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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
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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
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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:

  

« Winchester, Simon: The Map that Changed the World | Main | Brown, Dan: Digital Fortress »

Snicket, Lemony: The Slippery Slope

  

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HarperCollins © 2003, 352 pages [amazon]
5 stars

The Slippery Slope is the latest installment--the tenth thirteen-chaptered book in a series that will eventually comprise thirteen books--in Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. The books are the product of Snicket's tireless research into the wretched lives of the three Baudelaire orphans, fourteen-year-old Violet, an inventor, her well-read brother Klaus, and their preternaturally accomplished baby sister Sunny. The siblings are orphaned in the first book in the series: as they are later informed by the apparently well-meaning but ineffectual Mr. Poe, the executor of their parents' considerable estate, a terrible fire consumes the children's home one day while they are off at the beach. The circumstances of the fire are, one must conclude, highly suspicious.

I should confess that I am half in love with Mr. Snicket, and I would pledge myself to him eternally were it not for a previous commitment of my own and Lemony's apparent devotion to the deceased Beatrice, to whom he dedicates each of his books (for example, "To Beatrice--darling, dearest, dead").Mr. Poe's efforts to place the siblings with a guardian land them first in the squalid home of a distant relative, a uni-browed actor by the name of Count Olaf, who begins scheming at once to make off with the Baudelaire fortune. Olaf's villainous activity continues throughout the series and very often involves his employment of outlandish disguises which no one but the Baudelaires is capable of seeing through.

"Some people called this man wicked. Some called him facinorous, which is a fancy word for 'wicked.' But everyone called him Count Olaf, unless he was wearing one of his ridiculous disguises and making people call him a false name."

As Olaf's girlfriend puts it in The Slippery Slope, "money and personal satisfaction" make Olaf's relentless efforts to seize the Baudelaires' fortune worth the trouble: "Once we have our hands on the Baudelaire fortune, we'll have enough money to live a life of luxury and plan several more treacherous schemes!"

Olaf's villainy is a constant throughout the series, and so is the author's linguistic playfulness--his clever aphorisms ("Taking one's chances is like taking a bath, because sometimes you end up feeling comfortable and warm, and sometimes there is something terrible lurking around that you cannot see until it is too late and you can do nothing  else but scream and cling to a plastic duck") ; his amusing verbal tics (a phrase which here means..."). There are also hints throughout the series about the enigmatic, rarely photographed Snicket's curious life. References to his "pulling aside a bearskin rug in order to access a hidden trapdoor in the floor," for example, or to spending months on a mountain with "only a lantern and a rhyming dictionary for company" slip into the narrative. Snicket is evidently on the run--from whom it is not clear--and so he wisely employs as his legal, literary, and social representative a certain Daniel Handler, who is himself, as coincidence would have it, the author of novels for adults.

I should confess that I am half in love with Mr. Snicket, and I would pledge myself to him eternally were it not for a previous commitment of my own and Lemony's apparent devotion to the deceased Beatrice, to whom he dedicates each of his books (for example, "To Beatrice--darling, dearest, dead"). But I can pledge myself to the task of promoting his research into the Baudelaires' lives, and urge you to buy Snicket's books, however filled with horrors they may be, and however much your possession of them may imperil you.

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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.