Posts Tagged ‘Karl Shaw’

Royal Babylon: The Alarming History of European Royalty

In Book Reviews on June 29, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Royal BabylonBroadway Books 1999

Nutshell blurb: This is a whimsical look at European Royalty throughout the ages. It touched on topics such as inbreeding, adultery and the many quirks and idiosyncrasies of various European royals who were, more often than not, complete nutters.

It was quite interesting to learn about the darker side of these people who affected the lives of so many. When I think of princes, princesses, kings and queens my mind conjures up noble people who are committed to ruling their countries. Obviously, I knew that many of them were corrupt and prone to indulging in their desires, whatever they may be, but I still usually think of them as being very wise. Or at least more intelligent than the average person. As I read this book, it became apparent to me that the majority of historical books that I’ve read have been about events and how people have shaped them rather than ones which look into the personalities of these royals.

A lot of them weren’t very bright. There’s a paragraph in this book which describes a conversation between Kaiser Wilhelm’s wife and the chief eunuch of the harem in Constantinople where she asked him if his father had also been a eunuch.

Madness, syphilis and haemophilia ran rampant throughout the royal families of Europe who were so inbred that most couldn’t hope to avoid some type of related ailment. Their strangest whims had to be indulged at all times.

“…the darkly psychopathic Frederick William I, “the drill master of Europe,” was a dangerous sadist known to posterity for his freakish army of giants and the way he terrorised everyone, including his own children.” He apparently ran through the streets bashing his citizens with a stick and would pay any amount for men to join his army of giants. This resulted in many men over 6 feet tall being abducted and forced into service.

I found this book to be a great resource for inspiration as far as my writing is concerned. It’s also made me want to read more about these people and their exploits as sometimes their antics are stranger than fiction. It would seem that with great responsibility often comes great idiocy. This was a very fun read.


Currently Reading…

In Library Day on June 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Royal Babylon

I’ve just started reading this on my commute. It’s a non-fiction selection and, as the title suggests, it looks at the behaviour of European Royalty. I haven’t read much of it yet, but the writing style is very whimsical which is right up my alley.

Library Day

In Library Day on May 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm

So, it’s been a pretty craptacular week. Nothing specific has happened; it just seems like nothing has gone my way causing frustration upon frustration. Yes, poor me.

The one bright spot in my week was going to be my trip to the library. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love the library. There’s a really nice one which is only a 20 minute walk from work and it’s my favourite place to go during my lunch hour. (Yes, I will walk quite a distance for a good library and no, I don’t go every day.) However, things ¬†at work conspired to keep me from going there until yesterday.

Off I went, a skip in my step, headphones firmly in place as I anticipated the joy I would feel as I entered the building. Alas, it was not meant to be. Books just weren’t leaping off of the shelf at me. I was only able to find four and I wasn’t too excited about them. (I say ‘only’ because I usually bring home 6 -8 and have to ruthlessly decide between which ones must be left behind.) I decided to ask a member of their staff for help on finding one of the books I wanted. That was a mistake. He was really surly and condescending and talked to me as though I had never been to a library before. I’m no library rube! I practically have a cot set up in the sci-fi/fantasy section.

Perhaps I ruined my trip with the negativity I’ve felt all week and should have waited until today to go. (I’m in a much better frame of mind today, you’ll be pleased to know.)

At any rate, here are the four books I found:

Genesis by Karin Slaughter

Life as We Knew it by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Shaka the Great by Walton Golightly

Royal Babylon: The Alarming History of European Royalty by Karl Shaw

I’ve just consulted my TBR list on Goodreads and have discovered, in this very moment, that the Genesis that is on my list is by Bernard Beckett not Karin Slaughter. I’ve picked up the wrong book… I did wonder, yesterday when I was looking at the book, why I had put it on my TBR list. Not that I don’t like thrillers. Who knows? It might be good. I’m actually much more excited about my selection now that I’ve purged the negative thoughts that plagued me for the past four days.

What a week.

Anyway, I will be finishing up at least one of my current books this weekend and will post my thoughts about it on Sunday. Hope to see you then!

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