English History

Literature Reviews

Pete Brown: Shakespeare’s Local

This is one of those books that I’ve owned way too long before I finally get around to reading them: The discursive — in the best sense –, rollicking tale of one London (or rather, Southwark) pub from its earliest days in the Middle Ages to the 21st century, telling the history of Southwark, London, […]

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BookLikes Imports Linked Items Literature Reviews

2020 Mid-Year Reading Review and Statistics

What with the pandemic still very much ongoing, BL acting up again, MR’s and Char’s resulting posts re: BookLikes, the BL experience, and moving back to Goodreads, this feels like a somewhat odd moment to post my half-yearly reading stats.  I hope it won’t be the last time on this site, but I fear that […]

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2019: The Books I’ve Been Most Thankful For

24 Festive Tasks: Door 11 – Thanksgiving: Task 2 With another full month to go in the year, it may be a bit early to do this task, but a substantial number of the books I’m going to be reading in December will be Christmas rereads, so here we go. The books / authors I […]

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Diarmaid MacCulloch: Thomas Cromwell

Masterly. Simply put, the Cromwell biography to end all Cromwell biographies.  In his research for this book, MacCulloch took a fresh look at virtually every single document on which Cromwell’s vast legacy is based, and the resulting biography is a masterpiece of historical analysis which does away with many an often-repeated myth (beginning right at […]

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Literature Reviews

The Medieval Murderers: House of Shadows

The Medieval Murderers round robin series is, literally, one of those products of an idle evening at the pub — I guess that’s what you’ll get when you have five authors of medieval whodunits talking shop over a pint or two (or three …) of ale.  Permanent members of the group, which itself goes by […]

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Abbey Weekend

  I spent yesterday and this morning near Maria Laach abbey, a gorgeously-maintained, fairly important (Romanic) Benedictine abbey (founded in 1093) on the shores of a volcanic lake a little less than an hour south of Bonn, celebrating my mom’s birthday and reading my “haunted houses” bingo book — which just happens to be set […]

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Blog BookLikes Imports Linked Items Literature

Stratford-upon-Avon — Oxford — London: Shakespeare, Hogwarts and Shopping

Stratford A Scene at the RSC Book and Gift Shop The date: June 17, 2017. The time: Approximately 10:00AM. TA and friend enter; TA asks for a shopping basket and makes straight for the shelves and display cases. An indeterminate amount of time is then spent browsing. Whenever her friend points out something and asks […]

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Blog BookLikes Imports Linked Items Reblogs

Warrior Kings of England – The Story of the Plantagenet Dynasty [REBLOG]

Reblogged from: Carpe Librum This course at Medieval Courses is 1/2 price until August 14th. I have signed up to take it and thought some of you might be interested as well. With payment ($49), you receive lifetime access to 24 modules with audio, quizzes, & additional reading recommendations. The author of the course is […]

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Blog Literature

Summer Splurges (AKA: Be Good to Yourself)

Largely inspired by Samantha Wilcoxson’s recommendations following up on my read of her books Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen and Faithful Traitor – as well as looking forward to book 3 of her Tudor Women trilogy – I’ve been on a minor shopping spree lately. Not all of these are Samantha’s recommendations, but that’s the way […]

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Literature Movies Reviews

The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare (BBC)

The Gold Standard In 1978, the BBC ambitiously set out to produce all of Shakespeare‘s 37 plays for television. (Alright – so it’s 38 … so they didn’t include The Two Noble Kinsmen, which is cribbed from Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale anyway. But who’s counting beans?) With casts featuring the better part of British acting nobility, […]

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Movies Reviews

CADFAEL

Sir Derek and the Chronicles of a Truly Rare Benedictine When the decision was made to produce for TV several episodes from her mystery series about Brother Cadfael, that 12th century crusader turned monk turned detective who has been, ever since his creation, one of the most compassionate and unusual sleuths of literary history, novelist […]

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Movies Reviews

RICHARD III (Ian McKellen)

Villany Unveiled A gala ball: The York family celebrate their reascent to power; the Wars of the Roses (named for the feuding houses’ heraldic badges: Lancaster’s red and York’s white rose) are almost over. Actually, the year is 1471, but for present purposes, we’re in the 1930s. A singer (Stacey Kent) delivers a swinging “Come […]

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Literature Reviews

Samantha Wilcoxson: Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen / Faithful Traitor

                           Of Loyalty, Roses and Broom Shrubs, or: A Surfeit of Royal Blood And here I prophesy: this brawl to-day, Grown to this faction in the Temple-garden, Shall send between the red rose and the white A thousand souls to death and deadly night. William Shakespeare: King […]

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Movies Reviews

ELIZABETH

Elizabeth from Princess to Icon: “One Mistress and no Master.” Among Great Britain’s monarchs, two queens stand out in particular: Elizabeth I. and Queen Victoria. Both came to power at extremely young ages, and at times of political instability which would have set the odds of survival against any new ruler, but particularly so, against […]

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Blog Linked Items

Oldest handwritten documents in UK unearthed in London dig | Culture | The Guardian

  Early writings found under office block being cleared for new Bloomberg HQ give glimpse of Roman London Source: Oldest handwritten documents in UK unearthed in London dig | Culture | The Guardian Merken Merken Merken Merken

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Literature Reviews

The Medieval Murderers: King Arthur’s Bones

Picking Over Royal Bones Royal births, weddings and burials have fascinated us ordinary humans since time immemorial; and while people’s proprietary interest in the fate of the world’s rulers is easily understandable in societies where those rulers wield supreme power – including the Europe of yesteryear – the fascination is no less noticeable in today’s […]

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Literature Reviews

Ellis Peters: Brother Cadfael’s Penance

Cadfael’s Conflict. Witness if you will, reader, the Chronicles of one Brother Cadfael of the Benedictine abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul in Shrewsbury, Shropshire: witness the twenty adventures of this most unusual monk, herbalist and former crusader, occurring between the years of Our Lord 1138 and 1145, in the middle of the devastating […]

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Literature Reviews

Ellis Peters: A Morbid Taste for Bones

The first Chronicle of a truly rare Benedictine’s adventures. In a number of visions, a young monk of the Benedictine abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul at Shrewsbury believes he has encounters with St. Winifred, in her earthly life a girl from a remote Welsh village decapitated by an evil-spirited nobleman. The saint, Brother […]

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Literature Reviews

David Liss: A Conspiracy of Paper

Clearly a “first,” but despite detractors a promising one. I usually don’t like books that begin with an explanation of their reason for being which is not tied in, in some more profound way, with the main storyline – this kind of thing strikes me as amateurish and unnecessary, even in a first person account. […]

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Literature Reviews

Emma Donoghue: Slammerkin

11 lost days, and a whole lost life to follow. With 1751’s Calendar Reform Act, Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar implemented elsewhere in 1582; resulting in the elimination of 11 days between September 2 and 14, 1752. The edict, viewed as more than a mere alteration in the calculation of time, caused widespread riots; grounded […]

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