July 3rd, 2007

Pirate

More reading ...

Stayed up a little later than I should have last night, but for a very good reason ... I was finishing up Granuaile : Ireland's pirate queen, c. 1530-1603, by Anne Chambers.

Definitely a must-read if you like knowing about women who kicked big holes in tradition and made their own lives ... Granuaile (also known as Grace O'Malley) was captain of her own fleet of ships (tradition holds that she gave birth to her youngest son at sea and there's some evidence to back that up) and practiced a combination of regular trade runs and piracy for fifty years, as well as being involved in Irish politics, clan wars, the transport of gallowglass (Scottish mercenaries often hired by Irish clan chiefs), and anything else that took her fancy. The account of her personal audience with Elizabeth I in 1593 is especially interesting ... the two women were close in age and apparently got along quite well (Granuaile managed to get Royal permissions and compensations without having to kick back anything to the government ... quite an unusual accomplishment in those days). Appendices include traditional poems and songs about Granuaile, a genealogical tree, and the texts of documents relating to her meeting with Elizabeth I).

The only flaws are a bit of repetition here and there and some typos (this is an updated rewrite incorporating some new source material and the proofreader seems to have dozed off here and there ... seriously ... the typos are in little clumps rather than spread throughout the book), but these are pretty minor and easily overlooked when such an interesting life is there to be read.
The Librarian

XD

Giggling my way through Rik Mayall's The New Statesman ... his Alan B'Stard is so slimy one expects to see gunk oozing out of the DVD player. Hard to believe the show began twenty years ago ... the only things that date it are some of the clothes and Thatcher as P.M. Be sure to watch for Peter Sallis (the voice of Wallace in the Wallace and Gromit films) as a retired hangman-turned-publican (at The Hangman's Knot, where else?) who wants capital punishment brought back so he can return to his former profession.

Classic B'Stard: "My God, if your I.Q. was any lower you'd need watering, wouldn't you?"

P.S. It seems Mayall is currently touring as a stage version of B'Stard ... lucky lucky Brits!