Пью второй месяц - кофе для похудения с имбирем. Очень довольна результатом!

Do You Love/Hate Richard III?

17 August 2008 — fuzzyhistory

Vulpes Libris will discuss Richard III during the week. “We won’t be providing any definitive answers this week, but we will – we hope – be offering a reasonably balanced overview of the most controversial and enigmatic monarch England has ever known.” Discussion topics include Shakespeare’s Richard III, Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour, Emma Darwin’s A Secret Alchemy (due out in the U.K. in November 2008), Sir John Everett Millais’ painting, The Two Princes Edward and Richard in the Tower, two different versions of Richard III in film, and Annette Carson’s Richard III: The Maligned King. Annette Carson will join in at the end of the week. (Tip of the hat to EC at Historicalfiction.org for the head’s up.)

Richard III Week

  • To Prove a Villain (Monday)
  • The Sunne in Splendor by Sharon Kay Penman (Tuesday)
  • Writing wrongs to make A Secret Alchemy (Wednesday)
  • The Shadows in History’s Eye (Thursday)
  • The Trouble with Richard III on Film, or just The Trouble with Richard III? (Friday)
  • The Maligned King by Annette Carson (Saturday)
  • Interview with Annette Carson (Sunday)
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Fiction and Non-fiction on Edward II

14 August 2008 — fuzzyhistory

I have admired Alianore’s Edward II blog from afar for awhile. I was catching up on my blog reading tonight when I found her post on fiction and non-fiction on Edward II. It’s a great list with short annotations.

I read two of the fictional titles on her “like” list – The Traitor’s Wife by Susan Higginbotham and The Lion of Mortimer by Juliet Dymoke. Both of these are excellent. I intend to re-read them.

I’ve been watching for Brenda Honeyman’s books at used book sales for several months. She’s not easy to find. I’ve seen some of her titles associated with the name Brenda Clarke. Unfortunately, she’s not available through my local library. I may have to go the interlibrary loan route (since she’s on Alianore’s “like” list).

Don’t miss the comments on the post. They’re equally informative and entertaining.

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Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin

Similar to Black Ships (review), Lavinia comes to light through Virgil’s Aeneid. But it picks up the story where Black Ships ends – with Aeneas’s marriage to King Latinus’s daughter, Lavinia, after defeating the enemies of Latium.

Lavinia, who never speaks in the original Aeneid, visits a sacred cave where she meets the shade of the dying Virgil. He tells her of what is to come – of Aeneas, the coming battles, her future child and more. You know the end of the story – or you think you do – before Aeneas arrives. But you don’t know how it ends.

Even though the story isn’t new, I found it compelling. Le Guin’s style of writing sucked me in and I put the book down only twice before finishing it. I wonder, though, if I had read the Aeneid and knew the story well, if I would have found it as compelling. I think so, especially since Le Guin gives voice to Lavinia, but I’ll never know for certain.

I especially appreciate the author’s end note, which is more of a historical essay. Here, Le Guin explains why she chose to re-tell the last part of the Aeneid. She talks about the geography of the region and the sources she used to pinpoint the locations in Lavinia. She also discusses what parts – or rather, what emphasis of the original Aeneid – she minimized and why.

While both Lavinia and Black Ships are great reads, perhaps especially for people like me who never had the opportunity to read the Latin Aeneid, I enjoyed Lavinia a bit more. Perhaps it’s just the romance of Lavinia’s story; perhaps it’s the writing of a more seasoned author. I don’t know. But I simply did not want this book to end. Rating: Very Good+ (Click the image above to purchase the novel from Amazon. Fuzzy History receives a small commission for the referral.)

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Devil’s Brood by Sharon Kay Penman – ARC

10 August 2008 — fuzzyhistory


Updated 13 August 2008. Yipee! I received an advance reading copy of Sharon Kay Penman’s upcoming novel, Devil’s Brood, through a promotion offered on Shelf Awareness.

It’s the third book in a trilogy that includes When Christ and His Saints Slept (book 1) and Time and Chance (book 2). According to the book cover, Devil’s Brood takes place during the last days of the tempestuous marriage of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. I’m reading it now and I really like it.

The author’s Web site now features an excerpt from the novel. It’s due out in U.S. bookstores in October 2008.

Thanks, Penguin Group and Shelf Awareness! (Click the image above to pre-order the novel from Amazon. Fuzzy History receives a small commission for the referral.

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Stealing Athena by Karen Essex

9 August 2008 — fuzzyhistory

Stealing Athena tells the story of the deconstruction of the Elgin Marbles during the early 19th Century. Originally belonging to the Parthenon, the Elgin Marbles comprise marble sculptures created, or supervised, by the Greek sculptor Pheidias. In 1801, Thomas Bruce, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, received permission to remove them to England. He did so over the course of several years at great expense and not without mishap.

While the politics of both countries regarding this event, as well as the disruption of the Napoleonic Wars, provide interesting background, the story centers around the lives of two women – Bruce’s (called Lord Elgin) wife, Mary, and Aspasia, the consort of the Athenian politician Perikles during the 4th Century B.C. Both women suffer to a greater or lesser degree because they live in a world that did not recognize their status except as a man’s chattel.

Thus, the premise of the novel intrigued me. But, unfortunately, the anachronistic portrayal of Aspasia, as well as oft-mentioned feminist ideals out of context with the times and anachronisms in conversations amongst ancient Greeks (particularly, the use of modern coarse slang) contribute to my overall dissatisfaction with the book.

If this were the sum of the problems with the novel, I might still have rated it “good” as defined in my chart. But the story fails to engage. I became bored at about page 150 and remained bored until the end. I was unable to connect with either Elgin or Mary.

Elgin was an irritating conniving vengeful bully, who despite his role in government, remained clueless about people and politics. Mary, more a woman of her times than Aspasia, was too innocent and saintly – a Mary Sue. Rating: Fair.

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Amazon to Acquire Abebooks

1 August 2008 — fuzzyhistory

Amazon announced today it would acquire the online used books aggregator Abebooks. Abebooks will continue to operate independently. It’s Web sites will remain in operation.

LibraryThing posted a note indicating that Abebooks owns a minority share in the company. Therefore, if the deal receives approval from the shareholders and the Federal Trade Commission, Amazon will own a minority share in LT.

While LT assures customers they will see no changes, my hope is that Amazon will pay more attention to how LT handles tags. Maybe Amazon will even license LT technology for tags and improve the handling of such for those of us who also are customers of Amazon. Hint! Hint

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