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...