I loved this book, especially the narration by Jenny Lawson. She has a somewhat warped sense of humor, which admittedly isn't for everyone, but it is what made her stories of growing up in a little town in Texas funny, if a little disturbing. She had quite a strange upbringing if you are to believe even half of her stories. Somehow she is able to bring a little bit of levity to even the most cringe-worthy stories. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was sad when it came to its end. I had never heard of her before but after listening to this book, am definitely a Jenny Lawson fan.
I have no doubt that the author is an expert in this topic and that she meticulously researched all available documentation. However, I seemed to lose track of the players. Not those integral to the plot but there were so many peripheral cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. I had a terrible time keeping track of who was on the Boleyn side and who colluded to have her accused of the ridiculous charges. Since I was a little girl I have known about Henry the VIII and his string of wives. I saw the movie "The Other Boleyn Girl" and found myself wanting to know the real story rather than Hollywood's version. I did enjoy much of the book once the scheming started but the first part was difficult to stick with as I really could care less who the entire court were and how they fit in. I felt like I was back in History class listening to names and dates of people and things I care nothing about. However, once the plot moved forward to the arrest of Anne Boleyn and the men with which she was charged with the crime of adultery against the King, I was transfixed. It amazes me that Cromwell was able to do this to the Queen. According to this author, he was able to put forth enough convincing evidence to sway the King and many others to his will. However, I suspect it didn't take all that much arm-twisting as many had their own agendas that benefited from her demise. I thought the narration was excellent and all in all I did enjoy this book and learned much about Anne Boleyn that I was not aware of-she was a human being with courage and conviction but also showed a dark side in which she was full of herself and treated others with an unbecoming haughtiness. She also treated poor Mary terribly, which is a large part of why she had so many people willing to believe the worst about her. She realized this in the end and asked for forgiveness, which provides a brief glimpse of the goodness inside her. She also really believed in church reform-right or wrong-another thing that garnered her many enemies. She really was a fascinating character.
I have to admit that I didn't feel there was as much action in this 4th book of the series; however, the reader is introduced to all kinds of new characters with elaborate back stories. At times I started to lose track of who was related or tied to which House - Lannisters, Starks, Targaryans, Freys, Tyrells, Blackwaters - so many names with so many cousins and aunts and uncles. And a brand new prince of Dorin that I had never heard of.
However, now that I am reading A Dance with Dragons, the 5th book, it does help to know a bit about the players. Such a sprawling story and I must say the HBO series is much easier to follow now that I know a bit more about the characters and their motives. I am anxious to see how this all plays out. There are so many characters that you can go for most of the book without knowing what happened to your favorite. Never a boring moment and the 5th book is my favorite so far.
I love reading Sarah Vowell books as she is so funny (in a dry, sardonic way) and I always learn things that were never discussed in any of my history classes. While I am really intrigued with learning more about my country's history, so many history-themed books are dry and boring. Sure, I learn things but it is difficult to pay attention when I am reading or listening to a bunch of facts that seem to have no relevence to the present day. Sarah Vowell inserts humorous metaphors and asides to make these "facts" resonate a bit more.
This was not my favorite of her books, but there were some very interesting parts and I learned quite a bit, as usual. Kind of sad to find that once again, the U.S. saw a piece of land and set out to steal it using "manifest destiny" as an excuse to trick the indigenous people into giving away their land for very little or no money based upon promises that would never come to be. If you have never read Sarah Vowell, I definitely recommend reading any of her books.
This book had much more violence and surprises than the last book. Characters that I had enjoyed getting to know were suddenly killed and that was very unsettling but it makes for an exciting story as you never know what will happen next. I enjoyed this book and am anxious to see what happens next in the 4th book
I was still completely engrossed in the story but I have to admit that I enjoyed the first book more as the reader is getting to know the characters and there isn't as much killing and maiming. My favorite character by far is Tyrion Lannister as he is so very smart and sly. He doesn't win battles by brute force but rather by his wits-a master manipulator. I look forward to seeing what happens in Book 3, A Storm of Swords. Any series that can keep me so enthralled for this long is truly a gem and I am very much enjoying the escape to Winterfell, King's Landing, River Run and the Wall. I think it will be a sad day when I get to the end of the story but thankfully, that won't happen for quite some time.
I read this book years ago and had forgotten how much I loved it. It was even better listening to him narrate it-I laughed out loud more than a few times while driving and listening to it. I have always been a HUGE fan and he makes being a liberal democrat in a RED state just a little bit more bearable. I doubt that any conservatives would enjoy it however.
This book taught me a lot about "Custer's Last Stand." From previous accounts and less than complimentary movies, I always assumed Custer was an arrogant showboater who put his men in danger because of his hubris and recklessness-that was definitely part of it but there were so many more aspects to this tragedy-stupid decisions made from the beginning of the campaign and poor implementation by less than stellar officers. The fingerpointing after the battle was pathetic; no one wanted to take responsibility for their part in the failure. I have not changed my opinion about Custer but this book makes it clear that he was not the sole architect of this debacle.
I was a teenager when the Jonestown mass suicide incident happened and ever since I have tried to get my head around that many people following a madman and willingly killing their children then themselves. I was rather depressed after listening to this book but I am a little closer to understanding. It was fascinating to get to know some of these individuals as the book went on and devastating when it came to the inevitable end. Great book but I am now listening to a comedy as it really takes you to a dark place.
I needed to listen to something a little lighter after finishing The Game of Thrones so I picked this and am so glad I did. I think Mindy Kaling is so freaking funny-totally my kind of humor.
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