I’ll come right out and say it, I am a huge medieval and Henry VIII-era history nerd. Maybe it’s my English ancestry? I’ve always been completely fascinated by the whole sensibility of King Arthur-era through medieval England, peasants living in the countryside with sheep and maybe a mythical dragon living in the forest (I know that’s not really how it worked but indulge me a little), and Renaissance England: Shakespeare, the monarchy, and the 6-course, rotating door of wives Henry had. I read Macbeth in 3rd grade, which might have had something to do with setting the whole obsession off (also likely responsible for my fear of all things blood-related)(ALSO, my mom kindly reminded me she had a string of Boxers with Shakespearean names, the last of which was Lady Macbeth, when I was a baby). In 5th grade we studied the Tudor family and learned the fun rhyme, “Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived” which, if you’re curious, chronicles the unfortunate fates of Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catharine Parr, respectively. And don’t even get me started on the masterpiece that was “The Tudors.” That show was phenomenal and I loved every second of it, even after they tried (unsuccessfully) to make Jonathan Rhys Meyers unattractive and fat.
So it’s no surprise that I basically devoured Hilary Mantel’s “Bring Up the Bodies,” an incredible (obviously fictional) account of the downfall of Anne Boleyn as told through Thomas Cromwell. He’s also her lead protagonist in “Wolf Hall,” which I also loved. My mom’s boyfriend gave them to me as Christmas gifts this year and last. Both are pretty dense behemoths; any book that starts with a family tree or list of characters for reference is going to be a commitment. But, if you’re like me and love that sort of thing, well, here you go. Two amazing books definitely worth reading.
What are you reading right now?