Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why I Love Wednesdays...Historical Fiction

Wednesdays are often the time of the week where I have a sudden realization that the week is almost over.  I'm always so thankful for this point.  That's why I have created a weekly feature where I will highlight something I love that is book related. This feature is called Why I Love Wednesdays...  

If you want to play along, feel free to grab the image and link your post in the comments.
The first Why I Love will focus on a genre... and I chose historical fiction.  So here goes...

Why I love...Historical Fiction!
I'm still new to the book blogging world (or I still feel new) and I noticed many blogs focused on YA or paranormal or the like.  I'm willing to try it all and am always curious but I LOVE historical fiction.  I'm not a history buff I don't think. I majored in marketing in undergrad and didn't like history in school, but there is something about a personal story set during an interesting historical period.

With historical fiction I feel like I am having fun and learning at the same time.  Recently I learned about the circus in Water for Elephants and was enthralled.  Do I like lions, tigers, and bears? Oh no!  But seeing people in that world opens my world.  So much of history that is taught in schools pick a side.  There are the good guys and the bad guys but history is not so clear-cut, so off to the history novels I go...both Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell are set during the U.S.  Civil War and they both show different struggles, different insights about the region, and introduce different problems.

But my love for historical fiction doesn't end there.  There's so much more!  Today's society (in my opinion) can sometimes stress how the times are so different or how morals are depreciating but you can look through history and point to similar struggles.  In Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett, I read about religious struggles during the sixteenth century.  And I'm sure everyone has become aware of Henry VIII's love affairs and the lengths one may go through to achieve a desired result despite religious and societal norms.  Oh how it wasn't sooooo great back in the day.

I feel I must draw to a close because my inner nerd is showing through.  But I can't end without mentioning my last two reasons (and the best reasons) for reading historical fiction.  

Almost final reason: historical fiction can be a part of every genre...YA, romance, etc. (but maybe not chic-lit.).

Final Reason.  Historical Fiction gives a lens into the lives of those who might have otherwise been forgotten.  This includes significant events in history.  One of my favorites are novels set during World War II.  When you read these novels, you might read about those who lived on a small unknown island called Guernsey--as in The Guernsey Literary and Sweet Potato Pie Society.  Or you might hear from the point of view of the Welsh in The Welsh Girl where this country struggled with their dislike of Germany as well as their ally/enemy England.  And of course there are the point of views and descriptions of the Holocaust, which are perhaps the most well known.  Every story is different and introduces perspectives around the world.  In The Postmistress by Sarah Blake we start in the U.S. and cross the water to London.  Want to know about Russia?  Ta-da we can do that too (I just don't remember what that book was called).  There is so much more.  We can do the same with other events and point of views.

In conclusion, fiction with a touch (or more) of history is a lovely read.

So tell me... 

Do you agree/disagree?  Does historical fiction do it for you?  What genre do you love and why?  Has it changed over time?  (I used to love a great mystery)  What kind of historical fiction are you reading these days?

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