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Sarah's Library

I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad).  The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.

Currently reading

The Last Honeytrap
Louise Lee
Progress: 100/346 pages
Complete Works of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

Ines of My Soul by Isabelle Allende

Inés of My Soul - Isabel Allende

15/2 - I know almost nothing about South American history - I have heard of the Aztecs and the Incas and some of the myths surrounding them (mostly from movies), but I don't know any of the historical figures of any past era (or really even, the current era). I have wanted to read an Isabel Allende book for years and until I started reading this a few minutes ago I had no idea that it was about real people from the past. I am intrigued and excited to continue my first historical fiction from South America. To be continued...


16/2 - Well, now I feel even more ignorant!  I didn't realise that the hometown Ines was talking about, where she grew up tatting lace and baking pies for the merest pittance, is in  SPAIN, not South America.  She kept talking about Chile in the future tense, so I just assumed that Extremadura was another area/village somewhere in South America.  I have never heard of Extremadura and know even less about the history of Spain than I do South America's, but it is a bit embarrassing to open with a discussion of South American history when Ines hadn't even decided to follow her husband (and therefore I couldn't know it was going to happen either), Juan de Melaga, there at the time that I was reading those pages. *Shakes head and heads to Wikipedia to learn more about Extremadura*  To be continued...


20/2 - I know that conquering nations... well conquered the native people and that it's historical fact, but I wish I didn't have to read about it all the time (when I say 'all the time', I mean in the historical fiction genre).  It just depresses me, thinking about the nature of the human race and the fact that no matter what country the conquering nation is from they treated the conquered people atrociously - beating the men and making them work to their deaths or executing them because they were no longer useful; raping the women, purposefully getting them pregnant in order to repopulate the country with the conquering nation's offspring, eventually killing most of them too; orphaning the children, making them work nearly as hard as their deceased parents or just killing them as well (there's a lot of killing of the Incas and other native peoples of 'the new world').  England conquering the American Indians, England conquering the Australian Aborigines, England conquering the Indians (it seems England did a lot of conquering and subsequent massacring :( ) and now Spain conquering Chile and Peru (although with less success due to the jungles and deserts and poison darts conquering them right back, in some instances).  I hate to think what would happen if we were ever to be discovered by a more powerful alien race - karma would have a field day with us.  To be continued...


22/2 - Does anyone else have a problem with a Spanish, now living in Chile, conquistador from the mid 1500s using the phrase "ass end of the world"?  Because I kind of do.  That sounds way too modern, too 20th or even 21st century, to have been a frequently used phrase of the time, as it is in Ines of My Soul.  I also hate "I had lighted a lamp" which is a phrase Ines herself uses over and over, whenever a lamp needs lighting.  What's wrong with "I lit a lamp"?  That sounds so much more intelligent than 'had lighted'.


Other than those two overly well-used pieces of weirdness I'm loving the story of Ines and Pedro de Valdivia and how they conquered Chile (well, not so much the part where they conquered Chile, as you can see from my last update).  Historical fiction is the best way to learn or become interested in any historical figure - you get an interesting story about the person which garners your interest in the figure, and then you find some non-fiction books (or Wikipedia) to learn the full story of the person.  If I hadn't read Ines of My Soul, I would probably never have learned the story of the Spanish conquistadors who went to Peru and Chile, now I want to continue to read more about them and all their adventures while conquering places and people.  To be continued...


15/3 - Very interesting book about a woman who lived a very interesting life. I like the way Allende starts out the author's note with the statement that this book is a "work of intuition, but any similarity to events and persons relating to the conquest of Chile is not coincidental", rather than the usual disclaimer that "this book is a work of fiction and any similarity to any person living or dead is purely coincidental" that most works of fiction include on their publishing details page (or whatever it's usually called as the name has slipped my mind at the moment and I can't be bothered googling it right now). I love history and Ines of My Soul has given me a whole new country's worth of historical events and people to discover. I thought myself mostly interested in the history of England's royalty and am eagerly awaiting the day when I can read all of Philippa Gregory's books (which will be when they rise to the top of my 'to read' pile). Now I find myself eager to get to my library and see if any of the books Allende recommended as useful during her research are available translated into English (all the books she recommends appear to be written in Spanish, I made this deduction from the titles) as I want to read some non-fiction on the subject of Chile's history. Looking back at my review I've just realised that I made a comment (or more than one) about wanting to find out more about the time when Ines Suarez lived three or four different times - obviously I'm seriously intrigued, otherwise it wouldn't continue to be on my mind every time I update this review - I will definitely have to get down to the library for some non-fiction.