I tried. I really, really tried.
I went to the library – got some (what I thought were) awesome books – and really, really tried to read them.
(Remember that part where I was going to focus on running only those errands that didn’t cost money? Well the trip to the library was one of them.)
First up – “Helen Keller in Love” by Rosie Sultan. By page 28 I had had enough of all of the descriptions of smells and vibrations (through the floor, the table, the ground, the railing) I was gonna be able to take. So I had to move on.
But by page 9 of “Bring up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel I felt like I was engaging in a full-on research project (rather than just an easy-read). I had visited the 4 page Cast of Characters three times and the 2 page family tree twice. In addition, I also had to look up 5 portraits by Hans Holbein, the Lesser. And then I had to look up Hans’ portrait and figure out why he was called the Lesser (his dad Hans Holbein Sr. was the “Greater” that’s why. Duh!).
Despite the research involved, this big, long Cromwellian stream-of-consciousness wasn’t a total loss. For example, on page 364 (of 407 pages mind you) I finally find out what the phrase “Bring up the Bodies” actually means. And I learned way more than I ever wanted to about the last few months of the life of a woman named Anne who’s been dead for 500 years (and her family – the Boleyn’s, and their king – King Henry VIII, and his family – the Tudors, and their servants, and their families, and their servants’ families…)
Let’s stop right here for a second and quickly discuss the methodology my husband says I use to choose books. It’s the same way I choose racehorses. By the name and the colors. Nothin’ else needed. The front cover includes some sort of Old Masters portrait of long-dead royalty wearing pearls? Check! Or howz about folks dressed in Victorian garb faded to sepia tones? Check! The word “queen” is in the title coupled with the implication of romance?? Checkity check check! And at this point I do have to admit a bit of ignorance with the whole library check-out process. I was honestly convinced that if I took THREE books from the Xpress Area (a special library display of newly released/available books – but maybe you knew that already?) that an alarm was going to sound. Either as I took the books or when I checked them out. Turns out, no alarm.
Anywhooo…after slogging through that book, I eventually moved on to the “Highlander Series” by Maya Banks. Not a waste of time at all! As the name implies, it was actually a trilogy: “In Bed with a Highlander”, “Seduction of a Highland Lass” and “Never Love a Highlander”. Them there is some good reads. The covers were of appealing people dressed in swathes of plaid in what I believe might have been compromising positions – but it was hard to tell with all the plaid all over the place (can anyone else actually hear my father rolling his eyes from where they are, or is it just me?). But what’s weird about these covers is that you’re not sure how they get into those odd poses on the front. I mean, there’s no way the heroine can actually have a left arm and still lie like that. And neither can the hero for that matter.
In which case, for my money, there’s nothing better than one-armed Scottish people in love!! Thus making the foray into free-errand ‘ville an outright success.
Final read – “The Queen’s Lover” by Francine du Plessix Gray. Just the author’s name was enough for me, really. But the cover did have overturned Louis Quatorze furniture on it and it is about Marie Antoinette after all…so it’s another must-read.
ADDENDUM: I am not an author and cannot fully appreciate how hard it might be to write books. Absolutely no harm was intended by my light-hearted (not malicious in any way) comments. Highly Talented Authors: we thank you for your oeuvres. Also…I just received an electronic notice from the library and the book I placed on hold 7 weeks ago is in. 50 Shades of Grey here I come!!!!! And in a humorous twist of fate – my electronic copy of How to be an American Housewife is now also available. Funny, right?