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.



  1. I’ll be reading The Big Burn (Tim Egan) about Teddy Roosevelt and the National Park Service. Someone at our discussion mentioned Nathaniel Philbrick’s book about McKinley called Destiny of the Republic, so I’m going to try that too. If anyone knows a book about Harrison, I could learn about all the neighborhood streets!

  2. OK – so I said I would be reading Live by NIght (and I will) but I got sidetracked by David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas which has been sitting on my to read shelf for a while. He is one of my favorite authors and while this doesn’t exactly fit the historical category, I think I can squeeze it in. It begins on the Chatham Islands in the 1800’s and continues through the future after “the fall”. Reminds me in structure of his book Ghostwritten in that it is a series of loosely connected stories. He is also the author of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet which is set in Japan in the 1800’s when it was a closed society trying to keep outsiders and change out of Japan. That was my favorite the year it came out and does fit nicely into the historical category.

  3. Here are a list of some books based on history both fiction and non-fiction
    *Snow in August Pete Hamill
    *Forever Pete Hamill
    *In the Fall Jeffrey Lent
    At Some Disputed Barricade Anne Perry
    We Shall Not Sleep Anne Perry
    *Any book by Tracy Kidder, Latest is Strength in What Remains, Non-fiction
    The Air We Breathe Andrea Barrett
    Skeletons at the Feast Chris Bohjalian
    *America, America Ethan Canin
    *Stones From the River Ursula Helgi
    *Bird Song, Charlotte Gray, Girl at the Lion D’or, Human Traces Sebastian Faulks
    *The Given Day Dennis Lehane
    *In the Heart of the Sea Nathaniel Philbrick (non-fiction); the best of his books
    *The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million Daniel Mendelsohn (non-fiction)
    Marching Home Kevin Coyne (non-fiction)
    Sarah’s Key Tatiana de Rosnay
    Ghost Soldiers Hampton Sides (non-fiction)
    *The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Annie Barrows
    *The Immortal Life of Henrietta Slacks Rebecca Skloot, non-fiction
    *The Cellist of Sarajevo Steven Galloway
    The Invisible Bridge Julie Orringer
    *Thunderstruck Erik Larson non-fiction (any book by Erik)
    * Russian Winter Daphne Kalotay
    *The Hare With Amber Eyes Edmund de Waal (non-fiction)
    *Unbroken Lauren Hillenbrand (non-fiction), also wrote Seabiscuit
    The Boy Dan Porat (non-fiction)
    Leaving Van Gogh Carol Wallace
    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Shanghai Girls, Peony in Love Lisa See
    People of the Book, Year of Wonders Geraldine Brooks
    *The Warmth of Other Suns Isabel Wilkerson (non-fiction; quite an achievement)
    A Fierce Radiance Lauren Belfer
    *Mayflower Nathaniel Philbrick (non-fiction)
    *Lost in Shangri-La Mitchell Zuckoff (non-fiction)
    The Man from Saigon Marti Leimbach
    Bitter Tide Anne Stamos
    Beneath the Lion’s Gaze Maaza Mengiste
    *Caleb’s Crossing Geraldine Brooks
    A Secret Kept Tatiana de Rosnay
    Those who save us Jenna Blum
    Hotel on the Corner of Bittter and Sweet Jamie Ford
    *Thirteeen Moons Charles Frazier
    *The Girl with the Blue Beret Bobbie Ann Mason
    *In the Garden of the Beasts Erik Larsen and his other books (non-fiction)
    *The Unlikely Spy Daniel Silva
    *22 Britannia Road Anna Hodgkinson
    *Rin Tin Tin Susan Orlean, non-fiction
    The Things We Cherished Pam Jenoff
    The Kommandant’s Girl Pam Jenoff
    *Destiny of the Republic Candice Millard (non-fiction)
    The Dovekeepers Alice Hoffman
    The Jewel of St. Petersburg Kate Furnivall
    The Russian Concubine Kate Furnivall
    The Girl from Junchow Kate Furnivall
    The Paris Wife Paula McLain
    My Name is Mary Sutter Robin Oliveira
    *The Time in Between Maria Duenas
    *The State of Wonder Ann Patchett
    *A Walk Across the Sun Corban Addison
    The Little Russian Susan Sherman
    The Madonnas of Leningrad Debra Dean
    The Whisperer Donato Carrisi
    *A Good American Alex George
    The Invisible Ones Stef Penney
    *The Art of Hearing Heartbeats Jan-Phillipp Sendker
    The Lost Wife Alyson Richman
    The Beautiful Cigar Girl Daniel Stashower
    The Dressmaker Kate Alcott
    *Claude & Camille Stephanie Cowell
    *TheLady in Gold:the extraordinary tale of Gustav Klimt’s masterpiece portrait of Adele Bloch_Bauer Ann-Marie O’Connor (non-fiction)
    Forgotten Country Catherine Chung
    Marrying Mozart Stephanie Cowell
    *Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper Harriet Scott Chessman
    *The Last Good Man A.J.Kazinski
    Trapeze Simon Mawer
    The Things They Carried Tim O’Brien
    The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb Melanie Benjamin
    The Neruda Case Robert Ampuero
    The Orphanmaster Jean Zimmerman
    In the Shadow of the Banyan Vaddey Ratner
    The Secrets of Mary Bowser Lois Leveen
    City of Women David R. Gillmam
    The Glass Room Simon Mawer
    *Sutton J.R. Moehringer
    *Live by Night Dennis Lehane
    *Garden of Evening Mist Tan Twan Eng
    The Winds of War, War and Remembrance Herman Wouk
    The Hope, The Glory Herman Wouk
    Winter of the World Ken Follet
    Fall of Giants Ken Follet
    Yellow Birds Kevin Powers
    *Citizens of London Lynne Olson (non-fiction)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s