Posts Tagged ‘Bodie Thoene’

In Praise of Historical Fiction

March 15th, 2011

It may shock some of my readers, who are inclined to think highly of me (whether I deserve it or not), but I am not a fan of history.

I never have been.

While I looked with fascination at the fashions of bygone eras, was interested in olden modes of speech or transportation, and often envied historical skills in handiwork, I cared nothing for all the names and dates and circumstances and conflicts that make up the study of history.

I occasionally feigned interest in history so as to take interest in my brother (an avid history buff). But frankly? I didn’t understand the hoopla.

Oh, I played lip service to the value of history. You know, the whole “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” and “if I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants” and all that.

But really, I’ve never been a fan of history.

At least, not until a few months ago when I picked up a copy of Bodie Thoene’s Vienna Prelude.

There I read of Adolf Hitler’s “peaceful” annexation of Austria, of Herman Goring and Winston Churchill, of the SA, the SS, and the Gestapo.

I continued reading and learned of Kristallnacht, of Nazi concentration camps, of the traitorous appeasement prize Britain awarded Nazi Germany by handing over Czechoslovakia. I learned of the narrow passage connecting Poland to the sea–and separating Germany from Germany. I learned of the pogroms and of the falsehood fabricated to justify the invasion of Poland.

I started to wonder what was true and what was fiction, so involved was I in the story unfolding in novel after novel.

I no longer cared only about the protagonists. I started to care about the whole story–the story behind and below and around the one created in the imagination of the author.

I became a fan of history.

Now I begin my journey into history, fueled by the fiction of an author who cares about fact.

My life, my outlook has been indelibly changed.

Such is the power of good historical fiction.

Nightstand (February 2011)

February 22nd, 2011

I feel like I’ve slid comfortably back into my reading groove this month, probably because I’ve given myself permission to ignore the internet and cleaning. So, my house may be filthy and my Google Reader rather stuffed–but my Nightstand is still moving!

Crate of library books

This month, I made it through:

Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry
Picked up while trolling the library for unfamiliar children’s fiction. Not sure exactly what I think of it. I wonder if Anastasia Krupnik, published in 1979, was the origin of brat literature for youngsters? It’s definitely not the “good kids get into scrapes because they forget/ignore the rules/common-sense while chasing a mystery” of the era prior (Think Boxcar children, Trixie Belden, etc.) Anastasia’s parents, a poet and an artist, are indulgently negligent; Anastasia is an only child, a precocious soul, and a brat. Hmmph.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I finished it only a few days late for that wrap-up post for Carrie’s L.M. Montgomery Reading challenge.

Baby Proof by Emily Giffin
Chick lit of a different sort. She’s got the guy. Finally found someone who agrees with her about not wanting kids. And then he decides he might just want a little one. And she divorces him. She is NOT going to have kids. Decentish on the chick-lit level, a step above Bridget Jones and Shopaholic, but still far from meaningful.

Bright-sided : how the relentless promotion of positive thinking has undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich
Possibly the first book to ever merit zero stars in my highly subjective rating system. It could have been a good book, if Ehrenreich had kept her socio-political agenda out of it. But I think that’s one hope that I’ve just got to let die. She can’t do it.

Composting by Liz Ball
Yes. I read about composting. I compost in my backyard. I used to have composting worms under my sink. And I catch the humor in discussing a “hot pile” just a little too late to keep me from seriously explaining how the ratio of carbon to nitrogen effects the heat of said piles. I’m glad the Bible study gals (and John) are willing to accept me, quirks and all!

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
You know those books that just suck you in and demand that you keep reading until all hours of the morning? The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is one of those. It’s all about how one choice changed a whole family, rippled out to affect whole communities. It’s a terrific story. This book originally went on my TBR list based on Colloquium’s review.

Warsaw Requiem and London Refrain by Bodie Thoene
My love affair with these books continues. It’s probably a good thing that I’ve forced some balance into my reading diet by giving myself a rubric for checking things out. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure I’d be reading these and only these until I’m through to the end!

Wasteland by Francesca Lia Block
Easily the weirdest book I’ve ever read. Written in first person stream of consciousness from three different characters perspective, this novel explores a brother and sister who struggle against a growing attraction for one another before, finally, the brother commits suicide. The plot is weird, the writing style is weird, the imagery within is weird. It’s just a weird book. Billed as YA, this is nothing I’ll be recommending to any of my “young adult” (read “teenage”) friends.

18 (at least) Children’s Picture Books author name BA-BASE
Unlike Carrie’s reading challenge, where she skips any books that aren’t at the library when she and her family goes, my challenge means I have to actually read EVERY book in my no-longer-local branch. So I’ve been playing catch up, filling in those missing books I didn’t read during my first pass.

Pile of books I'm in the middle of

With four weeks left on this last trip’s library haul, I’ve got a stack I’m in the middle of…

  • Confessions by St. Augustine
  • The factastic book of 1001 lists by Russell Ash
  • Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton
  • The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister and Phyllis Tickle
  • The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges
  • The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

And a stack in the wings for when I’m done with those!

Still to be read books

Don’t forget to drop by 5 Minutes 4 Books to see what others are reading this month!

What's on Your Nightstand?

Browse bekahcubed:


Search bekahcubed:


Contact bekahcubed:

b3master@menterz.com

Get my button:

bekahcubed button

Popular Tags:


I participate in:


Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge
L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge
What's on Your Nightstand?
-->