All in Bookish Musings

The Definition of Historical Fiction

What is historical fiction? I’m so glad you asked! At its most basic, historical fiction is fiction set in the past. Easy peasy, right? Wrong. No one agrees on how far “in the past” historical fiction should be set or whether books like “The Great Gatsby,” which were set in the present when they were written, count as historical fiction. As a general rule, historical fiction is defined as fiction that is set fifty or more years before the work was written, and books like “The Great Gatsby” really aren’t historical fiction at all.

How Books Make History Exciting

Picking Books promotes appreciate of books, history, and culture through cross-disciplinary book reviews and articles that help you make sense of both the books you read and the world you live in. Read on to find out why learning history is important and what you can do if your high school history education was less than adequate.

Why I'm Starting to Read More Fantasy

Fantasy gets a bad rap for being predictable genre fiction. But “The Key to the Half Worlds” by Andrew Chaplin surprised me. It’s time to put our prejudices against fantasy aside and read more of it. Included in my review of “The Key to the Half Words” is a fun side note about the history of washing machines and a discussion of why we should stop using the term “guilty read.”

La Befana in “Beyond the Wicked Willow: Chronicles of a Teenage Witchslayer”

After finding out he’s the descendant of a witchslayer, Frankie and his friends are transported to medieval Italy in order to save a young girl from the evil Strega. In my review of “Beyond the Wicked Willow: Chronicles of a Teenage Witchslayer” by M.J. Rocissono I explore Rocissono’s entertaining fantasy adventure and take a look at the history of the Italian tradition of La Befana.