Books are everywhere, everywhere in our house! I find the greatest escape in their pages, and even just looking at their spines on my bookshelf makes me happy. Its the simple things, isn't it?
I love historical biographies, particularly those pertaining to Edward I, Edward III, & Victoria of England, Eleanor of Acquitaine, Louis XIV and Louis XVI of France and Isabella of Castile, plus anything on the Beauforts and the Tudors of England. My favourite period would be from about 1000AD - 1600 (I find the Hundred Years War and the Crusades fascinating, but I LOVE the 16th century!). I also like novels based on life & relationships - the kind that get inside the characters' heads... The Stone Angel, or The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi.
My latest read is Mistress of the Vatican (Eleanor Herman) and is about "the female pope". No, not the mythical Pope Joan: It is about the woman behind Pope Innocent X, his sister-in-law, Olimpia Maidalchini. She was born the daughter of a taxman, who wanted ALL his daughters to become nuns (to avoid the expense of a dowry and save the family money for his only son). However, she had other plans, defied him, and married for money and power. Her second husband was of the minor nobility, and she became close to his brother, Gianibattista Pamphili. Once she was widowed for the second time, she used her money to support his endeavors in the Church, helping him maintain the lifestyle expected of a Bishop or Cardinal. When Pope Urban VIII died, Olimpia even made promises with the families of other Cardinals to ensure that Pamphili would be elected Pope. And then, as his most trusted advisor, she was able to work behind the scenes to influence all of Catholic Europe in the 17th century! It is a very interesting biography, filled with details on everyday life and the culture of the Catholic Church.
While I LOVE a good illustrated children's book (I even have my own collection of faves!), I enjoy reading novels to my boys instead of shorter storybooks as their "bedtime story". It keeps everyone interested - including me (you know what it is like to read the same book three times every night for 4 weeks straight, right?). While I say I'll read one chapter, I admit, most nights I give in to the plea of "just one more" and read two or three instead! Right now, we are reading Schooling Around: Treasure Fever (Andy Griffiths). It is the story of Henry McTrottle and his friends who are looking for a buried treasure on the school grounds that went missing way back when the Principal was a student. Of course, it was supposed to be a secret between Henry and his friends, but everyone is getting in on the action - we are hoping Henry and his friends find it first! The boys adore the book and find it hilarious and captivating.
Have you read anything good lately?