Classics: A Very Short Introduction by Mary Beard and John Henderson (Review)

Classics: A Very Short Introduction by Mary Beard and John Henderson

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About the authors

Mary Beard and John Henderson both teach Classics at the University of Cambridge. Mary Beard is a fellow of Newnham College, and John Henderson is a fellow of King’s College, Cambridge.

Blurb

This Very Short Introduction to Classics links a haunting temple on a lonely mountainside to the glory of ancient Greece and the grandeur of Rome, and to Classics within modern culture – from Jefferson and Byron to Asterix and Ben-Our.

Review

This is not the first A Very Short Introduction book that I have read as I had to read and review the Music one for one of my modules in my Music Degree about ten years ago and I must admit I did enjoy it and found it interesting and I am pleased to say the Classics one did not disappoint.

I read this book as part of the set preparatory reading before my Masters started and I found it to be a great introduction into the field of Classics. The first thing I enjoyed was that the book was all linked to the Temple at Bassae and the frieze panels that are now found at the British Museum. I must admit it left me desperate to visit the British Museum and view the frieze. However I would have liked a little bit more knowledge of other classical elements.

The other element that I really enjoyed was the travelling through time of famous peoples’ encounters with the classics and the Temple of Bassae. I really enjoyed this little book and thought it was an excellent introduction to the classics.

The only reason I gave this book 4 Dragons instead of 5 was that I would have liked a bit more about Classics in general than just a focus on one element which was the temple. I highly recommend this little book to anyone who is intrigued and wanting to learn a little about classics.

Purchase links

Waterstones

Book Depository

 

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Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge: Reflection

Summer is officially over so I thought it high time to reflect on my Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge. Sadly I did not complete it but I did learn a few things. Here is the result.

Good as gold:- The Casual Vacancy by J. K Rowling

The Book is Better:- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

On the bandwagon:- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood

Short and sweet:- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Actually want to read:- Jaws by Peter Benchley

Not from around here:- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

In a friend zone:- The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Wheel of format:- Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

Past love:- Matilda by Roald Dahl

Armchair Traveler:- A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

 

First of all I spent way too much time on a book I really regret reading which was The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, I really wish I had just stopped reading it because I did not enjoy it and wasted a great deal of my free time reading a book I found tiresome. This is a lesson I keep telling myself to learn from but sadly I don’t, maybe this time I will.

The second thing I learned was I hated having a reading list! I want to read these books eventually and I had options but I found myself regretting the choices and wanting to read other books which I did and so did not complete the challenge in the allotted time. I think from now on I will avoid challenges and just choose whatever I want to read when I want because I really did not enjoy the challenge. I loved choosing the books but not feeling like I had to read them.

However, doing the challenge has taken a few books off my enormous TBR list, so it wasn’t all bad.

 

What does everyone think of reading challenges? Yes or No? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Happy reading.

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September Wrap Up

Ok everyone, I admit September for me was a complete and utter right off. I only reviewed one book and hardly blogged at all. Going back to work and trying to finish my final assignment for my diploma all became too overwhelming and I hardly read anything at all. This probably added to my stress because reading helps me unwind but sadly my brain just could not take in the words I was reading. October I am hoping for much better.

Books or should I say book that I read.

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

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Pages: 101

Total pages this year: 11651

 

Friday Poetry

6/9:- Brian Patten

13/9:- Tolkien

20/9:- Robert Louis Stevenson

27/9:- Rachel Field

Mid Week Quote

4/9:- Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand

11/9:- Bede

18/9:- Sima Qian

26/9:- Phaedrus

 

Book Tags

Down the TBR Hole #15

ABC Book Challenge: H

Anticipated Releases Book tag

WWW Wednesday 

So that is my September wrap up, as you can see rather disappointing. Fingers crossed for a better October!

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Happy Hobbit Day

Happy Hobbit Day Everyone!

Today is the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo two of my favourite Hobbits. Although the Shire calendar and the Gregorian calendar do not quite match up, this day has generally been agreed upon as Hobbit Day.

As some of you might have guessed I do love all things Middle Earth and I must admit Hobbits have always been a favourite. They are so loyal and full of hope, how can anybody not love them?

The other reason I love Hobbits is because they have possibly one of the best eating schedules imaginable. In the film they try and have seven meals a day and in The Fellowship of the Ring the book they will have six meals a day if they can manage it and that is if my memory of the book serves me correctly. They have a second breakfast, what is not to like?

Anyway, I think we should all try and be a bit more Hobbit. If we could all be a loyal friend, who is full of hope and try to always see the good in the world and love and respect this world we live in, the world would be a much better place to live in. And yes going for a nice drink at our local Green Dragon with friends to talk about anything and everything is also an excellent Hobbit tradition.

Happy Hobbit Day!

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The Immortal City by Amy Kuivalainen

Happy Weekend Everyone!

This post is a little bit of a throw back.

Today my preordered book of The Immortal City by Amy Kuivalainen arrived and I must admit I am very excited. My regular readers will know that I had the privilege of reading this book and reviewing it on NetGalley a few months back and I loved the book so much I immediately preordered it. This at the moment is one of the best books I have read in 2019 and I can not wait for the next one in the series.

I know it sounds weird but I am planning on reading this book again very soon because when I read it a few months ago I could not put it down and flew through it and now I want to read it again and savour it a bit more. Is this just something that I do or do other people do the same?

Anyway if you love fantasy, murder mysteries and romance this is definitely the book for you. I cannot recommend this book enough. If you want to check out my review please click the link.

Purchase links

Book Depository

Waterstones

Amazon

Kindle

Happy Reading

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Down the TBR Hole #15

Down the TBR Hole was the brain child of Lost In A Story. The idea is to reduce the length of your Goodreads TBR.

How it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads want to read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added
  • Take the first 5 or 10 books.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go

 

Time for another sort through the TBR list as I have added a few books recently so I should get rid of some as well.

 

1. An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

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It was first serialised in the Merry’s Museum magazine between July and August in 1869 and consisted of only six chapters. For the finished product, however, Alcott continued the story from the chapter “Six Years Afterwards” and so it ended up with nineteen chapters in all. The book revolves around Polly Milton, the old-fashioned girl who titles the story. Polly visits her wealthy friend Fanny Shaw in the city and is overwhelmed by the fashionable and urban life they live–but also left out because of her “countrified” manners and outdated clothes.

 

 

I love Little Women, Jo’s Boys and Little Wives and I would love to read more of Alcott’s work so this stays on the list.

KEEP

 

2. Can you Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope

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Alice Vavasor cannot decide whether to marry her ambitious but violent cousin George or the upright and gentlemanly John Grey – and finds herself accepting and rejecting each of them in turn.

Increasingly confused about her own feelings and unable to forgive herself for such vacillation, her situation is contrasted with that of her friend Lady Glencora – forced to marry the rising politician Plantagenet Palliser in order to prevent the worthless Burgo Fitzgerald from wasting her vast fortune.

In asking his readers to pardon Alice for her transgression of the Victorian moral code, Trollope created a telling and wide-ranging account of the social world of his day.

To be honest I have a lot of Trollope on my TBR list so I think I will remove this one incase my TBR list becomes mainly books by Trollope as he did write a lot of books.

GO

 

3. Jonny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett

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Sell the cemetery?

Over their dead bodies . . .

Not many people can see the dead (not many would want to). Twelve-year-old Johnny Maxwell can. And he’s got bad news for them: the council want to sell the cemetery as a building site. But the dead have learnt a thing or two from Johnny. They’re not going to take it lying down . . . especially since it’s Halloween tomorrow.

Besides, they’re beginning to find that life is a lot more fun than it was when they were . . . well . . . alive. Particularly if they break a few rules . . .

 

 

Well it is a Terry Pratchett book so it stays put and that is final.

KEEP

 

4. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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Far from the Madding Crowd was Thomas Hardy’s first major literary success, and it edited with an introduction and notes by Rosemarie Morgan and Shannon Russell in Penguin Classics.

Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community. The first of his works set in the fictional county of Wessex, Hardy’s novel of swift passion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships.

I own several copies of this book because I just cannot resist pretty book covers so I really should read it.

KEEP

 

5. Lady Susan/ The Watsons/ Sanditon by Jane Austen

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Together, these three works – one novel unpublished in her lifetime and two unfinished fragments – reveal Jane Austen’s development as a great artist.

Lady Susan, with its wicked, beautiful, intelligent and energetic heroine, is a sparkling melodrama which takes its tone from the outspoken and robust eighteen century. Written later, and probably abandoned after her father’s death, The Watsons is a tantalizing and highly delightful story whose vitality and optimism centre on the marital prospects of the Watson sisters in a small provincial town. Sanditon, Jane Austen’s last fiction, is set in a seaside town and its themes concern the new speculative consumer society and foreshadow the great social upheavals of the Industrial Revolution.

This is the only book I have not read by Austen so it will stay on the list as well.

KEEP

 

Just five books today and only one off the list but that does mean the TBR is one book shorter. I know, I know I must try harder. Next time I will do ten books I promise.

Happy Reading.

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New Books: 15/09/2019

Hello everyone!

I thought I would share with you all the books I have bought so far in September because I have not updated you all on my purchases recently and the number is growing at an alarming rate. Two of the books were the damaged ones and I have just recently received the replacement copies.

 

New Books

 

Classical Archaeology Edited by Susan E. Alcock and Robin Osborne

9781444336917

 

Latin for Dummies by Clifford A. Hull, Steven R. Perkins and Tracy Barr

9780764554315

 

Handbook for Classical Research by David M. Schaps

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Too Much To Know by Ann M. Blair

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Collins Latin Dictionary and Grammer

9780008167677

 

Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis by J. K. Rowling

9781408866184

 

The Poems of Catullus by Gaius Valerius Catullus

9780199537570

 

Andromache, Hecuba, Trojan Women by Euripides

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On Chapel Sands: My Mother and other Missing Persons by Laura Cumming

9781784742478

 

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

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As you can see a lot of books so far this month. Most of these are either for my new challenge or my new course starting next month, you can probably guess which ones I have bought for fun reading.

Please drop me a comment if you have read any of these.

Happy Reading

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