"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Nonfiction review and quotes: IT ENDED BADLY

Title: It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History by Jennifer Wright

Book Beginnings quote:
You know what's amazing? That we become upset when a politician cheats on his wife. Remember Bill Clinton? Or would you like to discuss other of our country's leaders? And every time we, as a society, react with distress and disappointment, my heart sings a little. That sense of collective indignation would not have happened had we lived in ancient Rome.
Friday56 quote:
Every account of the English king Henry VIII's life should start with the same basic question. How hot was Henry VIII? That is a private joke that is only funny to me. Every biography you read about Henry VIII and his wives begins with a line like "It's essential to begin our account of Henry VIII by questioning the impact of religion upon the average person in sixteenth-century England" or "We must begin our account of the life of Anne Boleyn by asking the question that has plagued scholars for centuries... I am, however, able to answer my own question--the first question posed in this chapter--the answer is: smoking. Smoking hot.
Summary: These are the worst of the worst of romantic breakups throughout history. From being put to death, to imprisonment, to receiving a lock of your x-lover's bloody pubic hair these thirteen couples really take the cake for breaking up badly. "With wit and considerable empathy, Wright digs deep into the archives to bring these terrible breakups to life. She educates, entertains, and puts your own bad breakup conduct into perspective" (From the book jacket).

Review: The day before the current quarantine, I perused the library shelves for books on my reading list and ended up checking out nine books. It Ended Badly was one of them, though I couldn't remember why I even had it on my TBR list. I quickly read seven of the books, setting aside this book and one other, thinking they weren't for me but after making a stray comment to that effect on a post, Rummanah Aasi over at Books in the Spotlight encouraged me to give it a try, saying that it was excellent narrative nonfiction and her high school students enjoy reading it.

I'm still in recovery from my reading hangover of Lonesome Dove so I decided to pick up a book which was very different. It Ended Badly fit the bill. No bang-bang shoot 'em up, or so I thought. First, I should say, of the thirteen couples I had only heard of a few of the scorned lovers, and of those only two of the couples I'd heard of both partners in the pair/trio: Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn//Debbie Reynolds, Eddie Fisher, and Elizabeth Taylor. The rest like Nero, Oscar Wilde, Norman Mailer I had previously only heard a bit about the one person. So in addition to learning the sorted details of their breakup I learned quite a bit about people and historical figures.

While learning all the sorted details of the breakups was fun, what made It Ended Badly a fun read was the editorial tone taken by Jennifer Wright. She'd done her homework but she didn't come across and a snobby expert. In fact the opposite was true. She made little comments and snarks throughout her writing that simply cracked me up. You see a bit of that in the page 56 quote about Henry VIII being hot and the book beginning quote where she comments that her heart sings when people of today get upset with politicians when they have affairs. (The books was published in 2015, so she didn't have a chance to make a swipe at Trump.) I found myself wishing that I had listened to the audiobook so I could hear how her sarcastic and snarky comments were handled in that format, but then I would have missed all the funny photos and illustrations with her aside comments attached.

I didn't read this book carefully since I was just reading it for fun but I think it has great potential as an addition to a high school library collection if any teacher requires that students read narrative nonfiction. I suspect this one would become very popular with teen readers, as it should with adults, too. Jennifer Wright even comments on page 195 that she thinks it would be a cool teacher that buys this book for their students. Ha!

Thanks Rummanah for the recommendation!

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from current book.
Th
e Friday56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56 to share. 

Visit these two websites to participate. Click on links to read quotes from books other people are reading. It is a great way to make blog friends and to get suggestions for new reading material.


-Anne

26 comments:

  1. It sounds fascinating. There are messy relationships throughout time, and not just in present day.

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  2. It seems like a fun book, especially the snark. I am curious about the Roman comment at the beginning. I'd like to know more.

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    1. Yes. I'd heard before that Nero Fiddled while Rome burned but I never knew was a vicious person he was with his lovers.

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  3. Not normally a non fiction reader - but if I were ever to grab for a non fiction it would probably be something like this with juicy break up stories.
    Thanks for sharing
    my post: https://ignorantsouthafrican.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/funtastic-friday-book-beginnings-friday-56/

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    1. I like nonfiction when I am reading something where I learn something new but don't feel like I am reading a textbook.

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  4. I giggled at both snippets. I like the way the author writes, sounds like a fun read throughout. Happy weekend, stay safe!

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    1. I found myself laughing out loud at many passages.

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  5. Now you have piqued my curiosity...and Henry VIII, smoking hot? LOL

    I am glad you enjoyed this one. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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    1. Why else would six women marry him after he beheaded one of them?

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  6. This sounds like a great change-of-pace read!

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    1. Yes, I really enjoyed it and was able to read it fast since I wasn't reading it too carefully.

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  7. This sounds like it would be fascinating. I'd love for you and your readers to check out mine . . .https://lisaksbookthoughts.blogspot.com/2020/05/its-cozy-food-friday-that-means-its.html

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  8. I'm not a big non-fiction reader, but this sounds like a fun read I'd enjoy. Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a great weekend! :)

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  9. I never thought about how hot Henry VIII was, but that's an intriguing comment on changing times. Sounds like a great read, so I'm adding it to my already overwhelming TBR list. Thanks for the review and happy reading!

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    1. Really. We think of him looking like the actors who played him.

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  10. What a creative way to entice young readers to try nonfiction. Thank you for giving it a chance.

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  11. This sounds like a really interesting book.

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  12. Thanks for sharing it. I'm glad you gave it a second look.

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  13. What an interesting book! I would definitely read it :)
    Konna @ The Reading Armchair

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  14. I haven't heard of this book, but what a fun one. I like that it covers popular culture as well as historical figures.

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  15. This book sounds so interesting! I will definitely check it out.

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  16. It Ended Badly sounds like an interesting read. I haven't heard of it before, but now I want to read it. Great review!

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  17. Oh, this book sounds really interesting! I really need to check this out! This one's going on the TBR. I love that 56 snippet, and it sounds like a fun read for Nonfiction November. :D

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