I’m a fiction writer, so of course I want to know what others did and wrote in the same setting I’m using. History is extremely important for any writer handling an historical setting, but because we’re storytellers, it’s from other storytellers we learn the most. Better still if these storytellers wrote in the time period we’re interested into or told story set in the same time frame.
This is how I see it: facts allow you to see things from outside. Stories allow you to see things from inside. So you can’t do one thing and don’t do the other. And then, if reading history is interesting and educational, reading stories is just plain fan.
NOTE: I tried to track down the first ever edition of every book, because I think knowing when a book was written puts it in the right perspective.
Algren, Nelson, The Neon Wilderness. Doubleday, New York, 1947
Chandler, Raymond. Killer in the Rain. Black Mask Magazine, January 1935
Farrell, James T., Chicago Stories. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (IL), 1998
Hammett, Dashiell, The Dain Course. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, 1928
Hammett, Dashiell, Red Harvest. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, 1929
Lee, Harper, To Kill a Mockingbird. J. B. Lippincott Company, New York, 1960.
Le Sueur, Meridel, The Girl. West End Press, New York, 1978 (but written in 1939)
Scott Fitzgerald, Francis, The Great Gatsby. Scribner’s, New York, 1925
Scott Fitzgerald, Francis, Magnetism. Penguin Books, London, 2007
Van Vechten, Carl, Nigger Heaven. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, 1926
Ellison, Ralph, Invisible Man. Random House, New York, 1952
Himes, Chester, If He Hollers, Let Him Go. Doubleday, New York, 1945
Himes, Chester, A Rage in Harlem. (first published in France as La Reine des pommes in 1957)
Himes, Chester, The Real Cool Killers. (first published in France as Il pleut des coups durs in 1958)
Himes, Chester, All Shut Up. (first published in France as Imbroglio Négro in 1959)
Hughes, Langston, Tambourines to Glory. The John Day Company, New York, 1958
Hughes, Langston, Vintage Hughes. Vintage Books, New York, 1995
Hughes, Langston, The Ways of the White Folks. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, 1934
Hurston, Zone Neale, Their Eyes Were Watching God. J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia (PA), 1937
McKay, Claud, Home to Harlem. Chatham Bookseller, New York, 1928
McKay, Claud, Banjo. Harper and Brothers, New York, 1929
Thurman, Wallance, The Blacker the Berry…. The Macaulay Company, New York, 1929
Wright, Richard, Black Boy. Harper and Brothers, New York, 1945
Alexie, Sherman, The Long Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. The Atlantic Monthly Press, New York , 1993
Alexie, Sherman, Reservation Blues. The Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 1995
Alexie, Sherman, Smoke Signals. The Screenplay. Miramax Books/Hyperion, New York, 1998
Henson, Lance, Sand Creek. Edizioni Biblioteca dell’Immagine, Pordenone, 2005
Jones, Stephen Graham, Ledfeather. FC2/University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa (AL), 2008
King, Thomas, Medicine River. Viking, Toronto (Canada), 1989
Momaday, N. Scott, House Made of Dawn. Harper & Row Publishers, New York,1966
Seals, David, Powwow Highway. Plum, New York, 1979
Welch, James, The Heartsong of Charging Elk. Doubleday, New York, 2000
Welch, James, Winter in the Blood. Harper & Row Publishers, New York, 1974
Dunnecoin, A.M., Speakeasy. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012
Dybeck, Stuart, The Coast of Chicago. Knopf, New York, 1990
Monroe, Steve, Chicago, 1946. Miramax Books, New York, 2002
Mosley, Walter, The Devil in Blue. W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1990
Reisinger, John, Death of a Flapper. Glyphworks Publishing, Easton (MD), 2012
Taylor, Mildred D., Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Dial Books, New York, 1976
Wisseman, Sarah, The Bootlegger’s Nephew. Hilliars Harris, Boonsboro (MD), 2012
Catton, John Paul, Dulce Et Decorum Est – The Futuristic Manifesto #2. Exalibur Books, Portland (OR), 2013
Fredericks, Damian, The Trumpet. Damian Fredericks, 2012
Gates, Jalyn/Holt, Erika, Broken Times Blues. Fantastic Tales in the Roaring ‘20s. Absolute XPress, Calgary, 2011
Glaser, Dan, A Fistful of Nohting. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014
Lori, Rea, The Hot Dry Spell. RavenFire Media, 2011
Sikes, A.J, Gods of Chicago. Anachron Press, 2014
You are so right about tracking down and reading books written in that era. That’s where you get the “real” tone, the right word and expression and the accurate details. I’m reading a Holly Roth novel written in 1957 and really enjoying it. (Having a little break from the 1920s) Holly Roth was actually born in Chicago in 1912 and drowned in 1964 in mysterious circumstances.
Just recently finished an F Scott Fitzgerald.
How’s your writing going?
Hi Debbie, and thanks for stopping by 🙂
Going to the source is always the best thing to do, I’d say. Some stories are really a joy to read.
I’m quite please with my progression with the revision of book one. I expect to be done with this turn of revision by the end of the month. How does that sound?
Sweet to my ear, if you ask me!