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Monday, January 25, 2016

Just Finished Reading...

...a few books.

My latest in my Lois McMaster Bujold reread, Memory. In Memory, Miles Vorkosigan must start a new life, knowing that he is, sadly, finished with the Dendarii Mercenaries because of something that happened in the previous book. Miles being Miles, he takes well to his new job, and manages to save an old friend/boss at the same time. And the Emperor gets engaged...

Then I went back to Shards Of Honor, the novel in which Cordelia Naismith and Aral Vorkosigan, Miles's parents, meet. There are a lot of debates about this one. I loved it.

I've just finished Medieval Underpants And Other Blunders by Susanne Alleyn, a very enjoyable book about how NOT to write historical fiction. Considering how many anachronisms I've seen in historical fiction, it was a refreshing read. So many writers research the major events of history and get the little things about daily life and customs wrong. I have recently put down a book in which an eleventh century royal bride wears elegant lingerie to bed on her wedding night, to tempt her new husband. Urk.  The author knew his historical battles and politics, but not, it seems, what people wore to bed(usually nothing, but definitely not lingerie) or what wedding night customs were.  Frank Yerby's Saracen Blade, a delightful book that was made into a movie with a very young Ricardo Montalban, had a scene where a lively, energetic Renaissance dance is described as one where the characters bow and kiss each other's hands and talk as they dance...slowly. I forgave him for having it in a mediaeval setting - there aren't many mediaeval dances known - but not for getting the description wrong.

Yesterday I finished A Corner Of White, the first in Jaclyn Moriarty's Colours Of Madeleine trilogy so now I can finally read the sequel, Cracks InThe Kingdom, and understand it. The author is visiting this site on a blog tour in March and I have to have the interview questions written in the next couple of weeks.

Today I'm going back through the Indiana Jones trilogy - Temple Of Doom this morning - to decide which of the three I should teach Year 8 in English, as a film text. The film text theme for Year 8 English is Adventure. In past years I've done Up, which is a great film with lots of meat for class discussion, but last year, when I wasn't teaching English, everyone went over to Indiana Jones and while I'm allowed to do Up, I thought it might be best to do the same as everyone else. It will be a change for me. Last year, though, all three films were used by different classes. So, do I do the one with the Lost Ark, the one with the evil Kali worshippers or the one with the Holy Grail?

Any thoughts?




4 comments:

Pamela said...

I need that Medieval Underpants book, stat! That sort of thing drives me crazy. Lingerie in the 11th Century, eh? Even if it had existed, it would have probably been made out of dirty wool or something.

Temple of Doom is my least favorite Indy, probably because it scared the pants off of me as a kid. For pure fun, I like Raiders, and Last Crusade is a bit meatier with the whole estranged father/son bit. I think Temple of Doom was a bit more ... stylish?

Sue Bursztynski said...

You can buy Medieval Underpants as an ebook. Yes, anachronisms can really jar. I'll admit we all do it, even the author of Medieval Underpants admitted she had done it now and then. It helps to have an alert editor - mine, for Wolfborn, was a specialist in that kind of fiction. And I noticed, before publication, that the king had been referred to as His Majesty(a few hundred years early)and fixed all but one reference ...which was still there when I opened the published book! Ack. But nowhere near as bad as medieval lingerie.

Temple Of Doom is in general the least popular of the movies, but I watched it anyway. Our ESL teacher used that one. I liked it better this time around.

Terry Morris said...

There are some history podcasts I enjoy, but lately I do get frustrated that they are all about the broad sweeps, and what I want to know is what the people ate, and what did they make their clothes from and how did they make them. How did they get the metal for their weapons? It's great that there were pirates in ancient times, but how were the ships built? I often think it might have been the little things that motivated people to do the things they did.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Thing is, "daily life in Ancient Rome/Mediaeval England" is something people associate with Year 7 and 8 history. BORING! And men, especially, want to skip the bits about how they built their boats and get on to the good stuff, like who won the Battle of Hastings. I did my best, when I was teaching year 8 history in 2014. My primary sources included Ibn Fadlan, who described Vikings as the filthiest people he ever met, describing in great detail how they shared a wash bowl in the morning and spat into it, and another, later source from an Englishman who complained that those bloody Vikings were getting all the girls because they were so damned CLEAN! I invited my students to decide which they thought was accurate. (They preferred the Ibn Fadlan story, of course). Maybe it was just the Russian Vikings who were dirty. One of my students discovered, to her delight, that people slept naked in the Middle Ages and asked if she could draw it on her assignment sheet. I said she could if she liked, though it was no big deal to those people, and anyone who saw her assignment wouldn't be interested in the rest of it. In a later assignment, she drew me a picture of a smirking Aztec God clutching a mug of hot chocolate...