Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Monks, Monasteries, Murder, and Medieval Mayhem

With Google announcing its new social media site, Google+ (which means more things to learn), and Facebook announcing that they are doing video chats, I thought of a time when all this technology didn't exist. Medieval times to be exact. What would it have been in the middle ages when a book was relatively new technology? (By the way, you'll click on that link if you know what's good for you.)

So here are some book recommendations for book worms and/or technophobes interested in an older (but definitely not simpler) age:

Psst: All titles and covers link back to GoodReads so you can start your "to-read" list.

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

"In 12th-century England, the building of a mighty Gothic cathedral signals the dawn of a new age. This majestic creation will bond clergy and kings, knights and peasants together in a story of toil, faith, ambition and rivalry. A sweeping tale of the turbulent middle ages, The Pillars of the Earth is a masterpiece from one of the world's most popular authors. "

Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

"The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon--all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where 'the most interesting things happen at night.'"

Cathedral of the Sea: A Novel by Ildefonso Falcones

"Cathedral of the Sea follows the fortunes of the Estanyol family, from their peasant roots to a son, Arnau, who flees the land only to realize spectacular wealth and devastating problems. During Arnau’s lifetime Barcelona becomes a city of light and darkness, dominated by the construction of the city’s great pride—the cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar—and by its shame, the deadly Inquisition. A s a young man, Arnau joins the powerful guild of stone-workers and helps to build the church with his own hands, while his best friend and adopted brother Joan studies to become a priest. When Arnau, who secretly loves a forbidden Jewish woman named Mar, is betrayed and hauled before the Inquisitor, he finds himself faceto- face with his own brother. Will he lose his life just as his beloved Cathedral of the Sea is finally completed?"

Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale by Donna Jo Napoli

"Melkorka is a princess, the first daughter of a magnificent kingdom in medieval Ireland -- but all of this is lost the day she is kidnapped and taken aboard a marauding slave ship. Thrown into a world that she has never known, alongside people that her former country's laws regarded as less than human, Melkorka is forced to learn quickly how to survive. Taking a vow of silence, however, she finds herself an object of fascination to her captors and masters, and soon realizes that any power, no matter how little, can make a difference."

A Morbid Taste for Bones (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #1)

"The ambitious head of Shrewsbury Abbey wants to acquire Saint Winifred's sacred remains for his Benedictine order. And when the ensuing controversy leads to murder, Brother Cadfael investigates."

(This addictive and delightful series follows the adventures of Brother Cadfael, a medieval Sherlock Holmes. :D )

Looking for more medieval madness (i.e. awesomeness)? Check out's medieval page. There are hundreds to choose from and they are nicely organized by geography and era.


  1. Books! Yay! I'm going to forward this to my brother. He loves anything medieval!!

  2. Huzzah! Let me know if he's read any of these already.


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