Today’s date is a lucky one for Jeff: his fine book Becoming Charlemagne: Europe, Baghdad, and the Empires of A.D. 800 has been tapped by the moving finger of the New York Times Book Review, which calls the book “readable popular history” in its Paperback Row column. Readable the book definitely is — it was my prime non-research-related reading over the Christmas break, alternating with Simon Armitage’s new Gawain translation, and I considered my time with it very well spent. It’s also a swift, engaging tour of the grand chessboard of empires and powerful players arrayed with and against Karl, the Germanic king history remembers as Charlemagne.
So congratulations, Jeff. Now tell me what deity I have to appease so that my book gets a smooch from the Great Gray Lady when the paperback comes out this summer?