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History and Literature

Those were my majors in college, and it is very strange to say “were” there, as three months on I haven’t quite realized that I’ve graduated yet.  Anyway, many of you have visited my giveaway for Marie-Therese, Child of Terror by Susan Nagel and posted your favorite period of history. It wasn’t easy for some of you, and I find all the responses interesting – I’ve always wondered if others had a specific preference like I do, or if they were interested in all history. Now, I love all history and I’ll happily read about any time period, but you know if you’re reading this blog that I have a favorite.

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for medieval history, and I’ve been delighted in the past year to be able to focus in on what I really like. Typically, I can’t decide between early or late medieval English history. The middle isn’t that exciting, with the exception of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who is all the excitement wrapped up in one person. Early medieval history has the Anglo-Saxons taking over England, the Viking raids, and my favorite historical figure of all time, Aethelflaed, “Lady of the Mercians”, daughter of Alfred the Great. We know very little about her except that she ruled in a time when it was nearly unheard of for women to rule, in defiance of her brother, and fought with her army at least at the Battle of Tettenhall. There’s a stained glass representation of her in Worcester Cathedral with a sword – the only woman with a sword of all the monarchs represented.

As for my other love, that’s Richard III. I spent the last year of my life researching him and I’d be quite happy to spend the next few doing the same thing. Fascinating man – he brings to life all the struggles of late medieval England. I’ve essentially chosen the late medieval period for my research interests. The power play between kings and nobles, which all the late medieval kings struggled with, is my favorite part. You can see England changing into the early modern period, how their ideologies are evolving. Richard has lots of these clever ideas, but doesn’t live long enough to implement them. Henry VII does instead. (He is my least favorite English monarch, except maybe for the Georges. I don’t like them much either.)

In other news, I think I’m in love.  I just finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and I’d like to say that it is my favorite novel of 2008. Whatever I read next is going to be a total disappointment.  I stopped reading it an hour ago because I didn’t want it to end, but then I couldn’t wait so I finished it. And now I’m not quite sure what to do with myself.  I don’t want to condemn another book by starting it now (which is part of the reason for this post).  Guernsey was that good.  Well, except its name could be shorter.  Regardless, expect a euphoric, adoring review in a few days. Experience it yourself – here’s a handy Amazon link. That’s code for you should buy or borrow this book, and read it, and come back and talk to me about it. =)

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2 comments to History and Literature

  • I read the Guernsey book last week and agree that it is definitely going to be one of my favourite books of the year as well.

  • I bought Guernsey last week and haven’t started it yet, because I have a stack of ARCs to read. Hmm, after that praise, it may have to move to the top of the pile.