How fast is this year flying by? The witch’s broomstick is already in the distance, past Halloween’s moon.
This month I read another long book and a children’s story that I read to my third grade class. That counts too, doesn’t it?
First up, The Widow Queen by Elzbieta Cherezinska, translated from Polish to English by Maya Zakrzewska-Pim. When I glanced at the reviews for this I was surprised by the number of men who had left comments, but as I started to get into it, I understood why.
Despite what might look like a historical fiction tale about a bold and beautiful queen, it’s actually so much more. It’s a detailed account of the Piast dynasty of Poland and the power struggles within and between Sweden, Denmark, and Norway with some English and Holy Roman Empire history weaved in as well, all taking place during the late 10th century.
Now I confess I love this genre, but have not read much from this part of the world, which is one of the reasons why I chose this novel.
Awhile back, I also shared that I was one of those people who didn’t like to know too much about a book before I read it. I’m the same with movies and series. And I believe most of the time this works in my favor because I don’t have a strong idea of what I’m diving into. Therefore, my expectations are quite low or nonexistent.
I’m beginning to realize how much this plays into whether or not we like a story. So, because I went in to it wanting to learn more about a part of the world that I previously knew little about, The Widow Queen delivered. But if you don’t like these kinds of details and are looking for more fiction rather than history, this one might not be for you.
But I’m looking forward to book two. I liked the author’s note at the end where she mentions how well known Swietoslawa’s father and brother are known in Poland, but not her or her sisters, and yet how she had led this incredible life. I’m also a sucker for family trees and lineages and maps, of which there are plenty.
I debated whether or not to add this, but what the heck. It makes me look like I’m reading more, but let’s face it, I’m simply too busy to read like I used to. Cue sad, trembling violin music!
Before third grade started, I looked up all these books to read with my class, but I ended up pulling from our library (which isn’t too shabby for a small school!) Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvelous Medicine on the recommendation of a colleague who said he remembered it fondly from when he was a kid.
I’d have never guessed that they would like this absurd story of George making a magic “medicine” for his grumpy grandma, but they did, so we’re doing as a group read of Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox — as well as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory per their request. So if you’re ever stumped for Christmas or birthday presents for first to third graders, Dahl’s your guy.
Happy October and Halloween! What did you read this month?