Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones

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My books, let me show you them

Let me show you them, my books.

To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis

The Road to Mayerling: The Life and Death of Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria, Richard Barkeley

A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein, John Kerr

A Long Fatal Love Chase, Louisa May Alcott

The Magicians, Lev Grossman

The Victorians, A.N. Wilson

Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris, David King

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, Erik Larson

Eiffel's Tower: And the World's Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a Count, Jill Jonnes

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

Cleopatra: A Life, Stacy Schiff

Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings, Alison Weir

The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn, Alison Weir

The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition, Nicholas Frankel

So that's my combined haul from my birthday and Christmas. I immediately read the two Boleyn biographies because I love the Tudorbethan (heh) period in general and Alison Weir in particular; I think I love the soap operaish nature of all the scandals and dramas. (Never got into The Tudors, somehow, but ought to give that a try; I think we have the first season on DVD around here somewhere.) It's not so much that I fangirl or identify with any particular historical personage--I just love imagining what it must have been like to be a lady-in-waiting and be like, Oh my God, what is happening, we are so screwed. As one of them cried during Katherine Howard's extramarital shenanigans, "Jesus! Is not the Queen abed yet?" I mean, can you imagine what it must have been like to be courtiers during Anne Boleyn's imprisonment, wandering around whichever palace while Henry was off with Jane Seymour, whispering to each other, "Uh... what do we do now?" Which I think is why I love The Other Boleyn Girl as a good trashy read, as WILDLY historically inaccurate as it refuses to admit it is, because it gets across what an observer's experience could have been like. (I haven't read all of Gregory's Wildly Inaccurate Novels, but doesn't she have one about Katherine Howard? I should totally read that.) And meanwhile, you have Weir in the new Mary Boleyn bio duly invoking The Other Boleyn Girl and The Tudors and being like, "So that is KIND OF NOT WHAT HAPPENED AT ALL, okay." Of course, fair play, she also says, "And [XYZ] is a myth I repeated in my own books. So. Um. Sorry about that."

So, to answer the unspoken question, that's where I've been: wallowing in books. I'm about halfway through the annotated/uncensored Dorian Gray, then put it down for a bit once I got to the Really Symbolic and Kind of Boring Chapter Where Dorian, Like, Collects Gems or Something, but it is--I won't say "super gay," because I don't mean the FAA~AAABULOUS stereotype we have today. I mean that, for the Victorian era, once Frankel decodes some of the wording for you (like "sterile" specifically being understood by a Victorian audience to mean "gay"), the original version is really, really transgressive. And not just in coded wording; Original Basil is really, really (relatively) open about how much he loves Dorian. I haven't gotten to the second half where Frankel will presumably discuss what Dorian's "crimes" (which included more than just "being gay in the 1800s") were meant to be, but I imagine that'll be interesting.

Currently, I'm reading the Mayerling book,



@cleolinda: LET ALL LOOK UPON ITS GLORY #bookmas #unbearablecapslockofbeing

which is stuck a little bit more in dry politics than the slice-of-life details I like, but then, 1) I did want to know about the politics and 2) I also haven't gotten to the actual death/scandal yet, and what I wanted was to hear about the conspiracy theories (double suicide? murder-suicide? political murder? why?) and what Barkeley thinks actually happened. Not because I'm into conspiracies, but because I want to know what people in 1889 would have thought and how they would have talked about it. I want to know what they thought they knew.

(This is also why I got clappy during the Sherlock Holmes sequel when I saw it the other week--the whole "European sociopolitical situation of circa 1889-1891, now with 100% more anarchists" thing was incredibly relevant to my interests:)

I don't know what I'll read next, after I finish Dorian Gray; I'll probably--gleefully, greedily--continue working through the nonfiction.

Meanwhile, I will be watching the Twilight Zone marathon (OH CRAP IS IT ALREADY ON?) as usual, which has gone from "sad because I have nowhere loud and flashy to go" to "venerable homebody tradition, I do what I want." I would like to cheerfully drink my way through it, but I'll probably end up asleep by 10 pm if I do that, so.  

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Tags: book discussion, books, christmas, history, movies, new year's, sherlock holmes, twilight zone
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