Sunday Selection

This morning I finished reading Not the End of the World by Christopher Brookmyre and whilst I’m mulling over what to write about it, I’m also thinking about what to read next. I was reading My Antonia by Willa Cather before I began the Brookmyre book, but that book grabbed my attention so much that I stopped reading My Antonia – so first of all I’ll be going back to that book.

But right now there are quite a few books that are currently crying out ‘read me now’. Writing down my choices can help me make a decision. So these are the books that are clamouring for my attention:

  •  The Assassin’s Prayer by Ariana Franklin (also published as Murderous Procession). When I wrote about the earlier books in this Mistress of the Art of Death series, Alex commented that this book had made her very angry. So, of course, I was very curious and as I was going to the library that morning I had a look for the book – and it was there on the shelf. I haven’t actually started it but the whole series has got me thinking about the history of medicine, and medieval women, as I know next to nothing about this period!
  • All of which led me to these two books (from my own shelves) – Medieval Women: a Social History of Women in England 450 – 1500 by Henrietta Leyser, and Historical Interpretation: sources of English Medieval History, 1066 – 1540, by J J Bagley, both of which I’ve dipped into over the years but never studied. I was hoping to find what sources Ariana Franklin had used. In her author’s note she referred to books on Sicily by John Julius Norwich – maybe these will be useful? Does anybody know? Please let me know if you do!
  • Well, apart from digging into the past I’m also keen to read this book – Over My Dead Body by Hazel McHaffie. This is a novel about a mother who had no idea her daughter was on the organ donor register, until she is fatally injured in a car crash. This raises ethical questions such as ‘would I donate my organs/my child’s organs – heart, eyes’ and so on.
  • And then I have some library books that are nearly due back such as Strictly Ann: the Autobiography by Ann Widdicombe. Now I’m not politically inclined but I do like Ann’s no nonsense approach and she was entertaining (and absolutely awful) on Strictly Come Dancing, so I borrowed this book and have started it. I can’t have it much longer as someone else has reserved it!
  • And finally (although I do have more!) there is Flodden 1513: Scotland’s Greatest Defeat by John Sadler. It was the 500th anniversary of this battle on 9 September. I’ve read several books on the subject but this one is very readable. Although the battle was one of a number of conflicts between England and Scotland, it was also part of a wider conflict in Europe. It was complicated, but in essence because of his alliance with France, James IV had to choose between supporting France in the war against Henry VIII and wage war against Henry, or remaining neutral. His decision in favour of France was fatal – he was killed on Flodden Field. I shall write more about this book when I’ve finished reading it.

9 thoughts on “Sunday Selection”

  1. I really enjoyed the Ann Widdecombe, even though we’re poles apart politically. There’s loads in it about her life outside politics and not just Strictly. An interesting life, well told.

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    1. Fiction Fan, I was a bit bothered there would be loads about her politics and religion – OK so far. A strong personality and it’s making me think I might try her novels sometime.

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  2. Margaret – You do have some great choices waiting for you! I’d recommend The Assassin’s Prayer, but then I’m biased. I really like Ariana Franklin’s work. I’ll be interest in what you think of it.

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  3. I’m definitely going to be looking for a copy of that book on medieval women. It would set me up nicely for looking at the literature they wrote in that period. Far more than you would ever expect.

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    1. I think it would be useful, Alex – there are chapters on Anglo-Saxon Vernacular Literature and on Literary Interests and Images, as well as on Family Roles and Women at Work plus of course Female Monasticism etc. I see it’s available on Kindle.

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