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The (Expanded) List for My Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

With much thought, and after extensively searching my local library’s catalog, I’ve decided on twenty books for my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. I had originally wanted to limit myself to ten books that I could easily find at my local library. But, unfortunately, I only received three recommendations, so I’m going to go with quantity and hope for enough quality to change my apathetic opinion of historical fiction.

Here is the list:

The Tale of Genji 

Romance of the Three Kingdoms

A Spoke in the Wheel by Amita Kanekar

The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson

Hild by Nicola Griffith

Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon

(the later three books are recommendations from Michal of One Last Sketch. And the first five books will have to be ILLed.)

The Persian Boy by Mary Renault

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

The Luminaries by Elizabeth Catton

Texas by James Michener

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory

The Road to Wellville (or) Water Music by T.C. Boyle

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Rags to Glory by Stuart Cloete

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

Palace Walk by Najib Mahfouz


Silence by Endo Shusaku

What a list! When I decided to embark on this project, I decided that I wanted an equal balance of male and female authors. I also wanted as diverse a breadth of history and regions as I could get. I’m pleased that I struck a balance in regards to the author ratio. But I’m not as happy with the breadth and diversity of my selections. Of the twenty, only seven are people of color. I need to do better than that.

Given that there are twice as many books, I’m going to be harsher when it comes to reading. If I don’t like a novel, even if it is within the first chapter or two, I’m going to drop it. I will attempt to explain why I didn’t like said book, even if I barely passed a chapter. 

I’m actually looking forward to this challenge, despite my apathy. What books will I enjoy and which will I regret sparing even a few minutes of my time? And what does this reveal about me and my tastes?

And, finally, what do you think about my list?