This feature (for now in the custody of sarah.of.a.lesser.god) is our way of sharing those book titles, both fiction and nonfiction, that have been standouts in recent reading, and hopefully getting some from our readers in return. The focus is primarily, but not necessarily exclusively, on books concerning women and feminism, and/or written by female authors.
My Pick: The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir. I’m still reading it, but I’m almost done! When I finish, I will have read five of Weir’s books, all of which pertain to British royalty and most of which revolve around royal women, and I love how she strips away the gloss of fables and legends to show the real human dramas that motivated these powerful figures. (In addition to The Wars of the Roses, I recommend Queen Isabella: Treachery, Adultery, and Murder in Medieval England and The Six Wives of Henry VIII.) The Wars of the Roses works on a much grander tapestry than some of Weir’s more concentrated biographies, chronicling decades of unrest and open war, and there is no central protagonist. Weir takes the time to explore the lives of not only the men in charge but those of their wives and daughters — who are often ignored in other books — and she is candid about the way that women were viewed as chattel and collateral.
I’m reading the book fairly quickly, and hopefully will finish it before school starts again on Monday and I’ll have to spend all my reading time on class assignments. Thus, The Wars of the Roses will be my last bit of summer reading. BeckySharper asked last month what we planned to read on our summer vacations, and I wish I had read more than I did this summer. Still, I got through Weir’s book, plus Irvine Welsh’s fabulous Trainspotting (my beach read while at Harpy House, and a must-read for anyone who saw the movie but has not yet read the source material) and The Creators by Daniel Boorstin (in which there were practically no women mentioned — ugh). As autumn looms, I wonder what all of you leaf through this summer, and what recommendations do you have for the rest of us? Share your picks in the comments!