ewein2412: (verity text)
[personal profile] ewein2412
My personal encounters with wartime aircraft on I Want to Read That:


(I am such a nerd)

Also do check out Tanita's rants/riffs on "war stories" and the term "historical fiction" over on Finding Wonderland, using CNV as a case in point:



Date: 2012-02-07 02:31 pm (UTC)
3rdragon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] 3rdragon
Interesting. When people ask me what I read, "Historical fiction" is one of the things that I say. At any rate, I used to. I've less patience for a lot of middle-grade fiction than I once did: not that middle-grade implies bad, but a fair portion of it *does* have less finesse, and I don't have my ears to the ground enough to pick out the good stuff. And stuff for older teens . . . maybe I haven't been seeing it as much. Or it doesn't grab me. And adult books have two high a frequency of the shock value of [Character's] life full of sordid secrets, rather than actual plot.

I took a Spanish seminar in college on historical fiction set in medieval Spain, which wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, partly because the teacher was bad at leading interesting discussion . . . but partly it was the books, I think. The Granada one was pretty good, but Viaje al fin del millenio made me want to push Abulafia and both of his wives off the boat so we could get to the end of the journey, which seemed like it was taking a millenium.

I don't know how that's relevant to anything. But when I was a kid, "historical fiction" was a label that described at least *some* of the things that I read, that wouldn't subject me to censure from adults. Probably I use it less these days because people I talk to about what I read are less likely to look down on fantasy and science fiction, and partly because I don't care what people think: if they're of the opinion that what I read is worthless trash and judge me on that basis, probably I didn't want to talk to them anyway. Though I suppose I did describe my reading as "historical fiction, some biography, novels," the other month when talking to a woman who later confirmed my suspicions by explaining to me that Harry Potter cannot have redeeming qualities because it teaches children that magic is okay, and there is no good magic.

Perhaps I've stopped picking up "historical fiction" just on the basis of genre because I've felt that a lot of it has disappointed me lately. Much of it doesn't have the sense of wonder and adventure that drew me to it when I was a kid, or it gets bogged down in setting and details to such an extent that the plot loses out. Sebastien Barry's The Secret Scripture (which I read the first 40 pages of, skimmed the last 40 pages of, and didn't feel like I was missing anything significant, plot-wise, in the hundred pages in the middle), just wasn't as exciting, as fun, as Harriet Gilliam Robinet's The Twins, the Pirates, and the Battle of New Orleans was when I read it ten or fifteen years ago. I like historical fiction (when I like it), because it gives me a window into another time. But recently it's just seemed to be a vehicle for the stuff I don't like about many Modern Novels -- plus historical trappings.

Code Name Verity, I should perhaps mention, has all the excitement, the fire, and the wonder of the stuff I loved years ago. And it has skill and subtlety to satisfy the more mature reader I am now.


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