Booking Through Thursday: History

Here’s this week’s question from Booking Through Thursday.

Given the choice, which do you prefer? Real history? Or historical fiction? (Assume, for the purposes of this discussion that they are equally well-written and engaging.)

Historical fiction is my favourite genre of book. If I’m reading real, factual history (even when it’s well-written) I sometimes find it boring, whereas historical fiction helps to bring the past to life in an entertaining, enjoyable way. I often find I learn a lot about historical events through reading fiction. However, it’s important to remember that it is fiction and not necessarily 100% accurate.

I very rarely read non-fiction, so if anyone would like to recommend some well-written and engaging history books it would be very much appreciated.

What about you? Do you prefer real history or historical fiction?

Booking Through Thursday: But What About Me?

Here’s this week’s question from Booking Through Thursday.

What’s your favorite part of Booking Through Thursday? Why do you participate (or not)?

Booking Through Thursday was the first weekly meme I discovered when I first started my blog in October and I have tried to participate as often as possible. The questions are always thought-provoking and make me think about the books I’m reading and my reading habits etc. It also gives me something interesting to write about on a Thursday!

I enjoy reading other people’s answers, even if I don’t have time to comment on them all. It’s a good way to find great blogs that I might not have found otherwise.

Booking Through Thursday: Bad Books

Here’s this week’s question from Booking Through Thursday.

Suggested by JM:

“Life is too short to read bad books.” I’d always heard that, but I still read books through until the end no matter how bad they were because I had this sense of obligation.
That is, until this week when I tried (really tried) to read a book that is utterly boring and unrealistic. I had to stop reading.
Do you read everything all the way through or do you feel life really is too short to read bad books?

I try to only buy books that I think I’ll enjoy, so there are very few books that I actually own that I couldn’t read through to the end.

However, if it’s a book that I’ve borrowed from the library and I find I’m not enjoying it, I would just stop reading. I don’t want to waste time reading a book that doesn’t interest me when there are so many other books I could be reading instead – though if I get halfway through the book before I lose interest I might just skim the last few chapters to find out how it ends.

Booking Through Thursday: Biography vs Autobiography

This week’s question from Booking Through Thursday is:

Which do you prefer? Biographies written about someone? Or Autobiographies written by the actual person (and/or ghost-writer)?

This is quite a difficult question to answer. I usually only read fiction and don’t read either biographies or autobiographies very often (although as it happens I’m reading one at the moment!) but I don’t really have any preference for one or the other. The most important thing to me would be to get an honest and unbiased account of the person’s life – and of course, for the book to be well written and interesting.

Booking Through Thursday: Blurb

Suggested by Jennysbooks:

Something I’ve been thinking about lately: “What words/phrases in a blurb make a book irresistible? What words/phrases will make you put the book back down immediately?”

Before I buy a new book I usually do some research first to make sure I’m not going to be wasting my money, therefore I make my decision based on reviews and recommendations rather than what the blurb says. Some of my all-time favourite books have the most boring blurbs you could ever imagine!

Where the blurb becomes more important is when I pick up an unfamiliar book in the library or a book shop. As I’m a big fan of historical fiction, phrases such as “historical epic”, “in the 19th century”, “Victorian London”, “brings history to life” etc would interest me, as well as words like “mysterious”, “secrets”, “exciting” and “fast-paced”. I also enjoy Gothic fiction so “castles”, “ghosts”, “haunting” etc would interest me too – maybe not “vampires” though.

Any mention of “politics”, “spies” or “legal thrillers” would probably make me put the book down immediately, as would any references to sports, serial killers, fantasy realms, self-help, or true stories. Of course, if a book was written by an author whose work I’d previously enjoyed, or if it had been specifically recommended to me, I’d be prepared to give it a chance regardless of what the blurb said.

Do you agree or disagree? What do you look for in a blurb?