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City: 2010 Terry Hills, New South Wales
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`Bring Up the Bodies' is the sequel to `Wolf Hall', the story of how Thomas Cromwell helped engineer King Henry VIII's divorce from Katherine of Aragon so he'd be free to marry Anne Boleyn. In `Bring Up the Bodies', we find Henry tiring of Anne, her continual demands and her inability to deliver a live baby boy- the longed for heir to the kingdom. Cromwell must now undo what he has helped Henry do, no matter the human cost, and fix it so Henry can marry the next in his series of wives.
While many, many books have been written about the Henry VIII and his wives, Mantel has approached the story from a different angle; in both `Wolf Hall' and `Bring Up the Bodies', Mantel has taken the point of view of Cromwell. Usually considered a horrible villain, Cromwell emerges here as brilliant, hard working, capable of love and a servant to the king alone. Not servant to the Boleyns, the Seymours, the queen that was, the foreign ambassadors, the Pope; just the king and England. That is why he had so many enemies; he did not care who was discommoded in his efforts to please the king and keep England together. And pleasing Henry was not an easy job; Henry was monstrously egotistical and his moods and loves were fickle. He could love and favor someone one day and the next, after some poorly worded comment or even a lie from someone else, that person could end up banished from the court, stripped of their wealth or dead. And no matter how many times Henry changed his mind, his ability to feel himself innocent of wrong doing is astonishing. No matter what he said or did, it was always because he was deceived or bewitched, not because he simply got tired of someone and wanted them gone. Yet, despite these faults, he was also an intelligent and passionately curious man who cared about running the country. He just happened to care about himself more.
Here is what makes Mantel's writing rather brilliant; despite the fact that you know what's going to happen to Anne, there is still an awful feeling of suspense. I found myself hoping that she and the men executed with her would find a way out!
While this is a stand alone novel, it is probably best appreciated read after `Wolf Hall' unless you are already familiar with the politics of the time and the story of Henry, Katherine of Aragon and Anne. And even if you are, seeing the story from Cromwell's point of view casts a different light on it. This isn't `The Tudors' where lust reigns supreme; this is about political machinations and spinning spider webs of doom around those the king wishes to rid himself of. It's about a man who accumulated much wealth, but didn't have the time to enjoy it because his master wanted him available 24/7. Mantel manages to make Cromwell a human, but not a likable one. The writing is rich and creates the Tudor world before our eyes without getting bogged down in description.
I'm a female dancing, music loving Boomer (born in the early 1950's) who was sadly suffering from lack of appreciation for many artists from the 1980's forward. I admit I was still busy replacing my fabulous '60s and '70's record albums with CD's and finding great jazz CD's. This year (2012) my mind opened and I watched the ENTIRE Grammy's. I was musically REBORN! If you are a Boomer who's stuck in the music of our youth, I suggest you get this CD to help rocket you out into appreciation of some fabulous music produced by offspring of our generation. No, I don't like every tune, and probably only a handful will become true classics. Just use your player's arrow forward button...but do give every song at least three listens before you judge. SOME GREAT MUSIC AT A GREAT VALUE!
MY BOOMER EDITORIAL COMMENTS ON EACH TRACK: (The * denotes my favorites and ** my SERIOUS favorites!)
1. **"Rolling in the Deep" by Adele: a great tune with interesting vocals and lyrics. I love the blues/gospel feel. This young woman can appeal to a wide age range, maybe because she bears her heart with honesty and without wild visual distractions.
2. "Grenade" by Bruno Mars : altruistic, pitiful, graphic and darkly humorous lyrics set to a great tune.
3. *"Firework"* by Katy Perry: has well placed, fun rhyming in a girl/woman self esteem anthem.
4. **"Moves Like Jagger"* by Maroon 5 with Christine Aguilera: This quick, catchy tune and rhythm can rocket ones rear end up to dance, exercise, and remember the power of sex in youth.
5. "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj: Catchy Hip Hop song. The lyrics indicate a scattered brain pouring out a mouth.
6. "What's My Name" by Rhianna featuring Drake: Catchy Techno Hip Hop tune about sex (no surprise) sung by a girl with a serious crush. The brain need not be engaged to interpret this one.
7. "Workout" by J. Cole: Hip hop song about a man offering a one night stand. Not deep lyrics but probably a pertinent statement for a performer with this lifestyle.
8. "You and I by Lady Gaga: A surprising crossover from pop to country that Gaga pulls off well on this appealing tune.
9. *"Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People: A creative, repetitious, catchy tune with kids getting warned by a deranged person with a gun that they'll be moving targets. I want to keep singing this song though the topic is very disturbing.
10. "Scary Monsters and Nice Spirits" by Skrillex: Techno music with a SCARY techno monster voice. This is the only tune on the whole album I dislike. I admit it's creative, however!
11. "Paradise" by Coldplay: This is a haunting, medium tempo tune that's heavy on strings and vocals, and long on nebulous lyrics.
12. "Walk" by Foo Fighters : A medium tempo song with mostly incoherent lyrics, possibly about someone coming back around after a mental health breakdown.
13. *"If I Die Young" by The Band Perry: A great country music song with great lyrics from the interesting perspective of the young songstress. It has broad age appeal, and interesting, quality lyrics.
14. "The Cave" by Mumford & Sons: A catchy quick tempo tune with unusual lyrics wide open to interpretation.
15. "Holocene" by Bon Iver: A beautiful song with very odd lyrics indeed. I don't get it.
16. **"Just a Kiss" by Lady Antebellum a brilliant song that captures a critical moment in a new relationship. This is probably the best argument for abstinence at any age. I love the line, "I don't want to mess this thing up..."
17. *"Mean" by Taylor Swift: This medium tempo country crossover song has lyrical substance. It's a great "get back at" and coping song of a victim of physical and psychological abuse.
18. "Honey Bee" by Blake Shelton: An appealing, clever country love song.
19. "Drink In My Hand" by Eric Church: A "Kiss my _ _ _" after work drinking and carousing song. Plain and simple!.
20. "Dearest" by The Black Keys: A cover of a simple Buddy Holly love song.
21. **"Don't You Wanna Stay" by Jason Aldean with Kelly Clarkson: A hot country crossover song--an authentic snapshot of attraction told in a conversation. "I don't want to just make love I want to make love last." Instrumentation carries the emotion masterfully. Kelly's vocal interpretation shows the passion and energy of the moment. Kelley's and Jason's voices blend perfectly. Decide for yourself if the couple ultimately "unites". I want a song sequel to see how things turn out!
22. "Body and Soul" by Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse: This slow duet is well done though it seems out of place and time on this CD.
I plan to LISTEN UP and stay musically with it. This CD might convince boomers like me to do the same. The payoff is great enjoyment. I plan to listen to pop radio more often and watch the Grammy's with an open mind and ear next year. I don't want to miss out on all the new fun! I plan to keep LIVING my youth with music, not just RELIVING IT!
At 53 years young, and back on the dating scene, this book is helping me gain insight into the dating experience. And even though I've made some mistakes in the current relationship, I will immediately work to turn things around and if its too late, I will be better prepared for the next one...Thank you Kara!