History/Historical Fiction: Periods I like to read about (Part I)

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I am obsessed with history (as it may be evident). Any genre I pick to read or any series I watch or any podcast I listen to, every bit of it I somehow related to some history or the other. My recent obsession with audio versions has led to the discovery of BBC Radio 4 and the stunning audio podcasts it contains. I am currently listening to ‘The Museum of Lost Objects’ by Kanishk Tharoor. Before that I was hooked on to the dramatic narration of ‘Midnight’s Children’ by Salman Rushdie My current watch list consists of Reign based on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. I am also watching Mildred Pierce on Hotstar. I also have a couple of series lined up to listen and watch.

History/Historical Fiction: Periods I like to read about (Part I)

I was eyeing Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi since quite some time and it was close to a blessing that I received a review copy of the same from Netgalley. It is a novel based in Ghana and America during the rise of slavery following multiple generations till it was abolished. The spectacular narration is more than I could ask for. Yaa Gyasi is an author to watch out for.

I have finally decided to compile a list of period or time scale that I like to read/listen/watch. Here it goes, in random order:

Slavery/American History during civil war

This is my current read too. Before Yaa Gyasi I had read Toni Morrison. If you haven’t picked up a copy of Beloved yet you are missing out on a great book! It is a not only a beautiful story but also tells you a great deal about slavery. Another beautiful book is ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ by Sue Monk Kidd. It is primarily a story of a white child but the setting is close to when coloured people were given voting rights. It also explored the life after freedom which is not very different from life before it. ‘Gone with the Wind’, my all-time favourite book also finds it’s setting during the civil war in America and the life illustrated is worth a read. I plan to pick up ‘The Underground Railroad’ by Colsen Whitehead soon too. It is long listed for Booker this year and has been on my TBR since February!

Tudor England

My interest in Tudor England was fired when I stumbled upon ‘The Tudor Wife’ by Emily Purdy by chance on a book-by-weight store. That’s where I learnt about Henry VIII and his six wives. Anne Boleyn caught my fancy and there was no stopping. I have read quite a few books on Henry VIII and other Tudor Queens. ‘Confessions of Catherine Howard’ is about the fifth Queen of Henry VIII. It talks at length about a child nymphet as a Queen which was a sour read. After which I decide to read a non-fiction. Alex Woolf’s book on ‘Tudor Kings and Queens’ is a non-fictional account of all the Tudor Kings and Queens. It wasn’t the best book I read but it was good enough to fuel my curiosity further. I had also heard a lot about the Queen of historical fiction- Philippa Gregory but somehow she failed to impress me too. I read ‘Red Queen’ by her and disliked it. Not everyone can write a great historical fiction or maybe I am a difficult reader, but my search for a great book to recommend is still on.

A great TV series to watch about Tudor England is ‘Tudors’ currently streaming on Netflix. Each character is stunning especially Natalie Dolmer as Queen Boleyn. I am currently watch Reign, on the life of Mary- Queen of Scots. A book I read but again did not like it enough to recommend is ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ by John Hale.

I hope to read some better books on Tudor England. Recommendations are welcome!

Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH merakipost.com