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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
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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
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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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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.



  
From a random review:

  

« Ruddick, James: Death at the Priory | Main | Leighton, Ralph: Tuva or Bust! Richard Feynman's Last Journey »

Cohen, Paula Marantz: Jane Austen in Boca

  

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St. Martin's Griffin © 2003, 272 pages [amazon]
3 stars

The idea behind Jane Austen in Boca is a clever one. The plot of Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice is updated and plays itself out among the over-seventy crowd of Jewish retirees living it up in Boca Raton, Florida. Instead of a mother of five girls--Austen's Mrs. Bennett--doing her utmost to marry off her progeny, there is the hyper-organized and resourceful Carol, who sets the action of the book in motion by scheming to revitalize the social life of her widowed mother-in-law, May Newman.

While I found May and Florence and their respective beaux likeable enough, and I enjoyed the foray into Florida's community of relatively well-to-do codgers, I found the book plodding and its dialogue often boring.Cohen's story revolves around the friendship and love lives of May (think Austen's Jane Bennett) and her friends Florence (Elizabeth Bennett) and Lila, all of whom live in Boca Festa, one of Boca's myriad retirement communities. While the garrulous and crass Hy Marcus woos Lila, May and Florence enjoy relationships with Cohen's updated versions of Charles Bingley and Fitzwilliam Darcy, respectively Norman Grafstein and his surly friend Stan Jacobs. If you're familiar with the plot of Pride and Prejudice, you won't be surprised by the turns these relationships take.

If you haven't read Austen's novel, however, don't panic: you don't have to know the plot of the original story to enjoy Cohen's reanimation of it. But you may have to be over sixty and Jewish. At least I'm assuming that the book will play better among readers who identify more than I with its characters. While I found May and Florence and their respective beaux likeable enough, and I enjoyed the foray into Florida's community of relatively well-to-do codgers, I found the book plodding and its dialogue often boring. The frequent references to the characters' Jewish identity, meanwhile, were irksome:

"I feel like I'm seventeen, being whisked away to play hooky by the high-school quarterback," said Flo, looking at Mel's handsome profile as they sped off.

"No football, I'm afraid, swimming--the Jewish contact sport. I wanted to play football, only my mother wouldn't let me. I was too precious, she said. She held my price very high, you see, which spoiled me for hard labor."

"The standard recipe for the Jewish prince," observed Flo. "But you seem to have accomplished a great deal, all things considered, and turned out better than most."

There's a lot of this sort of thing. If you care how Mel turned out in fact, and if you don't find the above snippet of dialogue dreadfully dull, by all means, read the book. I suspect that a lot of readers will in fact like it, and that my reaction to it is somehow aberrant, so I shan't stand in your way.

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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.

The only reason that Charlotte and Collins are better is because they don't have to alk to each other- they avoid each other.




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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.