8 CommentsBlogfests, Books, Question of the Month

Happy Monday, everyone. Welcome to:

Question of the month

QUESTION OF THE MONTH, hosted by Michael G. D’Agostino of A Life Examined, is published on the first Monday. Michael’s directive: “Your readers would like to know a little more about you. Show them who you are by taking part in the Question of the Month bloghop. On the first Monday of each month, we answer the question that gets posted here. Sign up on the list below to join the fun 😉 With every question, remember that the important part is explaining your answer.”

This month’s question is:

What was the first book (or book series)
you really fell in love with?

Tough question! I started reading at a young age and enjoyed many series, like Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason, Ian Fleming’s James Bond, Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct, etc. Then there were classic novels, like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Great Gatsby. I could go on…..

Question of the Month: Getting Literary

Historical fiction has always been a favourite genre. There’s one series that mesmerized and impressed me more than any other:

The North and South Trilogy
by John Jakes

Getting Literary with Author John Jakes

North and South is a 1980s trilogy of best-selling novels by John Jakes which take place before, during, and after the American Civil War. The saga tells the story of the enduring friendship between Orry Main of South Carolina and George Hazard of Pennsylvania, who become best friends while attending the United States Military Academy at West Point but later find themselves and their families on opposite sides of the war. The slave-owning Mains are rural gentleman planters while the big-city Hazards live by manufacturing and industry, their differences reflecting the real divisions between North and South which ultimately led to war.

The first novel, North and South, was published in 1982, and was followed by Love and War in 1984. The trilogy was completed with Heaven and Hell in 1987. All three novels debuted on The New York Times Best Seller list, with North and South reaching #1 within four weeks on February 28, 1982. All three novels were also ranked within the top ten hardcover fiction bestsellers for their respective years by Publishers Weekly. As of 2007, ten million copies of the trilogy remain in print.

The novels were each adapted into television miniseries starring Patrick Swayze and James Read in 1985, 1986, and 1994. The first installment, 1985’s North and South, remains the seventh-highest rated miniseries in TV history. – WIKIPEDIA

I acquired this series in the ’80s, while playing games with Book Club Associates. They would offer 6 or 7 books for $1.00 each on sign-up, with the proviso that you purchase 3 or 4 more within a two year period. I would fulfill the quota after a few months, cancel my membership, wait awhile, then enroll again. This went on for decades and allowed me to amass a huge library of hardcovers, which I still have.

This is a heartwrenching saga, rich with characterizations on a backdrop of historical fact. As a history junkie, I lose myself in the story and can envision every scene in vivid detail. The mini-series were excellent, even though one key plot point was changed. Here’s a taste:

Do you like historical fiction?
What’s your favourite genre?

Looking forward to your comments!


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Debbie D.

Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as “The Doglady”. Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal “hippie/rockchick”. Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!

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  1. swooning at the mention of Patrick Swayze 😀 As a teenager I devoured Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie series… later on Hitchiker’s Guide to the galaxy series stole my heart …. It’s still my favorites followed by Millenium Trilogy. And then of course the Harry Potter series. Not a fan of historical fiction though.

  2. The Book Club Associates sounds like a great way to buy books. I haven’t read the North and South Trilogy which sounds excellent based on your review. I like historical fiction and other fiction and I like non fiction as well. I can basically read anything and see the value of most writing, provided it’s well done.

  3. We have a lot in common! I’d forgotten about Wuthering Heights; so darkly illuminating as it was. I enjoy history as well, often leaving the History Channel on all day – unless there’s a run of Unsolved Mysteries. As you know, I find ghosts and the supernatural in general, endlessly fascinating. Thanks for sharing your literary tastes! Interestingly, I think I could have guessed 🙂

  4. I have never read a series of books. I did, however, read “Ball Four” by Jim Bouton, over two hundred times. That was historical, in a baseball season sense.

  5. I enjoy historical novels and nonfiction as well. The “North/South” series sounds like something that might interest me.

    I used to play the book club game as well and as a result have quite a collection of books from those clubs now not to mention the many more that disappeared through garage sales and wherever else they went off to. I still get emails announcing current selections from the most recent book clubs to which I belonged though I don’t buy anything from them anymore.

    I loved the book clubs when I was a teen and then later in more recent years. Such a temptation looking through those catalogs they used to send out.

    Arlee Bird

  6. Hi, Debbie the Doglady!

    I’m sorry you are encountering some technical glitches this morning. I hope I can get my comment published.

    I remember when the North and South miniseries ran on TV, but I don’t remember watching it, nor have I read Jakes’ book trilogy. Surely it is a magnificent series based on your review. I love history but favor nonfiction. Mrs. Shady and I enjoy reading history books and watching fact based biopics and documentaries. As it happens, we just finished watching (for the dozenth time) the 4+ hour long director’s edit of the 1992 Civil War epic film Gettysburg. Like the book and miniseries, Gettysburg depicts the agony of best friends going their separate ways to fight the war on opposing sides. I highly recommend it!

    Thank you, dear friend Debbie, and have a terrific week!

  7. I never read much on historical fiction. I remember the mini series being huge! I would have to say my favourite book growing up were the Grimm Fairy Tales. I just loved the stories and how I could escape into the fantasy. I never thought they were harmful because the bad people deserved what they got. Adults are the ones who place that crap on these fairy tales. My favourites were Beauty and The Beast, Joranda and Jorandel and the coat of many pelts or something like that:) I also loved the Agatha Christie novels, Little House on the Prairie, and Tracy & Hepburn by Garson Kanin-my first movie biography I read when I was in grade 6

  8. I’m more of a straight history fan. I don’t know why, but I drifted out of novel reading a while back, and with a few blog-friend exceptions, have never gone back.