How to Be a Tudor by Ruth Goodman
I enjoy reading about daily life in other times and places, learning about how ordinary people lived, worked, and ate, but without the wars, politics, and royalty that fill many history textbooks. Ruth Goodman is a historian and a re-enactor, and spent months living like a Tudor for the British television series Tudor Monastery Farm, and worked as an advisor for the Wolf Hall miniseries. She also did a lot of research, looking at wills and household inventories of the Tudor era, as well as researching homes, furniture, food, and clothing. I enjoyed the descriptions of making cheese, bread, and ale, and what it was like to sleep on a rush strewn floor or a rope-strung bed with a mattress and bed curtains. Hour by hour, she goes through the activities of life, from sleeping, waking, bathing (or not), dressing, work including apprenticeships, school, religion, and social life, as well as food and drink. Ploughing and tending the fields she learned by doing, as well as different dance styles, making and caring for elaborate ruffs, and more. Fans of the Tudors, Wolf Hall, or history buffs are sure to enjoy, and readers will learn whether it’s more important to change your linen undergarments or to take a bath. A few recipes are included.