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Topic: October - Fall's Here! What Are You Reading?

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Subject: October - Fall's Here! What Are You Reading?
Date Posted: 10/1/2009 11:14 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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I'll start us off again this month.  I just started I, Elizabeth the other day.  I haven't gotten too far with it, but I can tell I'm going to enjoy it very much. I already really like Elizabeth.  This book will fulfill one of the my HF Challenges (oldest book on my shelf).  After this, I'll only have two more challenges left!

Date Posted: 10/1/2009 2:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
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I started Murder on Lenox Hill last night.  It's a quick read (being an MMPB) so I'm already like 75 pages into it.  So far it's a little slow (maybe since the murder hasn't happened yet) but enough to keep my interest.  At the moment I'm not terribly invested in the characters so I hope they get developed a little bit more.

Shelley, looks like you're getting The Night Birds today!  My delivery confirmation says so.



Last Edited on: 10/1/09 2:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/1/2009 3:18 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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I just started Aztec by Gary Jennings....I love it. I have the next one in the series and am trying to decide if I am going to order the rest and just run thru the series or not....

Date Posted: 10/1/2009 3:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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First Man in Rome, by Colleen McCullough.  So far, so good. 

Date Posted: 10/1/2009 4:19 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2009
Posts: 388
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I'm still reading Here Be Dragons (Sharon Kay Penman) and it's an absolutely delicious read. SKP is ruining me for all other medieval novels, I swear. It's that good.

Shelley- I, Elizabeth has a special place in my heart, b/c it's the book that really turned me on to the whole historical fiction genre. I had read HF before and enjoyed it, but I primarily read literary fiction. After that novel, I became obsessed with Elizabeth I and read everything about her (novels and non-fiction) that I could get my hands on. Then I went back and did the same for Henry VIII and his queens. After that, I branched out into other HF times/places, and I've never looked back. Now I rarely read anything contemporary, and I don't ever enjoy it as much when I do!

Date Posted: 10/1/2009 4:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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Just this morning I started The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, so far it is good, but there's some fact checking that is pretty sloppy which makes me annoyed. (Internet chat rooms in the mid-80s for one thing)

I agree, Arika, I love SKP. Do you read her blog?

Date Posted: 10/1/2009 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 1,976
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I have about 30 pages left in The White Queen.  Next I think I'll read either The Help or True Compass by Ted Kennedy.

Date Posted: 10/1/2009 5:49 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 924
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I just started Fire and Fog by Dianne Day--the second in the Fremont Jones cozy mystery series, set in 1906 San Francisco.

Date Posted: 10/1/2009 6:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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I'm reading Sovereign by C.J. Sansom, third in the Matthew Shardlake historical mystery series set in the time of King Henry VIII. Very good so far, this is one of my favorite new-ish series.

Cheryl

Date Posted: 10/1/2009 7:07 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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Arika - I too was turned on to historical fiction by one novel, which was, strangely enough because I've read a lot other HF stuff since then that I like much better, The Other Boleyn Girl.  I've always read a lot, but several years ago I quit reading fiction for a long while (like at least 3-4 years) because I couldn't find anything that held my interest.  When the movie "The Other Boelyn Girl" came out, the premise intrigued me.  I never saw the movie (and for that I think I'm grateful as I don't think a lot of people who had read the book enjoyed it), but I did pick up the book from the library.  I was hooked!  Soon I found PBS and the HF forum here, and I've never looked back.  Other than the odd book here and there, I can't stand to read anything with a contemporary setting!  Here Be Dragons was given to me by an HF buddy and fellow Minnesotan, and I can't wait to read it!

I've also got a few other books listed in this thread on Mt. TBR - AztecFirst Man In Rome, Sovereign and the other Sansom books, so I'll be anxious to hear what those reading those books think of them.



Last Edited on: 10/2/09 11:39 AM ET - Total times edited: 5
Date Posted: 10/1/2009 7:12 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I'm working on The Light Bearer by Donna Gillespie, which I imagine I'll be working on for awhile since it's over 1,000 pages. It's very good so far. Rich in history. It takes place during the Roman occupation of England. It mentions Boudicca, although there may be more on her later. So that would place it in the 1st Century AD, I believe.

Shelly, You may enjoy Legacy by Susan Kay. I haven't read it yet myself, but Misfit raves about it. I've heard it described as one of the best biographical novels on Elizabeth.

Colleen, I hope you enjoy Aztec. It's one of my all-time favorites. I never got around to trying any of the sequels. If you do, I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Katy, Dianne Day is a name I haven't heard in awhile. I enjoyed the series when I first read it. My step mother is ticked that the publisher discontinued it. (:

Cheryl, I really enjoyed the first CJ Sansom book. Is this it? I don't remember the title. I do remember not liking the second book in the series as well.

Sharla, I'd be interested in what you think of First Man in Rome when you finished. I kept meaning to start this series.

Date Posted: 10/1/2009 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 849
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I can't believe it's October already!  I'm reading The Beloved (a/k/a The Uncrowned Queen) by Posie Graeme-Evans - the third book in her trilogy. 

I can't recommend Susan Kay's Legacy enough - I thought it was excellent.  But I will admit to being (apparently) one of the few who did not like I, Elizabeth by Miles.

Genie - I've thought about reading The Light Bearer - I'll be interested to hear what you think of it.

Date Posted: 10/1/2009 9:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2009
Posts: 388
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Mimi- I do read her blog! But I have to avoid certain posts, and a lot of the comments, b/c I don't want to spoil the Wales trilogy or Sunne in Splendour for myself! It was through SKP's blog that I found the Historical Fiction forum, and omg...I'm losing hours of my life reading posts over there. But it's wonderful. I found this thread about where you would NOT read, and I thought "my people...I've found my people!" And my TBR pile has grown exponentially since I found that site as well!

Shelley- Funny how the Tudors sucked us both in. I was a big Phillipa Gregory fan when I first started my HF love affair, but I'm not as fond of her novels as I once was. The more I read, the pickier I get! lol



Last Edited on: 10/1/09 9:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/1/2009 10:16 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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I'm almost finished with The Wild Irish.  Are you sure this book is really about Grace O'Malley and Elizabeth I?  Because right about now, I'd swear it is secretly about Robert Devereaux!  I've been bouncing around between HF, historical romance and some contemporary Christian Fiction, but this has whet my appetite for more HF.  I might have to rearrange my TBR a little bit.

Date Posted: 10/2/2009 10:15 AM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
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Shelley, DON'T see The Other Boleyn Girl movie, it's horrible.  My friend and I both read the book and went to see the movie when it came out, and it deviates sooo far from the book.  It was really frustrating.

Donna, how have you liked The White Queen?  I'm curious to know your opinion.  It's on my WL.

Date Posted: 10/2/2009 3:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
Posts: 772
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I wasn't that impressed with The Other Boleyn Girl movie either, and I haven't even read the book. As good storytelling it was severely lacking in just about everything, except Eric Bana eyecandy. But that's the only recommendation for it, as far as I'm concerned. Natalie Portman was good, I'll give her that. If anything, that movie proved just how bad those George Lucas scripts were. I mean, Portman was infinitely better in The Professional than as Princess Whatever of Naboo, and she was only 12 years old, fergawdssake.

For the Boleyn story, I'll stick with Anne of the Thousand Days. THAT'S a movie!

I've said it before, but anyone currently reading or have First Man in Rome in their TBR pile, prepare to be wowed. I just love Republican Rome politics and those books sure deliver on the goods. The only carp I have is that McCullough is slight on the battle action, but her rich characterizations MORE than make up for any deficiencies. I'd love to hear if anyone has favorite characters. I love Publius Rutilius Rufus and his chatty, gossipy letters. And of course I fangirl Sulla & Pompey (in the 2nd book, The Grass Crown).



Last Edited on: 10/2/09 3:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/2/2009 4:39 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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I love the Masters of Rome series (6 books?). I'll be starting Caesar's Women  very soon. I only allow myself one of that series per  year to stretch it out. I have the last two waiting on my bookshelf. McCullough's ability to give such an authentic aura to those ancient times is marvelous and rare.

Currently reading:

Orient Express   by Graham Greene

A Smile of Fortune  by Joseph Conrad

A Storm of Swords  by George R. R. Martin

Rupert of Hentzau  by Anthony Hope (sequel to The Prisoner of Zenda)



Last Edited on: 10/3/09 4:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/2/2009 5:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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Here Be Dragons, or any other Sharon Kay Penman? Absolutely superb.  She's my favorite author.

McCullough's Rome series ... I swapped for the first book here.  I never would have picked it up (I'm not into ancient history) except that I LOVED HBO's Rome series and I've seen high praise for McCullough's series here and at historicalfictiononline.com.  I'm wondering, does anyone know or have a sense of whether the HBO folks followed McCullough at all? How similar was it .. or not at all?  Just curious on what to expect.

Date Posted: 10/2/2009 7:08 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2007
Posts: 1,891
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Still plugging along on Devil in the White City.  I like it but I keep getting distracted by other books.  I am also reading The Dark Queen by Susan Carroll and reading about a ruler or two every night in Carolly Erickson's Royal Panoply.  I've been having such a hard time finding a book that grabs me enough to read through the whole thing.

Date Posted: 10/2/2009 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I've said it before, but anyone currently reading or have First Man in Rome in their TBR pile, prepare to be wowed.

Good to hear. Finally. :) Sorry you had to repeat yourself!

Date Posted: 10/2/2009 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 1,976
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Erika, I liked The White Queen.  It's good, not great.  I have always liked Elizabeth Woodville. Probably because in my early twenties I read The King's Grey Mare by Rosemary Hawley Jarman (the best). That book really hooked me on HF, that and my neighbor at the time, who ended up being my best friend for over 35 years.

I was really curious to see how Gregory handled the princes in the tower question.  Now I want to read more about that.  I know the dfferent theories, but I want to see the reasoning behind them.

Date Posted: 10/2/2009 10:02 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I'm starting with "Push Not The River" by James Conroyd Martin, It was a gift and I knew nothing about it.  But it's good so far. 

Date Posted: 10/3/2009 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
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Finished Murder on Lenox Hill this afternoon.  I thought it was kind of just okay.  I know it wasn't supposed to be like a terribly heavy read but I felt like the characters were really weak and focus was more heavily placed on dialogue.  Plus the murder occurred in like the last 90 pages so not much time was spent on finding out who the killer was.


I'll start The Janissary Tree tomorrow or perhaps tonight.  However, there is hockey tonight, so I'll be putting my focus on that!  Janissary Tree is my historical mystery pick.  I'm halfway done with the challenge now!

Date Posted: 10/4/2009 1:54 AM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,488
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I've started the Temple Dancer by John Speed.  I am happy with it so far.

Date Posted: 10/4/2009 10:05 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2009
Posts: 388
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I finished Here Be Dragons yesterday. Wonderful book, but I will say that it's not my favorite Penman so far. I had very high expectations b/c so many Penman fans say that this is her best one, but I like When Christ and His Saints Slept better. Even so, I'd still give Dragons a strong 4.5 rating. Definitely among the best HF I've read!

 Yesterday I received  Tasha Alexander's And Only to Deceive from a sweet HFer and immediately dived in. I was on the fence about which book to start next, and this one came just in time. One of the blurbs on the book says that if Jane Austen wrote The Da Vinci Code, this book would be the result. I haven't really gotten far enough into it for the mystery part to start yet, but I can see the comparison to Jane Austen already. Looks like it will be a lighter, fun read!

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