Words for Wednesday – April 26, 2023

Is that a more catchy, alliterative title for What I’m Reading Wednesday? Maybe. I’ll sit with it for a bit and see if I like it but this post is indeed about words and books.

I finished up a quick read off my TBR Kindle list, a new-to-me author, Jess Walter, called Beautiful Ruins. Told in several different points of view, from two different time periods (1960s and contemporary) the book asks the question – Can one moment in time influence your entire life? And can that same moment be one of great importance in the life of someone else? The story overlaps the lives of a young actress working on the Cleopatra movie with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, an aging producer, his assistant, an aspiring writer, and a young Italian from a small coastal town. How their lives affect each other, and how their individual choices affect the outcomes of their lives come together in the final chapters, where sometimes the “wrong” choices add up to be the right ones. I enjoyed the concept of this book but struggled a bit at the beginning due to the long cast of characters, trying to figure out how things related to each other. It was a sweet story and one I enjoyed (although probably better suited for readers who are more fans of contemporary fiction than I am). 3-1/2 out of 5 stars.

I’m currently also reading two REALLY long nonfiction books (probably not the best choice since it’s hard to make progress on both simultaneously) which I’m enjoying a lot.

  1. Powers and Thrones by Dan Jones looks at the Middle Ages from all aspects, from the church to the military, from merchants to agriculture, and examines these through the lens of shifting bases of power throughout both eastern and western Europe. I particularly appreciate that he spends quite a bit of time discussing the importance of Islam, as well as the eastern European cultures like the Mongols, to western civilization and culture.
  2. Children of Ash and Elm by Neil Price. An extensive and very interesting look at the history of the Vikings using archeological finds. The chapters on dress and fashion are particularly interesting, and thanks to one of my pet interests (bog people) we actually have quite a few representative samples of dress from this culture to learn about.

I also decided to pick up a few ARCs (advanced reader copies) for review, which I haven’t done in a while. I’ve got two I’d like to get to in the short term, so hoping to tackle those during some travel time in the next couple of weeks.

7 thoughts on “Words for Wednesday – April 26, 2023

  1. That first non-fiction book sounds interesting. I used to live in Chester which has a Roman wall around it and up here have visited many Norse sites and it’s crazy to think of them being here for 400 and 300 hundred years respectively. Hundreds of years!! I mean it’s hard to comprehend just for the UK never mind the rest of Europe and all the changes there, I’m especially interested in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark and there history.

    1. Both of these are interesting, albeit kind of dense books. I actually think you’d enjoy Children of Ash and Elm. There’s a lot of discussion about different finds, from home goods to ship burials and everything in between. And of course, a lot of those sites are in the countries you’ve named, since a lot of the history happened there!

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