Passionate book lover, passionate reader, lover of history, how will I read every book before I die ?
I have read a lot of books about the Borgias, and of all those on my bookshelf (actual volumes on the shelf, as well as audiobooks) this is far and away my favorite. I loved the author's approach, which for one thing takes the reader back to the very FIRST Borgia Pope (and here I didn't even realize that there WAS any other Borgia Pope than Rodrigo), and fills in all the lacunae which other authors have ignored. I found every detail fascinating because I really want to understand the events in Italy of this time period, and the details are what create a rich picture of the times for those of us who are looking back 1500 years. I also cannot imagine a more wonderful narrator for this book. He carried me along with him on this fascinating journey with his rich, mellifluous tones, and that was truly the icing on the cake, great marriage of narrator with material. If you are interested in the history of early Renaissance Italy, you should love this book !
Book blogger at Bookwi.se
Pretty much everyone has heard of CS Lewis or at least his Naria stories or a couple of his non-fiction books (Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, etc.) Except for the two movies, I only saw Shadowlands, most people know nothing about Joy Davidman. Lyle Dorsett wrote what I believe is her only biography. It was on this short biography that both movies drew heavily. The reason that there are three different editions of this book is the popularity of the two movies. So it is interesting to me that Dorsett wanted to re-release the book to counter the misperception created by the movies.
Joy Davidman lived an extraordinarily life. She was born to two very driven second generation Jewish immigrants. Her father, a teacher and later principal, pushed Joy very hard (while virtually ignoring her slightly younger brother because he only had a 147 IQ and "would never amount to anything because he was so slow.") Joy was reading by 3, graduated from high school by 14, entered college at 15, started teaching middle school at 18 and started her masters at 19. By her early 20s she was the editor of a communist paper, had a Yale edition of her poetry published and a successful novel.
I won't give away the main story. I have seen the Hollywood version of the story (not the BBC version) and while it gets much of the basics right, there is so much more to the story. This is a book that I wish were twice as long. Dorsett is a wonderful writer and knows how to both capture the beauty and the spiritual vitality of his subjects without veering into inappropriate veneration of them.
A longer review is on my blog at bookwi.se