Reads & Recs: History, Funny History, and a Girl Boss

FUNNY HISTORY: Now, it’s no secret I love Anne Boleyn (see here and here) and that Tudor history is a hobby and a passion for me (not unusual, really). Recently I followed a hysterical Twitter account posing as Henry VIII, @KngHnryVIII, and every day found myself laughing out loud at his outrageous tweets about bacon, cake, and defecating on the map of Spain. When I saw he was promoting an e-book on Amazon, I didn’t hesitate to spend a whopping $2.50 on it, and it was so, so worth the money. I would have paid $10 for this thing, and that’s saying a lot for someone who lives on $3 paperbacks from thrift stores.

71JSwrDSOuL._SL1000_The book is called Monarch of Your Bedchamber and the subtitle is, “Henry VIII’s Long Awaited & Extremely Helpful Guide to Relationships: Sex, Wooing, Marriage, Mistresses, Divorce, Beheading, A Bit More Sex & Full Metal Codpieces.” Full metal codpieces are over-represented in this book but I truly wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now, this spoof book isn’t just funny, it’s brilliant. It manages to be irreverent about history and accurate (mostly accurate, at least) at the same time. Narrated by King Henry himself, this book provides advice for the modern reader and a tell-all about his life—and his afterlife. I can’t help but include some choice excerpts that made me snort whatever drink I happened to be sipping at the time:

King Henry ruminating, on his deathbed, about dissolving the monasteries:

“I signed my will, entrusted my soul to Jared-Leto Jesus, and uttered my final words, which have been reported as ‘Monks, Monks, Monks…’ Which is only partially correct as I was actually working on a song that went ‘Monks, Monks, Monks, I tooks your junks, junks, junks away in trunks, trunks, trunks.'” (loc. 1105)

On the death of Catherine Parr’s husband, Lord Latimer:

“Her husband, Lord Latimer, was, however, doing the kingdom the huge favor of dying just then, albeit at a pace that I found slow to the point of being unpatriotic.” (loc. 1051)

And then there are examples of “Tudor erotic poetry:”

“You are my boiled swan,/My cheese,/My eel pie,/My succulent roast beef,/You—sweet lady—are/my bacon/With boobs.” (loc. 1200)

He also takes The Tudors to task for being inaccurate, which I thought was hysterical considering this “King Henry” admits to being in love with a time-travelling robot and is able to use Twitter from the beyond.

I also strongly suggest you follow his Twitter account for haikus about bacon and sex.

9781445607825ACTUAL HISTORY: So that’s what I read last week. This week, I am reading Sarah Morris and Natalie Grueninger’s In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, a book which tracks Anne’s important locations, such as the place she was married, her birthplace, and the castle where she grew up. It also makes an effort to locate and describe her possessions, like the set of virginals she played currently on display at the V&A, the psalter she owned, and her Bibles translated to English and French. It’s lovely for someone like me, someone who has read about Anne for a long, long time. Get it here!

The author, Natalie Grueninger, runs an excellent blog called On The Tudor Trail. Definitely check it out!


9780399169274A GIRL BOSS: On my TBR list this month is #GIRLBOSS, the memoir/advice book by the founder and CEO of Nasty Gal, Sophia Amoruso. I’ve heard great things about this book and I’m trying to get my hands on it soon. I’ve read that it isn’t condescending or cheesy like self-help books tend to be. As a fan of Nasty Gal and—you know—a girl, I’m really excited to read it! Get your copy here.

So what is on your To Be Read piles/lists this month? Let me know in the comments. And Happy Memorial Day Weekend for those in the US!



Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. Images from Amazon or Wordery unless otherwise stated. 

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  • I’ve been following @KngHnryVIII for a while and he really is HILARIOUS! I keep seeing tweets about the book and after reading the bits you posted, it is now a must get for me.

    The ‘In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn’ is another book I need to get my hands on. I am not sure how far you are in it, but does it go into great detail about her time with Archduchess Margaret? Ives does an excellent job of detailing that time- it makes me want to know more!

    • It doesn’t go into a whole lot of detail about Margaret of Austria, more the palace at Mechelen where Anne lived. It’s more of a guidebook than a history book but it’s very interesting!

      • Ah, okay! So it is more about the places and things… definitely still a must have for me 🙂

        • It’s lovely so far! It’s still a narrative and the writing is a little more sentimental than the Ives biography, which is kind of nice. It puts you in Anne’s shoes throughout her life.

  • If you enjoy irreverent history try looking on YouTube for some of the songs from the Horrible Histories TV show. I’m sure there’ll be one on there about Henry VIII, and they have great takes on things like the Kings George and Richard III.

    • Thanks for the tip! I always love history presented in fun, interesting ways (as long as it remains largely accurate)!