Thursday, October 06, 2005

Horrible Histories

History is one of the things I'm quite good at. (No, we will not bring up my board marks here. *frown*) I like subjects that deal with people and what they do and why they do it. Fascinating stuff.
I suck at remembering dates. What I am good at is remembering silly little anecdotes from history. And really random facts.

When I was about six or seven I discovered the Horrible Histories series by Terry Deary. These books had ridiculous titles like The Rotten Romans, The Awesome Egyptians, The Vicious Vikings, etc. They were full of little cartoon versions of events, fake diary entries, even recipes. Pure joy.

I actually learnt a lot from those books. When we moved back here, though the only history the system seemed interested in teaching me was Indian, (I did Indian history three times over. The first two times were actually fun) I kept up with my world history through all the Horrible Histories books I could find. They affected me - a couple of months ago in an English history class (they have to teach us English history now, so we can contextualise our English lit.) I inserted limericks from The Terrible Tudors into friends' notes. Why not? We're old enough now that we don't need them as aids to memory, but isn't it fun when you're discussing the Tudors with someone (if you're the kind of person who discusses the Tudors with people of course) and you can suddenly stand up and say
Bloody Mary, they say, was quite mad.
And the nastiest habit she had
was for Protestant burning
seems she had a yearning
to kill even more than her dad.

...and get stared at? (People tend to edge away from me a lot)

Yesterday I was in the children's section of a bookshop and found The Groovy Greeks. When we studied the Greek Tragic playwrights, why did no one tell me Aeschylus died when he was hit by a falling turtle? (...and this leads me to a Pratchett post, which I promise will be my next one) I demand ridiculous bits of information like these!

I have a friend who is always buying good children's literature, saying that even if she's too old for it now, at least when she has children they'll grow up right. I don't intend to have kids - hell, I'm buying them for me.


Qalandar said...

Hee, Horrible Histories, that's quite funny!

heyjune said...

i have the ones on the brain and another one i can't remember... absolutely loveable stuff. i need to go find them soon!