Book recommendation: The Princess Bride by William Goldman.
Since it was first published in 1973, this book has sold an average of 40,000 copies per year. In fact, it’s inconceivable that you wouldn’t have hear of it. If you like a good classic with high adventure, true love, and a nefarious villain, then you’ll love The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Yes, yes, I know that you’ve already seen the movie, but can a movie really do the book justice? Who wouldn’t want to read about a noble quest, sword fights, the Cliffs of Insanity, and the Pit of Despair! I love this book!
Book recommendation: Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
If you like history, intrigue, and well-developed characters, look no further than Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies. This novel is actually a sequel to Mantel’s Wolf Hall, and the three-part series (the third installment has yet to be released) tracks the rise of Thomas Cromwell, a lowly blacksmith’s son, in the dangerous and complex court of Henry VIII. Bring Up the Bodies follows the fall of Anne Boleyn, who failed to give Henry a son and was ultimately executed on false charges of adultery and incest. Anne’s demise as queen is contrasted with the ascendancy of Cromwell, the smartest and most ruthless man at court, who is compelled to play a key role in Anne’s trial, or face the deadly wrath of his capricious king. Mantel’s sharp insight of people and their motivations and desires makes these characters of history come to life. Though this novel is ultimately a work of historical fiction, Mantel’s mastery of the written word makes this story of intrigue, loss, betrayal, and revenge feel, in a way, contemporary. Note: Reading Wolf Hall is helpful to understanding the plot of Bring Up the Bodies, but is not strictly required to enjoy the novel.
Book Recommendation: Captain Wentworth’s Diary by Amanda Grange
Please be warn that this recommendation is indeed a romance novel recommendation and is also considered a fan fiction. When I read fan fiction, which does not happen often, it must include two things: 1) it must be written very well (not gaudy or too “corny”) and 2) it must stick as close as possible to the original story, characters, scenes, sentences, etc. This brings me to Amanda Grange’s retelling of Jane Austen’s 2nd most popular novel Persuasion (depends on who you’re talking to), in which she attempts to write the story from the point of view of Captain Fredrick Wentworth. It is quite an easy read, written in the format of a diary. You get to see Captain Wentworth’s thoughts and reasoning through the diary, which adds a little bit of “texture” to his original portrayal in Persuasion. You can see him mauling over his decisions and actions, all in response to Miss Anne Elliot. I must say, it’s the romantic in me that would recommend this book, especially if you have read any of Jane Austen’s works. Definitely geared towards people who have read Persuasion, this is still arguably on of my favorite Austen fan fiction ever written. If you would like to borrow the book and see for yourself, please do let me know!