As far back as I can remember I have been enthralled by history. There is no particular time period, moment, or event that I tend to focus on but instead tend to move throughout the past with whatever catches my interest at the time. Whenever I meet a person who is not interested in learning about history, the reason given is often because they find it boring. I can understand how learning about history, particularly when it involves just remembering dates and names, can be tedious. In fact when it comes to remembering dates and exact details about historical events I am actually pretty bad at it myself. However, I tend to think about history in tiny anecdotes about the people or era I am reading about. Recently I came across this quote by Rudyard Kipling which read “if history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” That is why I think Historical Fiction can be a great way to learn more about the past. Historical Fiction enables us to experience a certain moment in time through individuals who we get to know personally. It allows us to view an era through those who experienced it first-hand. Historical fiction has the ability to bring the past to life and go far beyond just names and dates. Here are some of my favorite Historical Fiction titles:
Pride of Carthage : A Novel of Hannibal
By David A. Durham
Fictionalized account of general Hannibal Barca, who assumes command of the Carthaginian army in Iberia and begins the Second Punic War. Hannibal outsmarts his opponents and leads his men across the mountains in 218 B.C.E. to attack Rome, all the while longing for his family. Violence. 2005.
By Herta Muller
A factory worker looking for a way out of Ceausescu’s Romania is repeatedly summoned for questioning for sewing marriage proposals into garments bound for Italy. En route to an interrogation, she recalls the horrors of her life. Winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature. Some strong language. 1997.