Search This Blog

Friday, January 26, 2007

What I'm Reading

I've opened and sampled quite a few books lately--then put them aside with varying degrees of reluctance because, while they all appeal to me, I really don't want to have the distraction of 4 or 5 books at a time.

So, yes, I've sampled some of Camille Paglia's Break, Blow, Burn (poetry explication and analysis), and Buzbee's The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop (books, book stores, bibliophiles), and Written in Bones: How Human Remains Unlock the Secrets of the Dead (from Egyptian mummies, to bog bodies, to the remains of the Incans). I can't wait to get back to them, but I've closed them all and put them aside because I'm REALLY reading Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen and The 36-Hour Day (a guide to caring for persons with Alzheimer's or other dementias). These are two works to which I'm devoting my time...although the others keep trying to tempt me away from my goal.

I've issues with Denny's biography of Anne which I'll discuss as soon as I finish, but there have been a number of facts that I was not aware of that make me curious and sometimes change my opinion of Anne's contemporaries. My admiration for Sir Thomas More (based largely on the movie A Man for All Seasons) has definitely dimmed.

When I commented about the biography on Bayou Quilts, another blogger (with that synchronicity that always delights me) pointed out that yesterday, January 25th was the date of Anne's marriage to Henry. And to add to the serendipidous coincidence, that was exactly where I was in the book-- the chapter on their marriage.

As for The 36-Hour Day, I would recommend this book without reservation to anyone who is dealing with a loved one suffering from dementia. I've read several books on the subject, and this one is by far the most helpful. I've flipped through and read chapters pertaining to certain aspects of the disease that we are currently experiencing, but have also started at the beginning and am reading it chapter by chapter, highlighting and flagging as I go. I spend plenty of time in waiting rooms, etc. and this paperback fits right in my purse and is easy to take along.

I'm becoming immersed in non-fiction this year. Next month, I'm going back to fantasy and mysteries and pure entertainment with or without literary value! February is a fine month for fiction!


  1. I've been meaning to read The 36 Hour Day for awhile, but haven't yet. It becomes more pertinent each day. I appreciate your review of it.

  2. I greatly admire Sir Thomas More as well, again based on the movie. Can you elaborate on what changed your mind?

  3. Cam - The 36-Hour Day is the most practical, down-to-earth, helpful book I've found so far. It explains so many of the behaviors that might develop and gives advice on how to anticipate them, avoid them, or deal with them.

    Andrew - Mainly his obvious joy at pursuing and executing Lutheran "heretics." I have to wonder at the way much of history avoids mentioning the pleasure More took in burning people at the stake... His own words make him sound sadistic and self-righteous. I did a little online research and found several articles confirming his pursuit of Lutherans. Here is one. And another. There are many others that document More's activities, and I was surprised and disappointed to discover that he was not the man depicted by Bolt's play and screenplay.

  4. I'll have to recommend that Alzheimer's book to one of my friends and co-workers who provides therapy/support to elder care givers.

    Sounds like a good reading plan for Feb. Remember to save some of the fantasy titles that you've been longing to read for the fantasy challenge in March!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Thanks for the elaboration jenclair.

  7. Carl - I wish I'd had a copy of this one sooner. I hope it proves helpful to your friend!

    Andrew - I know. :( I hate it when my idols have feet of clay. It is an example of history edited to create a false image.

  8. Like you, JenClair, I find it hard to handle more than two books at a time.

    I've always gone back and forth on Anne, so I'll look forward to your review. You've been reading some really interesting material lately.

  9. Anne Boleyn has always fascinated me. If you wind up recommending this bio I just may have to have it...

  10. Jill - I can't help starting several, but once involved with one or two, the others have to wait! Don't guess we will ever know all of the answers on Anne, but she is definitely a fascinating figure.

    Lisa - I guess I'm going to recommend it with reservations. There are a couple of other biographies I'd like to have a crack at though. Denny has done the research, but she has an agenda.

  11. I think people tend to forget just what a political animal Thomas More was. It was his history of the reign of Richard III written to 'suck up to' Henry VII that really started the notion that Richard had the Princes in the Tower killed and on which Shakespeare (writing for Henry's grand-daughter!) based his play.

  12. Ann - And the two Princes had relevance to the legitimacy of the Tudor monarchy!