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review 2016-08-11 15:44
Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel
Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel

It's not the future dystopia of The Hunger Games, but it's not far off. Henry VIII requires an heir, and he must be rid of Ann Boleyn, and this is where it all starts going horribly wrong. Because the reader already knows how the story turns out there is a constant and oppressive suspense as one reads over all the details, and the details are rich. It doesn't feel like an historical novel, it feels like history, with all the bits thrown in that make it fun: the clothes, the plotting, the king losing touch with reality.

Maybe, because it's such a grim story, it shouldn't be so much fun to read. But it is.

Library copy

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text 2016-01-02 22:25
2015: The Year in Review
Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1) - Hilary Mantel
Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel
The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt
The Martian - Andy Weir

According to my 2015 "Reading Challenge" log, I read 79 books in 2015 (excluding re-reads) - quite an exceptional year for me. I aim for a book a week and usually end up around 60 or so.

 

Why not an even 80? Because my travel plans got changed at the last minute, so instead of reading on an airplane on New Year's Eve, I got to spend another day with my "second family," and my reading time was shortened considerably for the very best of reasons.

 

It was a varied year - plays, poetry, lit crit, non-fiction, biographies, novels, and more. Could I pick one stand-out book? I could not. I have raved about many of these titles at various times to particular people. 

 

Here, I'll say that perhaps I loved best the "big novels," Hilary Mantel's Cromwell Books, Donna Tartt's "The Goldfinch," and Andy Weir's "The Martian." LOVED LOVED LOVED all four. 

 

What's coming up in 2015? I haven't posted much lately, but I have some ideas in the queue, so look for several "Notes on Adaptation" posts soon. A summer reading list will come in May. Until then, some serendipity will come into play. Stay tuned, and read along. 

 

-cg

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text 2015-08-01 01:58
July Reading Roundup
Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel
Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims - Toby Clements
Oswald: Return of the King - Edoardo Albert
Sinful Folk - Nikki McClure,Ned Hayes
Isabella: Braveheart of France - Colin Falconer
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer,Annie Barrows
Six Days: The Age of the Earth and the Decline of the Church - Ken Ham

I didn't get nearly as much reading done this month as I would have liked. My latest novel release date is quickly approaching, so I have been feverishly editing, formatting, and editing again! I'm hoping to do better in August including some great indie historical fiction reads.

 

Currently in progress:

A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel

A Perilous Alliance by Fiona Buckley

Watch the Lady by Elizabeth Fremantle

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review 2015-07-07 22:00
Bring Up the Bodies (audio) by Hilary Mantel
Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel

As with Wolf Hall, I feel like I had a deeper experience listening to this book and immersing myself in the thoughts of Thomas Cromwell. I am still part of what seems to be the minority that enjoyed Wolf Hall more, but Bring Up the Bodies still stands high above most modern literature.

The second installment in Mantel's trilogy doesn't have as many laugh out loud moments. We see a scarier side to Thomas Cromwell as he chooses those who insulted Cardinal Wolsey as his scapegoats to remove Anne Boleyn once Henry has tired of her. The reader continues to see his fine mind at work through an up-close and personal third person point of view, but it is darker in there now.

Despite his maneuverings, I still couldn't help but love Cromwell and fear his inevitable downfall. I convinced myself, much as people of the time did, that these men were guilty of something, surely. Blame it on Henry. Cromwell is only doing his bidding.

Mantel has written a fairly stereotypical Anne, who I was not sad to see go. She is one of the less complex of Mantel's characters, with few redeeming qualities.

The great thing about listening to this on audio book as my "re-read" is that any of the strange writing style issues that may have annoyed before are completely unnoticeable in this format. I could simply sit back and enjoy.

This is a book - a series - that I see myself returning to many times. I am anxious for the final installment, but will be sad to finish it.

 

And....I almost forgot to mention the narration by Simon Vance! Amazing as always. A pleasure to listen to.

My original review of Bring Up the Bodies can be found here.

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text 2015-07-01 13:48
July Reading List
Sinful Folk - Nikki McClure,Ned Hayes
A Place of Greater Safety - Hilary Mantel
Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims - Toby Clements
Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel
Oswald: Return of the King - Edoardo Albert
The Summer Queen - Elizabeth Chadwick
The Winter Crown - Elizabeth Chadwick
Isabella: Braveheart of France - Colin Falconer
A Perilous Alliance: A Tudor mystery featuring Ursula Blanchard (An Ursula Blanchard Elizabethan Mystery) - Fiona Buckley
Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I - Charles Spencer

This is a month largely dedicated to clearing my NetGalley shelf with half of these titles coming from there. 

 

A Place of Greater Safety is the selection for More Historical than Fiction book club. Join us!

 

Sinful Folk and Bring Up the Bodies (audio) are already in progress, so reviews should be coming soon.

 

What are you looking forward to reading in July?

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