Monday, October 3, 2011

Read your own Book Month wrap up

September is over, and I ended up reading 4 books for Read Your Own Books month, Giraffe level. Here's some mini-reviews for the last two. Click on the book cover to head to the GoodReads page on the book

People of the Book

This was the book club choice over at Quiet: The Power of Introverts. The story is told in the present (which, in the book, includes 1996 and 2002), with Hanna Heath, a conservator of rare books, who was hired by the UN to work on the Sarajevo Haggadah. During the conservation process she finds things in the Haggadah, that reveal some of the history of the book. The rest of the book interleaves the past, related to how one of the items becomes inserted in the book, then back to 1996 where Hanna is having studies done to determine what they are. I studied museum and archive studies in college, so I tend to get a geeky glee at things like archival research and the internal workings of museums and archives (even when a character does something to tick off real archivists *Roland Mitchell*). Brooks does a fine job of drawing you into a moment in history with the little stories mixed in with Hanna's tale. Brooks is fast becoming one of my favorite historical fiction writers. ★★★★

Greatest Knight

September read for the Historical Fiction group at Shelfari. Also one of my first Nook "purchases" (it was a freebie friday selection), sitting on my Nook Color since the spring. Its the tale of William Marshall, who was offered as a hostage to Stephen at age 5, who should have been killed for his father not upholding his agreement to turn over the castle. He later came to the attention of Eleanor of Aquitaine from his skill in tournaments, and from saving her from a kidnapping attempt. I really enjoyed reading this. Nearly this time last year, I read Sharon Kay Penman's Henry II- Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy, which is very detailed, and very long. I was familiar with William Marshall from that series and intrigued by his story, and happy to learn he is a real figure in history. But by the time I got to the third book, Devil's Brood, there were some of the author's habits that got to me, and a few things I didn't like (I would not suggest reading this trilogy straight through). The Greatest Knight overlapped greatly with Devil's Brood, except Chadwick does not go through each period when Henry's sons had grievances with him, which get to be repetitive since neither the sons or father really gave into change. Chadwick highlights the main grievances, and other moments in history, but not as detailed as someone like Penman writes. And because of that, it moved at a much quicker pace. I get the feeling that Chadwick is going to be a favorite as well. ★★★★ 1/2

1 comment:

Sarah Williams said...

The description of Caleb's Crossing didn't get me, but I did a summer reading challenge that involved reading the groups BOTM, so read it for that. Ended up really enjoying it. I'd recommend trying one of Geraldine Brooks's novels for a historical fiction. She has good history, but it moves well