Historical Novels

This tag is associated with 13 posts

The Weight and the Weightlessness

As summer is drawing to a close, I felt a sudden weight on my shoulder thinking about the months ahead of wintery cold and perhaps snow, and the weight that I have to carry by wearing more layers of clothing and reflecting about another year drawing to an end. Hence, I’m combining two novellas reviews … Continue reading

The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif

Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love is a family saga, a story that draws its readers into two different eras in the complex, troubled history of modern Egypt. The story begins in 1997 in New York. There Isabel Parkman discovers an old trunk full of documents, some in English, some in Arabic, in her dying … Continue reading

Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed

Nadifa Mohamed’s debut novel, Black Mamba Boy, is set in 1930s Somalia. The novel charts one boy’s long walk to freedom through dangerous, conflict-ridden East Africa, based on the true story of the author’s father’s life.  Jama’s mother Ambaro is a strong woman who maintains her pride as she is left to look after Jama … Continue reading

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

In homer’s account in the Odyssey, Penelope – daughter of King Icarius of Sparta, wife of Odysseus and cousin of the beautiful Helen of Troy is portrayed as the quintessential faithful wife, her story a salutary lesson through the ages. Left alone for 20 years when Odysseus goes off to fight in the Trojan war … Continue reading

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again… While working as the companion to a rich American woman, Mr. Van Hopper, holidaying on the Monte Carlo, Soon-to-be Mrs De Winter0 becomes acquainted with a wealthy Englishman, Maximilian (Maxim) de Winter. After a fortnight of courtship, she agrees to marry him, and after the marriage … Continue reading

The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Salem, Massachusetts, 19th August 1692. Martha Carrier was accused, tried and hanged as a witch.  The Carrier family, Thomas and Martha, with their children Richard, Andrew, Sarah, Tom and little Hannah move to the village of Salem to stay with their maternal Grandmother. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier, is bright and willful, openly challenging … Continue reading

Peony in Love

Love is of source unknown, yet it grows ever deeper. The living may die of it, by its power the dead live again. Love is not love at its fullest if one who lives is unwilling to die for it, or if it cannot restore to life one who has died. And must love that … Continue reading

The Piano Tuner

It is my deliberate choice to start another book with a piano theme. A pure coincidence both The Piano Teacher and The Piano Tuner sit on my TBR pile, but a deliberate decision to read them back to back.  On a misty London afternoon in 1886, piano tuner Edgar Drake receives a strange request from the … Continue reading

We Are Made of Glue

Sometimes when I try to understand what’s going on in the world, I find myself thinking about glue. Every adhesive interacts with surfaces and with the environment in its own particular ways; some are cured by light, some by hear, some by the exchange of subatomic particles, some simply by the passage of time. The … Continue reading

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon need cool, well-oxygenated water. The temperature ideally should not exceed 18 degree Celsius. If it is too hot, the oxygen will leave the water and the fish will die. The best conditions are rivers fed by snow melt or springs. Salmon fishing in Yemen.. hmmm.. how could that happen? Sounds absurd. Absurd is what … Continue reading


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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)