I don't need to say much about this one really - it's so popular. It's set during the Second World War, in Germany, and follows the story of Liesel, otherwise known as 'The Book Thief' to death, who is the not-so-sinister narrator. It's a truly beautiful book, and one that should be picked up by everyone.

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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne: I read this in one day - cover to cover in one sitting. It's an extremely moving novel, about the experiences of the Jewish in Auschwitz, and young boy, the son of one of the German wardens at the concentration camp (although Bruno, the protagonist, does not know what this is), who befriends a Jewish boy on the other side of the fence. A must read.

Property by Valerie Martin: I read this one over three years ago now, but it has stayed with me all that time. It's a really beautiful story, set in the American Deep South at the beginning of the 19th century, that provides a glimpse into what it was like during the times of slavery and desperation. Another that I read, pretty much, in one sitting.

Fatherland by Robert Harris: This is possibly one of the most frightening books I've ever read. Not because it's creepy, or there's loads of gore/horror, but simply because the idea of this alternative history is terrifying: What if Hitler had won?

Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin: This is a kind of rewriting of Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and it's done fantastically well. Instead of being from the point of view of the male characters, as the original is, it's told from the point of view of Mary Reilly, a maid in Jekyll's household. It's a moving and poignant retelling, that any fan of the original should read.

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Atonement by Ian McEwan: I always thought that I'd hate Ian McEwan - I don't know why. I spent years avoiding reading his novels, only to find that I had to read this one for my first week at University. And it wasn't bad at all - I'll admit that, despite my preconceptions, I really enjoyed it.
I had to watch the film adaptation as well though - I wouldn't bother with that - just read the book.

A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro: This is the second novel of Ishiguro's that I've read, and although I didn't enjoy it as much as Never Let Me Go, it was still a great read. It's set in Nagasaki, a few years after the atomic bombs of WW2, as the inhabitants of the city struggle to rebuild their lives. It's a very quick, but moving read.

Do you agree/disagree with any of these choices? What else would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments :)


Book Passion for Life said...

Historical? I'm not really a fan and I'm a little unsure if I've read anything. lol. Good picks though!! ~ Donna

Pen to Paper said...

I'm not usually a fan, either. But I managed to find these ten. I doubt I could have found any more that I've read though - I don't tend to read Historical fiction :P
Fantasy all the way!

Dani :)

Pen to Paper said...

And have only just realised I could have chosen any genre - the host didn't make that clear in the post - I found it somewhere else.
She needs to be more clear with it! :P

Oh well, haha!

Tanya Patrice said...

I haven't read much historical fiction - other than romances - but I plan on reading The Help soon - it's just one of those books that I keep meaning to get to and never do.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Thank you for your list! The books I've read are wonderful, so I feel confident I should add the others to my wishlist.

Here's my
Top Ten Books That Take Place in Paris.
I'd love to have you stop by!

Nikki-ann said...

I haven't read the others so I can only agree about The Book Thief... such a wonderful book :)

techeditor said...

Water For Elephants was just OK, a three-star book.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was not good at all because it was a series of letters, so you never really got into the story or any one character.

The Book Thief is a YA novel so disappointed me.

Atonement is great, although I never before thought of it as a historical novel.

A Pale View of Hills is great, although I never before thought of it as a historical novel.

beccabooklover said...

I also read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in one sitting and when I finished the last page I was completely shocked and just sat there unbelieving. Such a sad sad story.
I really need to read Water for Elephants :)

Check out my list if you like :)

Sara Kovach said...

I also did a list of historical novels. You have a great list of books.

My top 10: http://sosimplesara.blogspot.com/2012/03/top-ten-favorite-historical-fiction.html

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