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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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Kindle | paperback (UK)

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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Green, John: An Abundance of Katherines

  Amazon  

4 stars

When John Green's novel opens it's the morning after high school graduation and Colin Singleton is bemoaning the loss of his girlfriend, the latest in a statistically improbable string of girls named Katherine who have broken up with him. His streak of exclusively dating Katherines--the latest, and most serious, was the 19th--is one of the things that has defined Colin. The other is that he is--or was, at this point--a child prodigy. His ability to remember minutiae is circus-freaky good, and he can anagram anything instantly. But child prodigies don't necessarily grow up to become geniuses capable of original ideas. And Colin is worried that for all his studying and smarts, he won't really matter in the end. If he's not a child prodigy, what is he? By way of dealing with both problems--the hole left by Katherine and his identity crisis--Colin and his friend Hassan embark on a road trip. Unlikely experiences and new relationships result. Eventually, Colin sees a way of dealing with both of his problems through, of all things, a mathematical theorem.

John Green's anagram-laced prose is clever and his story, if unlikely to keep readers up late, turns out to be very sweet. (My only complaint about Green's writing is his over-use of the Norman Mailer-inspired expletive "fugging," which becomes tiresome very fast.) The book is packed with interesting information--stuff Colin injects into his conversations because he doesn't know his audience well enough to keep quiet, but also stuff Green puts in the footnotes. (For example, we're told that Nikola Tesla was unusually fond of pigeons, and he reportedly said of one particular bird, "I loved that pigeon. I loved her as a man loves a woman.") If you have any smart YA readers in your life, this one may be for them.

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