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review 2020-06-19 21:52
The Prince Who Would be King by Sarah Fraser
The Prince Who Would Be King: The Life and Death of Henry Stuart - Sarah Fraser

I thought it would be interesting to read about the young life of a crown prince; this is a time of life usually skated through quickly in biographies, but since this particular Prince of Wales (Henry Stuart, 1594-1612) died at age eighteen, the whole book is about his young life.

Unfortunately, the book is quite dry: perhaps proof that historical figures’ childhoods aren’t meant to be given this much attention, or perhaps just due to the author’s writing. Henry didn’t actually get to do very much, and there’s a lot of information about the large number of people around him, most of whom come across as relatively interchangeable in their portrayals, alongside descriptions of court entertainments, etc. When the author dips into the European politics and warfare at the time, though, it’s still presented in a dry manner, though I learned a bit from it.

Fraser is clearly enamored of Henry, which I suspect is common for biographers – especially if they aren’t guaranteed bestsellers, it probably is a labor of love – but it was not an affection that translated itself to this reader. Of course it’s always sad when a teenager dies (here, probably of typhoid fever), but Henry comes across as a militant Protestant eager to go make war on Catholics and colonize anybody he could. Yes, he was a boy, but with the power of monarchy and surrounding himself by people who thought the same, he likely would have carried all this into adulthood.

Also, a quick grammar lesson: when you write things like “Bleeding from the womb, the queen’s ladies crowded round and led her away,” you are saying that all the queen’s ladies are bleeding from the womb, not the queen, who is the one actually miscarrying here. Unfortunate sentence structures like this appear throughout the book.

So, while this is a short book (only 266 pages of text followed by endnotes), it took me awhile to read as I rarely had much desire to pick it up. I did learn some things about the time period and found some of the details interesting, and certainly Fraser seems to have a thorough knowledge of her subject and to have located numerous primary sources. But it was a bit of a drag and I can’t say I got much out of it in the end. Perhaps a group biography of Henry along with some other family members or close associates might have been a better way to go.

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text 2020-04-09 20:42
Reading progress update: I've listened 100 out of 1020 minutes.
The Buried: Life, Death and Revolution in Egypt - Peter Hessler

I know nothing of current Egypt and it's politics, so this promises to be interesting. I used an Audible credit to listen to this while I cross stitch, sit and await the end of times. Sigh.


Anyway, so far I'm very impressed. I'm having a good run with nonfiction. 

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review 2019-07-16 16:38
LIfe WIll be the Deah of Me... and You Too!
Life Will Be the Death of Me - Chelsea Handler
I Picked Up This Book Because: I love Chelsea.

I’ve always thought Chelsea was an open book when it came to her writing but this book take open, honest and vulnerable to new levels for her. This book follows a year of therapy and explores her losses in life. Her personality, the shortcomings that come with that and her need and ability to overcome these challenges.

This book was deeply personal on another level for Chelsea. I admire her for putting it all out there. It’s not always pretty but I’m glad to see how open and honest she is about this journey. It has inspired me.

The Random Thoughts:

The Score Card:


5 Stars
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review 2019-05-23 16:14
In Extremis: The Life and Death of the War Correspondent Marie Colvin - Lindsey Hilsum

Hilsum's biography of Marie Colvin, the reporter who was killed in 2012, is a well written, rose colored glasses off type of biography. Drawing on interviews as well as Colvin's diary entries, Hilsum presents a complicated portrait of a woman. It is refreshing to read a book about a woman who seems so on point and is just as problematic as the rest of us.

Considering recent attacks on the press coming from politicians, it is important to read this book.

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review 2019-04-14 22:27
Patient Care
Patient Care: Death and Life in the Emergency Room - Paul Seward
I’m glad that I listened to an audio of this novel, as some of the medical terms and jargon that was used, I know that I would’ve had a hard time pronouncing had I read the novel. I enjoyed listening to this novel as Dr. Seward recalls his medical practice and he shares stories about working in the ER.
Seward describes some of his most interesting cases that he has had the opportunity to experience in his lifetime. These cases are not always his most successful cases but they’re ones that meant something to him. The novel teaches, the novel shows you what it is like to be on the other side of the table, and the novel shows you the emotions, that are not only one-sided. Great book and a short one also.


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