Monday, March 08, 2010

Blogiversary, and other news

Lately I've been so busy preparing things for the blog (author interviews, reviews, giveaways, more...) that I haven't had as much time to actually blog. Funny how that works.

Pardon the self-promo, but everyone loves cake, right? Reading the Past celebrates its 4th blogiversary this month. The traditional acknowledgment of a 4th anniversary is fruit or flowers, but neither travels well in the mail, so I'll be hosting some book giveaways instead. Watch for more details soon!

I'm late in reporting this, especially since I got co-opted into helping organize again, but the location for the 4th North American Historical Novel Society conference has been finalized. Come join us at the Holiday Inn on the Bay in sunny San Diego on June 17-19, 2011. (That's 2011... a year from now.) The hotel's across from the harbor, so I understand. I'll be flying out in about a month for our annual board meeting and will see it for myself. A nice late spring break trip. Registration opens this fall.

The Wall Street Journal's Dear Book Lover of March 5th gave recommendations of historical British novels for a reader who loves Philippa Gregory. To her credit, the columnist went out and read The Other Queen herself, but her list of suggestions doesn't work for me. They're all set in Britain, sure, and are excellent novels in their own right, but the style of these books -- labyrinthine Victorian epics and literary thrillers, for the most part -- doesn't mesh with Gregory's royal dramas at all. See what you think. I'd be curious how well the ideas worked out.

A lengthy discussion on Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander from the A.V. Club. (Someone send a few of these folks some more good historical fiction.)

Finally, seen via Twitter yesterday, a talk on the essentials of plot from Cheryl Klein, editor at Arthur A. Levine Books. I don't write fiction but enjoyed all of her insights into how to craft an excellent read.


  1. Sarah, that's a fantastic achievement, many congrats on four years in the blogosphere, that's practically an eon in cyberspace.

  2. Congratulations for your 4th 4th blogiversary! I always look forward to you posts.

    And thank you for posting a WSJ link on British novels. I read some of them, and they are fantastic novels, and the rest are now on my to read list.

  3. Happy Anniversary, Sarah! I don't know what we in the histfic world would do without you. You devote so much time and energy to HNS, your reviews, and the blog--I am very grateful for all you do!

    Looking forward to seeing you again in San Diego next summer...what a great place to host the conference.

  4. Congratulations on the blogoversary! I love coming here for info on historical fiction.

    The books listed in the WSJ article sound promising, but I wish the author weren't so snide about romance in historical fiction. There's some wallpapery garbage out there, but if the historical world had to be devoid of romantic plots in order to be realistic, I'd wonder how current generations would have ever been born! :-)

  5. Congratulations on your anniversary!

  6. Congratulations Sara your 4th Blogiversary. Well done! Thanks for all your hard work over the years. Hope you take a time out to do a little celebrating.

  7. Congratulations on your anniversary, Sarah. i always look forward to your posts :)

    The WSJ link is interesting and a typical response. It's noticeable to me from following various forums, that when asked for recommendations about novels similar to a particular book, readers respond with a list of their own favourite books (or ones they feel are more "worthy") rather than actually answering the question and mentioning books that meet the criteria!

  8. Thanks, all!

    Some of the books mentioned definitely had major romantic subplots... Fingersmith, for instance. Also Rose. Unfortunate and not surprising to have those comments in there, though...

    I agree, Annis, it is typical. Readers' advisory should be based on the personal preferences of the reader, not the one making the recommendation!

  9. Happy Blogiversary! There's so much come 'n' go on the web (my site is merely a newcomer) that simple longevity is admirable.

    Thanks for the tip-off regarding Master and Commander!

  10. Better late than never! Happy Blogniversary, Sarah. May you enjoy many more!