One of the really interesting reading experiences I’ve had is when I have read several books about the same period/event and gotten very different perspectives on it – often by accident. One example is reading West with the Night by Beryl Markham, White Mischief by James Fox and Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen – all about the same group of Englishmen and women in Kenya at the same time. Very different views of what was happening.
But my historical novel – at least the first one – will be Dennis Lehane’s new book Live by Night which is a follow up to The Given Day – this one set during prohibition and it is – by his description – his gangster book.
We are reading and talking about history in November – after all on Thanksgiving we’ll be celebrating some local history. Here are a few suggestions if you are looking for ideas:
The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean and City of Thieves by David Benioff are both novels based on the siege of Leningrad.
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks and Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier give you unusual view of war – Birdsong WWI and Cold Mountain the Civil War.
The Given Day by Dennis Lehane looks at 1919 and the Boston Police strike.
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson looks at the great migration of African Americans to the north and west.
Here and Nowhere Else by Jane Brox is a memoir of her family in the Merrimac Valley.
The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal follows a Jewish family through a collection of netsuke.
The Professor & the Madman by Simon Winchester is about the making of the Oxford Dictionary.
Salt by Mark Kurlansky (who also wrote Cod) is the story of the world through a single vital staple.
Wolf Hall and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel are about Thomas Cromwell and his relationship with Henry VIII and were both Booker award winners.
Drums of Autumn by Diana Galbaldon is part of her time travel romance with serious information about Scottish history.
Will in the World is a biography of William Shakespeare by local author Stephen Greenblatt
Citizens of London by Lynne Olson is the story of three Americans who were key players in the decision of the US to enter WWII – Edward R. Murrow, Averell Harriman and John Gilbert Winant.
Candice MIllard has written two books about past presidents – River of Doubt based on a trip taken by Theodore Roosevelt down the Amazon and Destiny of the Republic about James Garfield, his life and the changes brought on by his shooting, a book that won the 2012 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime.
Really enjoyed the book chat this morning at the library with lots of wonderful suggestions on what people had been reading – their favorite books – books they wouldn’t recommend – great authors. We’ll post a list of the authors mentioned.
Please join us to tell us about what you have been reading – or just to hear some suggestions from others. And we’ll have bagels from Hobson’s Homemade – reason enough to come.
NEXT MONTH: History – what interests you? Historical fiction, historical romances, a specific time in history, biographies of famous/infamous/ordinary people? The list is very long.
Have you read something you want to tell us about? Found a book you really loved? Found one that kind of wasted your time?
Hope you will be able to join us Saturday, Oct 20 at 10:30 at the library for some delicious local bagels and a chat but if you can’t come, please reply to the blog and let us know what you are reading.