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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


Kindle | paperback (US)
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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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.



  
From a random review:

  

« Hauser, Melanie Lynne: Author interview | Main | Kabak, Carrie: Cover the Butter »

Headley, Jason: Small Town Odds

  

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Chronicle Books © 2004, 341 pages [amazon]
5 stars

Twenty-four-year-old Eric Mercer is a good guy, but he copes with the disappointments of a life that hasn't quite gone according to plan by drinking too much. Weekdays find him working two jobs--assisting alternately at a bar and a funeral home--and sharing in the task of raising his five-year-old daughter, who lives full-time with her mother. Weekends he is more often than not drunk and belligerent to the point of exciting police attention. Jason Headley's debut novel follows Eric's life in the present, a chapter a day, through one unusually eventful week, from a Sunday morning hangover endured in the local jail to the following Saturday, when everything--and nothing--has changed. The seven chapters devoted to Eric's present are interspersed with chapters detailing slices from his past: his liberation of a Playboy Magazine from someone's stolen stash when he was twelve; the big game against his town's arch-rivals that Eric won more or less single-handedly during his senior year; the birth of his daughter. Gradually the pieces of Eric's life, related out of sequence, recombine to explain the mystery of his character: how a top student, a hero on the gridiron, a man whose innate goodness is plain to see--despite the darker side that reveals itself when he drinks--how such a man came only seven years after his high school triumphs to be squandering his life in a kind of hopeless holding pattern.

Gradually the pieces of Eric's life, related out of sequence, recombine to explain the mystery of his character: how a top student, a hero on the gridiron, a man whose innate goodness is plain to see -- despite the darker side that reveals itself when he drinks -- how such a man came only seven years after his high school triumphs to be squandering his life in a kind of hopeless holding pattern.Jason Headley's Small Town Odds is an elegant, gorgeously written novel. And it is well plotted, the various elements of Eric's quiet drama lining up as they are meant to and leading inevitably to the book's denouement, but not in such a way that one notices mid-read what the author is doing. Only afterward does one appreciate the story's structure, how a funeral and a football game and the baggage of Eric's past lead finally to resolution. Like Richard Russo, the Pulitzer-winning author of Empire Falls with whom he has been compared, Headley offers readers a charming exploration of life in small-town America, where the cast of characters tends to remain unchanged, and people bump into one another's lives at various points, passing time together and sharing histories and resentments: the sort of aging that makes for complex relationships. And like Richard Russo, Headley is able to create from these elements some very fine fiction indeed.

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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.