Surprise Surprise, this book is terrible. Katherine of Aragon is really one of my favorite historical characters and having seen the number Gregory pu...moreSurprise Surprise, this book is terrible. Katherine of Aragon is really one of my favorite historical characters and having seen the number Gregory pulled on Anne Boleyn I thought maybe Katherine would get better treatment. Sadly, no.
The book is accurate in some ways. Henry VII did propose a marriage between himself and his son's widow, he did insist on examining the bride before the wedding (remind anyone of Anne of Cleeves?) But I wasn't really looking for historical accuracy I was looking for a good read.
1.What really kills this book for me is the ridiculous italic passages of sappy first person narration.
2. The third person section between those are not much better. Katherine is under-developed and over idealized in a kind of sketched made-for-tv movie way.
3. I liked the idea that Katherine ends up loving both her husbands. But did they both have to be contrasting cardboard cut-outs? Arthur is meek and intelligent. Henry is silly and craves attention.
Oh and the language. At one point Henry VII describes Katherine as sexy, a word that doesn't enter English until the 1900s.
It's a Philippa Gregory book I'm not sure what I expected. Maybe *more* scandalous poor plot choices would have made the book actually better. If Katherine had married Henry VII for example or carried on an affair with her confessor while waiting for Henry VII to die or just...anything besides the constant onslaught of "I was destined to be queen" and "god is on my side" (less)
There's a complicated aesthetic experience you have to go through when you're reading Maus. The subject is presented really well--the form and structu...moreThere's a complicated aesthetic experience you have to go through when you're reading Maus. The subject is presented really well--the form and structure and style and content--it all lives up to any critical standard you could put it to. When books don't reach this level of critical standards it is often hilariously easy to read them, like watching bad TV on netflix. Good books are *sometimes* easy to read, when they sort of sing and thrill along with you (Middlemarch for example.) Other books present a constant stomach ache and worry-knot. The enjoyment a reader feels when reading them is oddly subverted by the discomfort of subject matte--hence the stomach ache and bile. And I don't mean that the Holocaust is an uncomfortable subject, the Holocaust is a terrifying nauseating subject uncomfortable doesn't begin to speak of it.
Anyway it's like eating a really awesome plum tart while looking at photos of starving people. Your brain will probably just not know what to do with itself. (less)
Watson has a gift for producing vibrant, elucidated, quotes--from other people's arguments. About 1/10th of the way through his 900 page long volume (...moreWatson has a gift for producing vibrant, elucidated, quotes--from other people's arguments. About 1/10th of the way through his 900 page long volume (happily I'm reading this on my kindle...) I've already started to notice what may turn out to be this book's main flaw, rhetorical reliance on other authors. I'm not sure that this needs to be as much of a problem as it's feeling like. In theory there's nothing wrong with the book collecting and gathering a lot of research, it's a more histiography like argument anyway--but with a book this long the author's voice is going to have to hold the argument together, and I haven't seen evidence of that yet.
This isn't really something I am holding against this book. There's a large difference between collections of unsourced quotations (Reality Hunger) and thoughtfully collected and sourced arguments. There's a wealth of information I hadn't heard before starting this book and the opening segments on Holocaust, wwii, european education and Germany was "enlightening" (har har har) and to someone like me (who gets a holocaust refresher course in every single German lit class I take!) the information made me actually want to talk about the holocaust and theory of german memory, something I haven't wanted to do since sophomore year of high school. (less)