Monday, February 25, 2013

Nonfiction Monday: Haunted Histories

Haunted Histories: Creepy Castles, Dark Dungeons, and Powerful Palaces by JH Everett, illustrated by Marilyn Scott-Waters.

I'm taking a break from the covering the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction longlist to bring you something else that I just read.

Virgil is a ghostorian-- a historian with a magic time-travel device that allows him to go to any place in any time and talk to ghosts to get a good sense of what really happened there.

He uses these powers to take us to many castles around the world to show how hard (and disgusting) life really was, especially for the many people who WEREN'T royalty, but still lived there.

In a lot of ways, this is very similar to the You Wouldn't Want to Be... series, but for a slightly older audience. The content isn't that older, but the trim size and presentation will make it appeal to readers who might dismiss the You Wouldn't Want to Be... books as looking too young.

It's a fun look at the dark and gritty side of castle life, focusing on why castles tended to exist in the first place-- fortresses to protect and defend during war time. It also spends a lot of time on dungeons and torture.

I'm not sure on the who "ghostorian" angle-- it wasn't played up a lot and so when it did happen, I was like "wait, what? OH YEAH! THAT!" I think they could have done A LOT more with that bit. Or cut it entirely.

I do really like that it covered castles outside of Europe. I also really liked the "funny" castles. Hellbrunn Water palace was a designed by the Prince Archbishop, and was a way for him to play a million water-based practical jokes on visitors.

It's not a book you'll quote in a research paper, but it is a fun book that may inspire you to pick up some more on the topic.

Today's Nonfiction Monday is over at Shelf-Employed.

Book Provided by... my local library

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shelf-employed said...

This looks like it would be a kid-pleaser. Thanks for participating in today's roundup. I'll feature all of the contributors tomorrow.

Tammy Flanders said...

This does look intriguing and fun to boot. Thanks.
Apples with Many Seeds

Resh said...

Looks like a fun book to read:)
Found this post through Non Fiction Monday series.