I didn’t plan it, but lately my reading has been revolving around history. And, oddly enough, not historical fiction! I’m midway through Winston and Clementine, a collection of letters between Winston Churchill and his wife, Clemmie. They’re just adorable, and are an amazing blend of huge world events, domestic concerns, and romance. One letter might feature lunch with the Prime Minister, questions about household bills, and cute nicknames!
I’m also researching for my Phantom of the Opera retelling. I finished Eccentricity and the Cultural Imagination in 19th Century Paris, which was remarkably helpful. I skimmed parts, but other parts were fascinating, and on the whole it gave me good insights and some shocking historical details. I found out they were still exhibiting people in freak shows and “anthropological exhibits” in Paris into the 1930s!
I’ve read about half of Nights in the Big City for research purposes as well, and it has been less helpful. It’s too theoretical, discussing philosophies when I really just want to know what the night was like for people in the late 1800s. For example, in the chapter on unaccompanied women, there’s long discussion about the societal and moral codes that influence women, how they were perceived and what archetypes were involved, etc., etc., when all I really want to know is whether a woman would have felt alarmed walking unaccompanied through Paris at night in 1880. (I think the answer is yes, but there was lots of rhetoric to wade through to determine that.)
I’m enjoying Winston and Clementine, but I’m finding it hard to stick with them for 650 pages straight. I took a break after World War I to read The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex (excellent!) and plan to break again just before World War II. I want to read Gryphon’s Eyrie by Andre Norton and A. C. Crispin, to finish out that trilogy.
So much for what I’m reading! Visit Book Journey for more posts. And…what are you reading? 🙂