Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels

the-killer-angels

Call me what you will but I LOVE historical fiction. It’s one of my favorite genres.

However, I am one of the first to admit that a lot of historical fiction novelists are much better at writing either the historical aspect or the fictional aspect, but not both. So when I find a work that manages to integrate history and fiction seamlessly and handles both effectively, I consider it a gem. Michael Shaara’s classic The Killer Angels about the Battle of Gettysburg is just such a gem (and the winner of a Pulitzer Prize – maybe I should be a judge?)

Continue reading “Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels”

Advertisements

T.J. Stiles’s Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America

custers-trials

George Armstrong Custer is one of the most controversial figures in American history.

Don’t believe me?

Pick up any book about him or the American West or the American Civil War and see what the authors have to say about him. Some will praise him as a brave but misunderstood genius, some will denigrate him as an egotistical moron, and some will eulogize him as a tragic figure.

I’ve personally always found Custer a fascinating but relatively unsympathetic historical figure, but reading T.J. Stiles’s excellent, Pulitzer-Prize winning Custer’s Trials forced me to  re-evaluate some of my assumptions about him.

Continue reading “T.J. Stiles’s Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America”

2016 Library Challenge: A Book Published This Year

This is it.  Believe it or not, you have made it to the last post of the 2016 Library Challenge.

If you’ve been participating in the challenge or following along with the blog, you know we have taken quite the journey this year, working our way through a range of interesting challenges, everything from romance to nonfiction to badly-reviewed books.

The only one left is a book published in the last year. So, without further ado, let’s take our last romp of the year with a round-up of some recent releases that have received positive reviews.

As always, if you’re interested, please visit our online library catalog for more information on any of the books.

Continue reading “2016 Library Challenge: A Book Published This Year”

2016 Library Challenge: A Pulitzer Prize Winner

Let’s be real. For many, the Pulitzer Prize is not a reading turn-on.

And I understand why. If contemporary literary fiction isn’t your thing, ploughing through some of the past winners may seem like real work.

But I like literary fiction and think many prize-winning books make for a good read, even if you aren’t living in an ivory tower. If nothing else, they always give you plenty to think about!

Don’t forget that Pulitzers are also awarded for nonfiction, history, and biography.

Ready to take the plunge? Here’s a few prize winners that may just draw you in…

Continue reading “2016 Library Challenge: A Pulitzer Prize Winner”

2016 Library Challenge: A Nonfiction Book

Not in the mood for a novel but still want something to read?

Looking for a book that qualifies as “nonfiction” for the library challenge?

Love nonfiction but unsure of what’s been recently released?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this post is for you!

Continue reading “2016 Library Challenge: A Nonfiction Book”

2016 Library Challenge: A Graphic Novel

Confession: I used to avoid graphic novels.

I didn’t have anything against them, per se. I mean, I liked fiction and I liked art, but the combination of the two of them just never occurred to me as something I’d want to read.

I changed my mind about graphic novels after reading Art Spiegelman’s classic Maus and also Gris Grimly’s adaptation of Frankenstein.

It’s still not a genre I read widely in, admittedly, but now, whenever I hear that a book is a graphic novel, my first instinct is no longer to automatically assume it won’t be for me.

To that end, if you were like me a few years ago and think graphic novels aren’t your thing, here are some recommendations that illustrate the great variety within the genre.

Continue reading “2016 Library Challenge: A Graphic Novel”

2016 Library Challenge: An Author You’ve Never Read Before (Brooks Blevins)

Ghost of the Ozarks

We’ve been talking about the upcoming Books in Bloom Festival the past couple of weeks. As part of my preparation for attending, I started reading a book that will be the subject of one of the featured talks–Brooks Blevins’s Ghost of the Ozarks: Murder and Memory in the Upland South.

This books tells the strange story of Connie Francis, a drifter who was murdered in Stone County, Arkansas, in the spring of 1929 by several local men. That anecdote in and of itself doesn’t really stand out in the annals of true crime, but the fact that several months later Francis testified at his own murder trial does. (No, you didn’t read that wrong. The murder victim testified at his killers’ trial.)

Intrigued?

Continue reading “2016 Library Challenge: An Author You’ve Never Read Before (Brooks Blevins)”