June 2024
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A Tournament of Reading: Book Choices


In conjunction with my 2010 medieval reading challenge, A Tournament of Reading, I’ve come up with a list of books in each of the three categories that I recommend.  First, here’s my list of potential reads, at the King level of course:

  • Mistress of the Art of Death, Ariana Franklin (historical fiction)
  • The Making of the Middle Ages, R.W. Southern (history)
  • The Needle in the Blood, Sarah Bower (historical fiction)
  • The Knight and the Rose, Isolde Martyn (historical romance)
  • Lady of the Roses, Sandra Worth (historical fiction)
  • Cluny: In Search of God’s Lost Empire, Edward Mullins (history)
  • The Book of Margery Kempe, Margery Kempe (medieval literature)
  • English Society in the Later Middle Ages, Maurice Keen (history)
  • The Mabinogion, unknown author (medieval literature)
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, unknown author (medieval literature)

And the many books that you could read:


  • The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer
  • Blood and Roses by Helen Castor
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine by Alison Weir
  • Queen Isabella by Alison Weir
  • The Perfect King: The Life of Edward I by Ian Mortimer
  • The Making of the Middle Ages by R.W. Southern
  • The First Crusade: A New History by Thomas Asbridge
  • The Crusades by Jonathan Riley-Smith
  • The Making of England to 1399 by C. Warren Hollister
  • Chivalry by Maurice Keen
  • English Society in the Later Middle Ages by Maurice Keen
  • The Crusades by Hans Eberhard Mayer
  • The Anglo-Saxons by James Campbell

Historical Fiction

  • Authors
  1. Elizabeth Chadwick
  2. Sharon Kay Penman
  3. Nicole Galland
  4. Susan Higginbotham
  5. Sandra Worth
  6. Helen Hollick
  7. Bernard Cornwell (Agincourt, Saxon Chronicles series, Grail Quest series, Arthurian series)
  • Books
  1. Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
  2. Katherine by Anya Setton
  3. Company of Liars by Karen Maitland
  4. The Needle in the Blood by Sarah Bower
  5. Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
  6. The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End by Ken Follett
  7. Flint by Margaret Redfern
  8. Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliott
  9. Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
  10. The Founding by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Medieval Literature

  • The romances of Chretien de Troyes
  • The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (and really anything else that Chaucer wrote or translated)
  • Gawain and the Green Knight by Gawain-poet
  • Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory
  • Beowulf
  • The Mabinogion
  • The Memoirs of Margery Kempe

If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments for others (and for me)!


11 comments to A Tournament of Reading: Book Choices

  • I am hoping I will finally get around reading A Needle in the Right Hand of God: The Norman Conquest of 1066 and the Making and Meaning of the Bayeux Tapestry by R. Howard Bloch. I meant to read this one for the 2009 Art History Challenge (a challenge I totally failed), now I’ll read it for your challenge.
    .-= Beth F´s last blog ..The Really, Really Last Challenge for 2010 =-.

  • I am interested in joining this challenge

    I plan to read in the first week of 2010 The Tales of Ise (tenth century -Japanese Literature) by Arihara no Narihira

    The Name of The Rose by Umberto Eco-some time in 2010

    The Fifth Queen by Ford Madox Ford-some time in 2010 after I complete The Parade’s End

  • Aha, well my question is answered. :) I tried to read Le Morte D’Arthur in high school. Yeah, that didn’t last very long.
    .-= heidenkind´s last blog ..My Year in Reading =-.

  • I think I’m going to join at the lowest level, mostly because I’m a little scared of the medieval literature, but maybe I can find one of your recommendations on audio…
    .-= Jen – Devourer of Books´s last blog ..The Last Challenges I’m Signing Up For Right Now, I Swear! =-.

  • It looks like you left off mentioning medieval mysteries. Authors such as Ellis Peters, Michael Jecks, and–humbly–myself. That’s a whole other bookshelf. Perhaps Squire level?

  • jacsuza

    In the historical fiction category, there is the trilogy “Rashi’s Daughters” written by Maggie Anton. It covers the period from approximately 1068-1105 from the perspective of a renowned Jewish scholar and his family in Troyes France. While it is historical fiction, Ms. Anton researched her subject thoroughly and is a marvelous window into this time and place.

  • I am so excited to join, most of my reading for the last year has been either bedtime stories to the kids, career related policy and mostly text books as I have recently returned to college…my husband will be excited for me to actually read something he is interested in as he is an English major with a minor in Irish Studies so I have a pretty good selection in our own home library, thus I have no excuse to not enjoy the fruits of his education that has filled our shelves. I will work towards the Peasant level with the hopes of reaching the King. I am starting The Canterbury Tales.
    .-= Kristi´s last blog ..~Our Babies 2009~ =-.

  • Just bought a copy of Ian Mortimer’s A Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England and Sharon Kay Penman’s Here Be Dragons, thx!
    .-= Miss Mouse´s last blog ..Mind Voyages =-.

  • […] for the level Peasant (3 books). Let’s see how this goes!:) You can find all this challenge here and […]

  • […] you are interested in this challenge, you can find all you want to know at Medieval Bookworm blog: here and here. One can never read too many Medievals, […]

  • […] you are interested in this challenge, you can find all you want to know at Medieval Bookworm blog: here and here. One can never read too many Medievals, […]