Is there something I am missing? I thought Wolf Hall was quite good, but I didn’t really see why it was so revolutionary as a work of historical fiction. After all plenty of authors have written great historic fiction before. I also felt that as someone who has read a lot of Tudor history that there was a lot of content I had read about so many times before. Anyway, now Bring Up the Bodies has won the Booker, making Mantel the first British author to have done so twice.
I was planning to read this book once it appeared in a charity shop near me but now it looks like I might have to track it down a bit sooner. I have to admit that this one sounds more exciting with it dealing with the trial and execution of Anne Boleyn, I can’t think that people are be as sympathetic to Cromwell as they were after Wolf Hall (although that was lost on me too, it definitely goes against traditional historiography). So my question is, if you know lots about Henry VIII already, can you still really enjoy these books?
In the interests of balance I include this video summarising why Mantel should have won (it didn’t persuade me – would Cromwell really have said, “I was always in the money. I always got the girl”, is he some 21st century gigalo?) and a link to an interview with Mantel herself.
Whilst looking at emeraldstreet.com and their fantastic 100 best opening lines of books with its lovely gallery I found a link to this list of the 20 books you must read. It is from stylist.co.uk, not sure on how much I rate their opinion yet but their magazine looks quite interesting and not completely full of the normal vacuous women’s crap.
Not sure if I agree with many of them actually apart from Rebecca. Ghostwritten is good but not my favourite David Mitchell but interesting all the same. Wolf Hall for me was overrated as was Girlfriend in a Coma. Howards End over A Room with a View? Outrageous. There are some that I havent read here so any comments on whether they are worth reading would be helpful.
T H E A L L – T I M E C L A S S I C S
THE GREAT GATSBY BY F Scott Fitzgerald
HOWARDS END BY EM Forster
LOVE IN A COLD CLIMATE BY Nancy Mitford
TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD BY Harper Lee
THE GROUP BY Mary McCarthy
EXCELLENT WOMEN BY Barbara Pym
REBECCA BY Daphne du Maurier
T H E M O D E R N M U S T – R E A D S
HEARTBURN BY Nora Ephron
GHOSTWRITTEN BY David Mitchell
COVER HER FACE BY PD James
THE BLIND ASSASSIN BY Margaret Atwood
WOLF HALL BY Hilary Mantel
VALLEY OF THE DOLLS BY Jacqueline Susann
GIRLFRIEND IN A COMA BY Douglas Coupland
T H E N E W F A V O U R I T E S
ONE DAY BY David Nicholls
SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY BY Gary Shteyngart
VISION OF LOVELINESS BY Louise Levene
THE RULES OF CIVILITY BY Amor Towles
THE BEST OF EVERYTHING BY Rona Jaffe
A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD BY Jennifer Egan