I wish I had more time to read fiction, and can become completely immersed in a good story with vivid writing and character development. I enjoy action, mysteries, political thrillers, a social context or issue, and in particular, historical novels with authentic characters and art or cultural exploration. Girl With a Pearl Earring, Tulip Fever, Mary Called Magdalene, The Memories of Cleopatra, the Outlander Series (although this is also romantic fantasy and includes time travel), and The Paradise (on PBS) come to mind and sit on the shelf. I’m fairly certain I could have been a queen, a cloistered priest or nun, a William Wallace Braveheart type of person, an explorer, or burned at the stake in a previous life. Perhaps even someone like Peter Abelard, or Abbess Hildegard of Bingen who wrote, “The Word is living, being, spirit, all verdant greening, all creativity. This Word manifest itself in every creature.”
Many novels could have made this post, but The Heaven Tree Trilogy, now back in print, is penned by Edith Pargeter, better known as Ellis Peters, author of the Brother Cadfael medieval mystery series and is an old favorite. Set in thirteenth-century medieval Wales and England, the trilogy captures politics, religion, class, justice, vengeance, passion, and a stone mason. Something romantic and tragic tugs at me from the pages. I’ve read the book twice, though not in years, and it represents a traveling trunk containing both utterly foreign and hauntingly familiar imagery and emotions. A curiosity is evoked in me about why an author writes with a pen name, and describes this as her favorite writing.
It is so satisfying to read a great book—and be sad when it ends. How about you? What is your favorite genre of fiction? Any best reads to add to the list? (I’m skipping classic literature in this post.)
The Outlander series will be on Starz TV in Summer 2014. The trailer gives a preview, and one caption is spot on asking, “Is it us, or did it just get a little hotter under our corsets?” I’ll be tuning in.
Tulip Fever is being filmed in 2014