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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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Kindle | paperback (UK)

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


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

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


paperback | hardcover (US)
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:

  

« McMullan, Kate: Have a Hot Time, Hades! | Main | Hauser, Melanie Lynne: Confessions of Super Mom »

Holden, Wendy: The Wives of Bath

  

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Plume © 2005, 292 pages [amazon]
3.5 stars

Wendy Holden's The Wives of Bath follows the parallel lives of two expecting couples from the pre-natal class the four adults attend together through the marital rifts that grow up during their babies' first years. The females of the foursome, Alice and Amanda, were acquainted with one another pre-pregnancy: their mutual animosity sets the tone in turn for their husband's dislike of one another.

His plans for Alice's upcoming childbirth--to be endured without benefit of anesthesia, of course--approach the barbaric.Former career-woman Alice, impregnated by and quickly wed to her one-afternoon-stand Jake, is a likeable, accomplished woman, but she suppresses her own interests and personality to live up to her handsome new husband's demanding expectations: Jake is an extreme environmentalist who goes to absurd lengths to minimize his family's impact on the environment, using colanders salvaged from the dump as lampshades, for example, and (unrealistically, I should think) refashioning the metal from spiral notebooks into coat hangers. His plans for Alice's upcoming childbirth--to be endured without benefit of anesthesia, of course--approach the barbaric. Amanda, on the other hand, roughly Jake's opposite on the eco-conscious spectrum, is a self-absorbed careerist for whom family is hardly a priority: she plans to use her baby as a fashion accessory, and to use her husband Hugo as the baby's primary caregiver. Amanda has carefully plotted out her own childbirth, from scheduled elective cesarean to live-in maternity nurse. But all laid plans being, as we know, subject to fickle fortune, neither Jake's nor Amanda's visions of their birth experiences quite work out. Nor do their respective marriages thrive in the sleep-deprived months to follow, when disagreements over the division of labor in their households inevitably arise.

The Wives of Bath is a diverting romantic comedy that hits a few new-parenthood nails squarely on the head. The book can boast of some nice writing, and it is for the most part carefully plotted. The problem is that the characters of Jake and Amanda are far too over-the-top to be credible, the near-abusive Jake nothing more than the caricature of an eco-fanatic, while Amanda is, as the author puts it, the personification of a "baby-hating career bitch." ("What do I care about some effing celebrity kids?" she spits at Alice. "Or any kids, come to that? Kids, schmids. Anyone who has them deserves all they've got coming to them.") No one short of Cruella de Ville is this unabashedly nasty. One can also fault the book for the deus ex machina that arrives at the book's end to resolve the problems between Jake and Alice.

The Wives of Bath is far from perfect, but if you're looking for a light, quick read, you might grab this one.

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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.