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I just finished this book and I have to say that I highly recommend it. Ian Mortimer is a great writer who manages to provide a lot of information in an easy-going and interesting manner. I even laughed a few times. My favourite parts were those about the cities, accommodation, health and clothing. I learnt a great deal about those little things that regular history books don't tell you (what was a toilet like in the 14th century? How did people bath?) and that really help you to understand that history is nothing but people. People like you and me who lived centuries ago but who still laughed and cried and fucked and prayed. 

Something that really impressed me was the section about the Black Death. We are taught that the plague was vital to the development of Modern Europe, jump-starting the religious turmoil and economic change. But Mortimer reminds us that all those people who died were, well, people. He makes the devastation palpable, clear, solid, human. I almost cried. And I was reminded, once more, why I love History so much. It's so alive! So filled with wonder and magic and I suck at explaining this, but God, how I love it. 

Umm, sorry for the uncalled burst of enthusiasm. My point was that this is an excellent book for all of those who enjoy reading about the Middle Ages or English history in general. 
lovelycudy: (Default)
I bought a new book, and a Shakespeare play, at that! Edward III has been incorporated to Shakespeare's canon and aSpanish translation was released this year. The book just hit the book stores and I had to have it. I'm still reading the prologue but I'm so damned excited about it. I mean, it's Edward III after all. 

Thank you to every one who has been there to support me and hold my hand. You are wonderful. 
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I seldom rec anything here but I need to do this. I've been reading this gorgeous fill [ profile] hetalia_kink and I thought of sharing it with the world my f-list. 

The prompt:

Let's assume we're at a prestigious private boarding all-boys high school.

Arthur's a freshman. Alfred's the teacher, a significantly older teacher. Mr. Jones feels terribly guilty for wanting his student, but makes advances on him anyway. Arthur rejects him, uh, not with polite words.

Alfred pulls his teacher/guardian string to lure Arthur into bed, so that he can teach Arthur a thing or two about respect. Arthur only consents because he has no other choice. What I really want to see is severe imbalance in power/control in their relationship.

Angst is a must, dub-con/non-con is fine, smut is delicious.

Bonus: Arthur receives financial aid from school. Alfred uses that as leverage.
Bonus 2: Arthur's a virgin before Alfred.
Bonus 3: Arthur's friend, [insert] finds out and tries to do something about it.

So, yes, this is me reccing a rape fic again. But like last time, this is not the kind of story you get off to or in which the author uses rape as a cheap plot device or a way to fall in love or a excuse for Healing!Panis. No, no. This, like Ah, Underneath, by the brilliant [ profile] themillersson is well written and realistic and painful

The story is written from Alfred's POV and the author gives us a terrifying but engaging glimpse of Alfred's mind. I was going to write "predator" but I backtracked. Alfred is a predator in this story (the blackmail, the hand lotion) but he's not a serial rapist as far as we know. He starts being a normal person and descends to the depths of an obsession that reminded me, somehow, to Humbert Humber. Somehow, because as I said, he's not looking for children but is obsessed with Arthur and rationalises everything, his lust, his feelings, his need to blame the victim. But unlike HH , Alfred knows (somewhere) he's doing something terrible. It's truly an amazing piece. 

Francis also appears as Arthur's roommate (crush?) and Matt does, as well, as Alfred's brother. 

I can't do this story justice, but I can pimp it. If you feel like it, go ahead and read it. It's a WIP with 76 parts up to now. Ah! I almost forgot. I think it's by the same person who, I think,  wrote Sign A New Agreement With iTunes which is, to this day, my favourite FrUK fic.

Part One (1 to  56) || Part Two (57 to 76)
lovelycudy: (Default)

The second batch of home-made chocolate chips cookies got burnt. I may have forgotten about them while reading. The evidence is inconclusive.


Jul. 13th, 2010 10:41 pm
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I finally got hold of Albert Speer. His Battle with Truth*, by Gitta Sereny, thank to my dearest Dad, who bought it for me in his last business trip. Actually, he didn't buy it. One of his employees' wife was nice enough to go around Santiago de Chile's bookstores and she actually found it! Not only this one, but Marie Antoinette** by Stefan Zweig, which is a seminal work to understand MA's life and is one of the few books missing from my collection dedicated to her. I'm incredibly happy and grateful and I'll send a "thank you" e-mail to her tomorrow. 

Anyway, I started with Sereny's book because I'm in a WWII mood. And my God, the book is amazing. I'm trapped. The narrative is beautiful and once again I'm mesmerised by that horror that is the Nazi regime. Speer is a conflicting figure: brilliant, with a clear mind able to asses the errors of Hitler and yet unable to walk away. I will not lie: I admire Speer's talent. I love Architecture (my dreamt career after History) and the things this man achieved are breathtaking. But how can you look at the cathedrals of light or the rebuilt of Berlin and not shudder? How can you forget that the war lasted an extra year because of him? 

The fact that Speer agreed to be judged in Nüremberg and ask for forgiveness is also troubling. It's easier to see Nazis in black and white: if they are monsters (and they were) and unable to repent, we are safe. We can't be them because we are human and they weren't. But Speer's soul was tortured by guilt and it's hard not to believe, not is regret, but the extent of his spiritual search. I find his reflections on responsibility and morality more important than his regrets. He's diamond clear on his self analysis and is terrifying: you can understand (not share, not agree, never agree) how a man like that can you end up following Hitler. Just like Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, this book is like looking into the heart of darkness and finding nothing but people. It's darkest than any tale on the monstrous essence of the Reich and an experience that no one should miss. 

I wasn't expecting to write such a long entry, but it's been a while since I'm so fascinated by a book. I thought of sharing it. 

*Review by The Freeman
** Review by Powell Books
lovelycudy: (Default)
Oh my. Tomorrow 7 AM I have to be up and runnig to get to my second semester. And you know what, Its 0:30 and I'm still reading a great AU Harry Potter fic. I wonder why I'm so untalented that I can't write anything? Damn, I hate it.

Anyways, tomorrow I have a Research Workshop about Biblical archaeology and Literary Analysis... it sounds fun. I also have to send Sol some new ideas for her fic.

I'm just rambling now

August 2014

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