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THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them. The blog, however, will continue, and if you've got a good first line to share for TwitterLit please do so here.



  
From a random review:

  

« Forsyth, Neil; Castro, Elliot: Other People's Money | Main | Selwood, Jonathan: The Pinball Theory of Apocalypse »

Grimwood, Ken: Replay

  

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Harper © 1998 [orig. pub. 1986], 320 pages [amazon]
4 stars

What would you do if you had your life to live over again? Would you marry the same person? Take the same jobs? Would you try to change the course of history? For Jeff Winston, the protagonist of Ken Grimwood's 1986 novel Replay, these questions are more than theoretical. After dying in 1988, at the age of 43, Jeff wakes up 25 years earlier in his dorm room at Emory. Without understanding why the clock has rewound for him, he lives the same quarter century again, making different mistakes against a familiar historical and cultural backdrop--Kennedy's assassination and Vietnam, the Beatles and Watergate, Patty Hearst and disco and Iran-Contra.

[INSET TEXT: Without understanding why the clock has rewound for him, he lives the same quarter century again, making different mistakes against a familiar historical and cultural backdrop--Kennedy's assassination and Vietnam, the Beatles and Watergate, Patty Hearst and disco and Iran-Contra.] What would you do if you had your life to live over again...again? Come October 18th, 1988, his second time through, Jeff finds himself powerless to prevent his death, despite his foreknowledge of the event. When he wakes up again in 1963, with everything he accomplished in the last 25 years erased, this "second chance" at life seems more curse than gift.

We've all wondered, I'm sure, what we might do differently given a second shot at life. But Grimwood's exploration of the common fantasy goes far beyond superficial what-ifs. He has so thoroughly imagined his character's bizarre predicament that the story, fantastic in its premise, is wholly credible, and the choices Jeff makes across successive lifetimes, sometimes radically different, are rendered fully understandable. Grimwood also wrings surprising pathos from the story:

"He couldn't bring himself to see Judy again. This sweet-faced adolescent girl was not the woman he had loved, but merely a blank slate with the potential to become that woman. It would be pointless, even masochistic, to repeat by rote that process of mutual becoming, when he knew too well the emotional and spiritual death to which it all would lead."

The characters' musings on the metaphysics of Jeff's situation can slow Grimwood's narrative, but otherwise this is a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Comments

1.

I absolutely love this book.

Do you manually add the url to your entries on Twitter or do you have something that does it automatically? I'm still trying to figure out the ins and outs of Twitter.

2.

I use TwitterFeed, which will take your RSS feed and post it to Twitter for you.

If you haven't read Jack Finney's Time and Again, you'd probably like it.

3.

Another book I'll be adding to my wishlist. The book does pose an interesting question, what would we do if we got a second chance? I think initially we'd like to change for the better, but how do we know what would really be better?

Then there's the psychological stress of it too.

Ah, this book has me tingling to pick it up!

4.

And so the chain of readers continues. Someone suggested it to me as a first line for TwitterLit--which I used. And looking at the book's description I made a point of getting my hands on it.




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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.