Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'm Henery the Eighth, I Am...

You may have noticed I'm on a reading binge lately. Spurred on by various reading group challenges that I've seen on the web, I made my own little vow for 2008-- to READ MORE. That's it. Just to read MORE. More than before. More than last year. More. Realising my life is cresting the top of its hill and will begin speeding downhill from next year on, and my pile of "to be read" books is still going uphill, I decided to read, read, read. And so far so good. It's the middle of January and I've read 8 books so far. I don't think I'm a particularly fast reader but I do have a knack for finding time to read, and I rarely put a book down in the middle of a chapter. So they get read fairly quickly as long as they're good reads. I also never waste my precious (and dwindling) time in reading books that don't catch my interest within the first few pages. Those get left aside and might get picked up again one day in the future if they're lucky.

Lately I've been devouring historical fiction centered around the wives of Henry VIII. I'm reading The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir, a heavy tome of almost 600 pages, and at the same time I'm reading one book about each of the queens. The large book is non-fiction and well researched, and the other 6 books are fiction based on historical truths. So I'm reading The Spanish Bride: A Novel of Catherine of Aragon by Laurien Gardner since Catherine was Henry's first wife. The Tudors are fascinating and there is so much written about them that I could only read about them for the rest of my life and still not be finished.

In reading about a specific historical period there are often words which I don't know or have only a vague idea about their meaning. Take farthingale for instance. I had no idea what it was and so I googled it this morning. It is in fact a Spanish hoop skirt stiffened with green wood, ropes, or whalebones. Sounds quite uncomfortable to me! And what do you think lappets are? Nothing to do with a lady's lap, they are decorative folds or flaps in a ceremonial headdress. And I also learned that a Venetian Coif is not a new hairstyle from Venice, but a small informal cap often made of linen and sometimes embroidered. There's a wealth of information on the internet about Tudor costumes and I could quite easily go off on a tangent and never get my books read. So I'll limit my googling for now and am off to cuddle under my fur blanket in my comfy chair, with a glass of hot cider and my books.

And just a bit of trivia-- Do you remember the old Herman's Hermits song:

I'm Henery the Eighth, I am!
Henery the Eighth I am! I am!
I got married to the widow next door,
She's been married seven times before.
Every one was an Henery
She wouldn't have a Willie or a Sam
I'm her eighth old man named Henery
Henery the Eighth I am.
Well..... despite what I always thought- it isn't about Henry VIII at all, but about a man named Henry who married a widow who had been married 7 times before!

4 comments:

O said...

I think there is an actual tv drama series on HBO or Bravo titled "The Tudors". Maybe you can watch it with the help of your tv-machine thingy?

Lynda said...

The Tudors is supposed to be a bit racy - I saw this documentary re-enactment about a year ago and it was totally brilliant - not sure if it is available on DVD, but it was so absorbing.

http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/S/sixwives/wives1.html

traveller one said...

o... thanks for telling me about it. Maybe I can find a way to watch it!
Lynda... I'll check it out on DVD- thanks!

Jessica said...

i am also reading about this time period! i just read the other boleyn girl, which sparked my interest. i should get this nonfiction though when im next in united states. i thought the other b. girl was decent though, just didn't like not knowing which was embellished and which parts weren't...

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