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.
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.
ACTUAL 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!
A 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!
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