Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday!

Hooray for Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. It seems like all I do these days is Monday Meme and Top Ten Tuesday, but being back to work for the school year is really putting me in a funk! I want to read but I have to get reviews done; I want to write reviews but I have to read because I am a bazillion books behind on my Goodreads Challenge for the year...AAUUGGHH! it is a never-ending cycle. But there is always this, and for the time being I just have to accept that!


This week's TTT is:

September 13: Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre (I know, I know. Picking all time faves. I'm MEAN. But I like knowing people's definitive faves). Can also break it down into sub-genre if that helps?

This will be a tad easier for me than some - I technically get the whole encompassing blanket genre of non-fiction. I could narrow it down to my favorite books about Anglo-Saxon England, or Tudor England, but that is cheating because those are topics, not genres. So, ha, I get ALL of non-fiction to play with.

These are in no particular order, but are books I have supremely enjoyed. All are books I have rated 5 Stars. I may or may not explain why they are favorites, I haven't really thought that far ahead yet, since I am starting this on Sunday to have it ready for Tuesday in this brief time when my pre-schooler is asleep, yet before I too need to sleep as well. That window of time is shrinking rapidly, this kiddo does not want to sleep!

Anyway, again, here they are in no particular order, my most favorite non-fiction reads so far:

1. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Love so much. So, so much. I did not think he could do better than Devil in the White City, because that book was a-may-zing and then I read this (in about three hours because I Could. Not. Put. It. Down). The book made me furious and devastated all at the same time. Such senseless loss of life. Such poor decision-making, all around. Fantastic research and writing, but I expect nothing less from Larson.


2. Sister Queens: The Noble, Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile

Prior to this, almost all my knowledge of Katherine (my most favorite of all the rightful queens of England during Henry's reign), was still somewhat limited in that all I knew of her was how she fit in to the Tudor dynasty. Sadly, I knew even less of her sister, Juana the Mad, the queen who dragged her husband's corpse around with her for months. Less sadly, here the women are both portrayed from childhood, and are figures in their own right and not only how they fit into the world of the men around them. Katherine was not simply a Spanish Princess, she was the daughter of the fierce Isabella (which I knew, though I did not know that Isabella went into battle with her troops). Juana's actions make a lot more sense now and it is pretty easy to see she was not 'mad' in the sense she has been viewed for centuries. She was controlled by her father, her husband, her brother, and they were always the ones telling her story. Here, we get to see the real Juana. Very worth the read.


3. Tudors vs. Stewarts: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary, Queen of Scots

I think what I loved most about this one is that it was not another rehashing of all the mistakes Mary made in those years she after she returned to Scotland. Instead, while those events are covered, the main focus of the book is the century's worth of incidents that occurred, before bringing Mary to her tragic end. There were many gaps filled in for me as to how the two kingdoms co-existed in that time and also helped me better understand the rulers before Mary.


4. St. Marks is Dead: The Many Lives of America's Hippest Street

I know what you are thinking if you have seen the other TTTs that I have participated in but I don't even care because I loved this book THAT much (I think this is its third appearance now?) It is just the kind of microcosm history that I love, and to take place in a city that fascinates me and eludes me yet - but I will see it for myself someday in the near-future - this one is a no-brainer. Calhoun is just the author for the job, having grown up on St Marks, and she writes a compelling history that moves swiftly but you are still able to see clearly each group as they move in, leave their mark, and fade away for the next group to take their place.


5. The Year 1000: what Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium: An Englishman's World

Despite knowing for certain that I would never have wanted to live in this time period, I still can not help but be endlessly drawn to this period of time - especially in England, Scotland, and/or Ireland. Now, I have the benefit of being 1016 years removed from this period, so I can also see that despite the progress made by my dear Anglo-Saxons, that will all come to a screaming halt just 66 years on. Darn you, William.


6. A Night to Remember

Titanic. Enough said.


7. The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones

Guh. I don't even know where to start with this one. For someone who early on did not seem destined for greatness, to see him rise and become one of the most powerful men in England almost defies logic. Time and again he was called on by the king (or almost-king in the case of Henry II's oldest son, Henry the Young King) he served and performed his duties admirably. Yet he is largely a footnote at best and altogether forgotten at worst. I could not put this one down and it was so wonderful to see him get the recognition he deserves.


8. Flight 93: The Story, the Aftermath, and the Legacy of American Courage on 9/11 


102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers

So it is kind of cheating, but the topics are incredibly entwined that I feel they belong together instead of separate entries. This terrible day is forever burned into my brain and I will never forget it as long as I live. I was a freshman in college, having just started school mere weeks before the attack. I was already in a time of upheaval and chaos, in a manner of speaking, being far enough of way from home that I couldn't just hop in the car and run home to my mom. I feel like both accounts paint a very clear and honest picture with what happened both in NYC and Shanksville. They are both difficult o read, in that we know the outcome for so many. But they are still worthwhile, and important to our nation's history.

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9. Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13


Failure is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond

I secretly still want to be an astronaut, and I am now a grown adult with a career that is most definitely not related to the space program in any way. I love reading anything I can find about the space program, and the Apollo missions in particular. And, because Tom Hanks is one of my favorite actors of all time, I will always have a special place in my heart for Apollo 13.


10. Why Buffy Matters: The Art of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

So many awesome books about this show. If you don't know why this show still matters, 10+ years after it went off the air, then please turn on Netflix and start watching from the beginning. Greatest show of all time. Do not be fooled by the 'silly' name. That was intentional. Watch it, understand it, thank me later. 



11. Anything written by Dan Jones.

He is pretty much my most favorite historian and you can not go wrong with any of his books. I adore him and his writing. He is awesome. Read his books.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday!

This week's Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish, involves not books, but television:

September 6:  In honor of Fall Tv, do a tv-themed topic! Top ten favorite tv shows of all time, ten new shows coming out this Fall that are on my radar, tv shows I wish never got cancelled, tv shows I would recommend to book characters, books I wish would be tv shows, ten favorite shows from the late 90's or early 2000's, ten tv shows for every fantasy lover, etc.

This is going to be easy because I don't watch a lot of tv, so I do not have to choose between a lot of shows. Of the shows I do/did watch, I am fiercely and forever loyal to. You will notice that with the exception of one, every single show is off the air now (and, as it turns out that loyalty I just mentioned only extended as far as Christopher Meloni being a cast member). I own the entire series of each show on the list (again, SVU is the exception, which will be explained later). I will STILL get into debates over some of them (looking right at ya, FRIENDS and Buffy) and it is like I know the characters as well as I know my actual friends and family (again, this mainly applies to FRIENDS and Buffy - I think because I watched them in my formative years and a deep bond had been formed between myself and those characters, albeit one-sided on account of them not being, you know, real). Creepy, right? Good, let's get on with it.


Anyone who knows me well is thinking, 'duh'. My friend Vicky and I are forever talking about the show, a decade after its finale, because WE LOVE IT THAT MUCH. From the time I was in college and received 'The One With All Ten Seasons' from my momma for Christmas, a Friends DVD has been in one of my two DVD players at all times - mostly the one in my bedroom now, for two reasons: 1) I can't sleep when it is silent. I need soft and low background noise. Friends is perfect to fall asleep to, because I have seen the series hundreds of times so it will not keep me awake watching. And it is less action-packed than, say, Buffy (more on her later) and 2) Since coming to Netflix months ago, I can now watch from the comfort of my couch without having to get my lazy butt up to change discs.

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Anyone who scoffs at Buffy has clearly never experienced the genius that is Joss Whedon. I remember quite exactly to the episode the first time I discovered what would be the show that would define my teen years, as Buffy and I were much closer in age than I was to my FRIENDS (did I mention I started watching the latter in its first season? I was 11. Anyway). The very first episode of Buffy I ever saw was "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered and from that moment, I was hooked. I could not stand the fact that I had missed what amounted to a full season and change already (season one contained only 12 episodes; 13 if you count the Lost Pilot containing a girl very most decidedly NOT Alyson Hannigan as Willow. Look it up if you have not seen it. It is so weird). I'll be honest, Angel is the character who got me first, so for the longest time I only knew him as Angelus really (even though he was only really referred to Angelus in un-souled form on his own show, and very very rarely as such on BtVS. Part of this may have to do with the fact that AtS was much, much darker than BtVS. But, moving on...)

I have had friends who have never seen Buffy, but know how much I adore the show, recommend other shows to me, like Supernatural. I get that they're well-intentioned and think one show about ghosts and demons and such is like any other, but really, at its heart that is NOT what Buffy was about. All these demons that Buffy was fighting were manifestations of very real and painful things anyone may experience as we grow up. The perfect example of this is when Angel loses his soul after he and Buffy have sex. It is the quintessential "I'll call ya" and you can tell he has no intention of ever calling - even if he was a regular human guy and not a vampire who had just lost his soul. Angel also literally says that line as he leaves his apartment after the first interaction he and Buffy have when she still does not know what has happened to him. There are countless examples throughout the entire series of this and Joss works his magic so effortlessly to bring these real fears we have into physical form. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the greatest show of all time and I will challenge anyone who disagrees to a duel - a duel of words of course, and I will win because it is also the most quotable show of all time.

3. Freaks and Geeks

I am sad to say that I never had the chance to see this one in the lone season that aired. What a gem. Luckily, I have it on dvd now and can rewatch over and over. The down side is that there is no closure really in the finale and we never get to find out what happens to any of the characters. I still can not for the life of me figure out why this show failed. The cast was amazing. Plus I adore John Francis Daley, so seeing him when he was a kid is adorable. And can you really go wrong with Jason Segel doing anything? The correct answer is no.

4. How I Met Your Mother

This is easily one of the most quotable shows of all time. There are so many gems - which is amazing considering I overall thought Ted was kind of a whiner and I absolutely abhorred Robin. I mean seriously, I could not stand her. I also kind of hated the last season, and especially the finale, and the fact that the mom had passed away and Ted and Robin still ended up together. But I loved the whole concept of the show, of telling the story through flashbacks, and putting the clues together. I was always a little worried that meeting the mom would ruin the show, much like how shows kind of become stagnant when the love interests finally get together (think Ross and Rachel, Jim and Pam), once the tension is gone, then it is kind...boring? But I loved Barney because I love NPH, and he is one of the most talented people on the face of the planet. Plus, Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan, so win-win-win.

My most favorite quote (ironically, most of the best quotes are from Ted. He's still a whiner though):

"You can ask the universe for signs all you want, but ultimately we only see what we want to see, when we're ready to see it."

5. Dexter

Is it possible to love a show that I did not even like half the seasons because the villains were weak compared to Dexter? And yet. Season 1 was phenomenal. Then season 2 was absolute shit and made no sense because Dexter having any kind of emotion was just absurd. The Trinity Killer (John Lithgow) was easily my most favorite and was a worthy adversary for Dexter. Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits) ended up also being a fantastic villain. I had no feelings either way about Jordan Chase (though I tend to not like him solely because his first and last names are made up of first names of two guys I have a history with that I would prefer not to acknowledge - never mind that the villains were actually a group of sick sick sickos), and still don't know what I think about the series finale - though I lean toward not liking it.

6. The Office

I mean, I don't know what else I can say about this show that has not already been said. The first three seasons were the best, and it was kind of shaky until Pam and Jim finally got married. I loved the finale and this show remains a favorite even years after it went off the air. Michael coming back for the finale was just perfect and I it was hard to say good bye to this one.

7. Law and Order: SVU

I love Christopher Meloni. That is basically why I started watching. Then I watched right up until his last season and owned all of those on DVD. But...then I had a baby and could not longer stand to even watch the news and hear about real life atrocities and tragedies, let alone made-up ones. I no longer own the series on DVD because being a new mom just made me not even able to look at it. Weird, right? Pregnancy hormones are no joke. But I loved Benson and Stabler and they will always be my most favorite platonic couple.

8. Entourage

I dig Vinnie Chase. But I love Ari Gold even more. That's kind of messed up, because Ari is a grade-A d-bag. Jeremy Piven looks good in the suits though, man. I have not yet been able to watch the movie, because I am worried it will ruin the show for me. I loved seeing the boys grow and really figure out who they were - and it was hard to watch Drama be so unsuccessful time and again. He got in his own way and did so many stupid things, just, ugh. 

9. Scrubs

Easily the most quotable show of all time - I know, I said this about Buffy too and I mean it. There were more profoundly applicable quotes from this show to my life than any other and I love it so very much. But, guh, for a show that was a comedy, it had so much feels. Dr. Cox was my favorite, and I loved Turk. JD and Elliot belonged together. I consider the 8th season to be the final one and don't care to acknowledge this so-called season nine. 

10. House

LOVED this one so much. Part of the appeal is that Hugh Laurie is delicious and dreamy and British - though you would never have known it from the show, on account of him playing an American. But I did, because he previously played a passenger on the episode of Friends where Rachel goes to London to stop Ross and Emily's wedding. I could not stand Cameron and her self-righteousness and am glad she and Chase did not stay together. And I absolutely could not effing stand whatever the name was of the character Amber Tamblyn played but every time she was on the screen I wanted to punch her in the face. She was like Cameron 2.0 and it was awful. I also have a soft spot in my heart for Robert Sean Leonard and absolutely adored his character, Dr. Wilson. The two-part season 4 finale House's Head/Wilson's Heart was phenomenal. It was originally intended for mid-season sweeps but since the writers' strike occurred during that season, it ended up being the finale. So well done.


11. The Tudors

Sure, it is grossly historically inaccurate at times. But Henry Cavill and Jonathan Rhys Meyers though? Sure, Meyers is kind of bonkers and Cavill is dating like, a 17 year old, but they're pretty much acting in real life like their Tudor counterparts, right? Maybe she's 18. Maybe they've broken up by now. Maybe I am misremembering what I read. But Meyers definitely has crazy eyes. Beautiful, piercing, blue crazy eyes. The costumes alone were stunning, and the people in them were just as beautiful. Despite the fact that I absolutely hate Anne Boleyn, Natalie Dormer was FANTASTIC in her portrayal. I would have loved to see the series expand and cover the reigns of Henry's children.

The Hollywood Book of Death: The Bizarre, Often Sordid, Passings of More than 125 American Movie and TV Idols


Rating: 2.5 Stars

I mean, eh. It was okay, but this is not the kind of book you read straight through, even though that is what I did. It's a sort of reference book with information about a variety of stars and how they passed away, divided by sections into murders, suicides, etc. In addition, for several of the stars, the author gives at least paragraphs-worth and sometimes pages-worth of information on the star's rise and fall. For quite a bit into the book I did not recognize any of the celebrities mentioned, save Jayne Mansfield and James Dean. And to be honest, I only know who Mansfield is to begin with because her daughter plays one of my most favorite television characters ever, the amazing Mariska Hargitay. An interesting fact about Mansfield's death (that I knew prior to this book) was that Hargitay and her brothers were in the backseat of the car when the accident occurred and none were seriously injured.

I went through a phase in college of being completely obsessed with celebrity gossip. This was when Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, and Lindsay Lohan were at their height. Oh how we begged they would go away, even while devouring every article we could about them. If only we had known that those three would give way to the Kardashian juggernaut. Ah, simply times. Anyway, seeing as how I still have some residual affection left over for celebs, especially those of the golden days of Hollywoodland, I was most interested in the book to begin with. It's morbid, that is for sure, but by nature I think we are all fascinated by death on some level and the death of celebrities is equally as intriguing because given their time in the spot light, we feel like we know them.

There were a lot of people I was interested in to read about and I learned some interesting tidbits that I did not know before, such as that Judy Garland tried to kill herself so many times before she died of an overdose, or that Marilyn Monroe's phone records from the day she died mysteriously disappeared.

The Phil Hartman bit was especially sad to me. He was one of my favorite SNL cast members and I loved NewsRadio. When he was murdered, it absolutely devastating to me. I was 15 at the time and watched the news cycles endlessly, as they replayed the stories over and over. I remember feeling so awful for their children, who were so young, and also because of the fact that they had been in the home at the time of their father's murder.

I can't even begin to discuss Farley's death. That was another one that hit me hard, as another cast member from what are arguably SNL's best years since Belushi, Murray, Ackroyd, etc.

There was a large section of text devoted to River Phoenix and I feel like until reading this book to jog my memory, I had completely forgotten that Joaquin and River are brothers. I was only ten when River died and I never really knew what the Viper Room was at that age, but I had watched Stand By Me by that time (I was a mature ten year old).

As I neared the end of the text (at 59%) I could not help but notice the absence of a couple young actors who I had liked as a youth and as an adult - Heath Ledger, Paul Walker, Jonathan Brandis and Brad Renfro, to name a few. Ledger's death hit me especially hard because he was so impossibly talented, he had a young daughter; it was all just too awful. I did not realize this book had been published in 2001, and that is the problem with books like this - they are hopelessly and forever out of date. So many celebrities have died since 2001, the book would easily be doubled in length to include new content. But it would also be in need of an update pretty much every year, and that is why I typically shy away from books of this kind.

The additional information in the appendixes offers a list of notable movie and tv stars who had passed away up to 2001 and those marked with an asterisk were included in the book (appendix A) and then a list of cemeteries where notables are interred (appendix B). The bibliography contained some interesting books I would like to read, mostly biographies I would like to read to gain a bit more in-depth knowledge of certain stars.

While this was interesting, I would definitely say do not buy it. As mentioned above, it is hopelessly out of date and that alone makes it not such a great investment. Luckily I snagged it via BookBub for I think $.99, so it was not so bad.

The Richest Woman in America: The Life and Times of Hetty Green


Rating: 3 Stars

I went back and forth on this one for a while. At times I felt like 4 stars were deserved, but after taking some time away from the book I really can't give it more than three. That reason stems from the fact that there are factual inaccuracies that I noticed and if there are ones that I noticed, it is usually safe to say there were others I did not know were inaccurate, because I do not have as much knowledge of Hetty as I do of her contemporaries.

The biggest thing that stood out to me was the on page 173. There it was stated that McKinley was in the White House in 1896. But previously in the photo section, the was a picture with the caption stating that she was 26 and on her way to a dinner party at the home of former President McKinley. Yet, Hetty could not have been 26 and McKinley a former president at the same time. Hetty was born in 1834 and died in 1916. McKinley began his term in 1897 and was assassinated in 1901. He never had the chance to be a former president because he was killed while in his second term. It makes me wonder which former president she was actually visiting, and how such an obvious and glaring mistake could have escaped the attention of editors. To some this may not seem like a big deal, but as someone who reads non-fiction almost exclusively, it is huge. I have thought about this a long time, thinking perhaps I am the one who is in error, but I don't think that is the case. And if something so easy to fact-check is wrong, how many other errors are there that are not as obvious and may be accepted as truth?

While the issue above is huge for me, that is not to say this book was awful. One thing the author did very well, that I appreciated, was that it was just as much about the time that Hetty lived, as Hetty herself. I appreciated this because it really set the tone for the story and painted the backdrop of New York in the Gilded Age. I can see how some would not like that as much as I do, especially those looking for a biography solely of Hetty. But to understand her, you have to understand her era and why she was unique and worthy of future generations knowing who she was.

As for Hetty herself, what a character. Her childhood was not one that anyone would want. Her parents did not want her, as she was not the boy they longed for. Her dad was just such a jerk, but again, the mentality fit with the times. Hetty learned early on that the only way she was going to prove her worth was to amass a fortune based on the investing rules set out by her father. Hetty followed those rules exactly and grew her own fortune very quickly. She was very independent and did not follow the rules that everyone else on Wall Street seemed to. When people were panicking and selling, Hetty stayed calm and bought more and more shares. She was intelligent and capable of managing her money, even when her own husband made several bad decisions and investments - using some of the very money that Hetty worked so hard to earn. While they never divorced, Hetty kicked him to the curb for a time, though they remained friends and close in their old age.

Hetty was fiercely independent and did not care one iota about what the newspapers said about her or society, for that matter. She cared about the money she made and ensuring that her children were taken care of after her death. But unfortunately her two children had no heirs of their own and the great fortune (estimated at $2.5 billion today) she worked so hard to amass was divided as her will stipulated.

One of my favorite quotes came at the very end of the book, the last paragraph in fact. It sums up Hetty quite perfectly:

"Hetty Green's money is long gone, and with it, her fame. what remains is her legacy: a woman who stood her ground, who defied the crowd and refused to follow its whims. Making her way in a hostile male world, she was never hesitant to look a man in the eye, never reluctant to say what she thought, never afraid to act as she saw fit" (page 228).

Following the main text of the book was a section called 'The Wisdom of Hetty Green', which includes some of the rules of money-making that she followed, and her general thoughts on investments, deals, etc. I found these interesting and a good addition to the text. Some were scattered throughout the text itself but it was nice to have them all in one place, quotes that could be directly attributed to Hetty.

The Gilded Age and New York are endlessly fascinating to me. It was refreshing to read about Green, when I have read so much already about the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Astors, Morgans and so on. My concern of course is the accuracy of the facts presented, given the glaring inaccuracy about McKinley. However, she is a worthy subject and I will be looking for more information about her. Give this one a try, but be cautious.

Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History — Without the Fairy-Tale Endings


Rating: 2 Stars

I originally rated this book 3 stars, but time away from it has given me a better perspective and I am debating between 1 and 2 stars even. Really, this book was not very good. Perhaps I felt inclined to give it the original 3 stars because within the first chapter there was a subsection about fierce queens from Antiquity and a page devoted to Boudicca. I would have liked to see a blurb about Eleanor of Aquitaine (though she did not live during Antiquity, I know), because she certainly bucked tradition in her life time with the way she took control of her life to end her first marriage and begin her second within weeks of returning home to Aquitaine (and most likely, she had been planning it long before).

But the more I thought about it, and looked back over the few notes I took while reading, I had to accept the fact that while parts of the book were entertaining, by and large the princesses were never really made to feel like real people. The author relied a lot on the myths surrounding these women and did not do a decent enough job separating the two. I guess I would have been more willing to rate the book higher had the two been more clearly divided. Perhaps even presenting the myths first and then following up with what was true in the myth, why the myth grew to overtake the facts we do know, etc. But there was none of that and so the author does herself a disservice, and her readers as well.

Immediately in the introduction, I had some misgivings about the book. Even in the table of contents, the author referred to Isabella of France (wife of Edward II, more on these two in a minute) as a she-wolf. It was at that point I already expected much of the book to be a regurgitation of gossip and nonsense. She-wolf was not a compliment at that time, and using it now without explanation is no better.

While still in the introduction, I found it kind of ridiculous that the author would call her book 'Princesses Behaving Badly', and then rant against Disney Princesses and these cultural and gender norms that exist in society now. Why would these princesses in the book be considered to be 'behaving badly' then, unless the expectation of the behavior was the opposite, and more Disney-like? The message there is already mixed, and nothing is ever done to clarify it.

Back to Isabella and Edward II. Edward was not the king his father and grandfather were, nor his son Edward III would become. I have always felt a bit bad for him, as he enjoyed activities that were considered beneath a king, but he made his own problems as well when he let his favorites sway his opinion and policy. Piers Gaveston was a terrible influence on Edward and there will be speculation until the end of time about whether or not Edward was gay and Piers was his lover. What matters in that bit of information is that Edward never bothered to at least pretend that Isabella mattered, and from their wedding day on it was clear she was of no importance to him - considering the fact that he gave the jewels she'd brought with her to Gaveston, and Gaveston sat with Edward at the coronation, in what should have been Isabella's place.

This quote was one of a few that really sealed the deal for me on how untrustworthy the book is:

"When Gaveston was around, Edward was worse than useless, barely able to hold a conversation, much less govern. When Gaveston wasn't around, Edward was a wreck" (page 79).

This seems a bit...sensational, don't you think? I was interested to read the chapter on Isabella, but it ended up just being a rehashing of rumors and gossip. In looking at the bibliography for this chapter, I found that the author only used one book, Helen Castor's 'She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth'. That in itself is kind of shady, to use only one source. and Castor's book is definitely not sensational and gossipy. I mean, it has its moments, but it was still well-researched and I liked it. Isabella's behavior was more then justified, by our standards today anyway. As far as we can ever really know, Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer took power and eventually Edward II died in captivity under dubious circumstances. At the time her behavior was considered unacceptable, and that is why once their son, Edward III came to power, he had Mortimer executed and Isabella basically under house arrest for the rest of her life.

Basically, the book started out decent, but even after the rough introduction I had concerns. By page 55 when the author referred to Tuthmosis III as 'T-III', I just could not take her seriously. There were some solid stories but over all this is more entertainment than academic. That is not a bad thing necessarily, but it is problematic when myths are presented as fact. If there was not enough factual information about someone available to us today, then perhaps that is a sign that they should not be the subject of a book.

Take it or leave it, but keep in mind its shortcomings.

Monday Meme!


Funny, but sad. I do have a Kindle - I finally gave in after months of trying to read my NetGalley ARCs on my laptop and not wanting to lug the laptop around to read said ARCs, so getting really behind on them. Then, I discovered BookBub and now I have 170 books on that damn thing.

But nothing can ever replace the feel of holding a physical book, the smell of its pages, and I am instilling that love in my daughter as well, so she won't ever look at real books like the kid in this cartoon.