Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Not my fault...

If my productivity is shot, it's all the fault of the reader who hit my Amazon wish list and sent me a copy of Working IX to V: Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World. I laid into that and it gave me a hankering to lose myself in the giant multi-century metaphor that is Rome.

So when I finished it, I dug through the attic looking for my copies of Lindsey Davis' wonderful Marcus Didius Falco novels (think "Sam Spade in a toga"...) I couldn't find the first one, Silver Pigs, so I tucked into #2: Shadows in Bronze. Davis spins some of the most compelling historical fiction, stuff that puts you right on the streets of the Eternal City during the reign of my favorite emperor, Vespasian. It doesn't hurt that her characters are compelling and the ongoing love story between her protagonist and his senatorial crush, Helena Justina, is handled with a deftness not often found in fiction. (That, by the way, is the definition of good fiction to me: A fun story can only partially redeem cardboard characters, but three-dimensional characters for whom the author can make me really care? I'll come back just to read a book about them doing laundry together.)

Having finished that, I held off on the third book in the series and instead went to Half Price Books and picked up a copy of Justinian's Flea: The First Great Plague and the End of the Roman Empire, which I'd been meaning to read for a couple of years now.

So, uh, regular blogging should resume later this afternoon, when I tear my nose out of the book...

14 comments:

GreatBlueWhale said...

Have you read McCollough's Masters of Rome series? I thoroughly enjoyed them.

JeanC said...

I've read a couple of the Falco novels, gotta get my hands on the rest.

Currently reading the Belisarius series by Eric Flint and David Drake. Talk about making you care about characters, I will be buying both of them a round or two of their favorite beverage, AFTER I deck them for killing off a couple of my favorite characters who I loved. Making me cry in the staff break room while eating lunch is not a nice thing to do!

DaveFla said...

Um, er... Apologies, Tam, and I'll be careful what I toss into the guitar case in future? Seriously, IIRC you'd written an entry about it previously, and the description made it sound as if it'd be a fun read. I'll consider this post a positive review.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way about sci-fi author R A Heinlein and the multitude of characters he created.

B Woodman

Anonymous said...

How much planning goes into an orgy anywho?

Don't you just buy a couple bottles of wine and invite over some really cool chicks?

Shootin' Buddy

Anonymous said...

Shootin' Buddy:
Depends on your social nous, you might be able to get away with that, but me, it'd be like planning D-Day, by myself, with a slide rule. About the timeof the heat death of the universe I might have accomplished that. Hence hiring a professional organizer.

Boyd K said...

I hate to ruin a good bookstore for anybody, but half price books does not want your money. I used to think they wanted mine, between ~2001 and 2007 I probably averaged around a thousand dollars a year in purchases at their Crossroads Mall store in Bellevue Washington. Then my beautiful bride pointed out the "no weapons allowed" sticker saying "they can't mean license holders though". When I asked about that the lady who had been admiring by Visual Basic and mystery book selection scampered for the manager. When I told him that 5% of Washingtons population pays for a concealed pistol license he looked at me as if he had only then noticed that my hoves were unshod and my horns a fiery red.
His only retort was "it's Mall policy". Having grown up in Bellevue I knew this to be what is colloquially called "a lie" and confirmed that after leaving half price books for the last time. Seattle Mystery Books has been happy to get that part of my book buying business and gives me the small independent book store fix I need pretty regularly. Everything else I get on line and I haven't missed half price books at all.
Reading is important, civil rights even more so.

Anonymous said...

Tam: That copy of Silver Pigs must be gone for good, since it's a new entry on your want list. I'm dropping a Jackson in the guitar case so that you can get a replacement copy and maybe something else on the list that your snarky heart desires. AT

SB: I'd spring for the vino too, but I'll pass on the orgy; my wifey would probably be against my attendance, and like the cool chicks in your orbit, she's a chick with a gun, and she ain't afraid to use it.

Mr. Casey said...

nd here I just gave Silver Pigs to a friend who teaches Latin.....

Borepatch said...

Wow. Next thing you'll be installing Google Earth's 3D Ancient Rome plug-in and flying through the streets of the Eternal City ....

Tam said...

Borepatch,

You bahstid.

:D

MrWolf. said...

As an ex-Brit living in Godzone, I still listen to the BBC on my computer. If you go to their site, Radio Four has some excellent plays, panel games, etc. (I love 'Just A Minute'). ANYWAY.... on Radio Seven they regularly have Anton Rodgers as Falco. You just missed Silver Pigs and Hand of Mars, but the next one should be along soon. I love good talking books/radio plays that you can listen to while doing something useful.

Best wishes.

D.W. Drang said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the Marcus Didius Falco series right up to the most recent one, which was full of snarky little shots about "Wars On Terror" and the like.

Firehand said...

Try the SPQR novels by John Maddox Roberts: murder mysteries with Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger stuck solving them. Pretty good books.