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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.



Book Notices | The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins / Fifteen Minutes to Live by Phoef Sutton / The Forgotten Affairs of Youth by Alexander McCall Smith

Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train

  Amazon  

The girl on the train is Rachel, who watches strangers from her seat during her morning commute—one particular couple, whom she embues with personalities and a backstory. As the story unfolds, we learn why Rachel is interested in this couple, how their lives overlap with hers, and we watch as she steps into their lives after seeing something disturbing from the train. The story is told primarily from the perspectives of Rachel and this woman she watches, "Jess" (although there is a third narrator as well, whose identity I won't reveal because it will give something away). Both women are broken when we meet them, and in Rachel's case, we don't know how much of what she tells us can be believed. Nor does she. So it's an interesting read. The only thing that gave me problems was kind of technical. The chapters are dated, and one woman's storyline takes place before the other's. It's not super complicated, but the prominence of the dates made them seem important, and on my Kindle I couldn't quickly flip around to see what the last date was. It was just an unnecessary irritation that took me out of the story. If the dates had been appended to the chapter titles in the table of contents, I think that would have improved my experience significantly.

Phoef Sutton, Fifteen Minutes to Live

  Amazon  

The conceit of the book is interesting: Moved back into his parents' house after their deaths, Carl is surprised when his old girlfriend shows up out of the blue, throwing pebbles at his window like she used to in high school. Turns out, she does a lot of things like she did back in school. Carl has to figure out what the mystery behind her bizarre behavior is, and that leads to him uncovering big secrets. A lot happens in his life in a short period of time, and a lot happens in the book in a relatively small number of pages. The book is readable, it keeps you turning the pages, but it also felt rather rushed. An okay but ultimately forgettable story.

Alexander McCall Smith, The Forgotten Affairs of Youth

  Amazon  

This eighth book in the author's Isabel Dalhousie series brings a familiar mix of philosophy, music, and meddling. Stuff happens as the characters' lives unfold unhurriedly: Isabel helps a new acquaintance who's looking for her roots in Scotland. Professor Lettuce rears his leafy head. Cat has a new employee. Charlie eats olives. Jamie is handsome and somehow impervious to his effect on women. And so on. This time around, in addition to being annoyed at how little parenting Isabel seems to need to do, I'm irritated by Grace, Isabel's housekeeper. Sure, she's kind, and she helps out a lot with Charlie, and because of this, we're supposed to find her shortcomings endearing. But in this book she does something very stupid financially, and Isabel is there, ex machina, to pull her out of the hole she's dug. It just irritates me that she was so stupid and that there's no natural price for stupidity. And didn't Isabel already buy her a house a while back? Am I misremembering? Honestly, I don't even particularly like Isabel at this point. I just read a review that called her a "sanctimonious bitch," and they have a point.

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