Thursday, October 22, 2009
Reading terrific historical non-fiction is a keen interest of mine. As a young girl, I would wake up early on weekends to grab a volume of the encyclopedia and get busy browsing. Afterwards, my Hot Wheels would come out, I really wasn't a lover of dolls. Then to round things off I was the only eight year-old I knew that carried around a ball of yarn and knitting needles. But I turned out to be normal enough, really I did! A couple of weeks ago, while listening to a podcast on The Woman's Hour, I heard Tracy Borman talk about her latest book. Elizabeth's Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen is the story of Elizabeth I and her relationships with the women in her life, rather than of the men. I look forward to learning more about her life with governesses, female relatives and her ladies-in-waiting, Elizabeth was famously known for her jealousy of certain women at court. It couldn't have been an easy life for a complex woman given the social mores, the expectations of her gender and that she was a female monarch surrounded by male advisers. Jonathan Cape was kind enough to send me a copy, upon my request, to review on my blog. I must check my supply of Post-It notes, this is serious stuff not to be taken lightly! Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England is another non-fiction title which intrigued me straight away upon hearing about it. Author, Amanda Vickery, comes with an impressive CV but writes in an extremely readable manner, no dry reading to be found here. Chapters include topics such as Men Alone, Thresholds and Boundries at Home, Setting up Home, His and Hers and Wallpaper and Taste. History books that delve into people's daily lives and thoughts interest me to no end. The products they used to deodorize themselves, how they prevented pregnancies and their superstitions are fascinating to me, I'll leave the politics of the day to someone else. Reviews on both of these books will be forthcoming. Kristina and I are reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie together and I haven't cracked the cover yet so patience on my part will be required.