Today in the continuing saga of reading my way through my Goodreads To-Be-Read list:
She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor. I’ve read lots of books about English history in my non-fiction group (see our list here), so I’m familiar with the women covered in this book (Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, and Margaret of Anjou). But it was great to see their lives and stories explored in a more fleshed-out way, particularly in the specific context of female leadership in England.
The Owl Killers by Karen Maitland. I like historical fiction that has a good sense of time and place, but doesn’t get bogged down in detail–there’s a sense of reality that comes from the period detail being in the background, the everyday. Maitland pulls that off well here, I think. I also liked the novel as a suspense story, one that played on the tensions between the village, the ancient Owl Men, and the Benguinage. It’s enthralling and atmospheric with a rich cast of characters. And now I want to learn more about Beguinages!
The Small Hand: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill. I’m now officially doing a Susan Hill feature for Horror Month, so check back then!
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne. I own this. I have owned this for years. I tried once again to get into it and once again I’ve failed. At least I’ve now watched the movie “Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story.” Which is kind of like saying, “I haven’t read the book but I’ve seen the Wishbone episode.”
Medieval Women by Eileen Power. I think this was on my list because of the many books I’ve read for my nonfiction book group about the Middle Ages. Not sure where I heard about it, but glad I picked it up! It’s a collection of lectures Power gave about different aspects of women’s lives in the Middle Ages, including women’s roles and functions, and the gulf between the ideal and the lives of actual women. Gives a lot of cultural and intellectual context to lots of books I’ve read, both fiction and nonfiction.
Full disclosure: I am technically still in the act of reading She-Wolves and The Small Hand, but I’m going to finish both so they count.
Next up is another classic I have read the first three pages of at least four times (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) and an 800-pager called The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy. But it’s “a brilliant, multifaceted chronicle of economic and social change” according to The New York Times. So maybe it will go quickly?
To-Read List Currently Stands At: 823.