Monday, 23 March 2009

Current reading

A couple of bits of non-poetry reading from the last few weeks...

Firstly, Blood And Roses, by Helen Castor. It looks at the famous Paston Letters, correspondence between members of a minor noble family in Norfolk in the 15th century. It's not exactly 'history-lite', but it's certainly not a dry academic text either, as Castor uses well-chosen excerpts from the letters to drive along a horrendously complex but very compelling narrative. She lets the characters of the family members come through, with the brave, indomitable Margaret and the patient, easy-going John III being particularly engaging. Above all, she foregrounds the surprising similarities between our own society and lives and those of 15th century England, without ever making any comparisons or labouring her point. Highly recommended.

Secondly, I've rediscovered this fine website, From Watford Gap To Camelot, after a few years away. It's a ramble across the middle of England, taking in all manner of historical and folkloric diversions (Fairport Convention even come into it, and that's never a bad thing). Again, well worth a few hours of your (employer's) time.

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