Boy did I get suckered into this one. I remember when this came out; it was everywhere. I'd just had a baby so I glanced at it several times and thougBoy did I get suckered into this one. I remember when this came out; it was everywhere. I'd just had a baby so I glanced at it several times and thought "That would be a fun DaVinci Code kind of read when I have time someday." Never picked it up. Never even looked very carefully at the cover.
Then we bought a Nook so that we could travel with our precociously well-read 8 year old without hauling a steamer trunk of books along with us. I was perusing the e-books available at the library and this popped up. "Perfect!" I thought. "I'll read this on vacation!"
But wait. It's about VAMPIRES?
How the hell could I have missed that?
I'm about 2/3rds of the way through; finding it ponderous, convoluted and stodgy but still engaging because of Kostova's ability to evoke a sense of place. You can almost smell Istanbul. In a good way.
But what editor anywhere thought it would be a good idea to faithfully fictionalize a scholarly article about a 14th century travel log? Zzzzzzzz.
And, wait. Vampires? Really?
And now I'm done and feel the need to edit the whole damn thing so that it has a sense of pacing and story arch.
And, really? One lucky shot was enough?
BUT I did, in fact, read the whole thing, so that's saying something, I suppose....more
I think this book is best described by my husband, who picked it up when he was looking for something to read, opened it to the middle, read for 5 secI think this book is best described by my husband, who picked it up when he was looking for something to read, opened it to the middle, read for 5 seconds, and threw it down, saying, "This is someone's dissertation gone wild."
Despite the fact that I'm always interested in the theories put forth about the man who may have been Shakespeare, the main problems I had with this book are as follows;
Greer is angry and biased. She lambastes other scholars for their conclusions then states her conclusions. Both sets of conclusions are based on very little fact. It is all opinion. No one knows who might be right. Yet Greer sneers and insults earlier scholars through gritted teeth.
Meanwhile, she does the same thing. She approaches the scarce evidence through her own personal bias. She, feminist. They, misogynist. But still all conjecture. No need for bile here and Greer has much bile.
She also works to hard to prove a point that cannot possibly be proved. She didn't find Ann's will, she didn't find a box of long lost letters. She has what everyone else has. She just thinks everyone else is wrong. So she writes lists and lists and lists of examples of life in Stratford and how these examples might have related to Ann. For example, Greer brings up widow's wills and their bequests. This subject designed to prove that Ann was probably a self-sufficient early feminist who supported herself admirably. The problems; no matter how many examples you list of widow's wills (too many) what the heck does that prove if you don't have Ann's will?
This book would have been much better served if it hadn't set out to prove anything. A "This is What Life Was Like in Stratford and Here's What We Know About Some People Who Lived, Worked, Birthed and Died There." And even then, ease up on the scholarly proof. Or at least present it in a more engaging way.
This was a slog. Good information. Impeccable research, I'm sure. But a slog nonetheless....more
Ugh. Less a history than a listing. No footnotes. No bibliography. No depth. If I knew the details of the history of England as it relates to the ThamUgh. Less a history than a listing. No footnotes. No bibliography. No depth. If I knew the details of the history of England as it relates to the Thames, maybe I would have loved this book for putting it all in one place. As it stands, I read it because I wanted to know more about the history and got merely a listing of interesting facts that that I found less than interesting because most of the time I did not have the requisite backstory to put these facts in the correct context....more
Do I have to keep reading this? I'm only 100 pages in and currently believe that this tome was penned by a villain from the PBS series WordGirl who goDo I have to keep reading this? I'm only 100 pages in and currently believe that this tome was penned by a villain from the PBS series WordGirl who goes by the name of Lady Redundant Woman.
Taking a break. Perhaps I'll be back again someday....more