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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
By Debra Hamel


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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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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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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:

  

« Sansom, Ian: The Case of the Missing Books | Main | Cain, Chelsea: Confessions of a Teen Sleuth »

Bibeau, Paul: Sundays with Vlad

  

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Three Rivers Press © 2007, 292 pages
4 stars

In Sundays with Vlad, author Paul Bibeau takes a (mostly) light-hearted look at Count Dracula, both the historical figure and the vampire of legend. He is interested particularly in the relationship between the two, how Vlad the Wallachian prince--an ill-starred fellow who worked through his issues "by killing a whole mess of people"--became tied up with the blood-sucking fiend of creature features and cereal boxes. Bibeau explores the topic of vampirism from a number of different angles, some of them rather surprising. He writes, for example, about his trips to Romania, where he visited the remains of the historical Vlad's castle and traced the journey of Bram Stoker's character Jonathan Harker. No surprise there. But there are also chapters on an old attraction on the boardwalk in Wildwood, New Jersey, Castle Dracula, which burned down in 2002. And Bibeau actually interviews the woman who came up with the names for General Mills's pair of monster cereals, Frankenberry and Count Chocula. (This, as it happens, is Laura Levine, the author of the Jaine Austen Mysteries.) Bibeau also explores the world of modern-day "vampires"--from Dungeons and Dragons-type roll players to consenting adults who really do suck one another's blood to people who've crossed the line from bizarre to really dangerous. In the end he ties it all up as a study in globalism: Westerners usurped the historical Vlad and turned him into a fictional character, after which he became an endlessly malleable, international cultural icon.

[INSET TEXT: He is interested particularly in the relationship between the two, how Vlad the Wallachian prince--an ill-starred fellow who worked through his issues "by killing a whole mess of people"--became tied up with the blood-sucking fiend of creature features and cereal boxes.] Sundays with Vlad begins very well, with stories of the genesis of the author's early interest in monsters and his honeymoon in Romania:

"As we moved deeper into eastern Europe, the buildings got flimsier and the toilet paper got harsher. In Prague, the toilet paper seemed like the utility-grade stuff you'd use in your college dorm, and most of the buildings of Prague seemed sturdy and well-kept. Hungary's offices and apartments seemed danker and more prone to collapse, but its TP was hardy and unrelenting as a Magyar horde. And nothing could prepare us for Romania."

Bibeau is frequently very funny, but not all of his humor works, and sometimes the narrative get a bit boring: the author is wont to follow tangents--on Wildwood, New Jersey, on Romanian beer--that don't always merit the telling. But Sundays with Vlad is on the whole an interesting read, and not a little disturbing: there are some very strange people out there doing some very strange things. It's almost enough to give vampires a bad name.

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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/).

Comments

1.

Hi Debra!

Wow!!! I just spent...let's just say a VERY long time (in two visits) perusing your blog. I had a fabulous time! I am so geeked about so many new books and/or authors I discovered that my head is spinning with elation. :)

Thank you so much for sharing your love of books. I, for one, really appreciate all your effort. This is an absolutely EXCELLENT site! I love your honesty and eclectic choice of books. I don't remember how I even found you, but what a find indeed. :)

2.

Wow, Joy! I think that's one of the nicest notes I've ever received. Thank you!

I just thought to post word of The Sunday Salon here on book-blog.com. Consider joining us!




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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.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






The Sunday Salon.com



Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.