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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


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


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

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

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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Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Parkinson, Judy: I Before E (Except After C)

  Amazon  

Judy Parkinson's I Before E is a collection of hundreds of mnemonic techniques and tips, divided by theme among 16 chapters. The book covers mnemonics related to the English language, for example, and to geography and world history, science, religion, the calendar, and so on. Some of the devices included will be familiar to readers, but not all. Everybody knows that Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, for example, but we may not all be familiar with the order in which the Smart People of Athens lived, that is, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. The majority of the tricks included in the book are acronyms such as those two examples. But Parkinson also includes poems and other miscellaneous tricks, like using your knuckles to remember how many days are in each month, or memorizing a poem to remember the value of pi to 31 places, or using Fibonacci number to convert (roughly) miles to kilometers. The mnemonic devices that are not based on acronyms seem to me to be the more useful because they are less easy to develop on one's own. The book is short so it's not very hard to find specific tricks, but its helpfulness would be improved by the inclusion of an index.

Would this book be helpful for the student in your life? Maybe. While some of the tricks included will be familiar, most will not, and everyone could benefit from at least a few of them. On the other hand, no one could possibly need or remember them all. And some are surely more ingenious than helpful: it seems easier to simply remember how to spell the word "beautiful," for example, than to remember the technique suggested for remembering it--Big Elephants Are Usually BEAUtiful. The book, particularly as it's an attractive volume, would probably serve well as a gift for a student or teacher.

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