I have had Kate Horsley’s novel Confessions of a Pagan Nun for so long that I did a search of my blog to see when I first mentioned it. I don’t know when I bought it, but I planned to read it as long ago as the summer of 2005. I seem to remember buying with a birthday gift card, so it may be that I didn’t have it yet that summer; it was on my wish list for a while before I bought it. In any case, it has been sitting on my bookshelf for too long, and I really have wanted to read it for a long time, so it’s my current work in progress. However, I have decided my choice to wait until now to read this book is well-timed: I can include it as part of the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. To complete the challenge, I must read six historical fiction novels in six months. I plan to read the following as part of the challenge:
- Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley: Sixth-century Ireland as Christianity supplants paganism.
- Nothing Like the Sun by Anthony Burgess: Sixteenth-century England, the story of William Shakespeare’s love life.
- Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke: Nineteenth-century England, rival magicians change history. This one feels a bit like cheating because I put it aside as part of another challenge, but I never finished it. I really want to finish it, and maybe a challenge will help me.
- Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys: Nineteenth-century Caribbean, the mad woman in the attic tells her side of the story.
- The Known World by Edward P. Jones: 1840’s Virginia, the story of black slaveowners in the antebellum South.
- Run with the Horsemen by Ferrol Sams: 1930’s Georgia, Porter Osborne grows up on a farm during the Depression.
I have many books like Confessions of a Pagan Nun that I bought some time ago and haven’t read yet. And I try to tell myself that when I’m in the bookstore, but I don’t often listen.
On an unrelated note, I have added a new feature to the sidebar. Random quotes about books and reading will appear. If you have one you want to share, feel free to leave it in the comments; maybe I will add it to my collection.
3 thoughts on “Confessions of a Neglectful Reader”
Hi Dana. Thanks for joining the challenge! Confessions of a Pagan Nun…what a title. You'll have to be sure to tell us how it goes. It sounds very interesting. If you want to join our yahoo group to discuss the novels, please send me an email and I'll send you an invite.
At the upcoming Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival in Montreal (please see Blue Skies Ahead), a panel discussion, Travels in Time, will attempt to answer the interesting, if rather esoteric, question: Is writing about another time a variety of travel writing? The panel includes: English author Lindsey Davis whose best-selling 18-book detective series is set in ancient Rome; award-winning author Garry Geddes and newcomer Padma Viswanathan who take us back to the early twentieth century; and Robert J. Sawyer, the dean of Canadian science fiction, who travels to the future. The historical novel as travelog may give a slightly different slant to your Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.
As for your random quote list, consider these gems:
A book chooses its readers as a play chooses its audience. (Alan Bennett)
‘Tis the good reader that makes the good book. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
There is a great deal of difference between the tired man who wants a book to read and the alert man who wants to read a book. (Winston Churchill)
To burn a book is not to destroy it. One minute of darkness will not make us blind.
(It) is simply unreadable and, for me, that always sort of spoils a book. (Harry Truman)
Murray, thanks for letting me know about the event. I think I agree, and it is perhaps my interest in certain time periods in the past that makes me turn time and again to historical fiction. When I wrote my book, I purposely chose a time in which I was interested so I could learn more about it, and I do feel in many ways like I went back there!
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