Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 11 & 12 - 2014

Book 11: Celebrity Crimes: The Dark Side of the Limelight by Xavier Waterkeyn – 233 pages

Description from Goodreads:
Victims, survivors, killers and suicides: all the people in this book are celebrities whose lives have gone awry. Celebrity has always come at a cost. If there were such a thing as a manual for how to survive celebrity, one of its key points would have to be: 'Abandon all hope of a private life, ye who enter here.' Celebrities have, almost by definition, always had to make deals with the devils offame and fortune and access to extraordinary experiences and really great bananas in exchange for being public property. From Wild Bill Hickock and Jesse James, and the Drugs and Deaths in the Silent Era to the mystery murder of Joy and George 'Born Free' Adamson and the tragedies of celebrities like Versace, this book has all the killings, suicides, victims of crime and drug crimes that shocked the world. The tragedies of the deaths of the Beatles stars John Lennon and George Harrison are included, as are the 'trials of the centuries', like OJ Simpson and Lana Turner and her daughter and then there are the suicides Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and the tragic lives of the former child starsRiver Phoenix and Dano Plato.

I’m a bit of a celebrity gossip lover. This book talks through the deaths, suicides, and murders committed by celebrities. I bought it cheap so I didn’t think it was going to be that great, but its actually a pretty good read. Whilst it covers some of the more famous deaths and murders (John Lennon, OJ Simpson, etc) it also looks at a number of more obscure ones. Mostly this book makes one thing pretty clear: being a celebrity should not be anywhere near as desirable as it seems to be to the majority of people. A decent overview if you’re into celebrity gossip.

11 / 50 books. 22% done!

3922 / 15000 pages. 26% done!

Book 12: The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory – 437 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
A dramatic novel of passion, politics and betrayal from the author of The Other Boleyn Girl. Mary, Queen of Scots, fights to regain her kingdom whilst under the guard of Queen Elizabeth's trusted accomplice, Bess of Hardwick. Mary is Queen of Scotland but she has been forced to flee her land and take refuge in an England that is ruled by her cousin Elizabeth. But England, precarious in its Protestant state, set against the mighty powers of Spain, France and Rome, doesn't need a charismatic Catholic figurehead at large. So Elizabeth's chief advisor, Cecil, devises a plan in which Mary will live under guard with his trusted accomplice: Bess of Hardwick. Bess is a self-made woman, a shrewd survivor. She is newly married to her fourth and most distinguished husband, the Earl of Shrewsbury. But what marriage can withstand the charms of Mary? Or the threat of rebellion that she always carries? Mary must wait in her privileged imprisonment for the return to Scotland and her infant son; but waiting is not the same as doing nothing...With her characteristic combination of superb storytelling and authentic historical background, Philippa Gregory brings to life this period of great change, in a riveting tale of betrayal, loyalty, politics and passion.

I have been planning to finish the Tudor Court novels for sometime, and for some reason decided this time was it. This is the final book in the series (which is not chronological, which annoys me) and it tells the story of Mary Queen of Scots. I’ll admit I don’t know much about Mary, as my interest in the Tudors has usually only extended to Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, so it was very interesting to read about her. However, to be honest, it was really Bess of Hardwick that kept me reading. I had never heard of Bess, but I ended up googling her after reading this book, and I was very impressed to read about her. Whether or not her husband, the Earl, really did fall in love with Mary seems to be up in the air, but nonetheless, Bess appeared to be a woman of great drive and ambition, much ahead of her time. Mary’s own ambition somehow didn’t seem as admirable when compared to Bess (and Mary came across as spoilt and insolent as well – I didn’t hate her but I didn’t really like her either). Gregory always does a great job of telling the stories of the lesser known figures of history (even if it is with her own spin) and whilst this was Mary’s story, I definitely recommend reading it for Bess.

12 / 50 books. 24% done!

4359 / 15000 pages. 29% done!

Currently reading:
-        Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture by Juliet B. Schor – 258 pages
-        Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs – 283 pages
-        Globality: Competing with Everyone from Everywhere for Everything by Harold L. Sirkin, James W. Hemerling and Arindam K. Bhattacharya – 267 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages
Tags: biography, european, historical fiction, non-fiction

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