Sunday, August 31, 2014


A very quiet weekend here, despite being the Labor Day weekend holiday.  D had several out-and-about guy things going this weekend, so I did a bit of spinning, did some finishing work on a couple of projects for The Book (buttons and a quick final blocking spritz for a couple of the sweaters), and of course, knit.

I also finished reading Pope Joan, a very interesting historical novel, that explores the legend (rumor?) of a female pope in the late 800s AD.  (Note: I'm not entirely sure why there's a portrait of what appears to be a Tudor-era woman on the cover, since this was long before that, but there ya go.)

This book is "what if" kind of book.  The author definitely falls on the side of novel rather than historical, as there is a lot of missing information from this period and certainly if the story is true, when Joan's true sex is revealed (she has been masquerading as a monk, Brother John, after her own brother is killed in a Viking raid and she takes his place at the Abbey), as many documents as possible regarding her short reign as Pope were destroyed.  This was not a time supportive of women's education, and certainly not for the assumption of a female to the very powerful office of Pope.

I enjoyed the read, however, and it is a well-told story.  I was engrossed in it enough I wound up reading all of it in 3 days.  The character of Joan is well thought-out and the story the author has constructed around what little hints and snips of reality she has in extant documents is believable enough that you can imagine this is the way this history happened.  (The author finishes up the book with a several-page disclaimer, if you will, about what things she knows for sure - which are little tidbits really - and what she has constructed as likely from the limited sources she has.)

I hope all of my US readers have a wonderful Labor Day holiday.  I know I'm ready to kick off the fall season around here!

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