If you're as avid a reader as I am, you may have noticed that the world of fiction goes through trends like anything else. If I were publishing historical fiction at the moment, for instance, I would probably call it something like The Coffin Maker's Nephew or The Tub Maker's Wife. I'm just sayin'. Nevermind zombies or vampires. Or knitting. Or - have you noticed this one - fictional accounts of actual people? In the case of this reading list, it gets even more daring: writers writing about writers. Two of our recently acquired titles fall into this category, so I'm tempted to say it's a bona fide trend. It's also one I like a lot.
Give some of these a try and see what you think. GoodReads also has a decent list of "Real People in Fiction." So go on, good readers, read... about writing. (Synopses from our catalog).
- Beautiful Fools by R. Clifton Spargo (F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald)
In 1939 Scott is living in Hollywood, a virulent alcoholic and deeply in debt. Despite his relationship with gossip columnist Sheila Graham, he remains fiercely loyal to Zelda, his soul mate and muse. In an attempt to fuse together their fractured marriage, Scott arranges a trip to Cuba, where, after a disastrous first night in Havana, the couple runs off to a beach resort outside the city. But even in paradise, Scott and Zelda cannot escape the dangerous intensity of their relationship.
- Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck (Zelda Fitzgerald)
Fighting to forge an identity independent of her famous husband as she teeters on the brink of madness, Zelda Fitzgerald, committed to a Baltimore psychiatric hospital in 1932, finds a friend in nurse Anne Howard, who, drawn into the Fitzgeralds' tumultuous lives, questions who the true genius is.
- The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (Ernest Hemingway)
Meeting through mutual friends in Chicago, Hadley is intrigued by brash "beautiful boy" Ernest Hemingway, and after a brief courtship and small wedding, they take off for Paris, where Hadley makes a convincing transformation from an overprotected child to a game and brave young woman who puts up with impoverished living conditions and shattering loneliness to prop up her husband's career.
- Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier (William Blake)
Poet, artist, and printer William Blake works in obscurity as England is rocked by the shock waves of the French Revolution. Next door, the Kellaway family has just moved in, and country boy Jem Kellaway strikes up a tentative friendship with street-savvy Maggie Butterfield. As their stories intertwine with Blake's, the two children navigate the confusing and exhilarating path to adolescence, and inspire the poet to create the work that enshrined his genius.
- Drood by Dan Simmons (Charles Dickens)
Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens' life, Drood explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to his final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
- The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma (H.G. Wells)
Characters real and imaginary come vividly to life in this whimsical triple play of intertwined plots, in which a skeptical H. G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence.