As I wade deeper and deeper into the world of bookblogging, I’m learning all sorts of new and fun types of posts I can do. With many thanks to Kristin Kraves Books, I’ve just learned about book tags, and here is my first one!
What is a book tag? Well I may be wrong (but this is my post, so who cares?) but a book tag is a series of descriptions of books that’s shared by one bookblogger and they and other bookbloggers then try to find books that they think match each description. Each tag usually has an underlying theme and today’s tag, courtesy of Bionic Book Worm, comes just in time for fall, hence, Fall Book Tag!
Here are the rules for this book tag, as established by its creator, Bionic Book Worm, if you choose to do this book tag too:
- Please link back to me, Bionic Book Worm, as the creator of this tag!! I want to see your answers!!
- Use the graphics – if you want 🙂
- Have fun!
Now here are my Histories Unfolding selections for this Book Tag:
Boxers and Saints is a matched set of two graphic novels from award-winning comic writer-artist Gene Luen Yang. It is an unusual and brilliant presentation of a controversial episode from Chinese history, the Boxer Rebellion. In the grand scheme of China’s tumultuous history, there were far bloodier and more destructive conflicts. But because of the direct involvement of the Western colonial powers, its repercussions echo on through China’s attitude toward the West today.
Yang chooses to eschew the grander dimensions of the clash and focus on the intersecting stories of Little Bao, a young man drawn to the “Boxer” movement seeking to expel foreign influences from China, and Vibiana, a girl converted to Christianity and living among missionaries. They each are dogged by their visions of heroic avatars from Chinese (in Little Bao’s case) and Western (in Vibiana’s) tradition. By presenting the stories of conflicted people swept along by these historic events, Yang guides the reader into understanding the many sides of a complex conflict.
I’ve gone a long time on this blog without discussing my favourite non-fiction book ever. How perfect that the cover image epitomizes “howling wind.” This is a thoroughly researched, engagingly written narrative history of the world’s bloodiest mutiny. In 1629, the Dutch East India Company ship Batavia ran aground in a bleak archipelago off the coast of Australia. Amazingly the conditions were there for the castaways to survive and be rescued. But company policy and circumstances led them to put their trust in a psychopath as their leader. What followed was a reign of terror that only ended with what would be dismissed in fiction as a blatant deus ex machina. And yet it was a well documented historic fact, seemingly pulled out of a thriller and almost impossible to believe.
Although it has all the makings of an adventure movie, director Paul Verhoeven’s attempt to bring it to the big screen has been stuck in the proverbial Hollywood development hell. A movie version from the director of Robocop, Total Recall and Starship Troopers? Yes please!
How you react to a book often depends as much on the context in which you are reading it as the content. I’ve reached an age that has me frequently thinking about my relationship with my kids and thinking back to my own relationship with my parents. I have fond memories of playing chess with my dad and eagerly anticipating the weekly chess problems in the newspaper. When I read The Immortal Game, these memories came flooding back.
This is a compelling history of chess, told through the framing device of one particularly legendary game from the 19th century. When the author reaches the present day, he recounts visiting with an after-school chess program. I couldn’t help being uplifted by his own hopeful message of the positive impact of chess on children. Thinking about my own kids getting involved with the game, I can’t wait to start playing with them, as soon as they stop hiding the pieces in their Lego vehicles.
One of the great joys (that compensates for the many miseries) of parenting is being able to discover new books with my kids, and not just retread the classics or what I read when I was their age. When I happened upon the Tales of the Time Dragon at the library, my kid was drawn to the big red dragon on the cover. What a revelation it was to learn the story of Eleanor and Josiah Creesy and their record breaking voyage aboard their ship, the Flying Cloud in 1851.
I love the fact that, despite how much time I spend reading about history, I can still learn new things from a children’s book. I love the whole series, which is about two kids experiencing historical events first-hand with the help of their friend, the Red the eponymous Time Dragon. Besides their educational value, my kid has fun with the running background gags.
Rick Revelle’s first novel in the Algonquin Quest series has a number of flaws, but a plodding, slow-moving plot is definitely not one of them. Despite the story taking place over several months, the action almost never stops, driving home the constant sense of struggle that Mahingan and his tribe of Omàmiwinini (Algonquin) deal with, whether against wild animals, the elements or other tribes and nations. Although hampered by a flat writing style and lack of emotional heft, the novel packs in meticulously detailed descriptions of Algonquin life before the arrival of Europeans. It’s a lesson in culture and history told through action, whether that involves hunting, playing lacrosse or warfare and makes for a fast-paced read.
Ok, so this book won’t even be available yet this autumn. But do you know how much I’m anticipating the third and final installment of the Front Lines trilogy? I haven’t even read the second one yet! Michael Grant’s story may be billed as alternate history, but once the main departure point of a U.S. legal precedent enacting the draft for women is dealt with, it reads like any of the best World War II fiction. Grant has an eye for the details of history and warfare, no matter how gruesome or off putting, as he follows three women through their wartime experiences.
The first book packed a visceral, emotional wallop and I expect this third book to be off the charts in this regard, as the war moves into its final stages and the women experience D-Day and the aftermath of the Holocaust.
If you have your own ideas for this book tag, share the love!