Sunday, February 01, 2009

Books books and more books...

Ok, so I read three books last month. Mostly that was because of one large long ridiculously thick book.

That book was The Great Upheaval: America and the Modern World 1788-1800, by Jay Winik.

This...was somewhat of a disappointment. Winik wrote over 650 pages on the US, France, and Russia, and while I learned a lot about Russia, I really don't think the argument he was shooting for was supported by the evidence. You see, he was trying to prove how much the Americans had influenced Russia, but I really didn't find that to be much of the case. Russia was more interested in France, and pretty much dismissed the United States (Catherine the Great refused to even SEE the American Ambassador). I mean it is fairly obvious that the US revolution influenced the French. Thereby it would influence Russia, since France and Russia have a longstanding influenced relationship -- Catherine was quite fond of the Enlightenment writers, and French was the language of the Russian court -- but I just felt that Winik was at his strongest writing about the Russians, not discussing the Americans, who had a limited role in the story, and the French.

I wouldn't really recommend this one outside of the classroom.

The next book I read was on the way to New York, when I saw my cousins. This one was Across a Hundred Mountains, by Reyna Grande.

This is the story of two women from Mexico, Juana and Adelina. Juana's father disappears after going to the United States for work, and leaves is family in extreme poverty in Mexico. She leaves home after two tragedies destroy her family, and tries to discover what happened to him.

This was pretty moving. I really enjoyed the way she chose to tell the story, even if I could predict exactly what was going on two chapters into the book. The characterisation is quite lovely, and the descriptions are grand and beautiful, as well as heart-wrenching. Definitely check this one out for a quick read.

The final book I read for this month was The Children of Henry VIII, by Alison Weir.

Everyone knows by now that I am stuck on the Tudor era, and I thought this was an intriguing title. It focuses on four people: Edward VI, Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Lady Jane Grey. I really enjoyed this book, since it focuses on Edward and Mary. I need to find more books on Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey, because Weir was only able to give us the basic story on these women. I know there are eighty five billion books out there on Elizabeth, so that won't be too difficult. Lady Jane Grey is so intriguing to me, the nine day queen. I find that she is such a strong and resilient woman.

Like any of Weir's books, definitely check this one out.

Right now I'm reading Water for Elephants, which I can't put down. It's so intense and gripping and fascinating and sad and worthy of the eight miles of praise that are on the first three pages of the book and the back cover. I can't wait to see how it ends.

Current Music: Spirit of the West - Home for a Rest

No comments: