I am trying a new blog format here, where I have a specific topic for each day of the week. So today is my first Literary Monday, where I will discuss what I am reading or have just finished reading. Reading in a wide variety of genres helps me remember books better. I find if I read a lot of one genre (such as literary fiction), the stories start to blend together, no matter how good a book is.
Like most people, I get my history and facts from novels, television documentaries, and the Wikipedia. This past week, I finished Alison Weir's Mary Boleyn, a biography about Mary Boleyn that dispels many of the fictions about Mary from novels like Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl. Don't get me wrong, I loved Gregory's book, just as I enjoy most historical fiction about romantic or doomed figures. But as in most novels, the actual historical facts are manipulated to make a better story. There is nothing wrong with this - that's why it's called fiction. I plan on devoting another day of the week to facts about maligned or misunderstood historical figures. The book starts off slow - you have to slog through about 50 pages of background about the Boleyn family, but stay with it.
The second book that I finished this week was Kathleen Grissom's The Kitchen House, a historical novel about an Irish girl who grows up as an indentured servant (i.e., slave) at a Virginia plantation. Great characters and description, if not a happy story. I recommend both of these titles.
Tomorrow: Missing Tuesday, with a focus on a missing person case