From a random review:


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About the blogger:
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


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)





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


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Book Notices | Sleeping with Schubert by Bonnie Marson / The Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall Smith

Bonnie Marson, Sleeping with Schubert

  Amazon  

Liza Durbin was in the women's shoes department at Nordstrom's when she was inhabited—literally, not figuratively—by the spirit of Franz Schubert. She sat down at the store's baby grand piano and played a piece skillfully enough to attract an audience. Liza had played piano before, but not well enough to impress her grade school piano teacher. Being inhabited by a dead genius has its benefits—the piano thing—but a lot of negatives go along with it. We follow Liza as she puts her life on hold to deal with her possession. She subjugates her interests to those of her inhabitant, I'd like to say, because she really does give up her life, although the book doesn't really focus too much on her decision to do so, or question it. Meanwhile, she's surrounded by a number of hangers-on, secondary characters who are never really fleshed out and whom we never care about, people who manage her new career as an out-of-nowhere piano prodigy that mostly plays Schubert. We don't really care very much about Liza either, for that matter, or Schubert. The premise of the book is interesting, but it was a bit of a slog, over-long and without much of a payoff.

Alexander McCall Smith, The Careful Use of Compliments (Book 4)

  Amazon  

The fourth installment in Alexander McCall Smith's Isabel Dalhousie series picks up about a year after the surprising revelation of the last novel. With another dozen novels (and counting?) waiting for me in the series, I guess it's not sustainable to entirely avoid references to major plot developments in these early books. So beware of spoilers. Here's a big one: Isabel now has a baby, Charlie, by her much younger lover Jamie. But Charlie's kind of in the background so far, more of an accoutrement that's sometimes mentioned but doesn't dramatically impact the story or, it seems, Isabel's free time (because she has a willing babysitter in her housekeeper Grace). So, Isabel is free to become entangled in an art-related mini mystery that leads ultimately—after a graceful buildup—to the sort of moral conundrum by which Isabel is so often vexed. At the same time, her tenure as editor of the Review of Applied Ethics is in jeopardy, and I found myself angry on her behalf at the cowardly machinations that would threaten her happy avocation. Another gentle read from McCall Smith. I'm sure I'll be on to the next one shortly.

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