Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 10 years ago

What was the last novel you read where you went 'Wow' over the amount of research and learning the author used?

I just finished Gore Vidal's "Creation", and was extremely impressed by all the philosophical, historical, and religious information he managed to include without weighing down the narrative, how he made it a book of ideas without ever losing sight of character, humor, or insight.

So what was the last novel you read that made you go, "Damn, he/she really knows their stuff"?

19 Answers

  • SOS
    Lv 6
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer


    Source(s): MEET MARK TWAIN
  • ?
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Aly is right. Most people don't have any idea of an author's reading habits, unless they're a die-hard fan. I, for example, *love* JK Rowling and Jane Austen, but I have no idea what they've read, except that Rowling "adores the The Little White Horse" (by Elizabeth Goudge), and the only reason I know that is because there's a quote by her on the cover of that book, saying that exact thing. But I don't know anything else, and I love their books. Being well read doesn't *always* mean that you'll be a great writer. And the same is true in reverse. What writers gain from reading is inspiration and a sense of the way books work. Of course, you must know how books work, and you could be inspired by anything. And in any case, if you're a good writer, I'll read your work. Has this convinced you that the answer to your question is "yes"?

  • 10 years ago

    Hand of Isis by Jo Graham about Cleopatra and the expansion of the Roman Empire. It's historical fiction. Most of the events that her characters attend or encounter are recorded historically. I took a class in college about ancient Rome so I could verify that all the information she was pulling to add to the plot was correct. Even though there was a lot of history, it didn't take momentum away from the storyline or the characters.

  • 10 years ago

    The other 2 books that Dan Brown has written outside his "DaVinci Code" series are very intensely researched. Both "Digital Fortress" about the highly secret/unknown governmentt agency; NSA and "Deception Point" about a NASA discovery that will change human history as we know it. The stories themselves are fiction but all the information he seems to have spend countless hours researching and even interviewing ex employees, (anonymous of course) getting all the top secret information they learned. I would recommend reading them if anyone likes thrillers with complex plots and didn't see it coming endings. Enjoy!

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  • 10 years ago

    Umberto Eco springs to mind, though I am not sure how much of his apparent erudition is the product of specific research and how much comes from just being exceptionally well-read.

    I don't read all that much fiction, really, but 'Foucault's Pendulum' by Eco definitely struck me as possessing an astonishing depth of knowledge regarding its theological/mystical, philosophical, and occult themes, as well as being amusingly prescient in its satire. If you haven't read it, it satirises the pseudo-historical conspiracy theories peddled by 'The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail' and later 'The Da Vinci Code'. Unlike those two books, however, it has that sense of self-awareness and above all understanding of the subject and its historical and literary context that make it effective on a philosophical and fictional level.

    It's the kind of novel that almost requires one of those 'A Guide to...' books--it references quite possibly hundreds of religions, sects, cults, and societies, it alludes to numerous other works, is replete with musings by characters on Kabbalah, gnosticism, and various other 'mystic' groups and ideologies, and it frequently quotes obscure (and in some cases for all I know, fictional) books and manuscripts.

    Maybe it's what might have resulted from Jorge Luis Borges eating the Library of Alexandria and then vomiting over Dan Brown's computer.

    It's an exhausting book, in many ways, but I do love Eco. I could imagine that a lot of people would find him terribly pretentious, but he has enough of a sense of humour and such well-crafted prose that, to me, he is absolved of any guilt for his unashamed intellectualism.

  • 10 years ago

    All of Mary Renault's historical fiction. Her "Alexandriad" (Fire from Heaven, The Persian Boy, Funeral Games) is widely considered the best fiction on the life of Alexander the Great. She also wrote "The Nature of Alexander", which is more history than fiction-style. All of her books on ancient Greece are excellent and extremely detailed.

    Source(s): Read them all.
  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Steve Berry's books. Every single one is historical fiction and at the end of each book, he breaks down the truth from fiction. Its history and exciting action books. I think his earlier books are the best, Happy reading.

  • Person
    Lv 4
    10 years ago

    I feel kind of stupid for saying this, but I read The Da Vinci Code a while ago and remember feeling like I was being given a history lesson almost every page. Of course, I'm not sure how much of that was real, which kind of bugged me...

  • Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century

    Source(s): Dr Hunter S Thompson
  • 10 years ago

    Sherrilyn Kenyon's series Dark-Hunter/Were-Hunter/Dream-Hunter

    She has researched so much on the greek god's and other mythology to bring her novels to life. Her characters stories are so complex that you can tell that a lot of research and hard work has been put into them.

  • 10 years ago

    Dune by Frank Herbert

    Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein

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