One aspect of the book blog culture that really drew me in and convinced me this was a good idea was the idea of book challenges.
I don’t know if anyone else remembers this from elementary school, but every year a list of 50 or maybe 100 books was published, and if you read a certain number of books from that list, you could vote for the ones you thought were the best, and if you read all the books or most of the books on the list, you would received some sort of certificate or award. Maybe it was related to Scholastic or something along those lines…I don’t remember because I never participated.
Why not? The listed books never appealed to me. I assumed the books were well below my reading level (my reading superiority complex apparently started early), which eventually proved to be mostly true after I read two in second grade and was less than impressed. My secret arch nemisis, Catherine Hahn, would always read the most books from the list and I would glower at her back whenever the librarian ‘Oohed and Aahed’ at her accomplishments. I would think, I’ve probably read that many books, too, you know.
Anyways, the blogging book challenges are far more appealing, so I snooped around today for my first one. And I came across:
This challenge caught my eye the second I saw it. For the past year and a half or so, I’ve slowly been making my way through the Phillipa Gregory Tudor books, and have completely fallen head over heels for the danger and drama of the Tudor court. An absolutely intimidating period of history–no one was safe. Ever. The history terrifies me, I can’t image what life was like for those who lived it.
The War of the Roses, really a civil war between the House of York and the House of Lancaster, throwing the Tudors into power. King Henry marrying his dead brother’s wife, who he later divorces in the cruelest of ways. Wives and allies of King Henry beheaded during his reign, or survive to advise the his ailing son, Edward, only to later have their heads lopped off by his daughter, Mary. Plus the marriage of Mary to the Prince of Spain, and the tendrils of the Inquisition sifting slowly into England. And the saga of the Lady Elizabeth, born to lead, but disinherited as a bastard, then reinstated as a Princess, but then dragged to the Tower of London by her half-sister’s goons. Elizabeth’s subsequent rise to power as the (not so) Virgin Queen, threatened by Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, whom she later beheads as a traitor. The body count of dead nobles and royalty make me wonder how anyone, at all, survived.
So here I go, The Tudor Book Challenge. I’ve signed up for the Commoner level (5 books), but I may end up reading more. And as uncreative it will be for me not to branch away from Phillipa Gregory, several months ago I swore I would read all her Tudor books. It’s not my fault she keeps writing more. I will link my reviews here, and link this post to all my reviews.
1. The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory
2. The Constant Princess by Phillipa Gregory
3. The Virgin’s Lover by Phillipa Gregory
4. The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir
5. The Queen’s Mistake by Diane Haeger
6. The Queen’s Fool by Phillipa Gregory
In my research of non-Gregory Tudor fiction, the following also struck my fancy:
7. The Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Alison Weir
8. Mary Queen of Scots and the Isles by Margaret George
9. The Thistle and the Rose: The Tudor Princesses by Jean Plaidy
10. The Captive Queen of Scots by Jean Plaidy
And finally, for anyone interested in the historical order of the Gregory Tudor books (more or less), I have made a convenient list for you:
1. The White Queen
2. The Constant Princess
3. The Other Boleyn Girl
4. The Boleyn Inheritance
5. The Queen’s Fool
6. The Virgin’s Lover
7. The Other Queen
One of my ‘Someday’ goals is to reread them in this order.