As a result, I have spent the last week immersed in the fiction of the past. It has made me think about what kind of historical fiction I most enjoy.
Here are some of the appeal factors I highlight in my talk:
- Historical fiction is a fun way to learn history
- The books may not move briskly but they are always compelling
- Time and place considerations are paramount for many readers
- There are plenty of details about the historical period
- Historical fiction has protagonists you can root for
How can you know how to help others find their next good read unless you understand why you like to read what you like to read? Once you can assess your personal reading, you have a better understanding of how to interview your patrons and get them to open up about what they like and why. Click here for another post about this issue.
So, for me I have found that the pacing is not an issue I have with historical fiction; slow or fast I am okay. I know that a lot of hf does have romance subplots. In general, for me, the less romance the better.
When I really think about it, time and place are the most important part of hf o me. For example, I really enjoy books set during the Civil War era, but not the battlefield books. So I prefer The March by Doctorow to Killer Angels by Shaara. See I can be just as specific as our patrons. Actually, as a former American Studies major, I really like any historical American setting from the Revolution to WWII.
This also works for dislikes. I really do not like British monarch hf. So no Tudors for me. I know they are VERY popular, but I really don't care for the time period. I do however like Middle Ages England and anything pre-modern. I also enjoy Asian historical fiction from the Middle East through to Japan in just about any time period.
Finally, for me accurate details of the place, the customs, the flora and fauna, etc... are more important to me than characters I can root for. In terms of characters, I just want them to be fully rounded and historically accurate. Hating them is fine with me, as long as they are interesting.
Now it's your turn. For today's Monday Discussion, what do you look for in Historical Fiction?
Over the next few months, I will ask a similar question about more genres. This will allow us all to think about our own reading interests. Once we can dissect ourselves, we better understand the right questions to ask our patrons about their own reading preferences.
For the Monday Discussion Archive click here.