The Expressive Creatrix (and Hobbyist)

One can never say when they started reading.  A vague “in first grade” or “when I was about 6 years old” is as close as you can get.  I guess a more telling question is, “When did you start to read for enjoyment?”  My answer is, “From the day I started reading!”  I’ve read for pleasure my entire life.  My interests have changed over the years, and I went through a period of two years or so where other than magazine articles or the occasional self-help book, I didn’t read much at all.  No book I picked up held my interest.  I missed reading, but at that time, I had plenty of other things going on in my life to keep me occupied.  I don’t know that I would’ve had time to read!  (This was around the time my Stampin’ Up! career was in full swing.)

A few years ago on a whim, I read The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, and suddenly, I was interested!  I discovered my genré – historical fiction!  Since then, I haven’t looked back.  I read HF almost exclusively, although I still love the occasional self-help book, and I try to do regular spiritual reading.  I read and discuss historical fiction with like-minded individuals at  PBS is a great place to trade books, discuss books, get and give book recommendations, and learn and do all sorts of great things related to books and reading no matter what your genré.  Check it out!

Currently, my favorite HF authors are:

  • Bernard Cornwell – My favorites are his “The Arthur Books” (a triliogy) and “The Saxon Chronicles” (an as-yet-unfinished series).
  • Sharon Kay Penman – One of the acknowledged “masters” of the genré.  I’ve only read three of her books, When Christ and His Saints Slept and The Sunne In Splendor (which were both fabulous) and The Queen’s Man (which is the first in a series of shorter mysteries set in 12th century England), but I’m very much looking forward to reading my way through her impressive body of work. 
  • Elizabeth Chadwick – Another acknowledged HF master.  I’ve only read two of her books, The Greatest Knight and The Conquest,  but I have plenty more books by her on my shelf just waiting to be picked up and enjoyed.
  • Anne Rice – Anne wrote two of my favorite books of all time – including my VERY favorite book of all time, The Witching Hour.  She is an extraordinary storyteller and a fascinating woman.  Anne gave up the preternatural and declared a commitment to writing only Christian literature when she returned to the Catholic Church in 2008. I have read a couple of her “post-conversion” books, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt and Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana, and I found them okay.  I miss Anne’s vampires and witches, but I wish her much peace, happiness and success in the endeavors she undertakes with passion now.  (And to Anne’s credit, she has not renounced her earlier books but rather remains proud of them and protective of them.)

Yes, only four for now, although there are many, many other HF authors I enjoy.  These  are just the ones that really stand out as, well, outstanding for me right now.

My all-time favorite books – historical fiction and otherwise – are:

The Witching Hour, by Anne Rice.  There has never been a book I’ve loved more.  All I can say is that if you haven’t read it, read it.  Read it now. 



Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice.  The beginning of an awesome series of books, The Vampire Chronciles, many of which I really loved.  They fizzled out a bit, IMO, after the fifth book, Memnoch the Devil (and I confess to not reading all of the books in the series), but Anne started with a bang and rode the wave for a long while.  Truly a great book.


Aztec, by Gary Jennings.  Perfection. Really, that’s all I can say.  An awesome, sweeping adventure told by one of the most endearing (which seems an odd way to described him, but it fits) protagonists ever.  I actually cried my eyes out as I finished this book. 

An Instance of the Fingerpost, by Ian Pears. One of those books that you almost have to re-read to truly get all you can from it.  A somewhat difficult read with a great payoff at the end.  When you get there, you want to immediately start from the beginning again!  (Where are these “instances of the fingerpost” that I missed?)  I’m not usually a mystery person, but this one is so compelling, told in a variety of voices and so layered and complex that I found it a masterpiece.  You truly do not fully appreciate until you’re done with it.

Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Many find Gilbert to be a self-absorbed, affluent woman who was able to indulge herself on an extended vacation to “find herself.”  Lucky woman, I say!  I very much enjoyed reading of her adventures and how and what she learned from them.  I identify with her, and her struggle to find peace, balance and joy in life.  Hence my creative expression obsession.

There are many, many other books I have read and loved.  These are just the four  that really, really stand out for me, and the ones I would read (and in some cases have read) again.


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