Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Historical Settings I'd Like To Read

She's back!

I realize my last post hasn't been since October. I spent about ten days in the hospital in November due to complications with my tracheostomy. After that, it took some time to recover and get back to normal and then there were the holidays! Also my birthday (January 12th). I've done a little bit of reading and have some great posts planned for the coming month! I'd thought the best way to jump back into things is to do my favorite meme!


I'm splitting the topic up today. Five for US-Centered History. Five for outside the US. 

1. Colonial Times

Please feel free to blame Felicity, American Girl Doll and my sister who lived in Williamsburg and talked constantly about it's history for my fascination with this time period. The intrigue, the tea throwing! The DRESSES. There's so many great female stories that could be told in this era. And, as I have ancestry from both sides of the war - I love learning about both sides. (The below GIF came from Poldark, by the way. A TV series spawned from a book series I do intend to read sometime in the near future). Like...British Officer falls in love with a rebel's daughter! Or Tory noblewoman runs off with a Patriot! 



2. The Civil War

Possibly not very original but this was such a dramatic time in US History. The end of slavery. Families against families. The stakes were high. I'm less interested in the battle-history and more interested in the female perspective and the African American perspective. While I love a good girl-dresses-up-as-soldier story...I like my perspectives to be almost average. Just a normal girl who doesn't bend the rules, who follows the rules - what was her perspective? Her challenges. And yes, yes - I've read Cold Mountain. (lol!). 


3. Western/Wagon Trail

Vengeance Road had me majorly geeking out over the western genre for a good while. That lead to me remembering my fascination with the Oregon Trail (inspired by the game, of course) as a young pre-teen. I've lost count of how many Oregon Trail books I read. Little House on the Prairie was a favorite growing up. And there was this one about a bunch of women who lose all their men and go west on their own. I lean towards the westerns with a strong, female lead. I'd love to read one with a disabled character too. I think that'd have great potential.     


3. Bomb Girls - 1940s.

I borrowed the phrase 'Bomb Girls' not only from history but from the Canadian TV Show (watch it, if you haven't!). I'm so interested in the women that worked in the factories - especially ammunition and explosives - in WW2. My great-grandmother worked in one and the health consequences on the workers was horrendous. She even wrote an article about it for a newspaper, I think. (Must ask Liza about that!).


4. The 1910-20's US Suffrage Movement

Mainly - about Alice Paul and her work. I didn't really know about her or what she and her organization did for the Suffrage Movement until I watched HBO's Iron Jawed Angels (which isn't on their subscription service, by the way - shame, shame!) with Hilary Swank and the most kick-ass collection of female actresses. They picketed a war-time President and got imprisoned for it. They kept picketing. While imprisoned they went on a hunger strike and were force fed as a result. A very grueling process often shortened the lifespan of the 'patient'. Pretty hardcore stuff, if you ask me. While they weren't formally credited for President Wilson's change of heart about the Suffrage Movement - after word got out about their treatment his administration was forced to release them. I haven't really seen much on them in the historical fiction genre. It's definitely something I keep an eye out for. 

5. 60's Counter Culture

There is so, so much potential there. I can't even. The Vietnam War. The protests. Civil Rights! The removing of one's bra and burning it! Also the hair! THE BEATLES. Just...I can't even begin to decide what I'd like about first.  

6. Historically Accurate Medieval Times, Please

I have this impression that most medieval set books are sort of...fluffy? I mean, there are some exceptions. (Catherine, Called Birdy. Pillars of the Earth. Etc). I just get in my head the countless romance novels I've read set in that time. I love a Troubled But Golden-Hearted Knight In Dented Armor and a Beautiful, Daring Lady Who Rebels Against The Patriarchy like the rest of us. But, for the most part it's just a mess of really ridiculous names and scrapes that don't quite add up. I don't mind a bit of lore and made-up characters - but I like to be submersed into the actual world as best as a reader can be. I want their troubles, their language, their often-narrowed mind-set. I want arranged marriages and babies dying! That sounds absolutely horrible but it's true. I'm all for triumph of the spirit and true love winning in the end (in fact, I insist on it) but I'd like for it to be natural and organic to the context of the world and society. 


7. Roman Empire

Much like my desire for an authentic medieval setting...I would love some authenticity. I, to be honest, probably need to lay off the historical romance and go for more actual historical fiction. Like most of my interests - I rather the ordinary female perspective. I'm of the stock that the ordinary perspective can be heroic - and the ordinary female perspective can be extraordinary while still being grounded in reality. The Roman Empire was such a force to be reckoned with - and I wonder...did they know it? I mean, they were kind of full of it and they did sort of conquer the world - but what did the every day person experience? What Gods/Goddesses did they worship? What did they do for a living? What was it like? What were their challenges? 

8. Ancient Egypt

One of my favorite books (The Red Tent) is partially set in Ancient Egypt. It's such a fascinating topic, a fascinating time. Exotic, beautiful, ancient. I used to read this picture book I had when I was a kid over and over again about Ancient Egypt. The mummification process and their idea of the after life fascinated me. Cleopatra was my favorite Royal Diaries book! (That and Princess Elizabeth, of course. And Marie Antoinette). 

9. Renaissance 

Now this is a time period that I'm so confident I can find good fiction for. I'm constantly running into something intriguing set in that time period. The music, the art, the advances. It's like the 70's for me...I can't decide what I'd want to read first. 

10. British Empire India

I can't put a finger on exactly what Era I'd like to explore - except maybe the time of Ghandi - but the forced marriage of the two vastly different worlds provides such a colorful backdrop. I'd prefer to read something realistic to the actual experience and the social issues. India was being dominated by a Western Empire - it wasn't all peachy keen. Yet, I wouldn't object to a sweeping romance either. The best of both worlds, please!



And that concludes my return to book blogging! Any suggestions based from my list? I can't wait to see what everyone else put this week. 

Jess

5 comments

  1. Bernard Cornwell's medieval books are very close to the ground, research-wise. Most of his plots involve political plotting and war.

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    1. Thank you! I'll give him a try. :)

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  2. I've got several recommendations for your first three settings on my own list this week :) My TTT

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