Weekly Web Links:
- This is very cool; the notebook of an Antarctic explorer has been found under ice more than a century after it was left there.
- Sexy Halloween costumes is not a new concept. What has changed is what constitutes a scandalous outfit.
- Photoshop has become a mainstream part of society these days but image manipulation has actually been used for somewhere around 150 years.
- Grief in Victorian times included very strict rules regarding what to wear.
- A 750 year old Mongol city appears to have been found in Russia, the discovery includes numerous carvings and what researchers believe are two Christian temples.
- The Wilas of Slavic mythology fall somewhere between a ghost and a fairy but are far more ferocious and are kind of bad-ass and awesome.
Historical Book Review for the Week:
Madame de Pompadour: Mistress of France by Christine Pevitt Algrant
In all honesty, my interest in Madame de Pompadour was raised by a Doctor Who episode (who says TV isn’t educational? I’m sure the real Jeanne Antoinette Poisson was stalked by real robotic French courtiers that were actually from a spaceship/the future haha)but even without the science-fiction aspects (or the presence of David Tennant) the actual Madame de Pompadour was an exceptional woman who managed to be considered remarkable even within the glitz of the French court.
Unfortunately, while Christine Pevitt Algrant’s book does cover the basic facts of her life and includes mention of her many skills and accomplishments, it is presented in such a point by point, factual (I hate to say it but dry) tone, that it produces an end result that comes across as rather uninspiring and lacks much of the awe that this woman’s biography should inspire.
I feel I need to be clear that this is not a bad book; it’s well written, it’s factually accurate, and it covers exactly what it claims to on the back cover. The issue is more that, with non-fiction books, all of the information is online. If I just wanted to collect some facts about her as a historical figure, I could go onto Wikipedia, get them, and then spout them out at the next family dinner I attend and look brilliant. I read history books and biographies because I love the construction of a story, the way certain authors have that skill of making you feel as if they are writing about whatever particular event they’re covering from a real-time perspective even though that would mean they would have to travel back in time (see what I did there?) and, unfortunately, this book just doesn’t have that narrative spark.