When are You Now? (2017)
This is a continuation of the topic When are You Now? (2016).
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This is the first time I've ever carried forward. Hope I did this correctly, and Happy New Year!
As mentioned at the tail end of 2016, we're in 1921 England with Circles of Time, 2nd in a series by Phillip Rock.
Alternating that with The Monuments Men--not HF, but a good read nonetheless. We're all over Europe chasing down pilfered paintings and stolen sculptures.
Into The Wilderness by Sara Donati
A very engaging adventure set in the late 1700s. The main character is a strong-willed young lady, newly arrived from England in a small frontier town in the Adirondack mountains of New York State. Elizabeth intends to live quiet spinster life as a schoolteacher, but soon is caught up in intrigue and adventure. The characters are well-developed, and their storylines are quite skillfully woven together. There is even a tiny homage to Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" characters. I read this 800+ page book in two days out of inability to put it down.
It looks like there is a sequel, which I might track down someday, but this first book does a fine job of fulfilling the storyline and has a satisfying ending.
I've departed ancient Rome with imperial agent Marcus Didius Falco and his pregnant wife/girlfriend and their contrary dog to investigate a murder and head bashing probably perpetrated by the members of the Spanish olive oil cartel in A Dying Light in Corduba. Whew!
I'm flitting around the middle of the 19th century in Georgia in Grace: a novel.
I'm in the early 1500's with Katherine of Aragon, reading Six Tudor Queens: Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen by Alison Weir.
Just left Mesopotamia and the archaeological site of Ur c. 1928-9 with The Woman on the Orient Express, who happens to be, of course, Agatha Christie.
Spending time in China at the beginning of the communist revolution and hiking around the New World in the 16th C. while reading House of Eight Orchids and The Moor's Account.
I am reading in Paris, 1938, with side trips so far to Spain and Berlin, via excellent spy thriller, Midnight in Europe by Alan Furst.
>11 Zumbanista: excellent - thanks for the tip :) My wishlist is growing again.
1100s with The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick Enjoying it very much.
I've just started reading in 1890s Finland via Under the North Star, the first book in Väinö Linna's classic trilogy of the same name.
I was reading an autobiography on Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones titled Life it was interesting enough but not gripping my attention. So I decided to go to sea in 1774 on the HMS Destiny with Richard Bolitho in the book Stand into Danger the book says the author is Alexander Kent but it seems that is a nom de plume of Douglas Reeman.
The book is not a bad read but not up to the style and prose of CS Forrester's Hornblower series. I am not sure I will continue the series at this point.
I gave up on Stand into Danger ... the book went from ok...to iffy...to ridiculous...to ridiculous AND sappy in 150 pages. I will NOT continue the series
In one book I'm in early 20th C China, just prior to the communist revolution.
In the other book, I'm in mid-century Europe, speeding toward my just inherited Italian villa by car.
I'm in 1914 in A Petrol Scented Spring, which is exactly the suffragette book I needed.
I am in the jungles of East Africa fighting Imperial Germany in 1914 in the Wilbur Smith novel Shout at the Devil
I'm reading to Finland again, this time beginning in 1913, via The Uprising, the second book in Väinö Linna's classic "Under the North Star" trilogy.
>20 EadieB: Oh good. I'm enjoying it, although given that the soldiers are digging tunnels through the trenches does make me wonder about the use of the word "enjoy!" I am enthralled by the historical accuracy of it, and sickened by the horrors that the constant bombing brings to the landscape. Not everyone can write quite so engagingly about such tragic and terrible subjects.
In a French conference room, circa 1917, listening to General Pershing speak his mind about the incompetence of stateside supply officers in To the Last Man. Loving this one. Are there any particular Jeff Shaara books you'd recommend? (Have read a few of his--liked the Revolutionary War duo; Civil War stuff, not so much.)
>17 Limelite: What's the title of your China book? I read a very long, educational and grueling book Life and Death in Shanghai and wondered if that was it?
>19 threadnsong: >20 EadieB: >23 threadnsong: I surprised myself by absolutely lovely Birdsong. The writing and story just entranced me.
I'm just about to head into the 1880's Old West with Wyatt and Doc in Epitaph.
>26 Lynxear: Whoops on the touchstone...I believe they are father and son. And now that I think about it, that may well be why I wasn't quite as enamored with the Civil War installments--had my authors mixed up.
First: Life and Death in Shanghai is one of my all time favorite memoirs. Incredibly brave chronicle of Nien Cheng's trials under the communists and the "special attention" she, her husband, and daughter received because of her husband's work for Western companies. Both tragic and triumphant.
The "China book" is an adventure story that rises above the genre due to the adherence and detail author James Thayer gives regarding historicity. The title is House of Eight Orchids. I've since learned Thayer is prolific. Thinking about reading Man of the Century by him.
>25 Zumbanista: >28 Limelite:
I also loved Life and Death in Shanghai. It gave me one perspective of life in China during Mao's cultural revolution.... that of a rich lady who was persecuted for working for a western company... and of course her wealth. Such a feisty lady , the story was told with humour, candour and tragedy.
I have read 2 other books on that period:
Wild Swans by Jung Chang which describes life during that period from the point of view of a family whose father are a hero of the revolution. Even being a hero did not save the family from betrayal.
Red Azalea by Anchee Min which describes life of a middle class woman whose family were teachers and as the oldest child she had to serve on a collective farm, eventually ending up in propaganda movies because of her looks.
All three books are very good reading.
I am reading in Finland between the world wars, via Under the North Star 3: Reconciliation the final novel in Väinö Linna classic trilogy of Finnish historical fiction.
>29 Lynxear: Wild Swans is probably on my list of top history books of all time. Amazing writing, I remember I was traveling through England at the time and kept seeing myself watching the crowds of the cultural revolution. I was disappointed in her Mao, thought it rather bloated Need to check if she's written any thing else.
What I didn't say before is a great part of why I adore Life and Death in Shanghai is because i got to meet the diminutive Nien Cheng several years before her death and talk to her about the profound effect her writing had on me. She was most gracious, highly intelligent, and refined in speech, movement, and demeanor.
So opposite everything I am, but still I felt an affinity with her. One of those extraordinary people one would wish to have known intimately.
Thanks for the other two titles; I enjoy books set in China, especially by Chinese writers.
Da Chen's Brothers is a hell of a read. But my favorite of all is Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie.
>31 cindydavid4: >32 Limelite:
I have a couple of other novels relating to Chinese history...
The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure by Adam Williams. It takes place at the beginning of the 20th century and is set in the Boxer Rebellion. Two thumbs up!
Shanghai by David Rotenberg This is sort of a history of the creation of Shanghai and how/why the British used opium to crack the Chinese market... Many feel that China introduced opium to the world... actually they were just addicts hooked on the drug by the British apparently.
LimeLite... you met Nien Cheng!!! Such an amazing woman. If I recall properly, I think she was still alive when I read her book and was living in Ottawa, Ontario. I just loved her courage and felt so sorry for her tragedy at the end of the story.
Cindydavid4... what did you not like about Jung Chang's Mao? I know he was not lily white and delusional and he had a penchant for young girls but I think the real evil one was his wife who poured poison in his ear. Also having been a movie actress herself at one time, it appears she was especially vindictive against her rivals in the theatre.
After a long search, I have finally found a replacement for CS Forrester's Hornblower series.
I have discovered Dudley Pope and am currently reading the first book in his Ramage series titled Ramage. The book opens in 1796 on HMS Sibella a 28 gun frigate in a battle for its life with the Barras, a French 74 gun ship-of-the-line battle ship. They are between Corsica and Naples (I now know where Elba Island really is) on a secret mission to rescue some Italian aristocrats.
The Sibella is almost sunk, Ramage is coming out of a blackout due to a blow to the head, the captain and first/second lieutenants are dead after a grape volley cleared the deck. Ramage a 3rd lieutenant is now captain of the crew of which 1/3 have died, 1/3 are wounded and the rest are still alive. He must save his remaining men and try to complete the mission without the frigate.
A really good adventure... I cannot put it down.
I'm currently read Living Reed by Pearl. S. Buck, about Korea circa late 1800's.
>33 Lynxear: Its been a long while since I tried to read Mao, so don't remember exactly what turned me off. Had nothing to do with the main character.. Just felt it was so detailed and dense that it was hard to get through. That being said, sometimes for me its all in the timing, and if I try again its a perfect match (I tried Cloud Atlas three times before it stuck!) So Im willing to try it again and see (tho to be honest this website is giving me so many new (to me) titles that I am not sure Im ever going to keep my head about water
One of my all time favorite books about china is the Court of the Lion, that takes place in the royal court of the Tang dynasty, at the peak of its rule, to its rather 'watching a train wreck' destruction. One of the best historical fictions Ive ever read
I liked Under Heaven mainly because I had read Court of the Lion and saw where he was going. But yeah, not Kayes best - in fact I haven't liked any of his new ones since then. I think by keeping the world he built intact, he got stuck writing about the same stories with the same character types, just different names and scenery. Glad I can go back and reread his earlier work.
>39 Cecrow: I have wondered why myself. Discovered it on Elizabeth Chadwicks blog a while back when she posted her top ten list of HF and that one was near the top. Everyone I know who read it loved it, but it just hasn't gotten a lot of mileage. What amazed me about the book, aside from the writing, plot and characters, was the attention to historical detail, and how many of the unbelievable scenes in the book were actually based on real events, esp Lan Hushan and his rise through the royal circle and his later rebellion.
Just finished Ramage by Dudley Pope.... a real page.... I finally found a replacement for the Hornblower series
I've just left the Battle of the Somme in Birdsong and was amazed at the detail Elizabeth, the granddaughter finds when she turns off the road in Albert in her quest to find more details of her grandfather. She sees the arch, which is huge and can be seen from some distance, and all of the names carved into it, inside and out. It is when the man with the brush says that they were the unfound, just on that one battlefield, and Elizabeth says "Nobody told me" that I had my "that's it!" moment.
I visited the graveyard outside of Verdun in 1990, Faubourg Pave, and was overwhelmed with the number of double rows of "countless white crosses/that in mute witness stand" (to paraphrase the song by Eric Bogle of Australia). Ever since then I have realized how very, very little we in the US, and apparently Elizabeth in Birdsong, know about the tragedy of this War. A similar monument is in the seaside town of St. Malo: a long waist-high wall runs along the town center with the names of 250+ soldiers killed in WWII; behind it is a huge obelisk with what look to be a thousand names of the men killed in the Great War. We just don't get it: we went "over there" and came back heroes, but so much devastation was before then that our history ignores.
Oh yeah, and I'm still reading Memoirs of a Geisha. It's so gripping and I'll probably finish it this week. Which means I really, really need to move Birdsong off of my "just before bed time reading pile" (where it shouldn't have been in the first place cuz of the detailed descriptions of the Somme) and finish it this month, too. Then I will have 2 historical fiction novels from my TBR list challenge finished! The Worm Ouroborus should really be on my next bedtime reading list (for all the early fantasy enthusiasts out there).
Birdsong was incredible, and I agree, Europe really took the brunt of that war; But I think you'd be surprised how much Americans do know and realize it - I remember it being taught in school, and remember reading All Quiet on the Western Front, plus all of the anniversaty news coverage. But it can't have the same impact as those countries who lost whole villages of young boys, lost homes, livelihoods, landscapes, history
I know that Bogle song sung by someone esle tho; chilling, no matter who sings it. (he also wrote another favorite anti war song : Walzting Matilda)
Im now in the Caucasus, where Islamists are fighting the Russians. No this isn't the recent wars, This was in 1854. Times have changed but the wars, and carnage, never stopped. Oh the book is called the kindness of enemies, a well written book that gives an unsettling look at how it started, and how little has changed.
No,no - Waltzing Matilda is the de facto national anthem! The Bogle song you're thinking of is "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda".
oh I know that - just being a lazy typer. I figured if you knew Bogel, you'd know the one I meant. But you are right, should have specified that title, sorry.
Well of course I am familiar with Bogle, but I was thinking of people who aren't, and aren't familiar with Waltzing Matilda either - which if anything is a song about class warfare, not the shooting kind! It finishes with the swagman shouting "You'll never catch me alive!" as he jumps into the billabong, drowning to escape arrest for sheep stealing.
A familiarity with the text of Waltzing Matilda is essential to appreciate the poignance of Bogle's song.
>46 dajashby: Already said I was sorry. But as an act of true repentance, here are the lyrics to And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda:
>42 threadnsong: Back to books - another powerful WWI book is Johnny Got His Gun, by Dalton Trumbo. You may have heard or seen the movie about Trumbo, with Bryan Cranston. He was a famous playwright in the 40s and 50s (he wrote the screenplay for Roman Holiday) and was put on the Hollywood blacklist for his refusal to answer questions of the HUAC. Anyway, this book tells the story of one soldier so injured that he had no way to communicate with others. The story is told in his thoughts and memories - and its probably the best anti war book I've ever read (even better than All Quiet on the Western Front) Anyway you might want to check it out
>48 cindydavid4: Thank you for the recommendation. I had heard it was an anti-war book, and I'm certainly familiar with mention of "Roman Holiday." I did not know that he was also blacklisted during the 50's. Now that I know more about that book I'll be on the lookout for it.
>50 threadnsong: you might want to see the movie Trumbo, with the actor from Breaking Bad as the lead. Really eye opening
I am walking in London, Paris, Tokyo, Venice and NYC with women travlers such as Jean Rhys, Virginia Wolf, Martha Gellhorn and George Sand, while reading Flaneuse.
>52 cindydavid4: I watched the Trumbo movie on Amazon Prime streaming a couple of weeks ago. Quite a good flick.
I am in a lead up to WWI in Birdsong. It is supposed to be a great WWI story but so far it is a bit of a romance novel set in Amiens, France. I know modern Amiens, France quite well having visited there 4 times in 6 years for a month at a time.
It is interesting to read about the "water gardens" which are also known as "Les Hortillonnages d'Amiens". the Somme River breaks up into tiny islands with many channels... you could get lost in there actually. the islands even now are used as a market garden area for vegetables or Paris vacation homes now.
It is nice to read about places that I know.... But a romance novel I am not fussy on... but the war grows near.
Well it did not take long to read this novel... Birdsong is really 2 stories in one.... One about Stephen a young boy working in France, falling in love with all the troubles that entails (almost a historical romance), then going to war and describing the brutality both above the ground and below it... very detailed ( military historical).... the other is a story of a woman who wants to discover what her grandfather was like... she has boxes of memorabilia and journals written in code but little else and of course a romance on her own (back to historical romance again).
It seems to be a dichotomy that is hard to resolve at first but it works and in the end a lot of loose ends are tied up nicely.
Slow to start (not a great fan of historical romance) but once the war starts it is hard to put down... a very good read
Now I am in Texas in 1874, reading Texas Empire by Matt Braun... I like reading about the American west in the 1600-1900 era... Looking forward to the change
Hmmm... I put down Texas Empire. I could only stomach so much reading about the "red heathen". It, IMHO, was nothing but a wooden story with wooden stereotype characters told in a wooden literary style... I cannot even add this to my library.
I'm in the mid-1950s at the moment but moving rapidly through time in Miss Burma.
I'm mostly in Moscow, currently in the late 1970s (but I started in 1898 and am only two thirds of the way through the book), in On the Sickle's Edge.
It is 1806, I am on the HMS frigate Calypso with 32 guns and Captain Ramage in the Mediterranean Sea between Corsica and Italy. So far he has been attacked by 2 French ships of the line with 74 guns each and tricked them into colliding with each other. Then he moves on to more adventure.
The book is Ramage and the Saracens by Dudley Pope. This is my second book in the Ramage series and out of sequence... a mistake as he does flash back several times but it does not take anything from this story. What I like in Pope's writing is that all is not told through the eyes of his main character, Captain Ramage... you also see the views below decks through the eyes of a gunnery crew. A different and interesting view point on many things.
A very good, very fast read
Re-living the 20th century over and over again with The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. So far, Harry has spent most of his first four or five lives in and around England, but there is also a fair amount of globe-trotting involved.
The central mystery seems to be why he keeps re-living his life while retaining memories and experience from previous lives. The narrative is intelligent, clever, and a bit snarky. I'm enjoying it!
That looks fascinating! Almost sounds like Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. will have to get that
Im in NYC 1970 , in The Gargoyle Hunters.
I finished Ramage and the Saracens in record time... an action novel from start to finish.
I am now just starting a rather depressing novel of WWII titled Stalingrad by Theodor Plievier.... I am with the field Punishment Battalion... this is made up of military rejects who are the lowest of the low... they bury the dead which is endless, build wooden roads through swamps anything dangerous is done by them short of fighting. They get the worst food which is pretty bad to begin with and the worst accommodations. I am seeing the war from the German side in thier biggest mistake of WWII ... trying to take Stalingrad.
Well I could not finish Stalingrad after 100 pages. It was a very depressing book, literally hundreds of characters with about 4 or 5 mentioned more often that others but you never really felt any was a hero or otherwise. It was like you were suspended in air, above the scene and saw this happen, that happen and OMG look at that!!
One thinks the Russians were the only ones who suffered in Stalingrad... it appears it was no piece of cake for the Germans either.
I am currently in the 1840's reading Moon Medicine by Mike Blakely. A story about a young boy, an orphan genius living in France who commits a murder at the age of about 17 and leaves France stowed on a merchant ship. He has visions of trading with the fierce Comanche indian and is now in Texas after a series of adventures he is fulfilling his vision.
This is my third Michael Blakely book on the old American West. He is one of my favourite writers of this era... I will read all his novels as I find them.
>67 ScoLgo: Im about half way through and loving it! Now in Russia, around 1980 in an undisclosed location......
Now I am on the Mediterranean Sea in the Napoleonic war in the book Ramage and the Drum Beat by Dudley Pope... next to CS Forrester.. he is my favourite naval writer
I finished Ramage and the Drum Beat a couple of days ago.... liked it a lot and have a couple more books bought that I will eventually read this summer. Right now I am back in Stalingrad in August 1942 reading War of the Rats... this is a novel about a real event involving a sniper from both sides... Russian and German.
This action has been written about several times... I remember seeing a movie about the event in Enemy at the Gates in 2001 and it was excellent. The movie is based on the real event... not this book.... I am 30 pages into the book and it looks like a great read.
>76 Lynxear:, that was a good movie, and I can well imagine there being more good ways to tell the story.
>77 Cecrow: I agree, the movie was amazing... especially the opening scene when the recruits were first issued a rifle and bullets or just bullets.
This is my second book on the battle for Stalingrad. The first book was told from the German side, Stalingrad by Theodor Plievier and I had to put the book aside after 50 pages... such a depressing book to read... too many characters to remember ... winter setting and you just could not get into the head of a main character... I could not really identify a main character... so you felt it was like an out of body experience and the misery got to me.... the setting might be true and the atmosphere might be real but I disliked the book.
War of the Rats is much different. The book focuses on the sniping aspect of war. You have several main characters that are well drawn, you get in their heads. You see the situation from both the Russian AND the German side as each side trots out their expert snipers for a joust-like duel. So far the book focuses on the Russian side and the education of a small group of snipers under the guidance of the hero, Zaitsev, and his sniper companion, Mercker. They hold a sniper school (first of its kind apparently) and you have a collection of interesting characters there.
It differs from the movie in many places... you don't see that first scene of the movie... the Russian deserters are certainly shot but it was not like in the movie where soldiers had a choice of fight and die or retreat and die... in this book both sides are quite patriotic. Soldiers on the Russian side are hurting badly but you don't feel the misery... though it is not winter so you don't have those issue of the cold weather. The Germans are similar...so far I have not read much about the German sniper side but what I did read was just as interesting... I have a feeling I will like the German expert sniper as much as his Russian counter part.
I am almost 1/3 of the way through this book in 1.5 days.... Hard to put down but I force myself to do so, so I can get some work done :)
I highly recommend this book!!!!
Just joined the group and this topic looks like fun. I finally read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and loved it. Then I jumped from WWII to WWI to read None of Us the Same by Jeffrey K. Walker. Loved that too. Now I need to finish my Alexander McCall Smith's Isabel Dalhousie series book- always an easy enjoyable read (but not histfic, I know).
>79 GardenWoman: I had mixed feelings at first I when I read Bird Song. I knew it was a WWl book but when I started it seemed like a historical romance set in that era. But I grew to really like the book as it progressed to the actual war itself and then you throw in the modern day investigation of the main character's life which I thought was a bit of overkill but found at the end was ok.
If you like books set in WWII then I might recommend War of the Rats, a book that I just finished. In real life, Stalingrad struggle there was a Russian peasant that grew to hero status for his ability as a sniper and he was so good the Germans sent out their best sniper to challenge him to a duel to the death across no-man's land. There is a bit of romance in the story as well as one of the Russian snipers is a woman in this novel.
You may have seen the 2001 movie Enemy at the Gate... this is also based on this duel but the movie and this novel differs on many points regarding the duel. So seeing that movie won't interfere with this novel. Apparently there are several novels of this struggle.
What I like about this book on the Stalingrad struggle is that the battle between German and Russian is not depressing until the last few pages when Germany loses and tries to retreat ....no spoiler here... :) I read another book on Stalingrad and it was so depressing I had to put it down after 50 pages.
By the way... you should put square brackets around your book titles like these and then check "touchstones" to the right and see that it references your book and author... sometimes it does not (eg. two novels have the same name but different authors) then click on (others) and select your novel from the list.
Welcome to LT and this chat group....
>80 GardenWoman: and >81 Lynxear:
Novels set during WWI attract me, too. My absolute favorites are:
A Very Long Engagement by Sébastien Japrisot
A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin (not to be confused with the conservative commentator)
They are very unlike each other but masterful and beautiful anti-war novels in their own right.
>83 Limelite: Thank you.... you have given me a couple of books to look for on my treks to used bookstores
I am huddling in a bar/brothel in Hamburg during allied fire bombing of the city in 1944 in the novel Comrades of War by Sven Hassel. My comrades are pretty rough having been wounded on the eastern front and sent back in cattle cars where at least 50% die on the trip back to Germany for convalescence. They are fed up with war and fed up with the German military. Right now their main existence depends on alcohol, women (often as not raped) and fighting anyone that they dislike or just for fun including some of their mates.
It is a pretty gritty book looking at the war in Germany where their society seems to fall into chaos. Life is meaningless, the threat of sending someone to the Eastern front is the threat of a death sentence... death by firing squad and beheading is common even on trumped up charges.
It is not an easy read. If you dislike coarse language, brutal violence and apocalyptic scenarios then this is not a book for you. I almost put it down after 50 pages but now the characters are growing on me and I want to see how this ends for them.
Lucky you! Dunnett is the absolute queen of great historical fiction. The only books I've ever confessed to wanting to re-read are by her. Have you tackled the House of Niccolo series by her? If not, you have so much more to look forward to. Envious.
1863 with I am Abraham, though not as much about the civil war, and more his personal life.
I am headed across the Atlantic on the HMS TRITON with Lieutenant Lord Ramage, in the Dudley Pope novel Ramage and the FreeBooters.
It is 1797. Britain's navy is in the throes of mutiny... illegal of course but the sailors demands are reasonable to many (better food, better pay and leave to visit loved ones). Lieutenant Ramage is given a commission on the HMS TRITON on the condition he can deal with the mutiny on this ship and carry dispatches to Caribbean. Through wisdom and trickery he has been able to leave England and quelled mutiny on his ship. On to the rest of the story!!!
If you like the Hornblower series by CS Forester... you will love the Ramage series by Pope. but as with Hornblower you must read this series in order as he flashes back quite a bit.
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"Antes del Destello":
Although in Spanish. The english version will be available soon.
R. J. Mohr
I recently finished the excellent Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves, which takes place in 1920s Alabama.
I'm in Columbus, OH in 1856 at the moment in Madame Presidentess.
I'm flitting back and forth between the 1890s, the 1950s, and 1990s in Rebellion.
Earlier today I left a small village in Paraguay in 1956, finishing up A PAX Adventure 1954 - 1956, by Philip A. Roth. The book covers Philip's time as a PAX worker doing construction and related work as an alternative to military service. He spent part of 1954 in Peru and the rest of his time in Paraguay. The community where he worked in Peru is the community where I spent most of my childhood, so I was delighted to find this book. It is a valuable resource on how the PAX program was used to enhance work being done by other groups.
I am returning to Cornwall, England region at the end of the 1700's in Winston Graham's Poldark series. I am starting the 7th book in the series - "The Angry Tide".
I left this series for over a year since I have not been able to find this book in used book stores in my area until last week. In addition I found 3 more books in the series...fantastic! You have to read these books in this soap-opera type novel series.
I'm sailing in the Caribbean with that dastardly Captain in Calico, Jack Rackham, circa 1820.
I just finished The Angry Tide by Winston Graham. It is now 1800 for when the next novel. This series reads like a soap opera but man is it well done. The character development is great...no wonder this series was turned into a BBC series for television.
>107 Guanhumara: Have you watched the current series or the 1970s version?
I'm in the 1920s at the moment but heading for the 1940s soon in Manhattan Beach.
Right now I'm hanging out in 5th century Wales with a kid named Merlin in a Crystal Cave.
>106 Lynxear: I have not watched either version... I have just read the books... and they are good reading.
>111 Guanhumara: Pity - I was hoping that you could make a comparison. I watched the first season of the latest BBC version; I found the political stuff interesting, but the romantic 'middle-aged man falls for child he has raised', although true enough to the times, rather uncomfortable to watch. I was wondering how a book written in the 1940s handled this, and how central a theme it was.
I'm going back and forth between the 1660s and the early 2000s with occasional stops in the 1950s in The Weight of Ink.
I'm in 1812 with Berndt von Vitzewitz following Napoleon's retreat from Moscow on his maps in Vor dem Sturm by Theodor Fontane.
I'm in England in 1816 helping an ex-soldier who lost an eye at Waterloo.
While on vacation recently, I read and enjoyed Fire in the Sky by J.A. Shears. This is an entertaining adventure tale about a rough and tough American trapper (but with a heart of gold, of course) and his Native American bride in the Alaskan Yukon when that territory was still owned by Russia, some time in the early 1800s, I'd guess. The protagonists are vengeful and fierce Native Americans. There is some very good nature writing along with a fun adventure story. This was excellent vacation reading.
I finished up an extremely enjoyable anthology, The Arbor House Treasury of Great Western Stories edited by Bill Pronzini and Martin Harry Greenberg, the stories in which traversed the western U.S. from Gold Rush days though the early 1900s.
I'm now reading Velva Jean Learns to Drive by Jennifer Niven, which is set in 1930s Appalachian North Carolina.
>34 Zumbanista: >32 Limelite: I have recently read another historical fiction about China titled Shanghai Girls by Lisa Lee. It is a story about 2 sisters living in Shanghai and starts in 1937 before WWII. They are well off by Chinese standards, father owns a rickshaw business, they have servants..etc. They are "beautiful girls" and painted for advertising because of it.
Life changes with the invasion of Japan. Father is bankrupt, they have an unwanted arranged marriage each to a Chinese family living in the USA... they must somehow flee China ahead of the Japanese... they go to the USA... but that is not the end of their troubles as the USA does not want Chinese immigrants.
This story ends in 1957 but there is a sequel that I must hunt down. It is an interesting perspective on Chinese immigrants, the racism they face and how they work to overcome it.
>122 Limelite: I remember that novel since you mention it. I checked, the sequel is Dreams of Joy. To be honest, I thought the first novel was okay, but I didn't feel inspired to read the sequel. Yet, I still remember that I found the sisters' lives intriguing when the story moved to the US.
Writing this, I'm reminded of another novel, similar to See's but much more poignant and with more to offer the reader than mostly plot. Julie Otsuka's Penn-Faulkner prize winning novel, The Buddha in the Attic tells the story of Japanese picture brides who come to San Francisco following an arduous boat journey and follows them through their first few days after arrival. Have you already read it?
>123 Lynxear: No, I have not read The Buddha in the Attic. It sounds like something I would like to read.
Yes the story of Shanghai Girls does pick up a notch when they reach the USA. It was interesting to read their difficulties getting through Immigration and I was a bit surprised with acceptance of them into their arranged marriages though life was anything but easy.
I think the sequel will be interesting since it will take place in China during the established Cultural Revolution of 1957. I have read at least 5 books of this period from the perspective of women of different social classes and none of them had an easy time of it... Men as well. There was so much distrust that it made me understand why there is an optimism in China now which I saw when I visited it 10 years ago looking to teach English there. I will try to hunt down Dreams of Joy in my used book stores.
Have you read The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hader. It is a pretty dark novel of a woman who is trying to locate a piece of film about the Nanking Massacre. The story takes place in Tokyo. She believes the film exists but is rebuffed by everyone she asks. But she digs deep and finds it. The ending is almost a horror story, very frightening.
>124 Limelite: No, I haven't caught up to Hader's book yet, although I've heard of it. And now it will have to go on my wish list!
Your second para put me in mind of one of the best accounts of the Cultural Revolution I've ever read. While fiction is the predominant way I have gathered impressions of that period of Chinese history as recorded by Chinese writers, I think Nien Cheng's personal memoir is most effective. If you haven't, please get Life and Death in Shanghai. The best rendering of the frankly brutal truth of those years.
Reading contemporary Chinese authors is a special interest of mine.
> 125 Life and Death in Shanghai is an amazing book. I have a lot of respect for Nien Cheng... such a feisty woman. I am not sure if she is still alive..last I heard she was living somewhere in Ottawa, Ontario.
Have you read Shanghai by David, Rotenberg ? Reading it will give you an understanding as to how Britain hooked the Chinese on opium in order to get at Chinese tea and other trade items. Most people think the Chinese brought opium to the west but it was the west that brought it to China first.
>126 Limelite: Haven't read Rotenberg's book, but I was aware of the history that led to the Opium Wars. It features in Sea of Poppies, historical fiction set in 1838 at the outbreak of that event. It's by Amitav Ghosh, my choice for best new-to-me author of 2017 (post #26). I wish listed Hader's book. Now you are trying to get me to list another. You're an enabler!
In its early days, I volunteered at the Miami Book Fair and was fortunate to meet and speak with Nien Chen when she was a guest author and read from "Life and Death." It's a books still on my shelf. Sadly, Chen died in 2009, age 94. She was probably in her mid-late- 70s when I met her, possessed bright intelligent eyes and a gentle yet elegant demeanor. She exuded presence and impressed me forever. One of the great privileges of my life.
Oh my gosh! >126 Limelite: >127 Zumbanista: what a wonderful treasure chest of books! Thanks for sharing and making my reading pile even larger!
Shanghai Girls is already on my list and I've read Life and Death in Shanghai and learned so much from it about the Cultural Revolution.
I also enjoyed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.
Thanks again for the great suggestions!
In The Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant
A vivid and fascinating view of 15th century Italy.
I'm flitting back and fourth between WWII and the fall of the wall Here in Berlin.
I finished Song for a dark queen by Rosemary Sutcliff who brings Roman Britain to life like no other.
>129 Lynxear: If you are enthused about historical fiction set in Renaissance Italy (and have read all of Dorothy Dunnett's magnificent series), may I offer another title?
The Secret Book of Grazia del Rossi by Jacqueline Park
And for a subdued thriller about da Vinci's most famous mural (not in the style of Dan Brown!) you might enjoy The Secret Supper by Javier Sierra.
Wonder what's so fascinating about the multitude of secrets during the Renaissance in Italy?!
Thanks >130 Unreachableshelf: I just recommended my library obtain a digital copy. Sometimes the request works and sometimes not, but I do keep a record so I can always by it on Kindle if I want it. I find I read most of my books digitally now borrowed from my library vs buying them as I was before.
In a rather interesting departure, I'm in the 1930s in Soviet Russia, with a rather reluctant emigre. Learning all sorts of interesting things, such as the fact that Henry Ford personally directed that all Jewish employees at Ford be let go during the Great Depression.
The Last Paradise - Antonio Garrido
I'm suffering with Hester Prynne in late 1600's Boston in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.
I just finished up Jonathan Evison's West of Here, a very good book set in the Olympic Peninsula (Washington State). The narrative is split pretty much evenly between the 1890s and the modern day.
I'm near Hadrian's wall in Great Britain, looking for the eagle of the ninth legion with Rosemary Sutcliff's The eagle
Is there a 2018 edition of this thread that I missed?
At any rate, I am becalmed in the South Atlantic with The Sea Captain's Wife. It's been quite a while since I've described a book as unputdownable; your tastes may vary but I'm loving it.
You posted in this year's thread ~ Historical fiction adventures in the year 2018! ~
Sorry I messed up my first reply attempt.
Just finished Honolulu by Alan Brennert. It is a book set in Korea about 1905. It is a story about Jin or"Regret" a young Korean girl. Fathers in Korea name their children and he wanted a son... hence her name, Regret. You learn of her life as young girl who has no future and wants to be educated but cannot as her father won't let her. She escapes this life as a teenager becoming a "Picture Bride" and going to be married to an unknown Korean man in Hawaii. I won't spoil the story but it is an interesting read about a Korean woman who fights against all odds to make a life in Hawaii.
I had a Korean girlfriend at one time and this novel helps me understand her culture roots and perhaps explains some of the difficulties I had trying to understand her.
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