WG: Historical eras

deweys-weekly-geeks27This week’s Weekly Geek’s challenge comes from Ali, who graciously gives us choices of what to tackle:

Is there a particular era that you love reading about? Tell us about it — give us a book list, if you’d like. Include pictures or some fun facts from that time period, maybe link to a website that focuses on that time. Educate us.

Do you have a favorite book that really pulled you back in time, or perhaps gave you a special interest in that period? Include a link to a review of it on another book blog if you can find one (doesn’t have to be a Weekly Geek participant).

A member of your book group, Ashley, mentions that she almost never reads historical fiction because it can be so boring. It’s your turn to pick the book for next month and you feel it’s your duty to prove her wrong. What book do you pick?

If you’re in agreement with Ashley on this one (or even if you’re not): Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to browse through this week’s WG posts, and by the end of the week, pick a book from one of the posts to read. Report on which book you picked, linking to the Weekly Geeks post where you found it.

This hasn’t been a lifelong thing, but for the past 6+ months, I’ve been really fascinated by the Great Depression era. It may have started before that, but it wasn’t until this time frame when I realized I was being drawn to literature of this time or set in this time.

I think we need to be studying this literature, now in particular. I don’t talk about politics — certainly not economics! — on this blog, and I don’t want to start now. But I think we should be informed by our history so we can learn from it. Even fashion has taken a cue from the Depression era. And I do love learning from literature. 🙂

Books I’ve read (some of these are more closely tied to the Depression than others, but they’re all set at least partly during it):
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (read this in high school)
Maisie Dobbs (1) by Jacqueline Winspear — this series is set primarily in London.
• Maisie Dobbs (2), Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
• Maisie Dobbs (3) by Jacqueline Winspear (review pending)
A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr is set partly in Berlin in the early 1930s.
Ironweed by William Kennedy is set in 1938 in Albany, New York.
Mr. Ives’ Christmas by Oscar Hijuelos is set partly in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.
The Lord Peter Wimsey novels by Dorothy L. Sayers are set in the 1920s and 1930s, primarily in England. This series, however, isn’t strictly historical fiction according to Ali’s definition, since it was written in the time period it’s set in. Still, for my purposes, it counts.

Books I want to read:
The Bones of Plenty by Lois Hudson (set in the northern U.S. plains)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
• The rest of the Maisie Dobbs series
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson

Any books I’m missing? Thoughts?


15 responses to “WG: Historical eras

  1. melissapilakowski

    There’s a YA novel in poems called Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. Fast, great read that’s set in the Great Depression. The bones of Plenty looks really interesting…I might have to look that one up 🙂

  2. I loved Mr Ives’s Christmas. It’s one of the most beautiful books on forgiveness, don’t you think? One book that comes to mind about the Great Depression era is Wayson Choy’s All That Matters, though it’s Canadian.

  3. That is a great time to read about. I enjoy it because my parent’s have told me lots of stories about growing up during the Depression.

  4. What a good point–there are lessons to be learned from that period of our history, for sure. I love the link to the fashion post! And you should definitely read To Kill A Mockingbird.

  5. From your list I’ve only read Grapes of Wrath. My post is here.

  6. The Grapes of Wrath is a good book and is set during the depression.

  7. Certainly our periods overlap.

  8. Oh, I absolutely love Lord Peter Wimsey. If it’s not ancient Rome for me, then it is D. L. Sayers. It certainly gives a good feel for the time period, even if from a privileged POV.

  9. I loved To Kill a Mockingbird. For some reason it wasn’t assigned while I was in school so it was until recently that I read it even though I knew about it.

    I agree, we should be informed by history and literature is a great way to learn it.

  10. Well, this is an interesting time period! Definitely relevant today. I just wish it weren’t so depressing! lol

  11. Well, I’ve been exposed to a lot of literature written about the Civil War, Gone with the Wind included.

  12. I started The Grapes of Wrath but never finished it.

  13. Hi!
    Great list of books. I have another one to add. Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish. Very good book!! Have a great day!!


  14. Pingback: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis and Jacob Have I Loved guest review « Word Lily

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