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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Yes, I Am a History Nerd

I love history, but I realize not everyone does. (Gasp! Did I just say that?) However, there are a ton of wonderful historical fiction novels (and even some non-fiction book) and movies out there that really bring history to life. I mean, come on! These people were real- they loved and lost just like the rest of us. Here are some of my favorites:

Stephanie's Favorite Historical Fiction Novels

1. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
2. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
3. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (Who doesn't love bubonic plague?)
4. Daughter of Troy by Sarah Franklin
5. Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George

Stephanie's Favorite Hollywood History Movies

1. Cleopatra (Yes, the Liz Taylor version)
2. Gone With the Wind (Swoon!)
3. Gladiator
4. The Tudors (Okay, the Showtime series isn't a movie and it's totally inaccurate in some areas, but I love it!)
5. Elizabeth (The one with Cate Blanchett and Joseph Fiennes. Also swoon-worthy!)

What about you? What are your favorite historical novels or movies?


Muse in the Fog said...

Oh yes, Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor is also one of my favorites...such an amazing production!

Amalia T. said...

Is Daughter of Troy about Helen?

I thought that Flyboys was a really good historical WWI movie. And although technically speaking, 300 was not actually historical, I think it was a great adaptation of myth-- like an awesome example of how historical events become myth, and I loved it.

Also, historical inaccuracies and all, Both The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston, and Prince of Egypt. Love them. Again, though, technically not history. :-/

Stephanie Thornton said...

Muse in the Fog- Cleopatra really is fantabulous. I can't believe my husband fell asleep in the middle of it!

Amalia- You might like Daughter of Troy. It's actually about Briseis, but I liked that the author took a footnote in the Trojan War and turned her into a whole novel.

Amalia T. said...

Ahhh! Briseis! That sounds really interesting!

Greg Van Eekhout does the same kind of footnote thing with Norse Mythology in his book Norse Code, too, and I loved it.

Gary Corby said...

What interests me about this is I would not have picked a single one of those as a favourite historical fiction novel. Which goes to prove that tastes differ and, happily, there's a lot of good historical fiction out there.

I would have picked all the Flashman stories of George MacDonald Fraser, all the Ancient Greek stories of Mary Renault, all the Aubrey-Maturin sea stories of Patrick O'Brian, and then I guess I would have had to stop. And that's without starting in on ancient mysteries.

Is everyone aware, by the way, of the Historical Novel Society?

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Love the Memoirs of Cleopatra, though I'm more of a fan of the 1999 Cleopatra movie adapted from the book than the Liz Taylor version. And The Red Tent is amazing and so is the movie Elizabeth!!!!! I also loved The Other Boleyn Girl--the book, NOT the movie. :-)

roxy said...

I love history, too. I enjoy books by Tracy Chevalier because they are quick, easy reads and usually involve some historical sub plot. I always learn something about the past.

L. T. Host said...

I'm a history nerd, too, though I don't practice enough anymore. I think everything I like has already been mentioned (except HATSHEPSUT-- give yourself some credit lady!)

Dominique said...

I thought Memoirs of a Geisha was a fascinating book, and the movie was pretty good as well.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Margaret George is my favourite historical fiction writer. I've adored all her books - with the exception of 'Mary of Scotland' and that's simply because Mary, Queen of Scots irritates the heck out of me! Have you read her 'Autobiography of Henry VIII'? Brilliant.

Julie Dao said...

I need to read Margaret George! NEED to! I wanted to read "Cleopatra" but I saw how gigantic it was and wanted to be fair and read it when I had enough time. I love, love, love "Memoirs of a Geisha" - one of my favorite books of all time. And I love all of the historical movies/shows you posted, especially GWTW.

Tamika: said...

Does the movie "Troy" count, with Brad Pitt?! I love that movie!

Al said...

I always struggle with this kind of question. I go blank and can barely remember my own name, let alone books I like. But after racking my brain and looking at my bookshelves:
The Timeless Land by Eleanor Dark,
I Claudius by Robert Graves,
and a childhood favourite that I still have a soft spot for The Eagle of The Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliffe.
I'm not even going to try to remember any movies!


Publish or Perish

Susan R. Mills said...

I love every single book and movie you listed. What great taste you have. :)

Voidwalker said...

I'm definitely a fan of the Gladiator movie. I enjoyed Troy, but it was a LITTLE cheasy and I could have done without the back end of Mr. Pitt showing.

I also really appreciated the Movie "The Passion," for many reasons. It was spectacular and horrific all the same.

Laura said...

I loved The Red Tent when I read it--it's been a while, but I remember being fascinated! I really like history as well--I'm certified to teach Social Studies and Language Arts!

Lisa and Laura said...

Oops--wrong account! Laura should be Lisa and Laura!

Dawn Simon said...

I loved THE RED TENT and MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA! My daughter is a total history buff, and I wish I'd taken an interest when I was a kid. (She was interested in history by first grade!) When you have a strong understanding of history, so many other things add up in a more complete way (including art, literature, language--everything). BTW, I peeked at your last post, too--the one with the truths and lies--and found it totally entertaining. Hee!

laurel said...

Great question! I really like historic fic that opens more obscure periods or has an unusual hook. The Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland follows a Vermeeer painting from its contemporary owner back through all previous owners. Sheri Holman's The Dress Lodger explores the murky 1830s--that lesser-know era between Austen and Dickens, when the Industrial Revolution was on the rise. It explores the toll modernization had on village life.

Daisy Whitney said...

I love GWTW and Gladiator too!