As the summer drags on, I find myself getting antsy. Step by step, I am preparing for study in England. Recently I booked a ticket via statravel.com, a good site for finding flights, hotels, attractions, and that offers other services. I can’t lie, I found cheaper flights here than at any other travel site (incl. Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, and other ones). One step down. Next on the to-do list? Obtain a visa, choose housing, and figure out exactly where I want to go.
Last week, a couple of good friends and I went to see the new Robin Hood film starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. Now, being the medieval history buff-geek-nerd-dork-aficionada that I am, I was very much looking forward to this film. Although the movie itself received little positive criticism to commend it, I would highly recommend it.
It all started with one of those freak roadside attractions businesses place as a ploy to lure in unsuspecting customers like myself. The Director of Collections from the Waukesha County Museum-yep, I’ll use her fancy title-and myself made a five+ hour journey to Minneapolis this past week from Waukesha to pick up some paintings from Anne Marie Gromme, the daughter of the renowned naturalist painter Owen Gromme.
Finally. Yes, I chose a topic for my first historical post…and no, it is not about Tudor history at all. I have a strange fascination with gold rushes as well, especially the Yukon (or Klondike) gold rush of the late 1890s. If you played MECC’s 1994 game of The Yukon Trail, you would know exactly what I mean (of course, if you even remember that game, then you are indeed a child of the ’90s)—I will not lie, I found it online and still play it from time to time.
Okay, so the historical post has not been written yet. I have some ideas floating around my head, but I have not yet decided on a particular place and person. So, any ideas would be welcome! (And that was not a subtle hint…!) Instead, I decided to do something a little different…
To begin, my favorite genre of literature is historical fiction. I am quite fond of novels based on early modern England, especially the Plantagenet (think War of the Roses) and the Tudor (think Henry VIII and his six wives and Elizabeth I) families. Lately, I have read a couple of different books about Tudor England. I am currently reading The Secrets of the Tudor Court by D.L. Bogdan. Released this year, it tells of Henry VIII’s reign through the eyes of Mary Howard, the daughter of Thomas Howard, third Duke of Norfolk (who helped to orchestrate both Anne Boleyn’s rise to and fall from power) and wife of Henry Fitzroy, King Harry’s illegitimate son. Interesting so far, but as a whole, I have not formed a strong opinion towards it. Now, I am not one to shy away from reading books I do not like, but I seem to have had my fill of them recently. A few weeks ago I bought another book on Plantagenet England by Robin Maxwell, To the Tower Born, a novel of the lost princes of Edward IV. Told from the daughter of English printer, William Caxton, I could not like the protagonist of the novel for she had no flaws and Maxwell took too much dramatic liberty in fictionalizing and speculating about the relationship between Caxton’s daughter and Elizabeth of York. I doubt their relationship could have been as close as portrayed due to social constraints and royal expectations. But, I digress. To the point, I am feeling as though I am exhausting my interest of Tudor England at the moment, and I am trying to find some other material.
I found a refreshing change of pace in Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants. This book, set during the Great Depression details the life of a Cornell-educated vet in a traveling circus. Gruen tells the story in two different time frames: the past and the present. The protagonist in the story relapses into flashbacks in which he tells his story. I cannot give away any more details except that it is a fantastic combination of murder, romance, suspense, and a highly intelligent elephant. I highly, highly, recommend it.
If anyone is interested in some good historical fiction from the late medieval/early modern era in England, I recommend Philippa Gregory, Anne Easter Smith, Alison Weir, Susan Penman, Margaret Campbell Barnes, and Elizabeth George. I know I am forgetting some authors, but these should give one a good start. Most are thoroughly researched and have great author’s notes as the end of them, discussing what was true and what was fiction or speculation.
Also, if you have any good suggestions for books or for a historical person or event I should blog about, please feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am game to read anything out of the ordinary.
Interesting title…I will give it that much. Yep, I decided to finally get back into the “professional” blogging world. Plus, I am studying abroad in a few months so part of the decision to get a blog is to record the goings-on when I am in England. So, now, what to do? Well, part of this blog will be random history factoids, findings, and other points of interest. Disclaimer: I am a Tudor historian, born, worked, and bred. Thus, if there is an overabundance of posts relating to the Tudors, now you shall understand why. Simply put, I am programmed this way. =)
For new readers, I will do a short intro. I am going to be a junior at a Carroll University in Wisconsin, a small private liberal arts institution near Milwaukee. I am a history major and a European Studies minor with a strong interest in medieval and early modern English history. Postgraduate I hope to work towards a masters degree in history or museology with a career interest in becoming a curator or archivist. I am overly involved on campus with the foundation of an organization my freshman year (as a geek, I started a Harry Potter Club…don’t judge me!), History Club, Carroll Players (the oldest dramatic group in the state of Wisconsin), and all the other blah, blah, blahs. But, enough about me—onto the blog!
In the wider world of my interesting life (I’m allowed to say that, right?!), I have begun working in the Carroll University library and have become a supervisor of sorts. I trained three people today to take over certain projects I accumulated in the archives over the past year. But, that does not mean I have been left with nothing to do. Currently, I am working on updating and fixing the yearbooks on the network (sound exciting? believe me, it is!), and that will take a good majority of my time. Along with training and supervising, I shall be content…for a while, that is. I have been on the search for a new job; nothing too promising has turned up, but if Barnes and Noble or Bath and Body Works gives me a call back, I shall be more than exhilarated to take it!
I shall keep this short. Work beckons on the morrow, and I need not wake up dozy! Next post will be on something historical…keep a lookout!