There are books that are smarter than you, because they are simply classic, gorgeous works of art. Even if you didn't really enjoy them.
And there are books that are smarter than you because the author is brilliant.
Then there are the research books. The ones that are maybe two steps above popcorn romances, but the author did so much research that you can't help but learn even as you read, wide-eyed, about the many romances of King Henry VIII.
I think I'm reading one of this last category of smart books at the moment. Granted, I'm only about 50 pages in. And I have learned how to say the five W's in Latin: Quis (who), quid (what), quomodo (how), ubi (where), quando (when) and cur (why).
But with this exuberant review from the L.A. Times -- "Pope Joan has all the elements one wants in a historical drama--love, sex, violence, duplicity and long-buried secrets" -- I'm thinking I'm well on my way to a great big tome of brain candy....
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