A couple years ago when I took an Art history course, I fell in love with illuminated manuscripts. They are beautifully detailed works of art so searched online and found St John's Bible. The St. Johns Abbey and University commissioned Donald Jackson to produce a hand written, hand illuminated bible. I bought one for my folks, because you know parents are the world's hardest people to buy gifts for, because they have everything. They loved it and I enjoyed sharing it with them. Which brings us to the 12th century or back to the 12 Century (1101-1200 AD) as it were.
Back in the 12th century, during the middle ages, books were made by hand, one at a time with ink, pens, brushes and paint on vellum or parchment. Paper made of cotton and linen began to replace parchment in the 1200's but paper really didn't come into common use in Europe until the 1400's. The Christian church was the center of learning in Europe and medieval books were made by monks and nuns in the scriptorium. The Chinese invented movable clay type during the 1100's and the Europeans didn't have moveable type until the mid 1400's. When the demand for books increased, rulers set up workshops in palaces and put them under the direction of well-known scholars.
I'll let you in on a secret. I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction. I'm very picky about my reads and they must be well written and the storyline intriguing enough to hold my attention. So when I decided to do the Centuries challenge, it surprised me to find had so many books from different eras on my shelves. Figured I'd pick the 12th Century to begin with, because if I managed to read at least one book a month from each century progressively, by the end of the year, I'd be in the present. However, once started perusing the shelves, and seeing all my choices, can guarantee my reading will be all over the map this year.
Back to the task of reading books either written in the 12th century or set in the 12th century. When I did a search online, I found this goodreads list of the best books published in the 12th century. The list was kind of daunting, so decided I would go with books set in the 12th century. Surprisingly, I found I had a few on my shelves which we had inherited when my husband's mother passed away. She was originally from England, a writer working on an historical fiction novel and had quite a collection. For example, Sharon Kay Penman's When Christ and His Saint's Slept, (and her whole Welsh trilogy but that was set in the 1300's), and Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe.
A couple years back I read Elizabeth Chadwick's The Scarlet Lion and fell in love with her writing and the storyline. I've since added Greatest Knight and A Place Beyond Courage to my library. Yes, I'll admit it, I'm a bookaholic, and a book hoarder, and I have more books than bookshelves. Which is one our projects this year, to build wall to wall bookshelves in our master bedroom, but I digress.
Chadwick and Penman and Scott also happen to be on the Goodreads list of Popular 12th Century Books. And I think my buying ban isn't going to last too long because Ellis Peters Chronicles of Brother Caedfal is calling my name. *sigh*
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read a book set in the 12th century.
Link to your reviews: Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.