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aiden12

What's the last book you read?

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I have just finished Richard Miles' Ancient World The Search for the Origins of Western Civilization. Just like his book on Carthage it was accessible, informative and enjoyable. I would highly recommend it!

 

Also, just wondering if anyone has come across some decent accessible introductory pieces regarding the study of the Eleusinian Mysteries (books mainly please, but articles as well). Thanks in advance!

Edited by AEGYPTUS

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Two weeks ago, rearranged some priorites and ordered 3 books on line. One was the cheapest book on my wish list and it showed.

 

First - fiction

A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd. Charles Todd is a mother-son writing combination.

This the 2nd in the Bess Crawford series. - mysteries. Their other series - Inspector Rutledge is very good as well but I never really liked it. I read 2 books to make sure.

This series is much more readable but it is it is in first person. I will continue to read the series because I like Bess and the stories. It takes place during WW1 - Bess is a nurse at front or on hospital ships. I figured out the puzzle long before the end, but it was interesting to see how the players played (????). Good characterizations and nice historical detail.

 

Second - non-fiction

The Wall - Rome's Greatest Frontier by Alistair Moffat.

Nice historical background detai leading up to the building of the wall. I have not got there yet. Still on chapter 4(I seem to get stuck around chapter 4 of non fiction books) - Dinner on the Stone Road. Some translations of the wood shaving writings found at Vindolnda. He also includes 'inserts' of random details which are complimentary to the chapter. But I find his style of writing disconcerting or maybe because I read this book on the bus on the way to work, I seem to miss the verb in the sentence occassionally or maybe his sentence structure really is different. So far the book is very intersesting, basic knowledge of Britannia before and during Rome and acknowledgement where written and /or archaeological data is sparse or missing for now.

 

Third - fiction

The Archangel Project - CS Graham

The blurbs sounded very interesting, sort of Rollins style, but not as engaging. I don't really like the 'heroine' , there is the nasty vast American corporation and CEO, nasty and good elements of the CIA and FBI and a lot of real stuff mixed in. - the research by DIA into remote viewing. In the Author's NOtes at the begiining, he does reference material that can be accessed about this. So far it has a thinness about it.

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The Walls_of Rome by Nic Fields http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Walls_of_Rome.html?id=SDxrLQymWWwC

 

My ebook version is on my tablet currently in for repairs and I haven't even finished it, but waiting won't lead to a more critical review anyway because I am crazy about the subject. I became fascinated by the wall and it's sprawling and varied juxtaposition into modern Rome on my last (ever?) visit to Rome. So the subject is amazing, and this book at least gives morsels of text and photos on it.

 

Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant by Ulysses Grant http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4367/4367-h/4367-h.htm or audio http://www.archive.org/details/memoirs_grant_1105_librivox

 

Note: I only advocate chapters 2-16, which excludes boyhood and US civil war, where he felt obligated to provide more details than modern readers may enjoy. This leaves his reluctant entry into the military, Mexican war and observations of what was really leading to the US civil war. This part is surprising and refreshing - at least it seemed so as I listened to audio version in a noisey distracting environment (I have new DIGITAL noise-cancelling earbuds on order to improve that http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2360185,00.asp ).

 

You may know this was an immense best seller published by Mark Twain, who surprisingly had a friendship with this general/president who shaped the course of US military techniques for a century to come. But his early narrative is so unexpected and picturesque of the young country. He reluctantly goes to West Point military academy just to get some free teaching credentials. He is sent to Texas and Mexico with an antiwar attitude... as did most of the generals! One general, (later president Zachary Taylor) is like a peacenik hippie - riding into war in civilian clothes (sidesaddle!) but always winning battles when vastly outnumbered. They use charm offensives when possible with Mexican villagers, and wring their hands about needless casualties. Grant makes sly observations of his superiors and his peers who he will eventually dominate in the civil war.

 

It gave colorful background of the region, such as various leave-of-absences. They can take weeks or months to go anywhere by all means of rustic transportation - it kind of reminded me of a diary from the Mexican army point of view http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewitt/adp/central/books/reviews/delapena.html where an impressionable observer relates the things that amaze them on their journey. Also, the observations of pre-civil war tensions (beginning of part 2) bring to life issues which we tend to overlook or stereotype. He points out how new states have been paid or fought for by northern taxpayers, only to have them turned into slave states by a minority of tricky politicians for example. And somehow there is an old fashioned Roman epic flavor to book.

 

EDIT: Whew, I have a bad case of the "I should have said"'s after attending a talk by a Civil War scholar from Friedrich Schiller University of Jena! They are having multiple conferences in Germany on the global significance of this US war, with lots of quoting of Karl Marx. Somebody please tell them to read chapter 16 of Grant on the attitudes engendering the war.

Edited by caesar novus

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I mentioned this elsewhere, but it is a reference I return to from time to time:

Rome and Environs, an archeological guide, by Fillipo Coarelli http://moreintelligentlife.com/node/450

Notable by being a translation from the Italian so you can tap in to that knowledge base, or at least a spin that english readers may have been missing. What I really like is the disclosure of what is known vs guesswork. Not the usual omnicient pronouncements that "this is the house of Titus" but rather this is thought to be x or possibly y, only due to a pot shard marking of z. Also I like the way the coverage isn't ruthlessly cut off at Rome city boundaries, but fuzzed out to include notable outlying sites.

 

Do I have to have finished these books - my enthusiasm gets numbed when dashing to the finish line, esp to meet a library deadline:

Berlin diary: the journal of a foreign correspondent, 1934-1941 William Shirer http://books.google.com/books/about/Berlin_diary.html?id=ExOVUEzmCo8C

Wow, an almost lmost un-put-downable memoir that anticipates everything from Hitler but was published quite early - a couple days before the invasion of Russia. I was hesitating to read his tome of rise and fall of 3rd reich, and tried this more personal story of him scrambling around Berlin, Vienna, Paris, and London to cover events as they were interpreted at the time. I wondered what the allies knew and when they knew it, but the problem was the correspondents knew all and Britain and France wouldn't listen. He meets German generals that are appalled by Hitler, and crowds of women in hysterical excitement over him. He is quick to assess various figures as dupes, clowns, and so on... but seems to marvel at Hitlers ability to seduce both western diplomats and non-nazi Germans.

Edited by caesar novus

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@Aegyptus: Having recently written a novel about the SEcond Punic War, I'm pretty up to date on 'new' texts on Carthage. Sadly, Miles' excellent book is about the only one. There's Goldsworthy's book, which has been mentioned, and which is also very good, and then back a bit in time to 1995, there's Serge Lancel's Carthage, which is now a little dated, but is very much worth the read. If you go back even further, there's Picard's book on daiy life in Carthage, which has some interesting info too.

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Do I have to have finished these books

Oops, if I had waited I could have added the interesting angle to "Berlin Diary" where Nazis tour correspondents thru recently occupied benelux and french territories. Interesting to see tension of German troops torn between befriending at least gentile populations vs looting and scaring them from resistance. Only Belgium (and Dunkirk) showed signs of organized defensive battles. And I am guessing bomber Harris read his diary accounts of how early British bombing of Berlin etc shocked the population and cracked morale that had been based on false propaganda. Later I guess they got hardened to it just when the allies turned up the heat.

 

The Emperor's Handbook by Marcus Aurelius http://alumni.eecs.berkeley.edu/~rayning/Marcus-Aurelius-Hicks-excerpts.html

I don't know if it is my Hicks's translation but I see this as not strictly stoic but kind of wimpy/passive stoic. The perfect guide to letting your son grow up to be a monster emperor, as did happen. Isn't there a tough minded stoicism, like the amazing way Rome fought Hannibal when all appeared lost? Interesting to hear an emperors voice though.

 

The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Balthasar Gracian 1637 http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/aww/

I have much better more recent translation than that link, and it is a great collection of maxims on how to thrive in a world of mischief that tries to grind down the good and the smart. More readable than Machiavelli. Funny, pithy, and timeless.

Edited by caesar novus

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rec'd my book order today..

about 2 weeks ago, I just couldnt restrain myself.

 

looking forward to reading.:

 

Murder in chinatown by Victoria Thompson, about book 5 or 6 or 7 in the series by Thompson. nice easy fast enjoyable reading and the history is excellent.

 

The Body in the Thames. by Susanna Gregory - book 5 (?) in the series. really good murder mystery with good history in the 1660's.

 

Roman Cookery - Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens by Mark Grant - going to try to psyche myself to try an easy recipe.

 

The Ghosts of Cannae by Robert L. O'Connell - really looking forward to reading this one. I have always wanted to know more about this battle. Maybe I will hear the trumpets or the clash of steel.

 

But..... I must spread these books over several weeks possibly months..................... (yeah uh huh).

 

 

 

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Two weeks ago, rearranged some priorites and ordered 3 books on line. One was the cheapest book on my wish list and it showed.

 

First - fiction

A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd. Charles Todd is a mother-son writing combination.

This the 2nd in the Bess Crawford series. - mysteries. Their other series - Inspector Rutledge is very good as well but I never really liked it. I read 2 books to make sure.

This series is much more readable but it is it is in first person. I will continue to read the series because I like Bess and the stories. It takes place during WW1 - Bess is a nurse at front or on hospital ships. I figured out the puzzle long before the end, but it was interesting to see how the players played (????). Good characterizations and nice historical detail.

 

Second - non-fiction

The Wall - Rome's Greatest Frontier by Alistair Moffat.

Nice historical background detai leading up to the building of the wall. I have not got there yet. Still on chapter 4(I seem to get stuck around chapter 4 of non fiction books) - Dinner on the Stone Road. Some translations of the wood shaving writings found at Vindolnda. He also includes 'inserts' of random details which are complimentary to the chapter. But I find his style of writing disconcerting or maybe because I read this book on the bus on the way to work, I seem to miss the verb in the sentence occassionally or maybe his sentence structure really is different. So far the book is very intersesting, basic knowledge of Britannia before and during Rome and acknowledgement where written and /or archaeological data is sparse or missing for now.

 

Third - fiction

The Archangel Project - CS Graham

The blurbs sounded very interesting, sort of Rollins style, but not as engaging. I don't really like the 'heroine' , there is the nasty vast American corporation and CEO, nasty and good elements of the CIA and FBI and a lot of real stuff mixed in. - the research by DIA into remote viewing. In the Author's NOtes at the begiining, he does reference material that can be accessed about this. So far it has a thinness about it.

 

Nope I dont recommend The Archangel Project.

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Do I have to have finished these books

Oops, if I had waited I could have added the interesting angle to "Berlin Diary" where Nazis tour correspondents thru recently occupied benelux and french territories. Interesting to see tension of German troops torn between befriending at least gentile populations vs looting and scaring them from resistance. Only Belgium (and Dunkirk) showed signs of organized defensive battles. And I am guessing bomber Harris read his diary accounts of how early British bombing of Berlin etc shocked the population and cracked morale that had been based on false propaganda. Later I guess they got hardened to it just when the allies turned up the heat.

 

The Emperor's Handbook by Marcus Aurelius http://alumni.eecs.b...s-excerpts.html

I don't know if it is my Hicks's translation but I see this as not strictly stoic but kind of wimpy/passive stoic. The perfect guide to letting your son grow up to be a monster emperor, as did happen. Isn't there a tough minded stoicism, like the amazing way Rome fought Hannibal when all appeared lost? Interesting to hear an emperors voice though.

 

The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Balthasar Gracian 1637 http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/aww/

I have much better more recent translation than that link, and it is a great collection of maxims on how to thrive in a world of mischief that tries to grind down the good and the smart. More readable than Machiavelli. Funny, pithy, and timeless.

 

 

the Art of Worldly wisdom interests me. is there a translation/book you would recommend?

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rec'd my book order today..

about 2 weeks ago, I just couldnt restrain myself.

 

looking forward to reading.:

 

Murder in chinatown by Victoria Thompson, about book 5 or 6 or 7 in the series by Thompson. nice easy fast enjoyable reading and the history is excellent.

 

The Body in the Thames. by Susanna Gregory - book 5 (?) in the series. really good murder mystery with good history in the 1660's.

 

Roman Cookery - Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens by Mark Grant - going to try to psyche myself to try an easy recipe.

 

The Ghosts of Cannae by Robert L. O'Connell - really looking forward to reading this one. I have always wanted to know more about this battle. Maybe I will hear the trumpets or the clash of steel.

 

But..... I must spread these books over several weeks possibly months..................... (yeah uh huh).

 

Roman Cookery sounds interesting. Can you share some food titles? I'm thinking of checking this book out. Did you buy it on Amazon? E-book or paper?

Cinzia

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the Art of Worldly wisdom interests me. is there a translation/book you would recommend?

A 1992 one has cleaner, less archaic phrasing than the free 1800's transations: http://www.amazon.com/The-Worldly-Wisdom-Baltasar-Gracian/dp/0385421311 . The rave customer reviews there should come with a caveat - reading this can make you feel sick about times you fell afoul from those real-world guidelines, thinking it was enough to simply be thoughtful and goodhearted in life. You may wish you read it earlier in life.

 

Its appeal has endured: in 1992, Christopher Maurer's translation of this book remained 18 weeks (2 weeks in first place) in the Washington Post's list of Nonfiction General Best Sellers. It has sold nearly 200,000 copies.

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Roman Cookery sounds interesting. Can you share some food titles? I'm thinking of checking this book out. Did you buy it on Amazon? E-book or paper?

Cinzia

 

I bought this paperback book at Indigo - a Cdn bookstore on line, but I am sure Amazon has it too.

I just glanced through last night. I saw some recipes that seemed doable. this is food that would be every day sort of not the Apicius recipes. There is a Beef Casserole recipe that sounded good until the list of ingredients.. what and where would I get spikenard and costmary.and pennyroyal?

 

I like broadbeeans and the is a simple recipe for them. fresh broad beens, vegetable or beef stock, olive oil and sea salt.

He seems to use sea salt almost all the time.. which is okay because so do I.

 

and oodles and oodles of olive oil. which is understandable.

Cheese bread with honey (savillum) sounds good too and the ingredient list is short. In fact most of the ingredient lists seem short.

 

Now I have to find someone who is game to try what I make :D

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the Art of Worldly wisdom interests me. is there a translation/book you would recommend?

A 1992 one has cleaner, less archaic phrasing than the free 1800's transations: http://www.amazon.co...n/dp/0385421311 . The rave customer reviews there should come with a caveat - reading this can make you feel sick about times you fell afoul from those real-world guidelines, thinking it was enough to simply be thoughtful and goodhearted in life. You may wish you read it earlier in life.

 

 

 

Added the hardcover to my wish list at Indigo.

 

what is strange is the that the trade paperback is more expensive than the hardcover.

 

at Indigo

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what and where would I get spikenard and costmary.and pennyroyal?

 

A garden centre carrying a good selection of culinary herbs???

 

You may need to experiment but I think that both costmary and pennyroyal are members of the mint family or at least have a minty taste while spiknard is a member of the valerian family. Unless I am much mistaken you won't need a lot of these herbs so there must be something you can find that is easily available to give a similar flavour.

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Roman Cookery sounds interesting. Can you share some food titles? I'm thinking of checking this book out. Did you buy it on Amazon? E-book or paper?

Cinzia

 

I bought this paperback book at Indigo - a Cdn bookstore on line, but I am sure Amazon has it too.

I just glanced through last night. I saw some recipes that seemed doable. this is food that would be every day sort of not the Apicius recipes. There is a Beef Casserole recipe that sounded good until the list of ingredients.. what and where would I get spikenard and costmary.and pennyroyal?

 

I like broadbeeans and the is a simple recipe for them. fresh broad beens, vegetable or beef stock, olive oil and sea salt.

He seems to use sea salt almost all the time.. which is okay because so do I.

 

and oodles and oodles of olive oil. which is understandable.

Cheese bread with honey (savillum) sounds good too and the ingredient list is short. In fact most of the ingredient lists seem short.

 

Now I have to find someone who is game to try what I make :D

 

Thanks Artimi,

 

I'll check it out at Indigo. Oodles of olive oil sounds about right. In my Italian household, I barely knew what butter was as a kid. We even fried our eggs in olive oil. I agree pennyroyal and spikenard etc. might be difficult to find. <g> Broad-beans in a stew is very doable. Thanks for the information. Cinzia

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