What were your favorite books of the year? (Books that were new to you in 2009, if not necessarily published this year.)
This year, I started The Literary Omnivore. I’ve been a voracious reader for years, and I decided book blogging would be a wonderful creative outlet for me somewhere in October, after a presentation at my school about “e-portfolios”. The book blogging community has been more than welcoming- thank you, ladies! It’s been one of the best things about this year, up there with the inauguration, Dragon*Con, and my first semester of college.
In order to answer this question, I’ve put together a top ten list of the books I read this year. I try to read widely, but I must admit- I have a predisposition for fantasy and strong female characters, which shows in this list.
Given the choice, which do you prefer? Real history? Or historical fiction? (Assume, for the purposes of this discussion that they are equally well-written and engaging.)
Between two equally well-written and engaging books, I would have to go with the historical fiction.
History books cannot, in good faith, get too far into the minds of their subjects on their own. In the best cases, the subject has left plenty of letters and other vital debris that the author can use to reconstruct them. But we’ll never truly know the motivation. I love history, do not get me wrong–as a geek, there’s nothing funner than coming up with theories and backing them up, while trying to work around the evidence against you.
But historical fiction doesn’t have that setback. The author knows their characters in a piece of historical fiction inside and out, no matter who they are based on or who they are from history. I imagine the historical Anne Boleyn is different from Philippa Gregory’s astoundingly shrewd Anne Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl, but Gregory’s Boleyn is downright compelling.
There are other advantages–historical fiction usually attempts to tell a good story on top of an exploration of the time period, to be different from a history book. However, that is the main reason I prefer historical fiction.
Due to bizarre schedules in my family, we’re celebrating Christmas tonight, so… Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and happy holidays to all!
The Other Boleyn Girl
by Philippa Gregory
I picked up The Other Boleyn Girl, not because it was on my To Read List (it is not), but because it’s been floating out in the pop culture conscience for about a year or so. It’s certainly an interesting topic, and, most importantly, it was one of the only popular novels my college library offers. I am currently too lazy to go to the local library.
I’m quite glad I did–it’s marvelous.