My Week in Books: 10 February 2016

This Week in Books is a weekly round-up hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found, about what I’ve been reading Now, Then & Next.


A similar meme,  WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Currently I’m reading two books:

Six Tudor Queens: Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen by Alison Weir, a proof copy – expected publication 5 May 2016. This is the first novel of the Six Tudor Queens series.


A Spanish princess. Raised to be modest, obedient and devout. Destined to be an English Queen. Six weeks from home across treacherous seas, everything is different: the language, the food, the weather. And for her there is no comfort in any of it. At sixteen years-old, Catalina is alone among strangers. She misses her mother. She mourns her lost brother. She cannot trust even those assigned to her protection.

Acclaimed, bestselling historian Alison Weir has based her enthralling account of Henry VIII’s first wife on extensive research and new theories. She reveals a strong, spirited woman determined to fight for her rights and the rightful place of her daughter. A woman who believed that to be the wife of a King was her destiny.

History tells us how she died. This captivating novel shows us how she lived.

I’m also reading SPQR: a History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard, the Kindle edition.


Ancient Rome matters. Its history of empire, conquest, cruelty and excess is something against which we still judge ourselves. Its myths and stories – from Romulus and Remus to the Rape of Lucretia – still strike a chord with us. And its debates about citizenship, security and the rights of the individual still influence our own debates on civil liberty today. 

SPQR is a new look at Roman history from one of the world’s foremost classicists. It explores not only how Rome grew from an insignificant village in central Italy to a power that controlled territory from Spain to Syria, but also how the Romans thought about themselves and their achievements, and why they are still important to us.

Covering 1,000 years of history, and casting fresh light on the basics of Roman culture from slavery to running water, as well as exploring democracy, migration, religious controversy, social mobility and exploitation in the larger context of the empire, this is a definitive history of ancient Rome.

SPQR is the Romans’ own abbreviation for their state: Senatus Populusque Romanus, ‘the Senate and People of Rome’.

I’ve recently finished Too Soon a Death by Janet O’Kane, crime fiction set in the Scottish Borders.

You can read my thoughts on this book in my previous post.

And next I’ll be reading Slade House by David Mitchell, or at least I think I’ll be reading this next. When the time comes I could fancy something completely different.


Born out of the short story David Mitchell published on Twitter in 2014 and inhabiting the same universe as his latest bestselling novel The Bone Clocks, this is the perfect book to curl up with on a dark and stormy night.

Turn down Slade Alley – narrow, dank and easy to miss, even when you’re looking for it. Find the small black iron door set into the right-hand wall. No handle, no keyhole, but at your touch it swings open. Enter the sunlit garden of an old house that doesn’t quite make sense; too grand for the shabby neighbourhood, too large for the space it occupies.

A stranger greets you by name and invites you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t.

This unnerving, taut and intricately woven tale by one of our most original and bewitching writers begins in 1979 and reaches its turbulent conclusion around Hallowe’en, 2015. Because every nine years, on the last Saturday of October, a ‘guest’ is summoned to Slade House. But why has that person been chosen, by whom and for what purpose? The answers lie waiting in the long attic, at the top of the stairs…

What have you been reading this week and what have got in mind to read next?

18 thoughts on “My Week in Books: 10 February 2016

  1. Ooh, I’ll have to keep an eye out for the Tudor Queens series. I’m fairly new to historical fiction, but I am for anything with a tagline like that. I hope you’re enjoying it!

    Here’s my WWW post this week.


  2. Wow, you’re reading some good books at the moment, Margaret. I fancy both non-fictions, especially the Mary Beard. And I’m very smitten with the sound of Slade House. That sounds like my kind of thing.

    I’m so looking forward to getting back to some serious reading. Can’t concentrate properly at the moment as we’re having the kitchen completely renovated and other decorating done too. Everywhere you look it’s chaos. My books are scattered around the house like confetti.


    1. Cath, It’s going to take me some time to read Mary Beard’s book – not that it’s a difficult book but because it’s so long and full of facts.

      I think decorating the kitchen is one of the most disruptive things to do – we’re moving furniture out of our bedroom in readiness for have a carpet fitted next week – not quite as bad but I do sympathise!


  3. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on the Alison Weir. It must be pretty tricky to find anything new to say about the Tudors, I’d have thought…


    1. I think the only book featuring Katherine of Aragon I’ve read in the past few years is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and I keep comparing the two books in my mind. So much so that I got my copy of Wolf Hall out to check out my memory of that book – the writing can’t be compared, the facts are the same but the approach is so different.


    1. Sam,I agree.When I think about Henry’s wives I tend to forget that Katherine was married to Henry for so long before he divorced her and that he was so enamoured of her at first – this book emphasises that.


  4. I like the sound of that history of Ancient Roman, Margaret. It’s an absolutely fascinating time period. And the Tudor Queens series sounds really interesting too.


  5. I love the sound of Six Tudor Queens: Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen by Alison Weir and SPQR: a History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard – I look forward to reading your thoughts on them.

    I am currently reading the final instalment in Cassandra Clare’s young adult series; The Mortal Instruments. It is a very big book! I hope to read something a little shorter next 😀


  6. I’ve always been a fan of Katherine of Aragon and Alison Weir is fabulous, so how could you go wrong with the first book on your list.

    SPQR also sound marvelous–I’ve been wanting to read something like this myself, since I’m still enthralled with Italy and Rome in particular. It’s now on my Amazon wish list!

    The cover of Too Soon a Death reminds me too strongly of The Time Traveler’s Wife–I think cover designers need to find fresh inspiration, perhaps!

    Happy reading for the rest of Feb.


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