I tend to associate the day after Christmas with biographies (for some reason, those show up a lot in my stocking) and slightly squished chocolate.
You’re on your own with the chocolate, but if you like biographies, you’ll probably enjoy:
— Antonia Fraser’s Mary Queen of Scots. (This book is the direct cause of my writing my senior thesis on Marie de Guise and the Scottish Reformation– and a really fun summer in Edinburgh.)
— Flora Fraser’s Pauline Bonaparte: Venus of Empire, an account of the life of Bonaparte’s unruly sister.
— Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra: A Life, which does an amazing job brushing away layers of myth and legend to reconstruct the woman and her world.
— As some of you know, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about Kenya recently. There are two biographies that really stood out: Sara Wheeler’s lyrical biography of Denys Finch-Hatton, Too Close to the Sun: The Audacious Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton, and Frances Osborne’s The Bolter.
— While I’m in the 1920’s and 30’s, it’s hard to ignore the Mitford sisters. The year I was living in England, I stumbled on Mary Lovell’s The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family (although my edition had a slightly different title). It makes for fascinating reading, as does Ann de Courcy’s The Viceroy’s Daughters: The Lives of the Curzon Sisters, whose lives are intertwined with those of the Mitfords.
— I’m a big fan of Garrett Mattingly’s Catherine of Aragon. I’d read a phone book if Garrett Mattingly wrote it. My favorite, although it doesn’t fall under the biography category, is his The Armada, an incredibly lively account of the defeat of the Spanish at the hands of Sir Francis Drake and Co. in 1588.
Which biographies have you enjoyed?