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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

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


Kindle | paperback (US)
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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
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)

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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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Urbina, Ian: Life's Little Annoyances

  Amazon  

4 stars

Those oblivious, the-world-revolves-around-me types who leave their grocery carts in the middle of the aisle, chain mail forwarders, spammers and telemarketers and express line abusers--they're not criminals, exactly, so you can't lock them away or kill them. Still, in their small abuses they detract significantly from the quality of our lives day to day, and for that they merit some kind of punishment. But how precisely to go about it? New York Times reporter Ian Urbina may have some ideas for you in his book Life's Little Annoyances: True Tales of People who Just Can't Take it Anymore.

Starting with his own experiences exacting revenge from a roommate who was routinely pilfering his cookie dough ice cream, Urbina includes some 70 stories about people fighting back against the rude and unthinking among us. His short tales of righteous revenge--the ideas are not all his own, but were collected from the fed-up people described by his subtitle--are divided among nine chapters by genre of annoyance: from mail-related (junk mail, the profusion of AOL disks one receives), to service-related (overly zealous store employees), to the vehicular (tailgaters, proselytizing bumper stickers).

The most even-tempered of readers may choose to turn the other cheek when irritated by life's smaller annoyances. The rest of us will probably come across a few ideas in Urbina's book that we'd like to try out ourselves. I can see myself, for example, putting telemarketers on "hold"--that is, on speakerphone, so they can listen while I finish dinner, change a diaper, watch TV, etc. And I am intrigued by the idea of mailing off blank "blow-in" cards, those subscription cards that fall out of magazines all the time, so that the company responsible for them will have to pay postage. But while I admire him for it, I would not have the gall myself to imitate one man's sweetly cruel response to pushy sales clerks who can't take "I'm just browsing" for an answer....

Ian Urbina's Life Little Annoyances is a quick, titillating little read. Have fun with it.

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