Spotted: Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel

Lords and ladies, you’ll never guess what I saw the other day.

So sayeth the wiki:

Wolf Hall (2009) is a multi-award winning historical novel by English author Hilary Mantel, published by Fourth Estate, named after the Seymour family seat of Wolfhall or Wulfhall in Wiltshire. Set in the period from 1500 to 1535, Wolf Hall is a fictionalized biography documenting the rapid rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII of England, through the death of Sir Thomas More. The novel won both the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.[1][2] In 2012, The Observer named it as one of “The 10 best historical novels”.[3]

Now of course, when I think of Thomas Cromwell, I can only think of James Frain, who played Cromwell in the Tudors, across from Henry VIII, as played by that crazy guy from the Woody Allen Movie with ScarJo:

Your grace

But then that makes me think of the time when he played this guy in True Blood, who was basically a raping vampire, the worst combination of things since seconds after the big bang:

Your neck

And now I’m hiding under my desk, forgetting what I was talking about.

Cromwell.  Wolf Hall.


Apparently, the author portrays Cromwell not as being the power-hungry sycophant that he is so commonly known for, but rather as a pragmatic and well-rounded character.  Although it seems like she started this project already with the mind-set that she was going to paint him in a softer light.  The truth is probably somewhere in between, as often seems the case.

This does sound like a fascinating read, especially if you like old stories about kings and queens like I do.  Maybe they should make it into a movie.  I wonder who would play Henry VIII?  Hmmmm….




Spotted: The Journals of Lewis and Clark

Seeing this heavy (must be, given the number of times the name Sacagawea is written) tome, I all but forgave the reader for having earlier blown his nose in an obvious “I-am-sick-but-I’m-going-to-work-anyway” manner.  And imagine my surprise when I found out that the journals are actually available free on line from the University of Nebraska.   

So next time you’re bored in front of a screen, get your non-fiction on!

Spotted: The Last Days of Dogtown

The title made me tired because it made me think of Lars Van Trier’s Dogville, which was a movie I really wanted to like because it’s all artsy and stuff, but I just couldn’t manage to stay awake.  It might have been the jet lag, but more realistically, I think I’m just not that committed to minimalist film.  Anyway, the book.   

This book sounds like it has a greater chance of keeping me awake.  If you read the review, the words “witch” and “whore” appear, as well as a character/inhabitant of this strange little part of Massachusetts that is into cross-dressing in the 19th century.  Ahead of her/his time, we say! 

And apparently Anita Diamant is quite gifted with historical novels.  Worth the time?