Different is Not a Bad Thing

For the past few days, I’ve been reading something quite unusual for me: nonfiction.  In general, nonfiction just doesn’t do much for me; I prefer a good story.  It’s also true that I was counting pages a lot more than I usually do, figuring that reading about 100 pages a day would work well for this particular volume.

The book is The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century.  It’s written by Ian Mortimer, who is apparently fairly expert in this field, complete with Ph.D. and other noteworthy honors.  (Frankly, I don’t see the point in listing them, they don’t mean much to me except that this guy knows his stuff.)  The point being, there’s nearly 20 pages of footnotes, bibliography, and other references at the back, indicating that some serious research was done.

The end result is a factual book that opens up a window into the 1300s through which a modern reader can get a real appreciation for the differences 600-700 years can make in our everyday lives.  It’s opened my eyes to how amazingly inaccurate some of my favorite books are, and appreciate how making one’s own world can allow an author to sidestep some of the more confusing aspects of our own history.  (Case in point: money.  I think wizarding money in the Harry Potter universe makes more sense than medieval English money.)

So while reading this book was more of a slog and a chore than usual, I still enjoyed myself overall and have learned a great deal. I think I’ll keep this book, especially as reference material, but because there’s not going to be a huge demand for it, I’ll probably be happy to lend it out to friends.  Even friends who have had a book of mine for over a year now…or is it two…

I’m not sure what’s next on the menu.  I’ve thought about Andre Norton as previously mentioned, there’s The Pile of books I’ve never read, etc.  Whatever I do read, it will definitely be a novel this time, probably fantasy of some kind.  The real question is what kind of length – standalone, small set, or a long involved series?  To be determined!

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