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Search tags: mediaeval
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text 2018-05-28 17:04
Reading progress update: I've listened 696 out of 1718 minutes.
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century - Barbara W. Tuchman,Nadia May

I wonder if the Swan Festival, where everyone chased young swans not yet able to fly, was an inspiration for the gosling juggling in Firefly. Fortunately participants were forbidden from killing what they caught.

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text 2018-05-28 15:26
Reading progress update: I've listened 624 out of 1718 minutes.
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century - Barbara W. Tuchman,Nadia May

I don't normally have a very ribald sense of humour, but this made me chuckle:

Isabella* could well have listened to the tales of Jean de Condé, poet in her in her lifetime at her mother's native court in Hainault. His style is illustrated by a story about a game of truth-telling played at court before a tournament. A knight asked by the queen if he has fathered any children is forced to admit he has not. And indeed he did not have the look of a man who could please his mistress when he held her naked in his arms for his beard was little more than the kind of fuzz that ladies have in certain places. The queen tells him she does not doubt his word for it is easy to judge from the state of the hay whether the pitchfork is any good.

 

In his turn the knight asks, "Lady answer me without deceit, is there hair between your legs?" When she replies, "None at all," he comments, "Indeed I do believe you for grass does not grow on a well-beaten path."

 

*Isabella: eldest daughter of King Edward III and Queen Philippa

 

Also, so far I kind of love Isabella. She was spurned at the altar, then jilted a fiancé in her turn while keeping the money awarded to her as income by her father the king.

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text 2018-05-21 22:46
Reading progress update: I've listened 47 out of 1718 minutes.
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century - Barbara W. Tuchman,Nadia May

I'm not sure how much of this I'll actually absorb via audiobook, but so far I'm really enjoying Nadia May's narration. Perhaps I'd get the same feel off of the page, but it's nice to have a history book narrated in something other than a monotone.

 

Plus the comment for the casual reader to just think of the various currencies as "pieces of money" and not to worry about the details was amusing. As was the introduction to the calendar (varied usages and not always consistent). And the problem of conflating different people into one.

 

I'm not going to be able to spell anything though. I guess that just goes with the mediaeval theme...

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review 2018-02-07 17:43
The Faithful Dead by Alys Clare
The Faithful Dead - Alys Clare

Series: Hawkenlye Mysteries #5

 

I'm not sure why the reliance on magic bugs me so much on these books but it does. I think part of it is that there doesn't seem to be much investigating going on. A big chunk of the book was actually a flashback to Josse's father's crusading time. And then stuff just happens to Josse and there are reveals due to magical inspiration or something and...yeah. The whole thing wasn't very satisfying.

 

I keep reading these books because I do like the characters but I always seem to expect the books to be something that they're not.

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review 2018-01-15 22:21
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
The Doomsday Book - Connie Willis

Series: Oxford Time Travel #1

 

I'm still debating whether I should give this five stars or stick to 4.5. This was a reread for me and I still found it compelling, although I didn't blaze through it in a couple days like I did the first time around. There are, admittedly, some issues with regards to historical accuracy, like being worried about cholera in the 14th century and assuming that mediaeval people were much shorter than modern day ones...but it still works for me.

 

I liked the characters, especially the little girl Agnes, and I loved how people would basically have conversations at cross purposes because they were all in their own little bubbles with their own concerns.

 

Basically, Kivrin is a historian who time travels back to the 14th century to stay for a couple weeks and make a record of the mediaeval life she observes. Of course, her plans go awry and plot happens, and her unofficial tutor, Mr. Dunworthy, tries to get her back.

 

I really wish more books would combine the mediaeval time period and science fiction.

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