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Books by the Blogger:

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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paperback | hardcover (UK)

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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paperback | hardcover (UK)

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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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:

  

« Griesemer, John: Signal and Noise | Main | Highsmith, Patricia: Deep Water »

Fforde, Jasper: Lost in a Good Book

  

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Viking Adult © 2003, 416 pages [amazon]
3 stars

Literary Detective Thursday Next is back in Lost in a Good Book, a sequel to last year's delightful The Eyre Affair. The series is set in an alternate universe in the mid-1980's, a world in which dodo birds and Neanderthals have been reengineered, where ChronoGuard detectives regularly surf through time, and where literature is taken very seriously indeed. As we learned in The Eyre Affair, some movement between the fictional and real worlds is possible: Thursday spent some time in Jane Eyre in the last book. In Lost in a Good Book there is a good deal more of this book jumping. Thursday lands in Kafka's The Trial, for example, as well as in Great Expectations, where a shabbily-dressed Miss Havisham--who's got a Sony Walkman stashed in her bureau and knows her way around a stick shift--has signed on to teach Thursday the finer points of book travel.

The series is set in an alternate universe in the mid-1980's, a world in which dodo birds and Neanderthals have been reengineered, where ChronoGuard detectives regularly surf through time, and where literature is taken very seriously indeed.There are a few major plot lines in Lost in a Good Book: a copy of Shakespeare's lost play Cardenio has turned up; Thursday's husband, Landen, has been "eradicated"--killed off in the past and all memory of him, except for Thursday's, expunged; and Thursday herself faces prosecution for having unintentionally altered the ending of Jane Eyre back in The Eyre Affair.

What is most noteworthy about Lost in a Good Book, however, for both good and ill, is that it is filled to bursting with cleverness: because of some boundary changes, for example, the Cheshire Cat's name is now the Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat; Odysseus is in court on a charge of "Grievous Bodily Harm against Polyphemus the Cyclops"; Thursday's 108-year-old grandmother is cursed to go on living until she has read the world's ten most boring classics--whatever they may be; parasitic adjectivores plague books by gobbling up descriptive terms while leaving nouns intact. And so on. It's all very clever, but several ingenious bits per page for some four hundred pages and one feels one could choke. It's just too much, as if Fforde has thrown every idea he had into this single volume--books with more pages than they could reasonably hold, a library containing all the books that ever have or will be written, communication between the fictive and real realms via footnote. (Sick of it yet?) As a result, the details of the book are highly forgettable, and one feels virtually no interest in the fate of the characters. Fforde should have stopped perhaps 150 pages earlier, before he had shot every bolt in his quiver, before the reader starts thinking, if he does not scream aloud, "Enough!"

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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/).

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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.