Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (11)

Top Ten Historical Fiction Novels (That Are Either Entirely Realistic or Completely Fantastical):
1. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Everybody's all "Little House on the Prairie this, Little House on the Prairie that, blah blah." Everyone knows that Little House in the Big Woods is where it's actually at. This book makes me want to go out to a log cabin in wintertime to be all cozy and stuff. However, in my cozy little fantasy there are always electric lights and indoor plumbing. But the thought is there.

2. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
I LOVE this book. It was my favorite book from fifth grade until ninth grade when I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It's a story about friendship and bravery with Nazi-occupied Denmark as a backdrop. I still give AnnMarie props for what she did for her friend Ellen and her family. I hope they still teach this one in schools.

3. Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
This book tells the story of a girl attempting to survive the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia. Anderson crafts a well-written, well-researched story about the horrors that occurred during that epidemic. The dangers involved actually create a whole lot of suspense while the reader tries to figure out who will be left standing in the end.

4. The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba BrayThese were the books that introduced me to Libba Bray and historical fantasy in general. Gemma, Felicity, Ann, and Pippa experiment with magic at their boarding school at the end of the 19th century. Great historical fantasy reads.

5. Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
I absolutely adore books set in the 1920's, and I'm going to blame Dorothy Parker and F. Scott Fitzgerald for that. Godbersen presents the glitz and less than glamorous aspects of the 1920's through the eyes of three girls: Cordelia Gray, the small town girl-turned heiress that knew there was something more out there; Letty, the naive preacher's daughter that wants to be a star; and Astrid, the girl  who grew up in the middle of all the parties and mayhem. This series is made of quick reads that give a great idea as to what life was like for a variety of people during that era. I want them to make a CW drama out of it, but I do not think that has a shot in hell of happening.

6. Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
Paranormal historical fiction about Violet, a girl that has the ability to talk to ghosts while her mother pretends to have the same ability to con people out of their money. Great historical read and different than the normal paranormal romance nonsense.

7. The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
A fierce, Irish lady pirate trapped in the body of a high school student. King's debut novel tells the story of Emer Morrisey, a 17th century pirate that was about to escape to a rich life when she was killed and cursed with the dust of 100 dogs--meaning after she lives and dies as 100 dogs, she returns to the life of a human (an extremely pissed off one, at that) to attempt to find the riches she has lost. The book goes between the present time and the past in order to explain how Emer ended up the way she did. AWESOME. I've yet to read an A.S. King book that disappointed (granted, I've only read two of four, but I'm getting there).

8. The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow
Sharenow's sophomore novel explored what it was like for a secular Jewish boy during the rise of Hitler and the Hitler Youth in Germany and how a friendship with a professional boxer helped to keep him sane and alive. Great historical read. Also, bonus here is a male narrator, which is looking pretty rare now that I examine this list...

9. Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter
Damn. What a well written book. This book is actually about Cleopatra's daughter, Cleopatra Selene, and what happens to her once Marc Antony and Cleopatra are both out of the picture. Cleopatra Selene is a strong female character that must keep on keepin' on while surrounded by grief for loved ones, traitorous characters, and threats to her and her siblings' lives. Incredibly well done and imagined.

10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I mean, come on now. This book is amazing. Narrated by Death, this one tells the story of Liesel and how she relates to those around her in Nazi Germany (it seems that I may be interested in that time period). I'm excited that the powers that be are making this into a movie, but at the same time have no possible idea as to how it could be done well.

BONUS: Gone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellI know many people aren't looking to read a thousand page historical fiction novel, but if you are go out and grab this one. It's called a masterpiece for a reason. Just kidding, i don't know if I've ever actually heard it referred to as a masterpiece. But I'm going to do that right now. IT'S AWESOME. Ignore everyone that says you don't need to read the first hundred pages. When I first saw the film in sixth grade (ALSO AWESOME, ignore everyone that says it isn't worth four hours of your life) (ditto when those people inevitably say that Titanic is too long) I decided that Scarlet O'Hara is a role model for life. Reading this book four years later did nothing to stop that.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


  1. these all sound very good. I loved the Gemma Doyle series and the Book Thief is one of my all time favorites. kaye—the road goes ever ever on

  2. I have not read the A.S. King book, but after reading and loving Please Ignore Vera Dietz, I may have to go back for this one. Love Little House, love Book Thief, and love Haunting Violet. Nice list! I picked mysteries http://wp.me/pzUn5-St

  3. I just got The Dust of 100 Dogs from the library TODAY! So I was excited to see it on your list. Love your other choices, too, especially the Gemma Doyle triology