Title: The King Is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII
Author: Suzannah Lipscomb
Date Finished: January 17, 2021
On 28 January 1547, the sickly and obese King Henry VIII died at Whitehall. Just hours before his passing, his last will and testament had been read, stamped, and sealed. The will confirmed the line of succession as Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth; and, following them, the Grey and Suffolk families. It also listed bequests to the king’s most trusted councillors and servants.
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A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing by DaMaris B. Hill
Genre: Poetry, History
Dates Read: April 5-6, 2019
Synopsis: From Harriet Tubman to Assata Shakur, Ida B. Wells to Sandra Bland and Black Lives Matter, black women freedom fighters have braved violence, scorn, despair, and isolation in order to lodge their protests. In A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing, DaMaris Hill honors their experiences with at times harrowing, at times hopeful responses to her heroes, illustrated with black-and-white photographs throughout.
For black American women, the experience of being bound has taken many forms: from the bondage of slavery to the Reconstruction-era criminalization of women; from the brutal constraints of Jim Crow to our own era’s prison industrial complex, where between 1980 and 2014, the number of incarcerated women increased by 700%.* For those women who lived and died resisting the dehumanization of confinement–physical, social, intellectual–the threat of being bound was real, constant, and lethal.
In A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing, Hill presents bitter, unflinching history that artfully captures the personas of these captivating, bound yet unbridled African-American women. Hill’s passionate odes to Zora Neale Hurston, Lucille Clifton, Fannie Lou Hamer, Grace Jones, Eartha Kitt, and others also celebrate the modern-day inheritors of their load and light, binding history, author, and reader in an essential legacy of struggle. (from Goodreads)Read More »
The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones
Genre: History, Nonfiction
Dates Read: February 1-25, 2019
Synopsis: A stunning achievement that brings one of the most tumultuous and fascinating periods of British history to life, The Plantagenets transports readers to the era of chivalry and the Crusades, the Black Death and the Hundred Years War. The first Plantagenet king inherited a broken, blood-soaked realm from the Normans and transformed it into an empire that would stretch at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. His descendants and their fiery queens, including Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lionheart, Edward II, and King John, shaped England into the country we recognize today and gave it many of the laws, contracts, and bodies of governance—like Parliament and the Magna Carta—that would shape our own nation. (from Goodreads)
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1066: The Year of the Conquest by David Howarth
Genre: History, Nonfiction
Dates Read: January 12-31, 2019
Synopsis: Everyone knows 1066 as the date of the Norman invasion and conquest of England. But how many of us can place that event in the context of the entire dramatic year in which it took place? From the death of Edward the Confessor in early January to the Christmas coronation of Duke William of Normandy, there is an almost uncanny symmetry, as well as a relentlessly exciting surge, of events leading to and from Hastings.Read More »
The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math from One to Infinity by Steven Strogatz
Dates Read: June 20, 2018 – January 12, 2019
Synopsis: Did O.J. do it? How should you flip your mattress to get the maximum wear out of it? How does Google search the Internet? How many people should you date before settling down? Believe it or not, math plays a crucial role in answering all of these questions and more.
Math underpins everything in the cosmos, including us, yet too few of us understand this universal language well enough to revel in its wisdom, its beauty — and its joy. This deeply enlightening, vastly entertaining volume translates math in a way that is at once intelligible and thrilling. Each trenchant chapter of The Joy of x offers an “aha!” moment, starting with why numbers are so helpful, and progressing through the wondrous truths implicit in π, the Pythagorean theorem, irrational numbers, fat tails, even the rigors and surprising charms of calculus. Showing why he has won awards as a professor at Cornell and garnered extensive praise for his articles about math for the New York Times, Strogatz presumes of his readers only curiosity and common sense. And he rewards them with clear, ingenious, and often funny explanations of the most vital and exciting principles of his discipline.Read More »
Queer Eye: Love Yourself, Love Your Life by Antoni Porowski, Bobby Berk, Jonathan Van Ness, Karamo Brown, and Tan France
Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help
Dates Read: December 17, 2018 – January 3, 2019
Synopsis: Feeling your best is about far more than deciding what color to paint your accent wall or how to apply nightly moisturizer. It’s also about creating a life that’s well-rounded, filled with humor and understanding—and most importantly, that suits you. At a cultural moment when we are all craving people to admire, Queer Eye offers hope and acceptance. After you get to know the Fab Five, together they will guide you through five practical chapters that go beyond their designated areas of expertise (food & wine, fashion, grooming, home decor, and culture), touching on topics like wellness, entertaining, and defining your personal brand, and complete with bite-sized Hip Tips for your everyday quandaries. Above all else, Queer Eye aims to help you create a happy and healthy life, rooted in self-love and authenticity.
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Here is the second installment of my catch-up reviews, and it’s for nonfiction:Read More »
Title: Politics and the English Language
Author: George Orwell
Date Read: April 20, 2018
Synopsis: ‘Politics and the English Language’ is widely considered Orwell’s most important essay on style. Style, for Orwell, was never simply a question of aesthetics; it was always inextricably linked to politics and to truth.’All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer.’Language is a political issue, and slovenly use of language and clichés make it easier for those in power to deliberately use misleading language to hide unpleasant political facts. Bad English, he believed, was a vehicle for oppressive ideology, and it is no accident that ‘Politics and the English Language’ was written after the close of World War II. (Goodreads)
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Title: Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics
Author: bell hooks
Dates Read: March 29 – April 7, 2018
Synopsis: hooks applies her critical analysis to the most contentious and challenging issues facing feminists today, including reproductive rights, violence, race, class, and work. With her customary insight and unsparing honesty, hooks calls for a feminism free from divisive barriers but rich with rigorous debate. In language both eye-opening and optimistic, hooks encourages us to demand alternatives to patriarchal, racist, and homophobic culture, and to imagine a different future. (x)
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Title: Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels Explained
Author: Maya Rodale
Genre: NF, R
Dates Read: January 30 – April 3, 2018
Synopsis: Long before clinch covers and bodice rippers, romance novels have had a bad reputation as the lowbrow lit of desperate housewives and hopeless spinsters. But in fact, romance novels—the escape and entertainment of choice for millions of women—might prove to be the most revolutionary writing ever produced.
Dangerous Books for Girls examines the origins of the genre’s bad reputation—from the “damned mob of scribbling women” in the nineteenth century to the sexy mass-market paperbacks of the twentieth century—and shows how these books have inspired and empowered generations of women to dream big, refuse to settle, and believe they’re worth it.
For every woman who has ever hidden the cover of a romance—and for every woman who has been curious about those “Fabio books”—Dangerous Books For Girls shows why there’s no room for guilt when reading for pleasure.
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