An era of opulence and intrigue? A badass and powerful princess? People with names like Cosimo and Troilo? Um, count me in!
I love books about cool womAn era of opulence and intrigue? A badass and powerful princess? People with names like Cosimo and Troilo? Um, count me in!
I love books about cool women, and Isabella de’ Medici was definitely a cool woman. Born to the most powerful family in Renaissance Italy, Isabella did what she wanted and didn’t give a rat’s behind about what anybody thought about her. Can I get a hell yeah?
So basically Isabella was raised among her brothers and was well educated and extremely intelligent. She married a (pretty stupid) prince and basically spent most of her time away from him because A.) She didn’t like him. and B.) She hated where he lived. That wasn’t a normal or an acceptable thing for a woman for her to do in her time, but did she care? Nope. Then she took a lover and had kids (who her kid’s fathers were, we don’t really know) and raised them to be totally cool too. And then her husband murdered her because he was resentful. That’s a really short and poorly written summary of her life. Pretty amazing right?
I’m now of the opinion that this girl needs her own movie. I mean I would totally watch that. The only complaint I have about this book is that it focused a little bit too much on her family rather than just Isabella. Her family was crazy and interesting, but she’s interesting enough by herself.
But anyway, great biography of an amazing woman. Bravo! (Brava? Bravissimo? I don’t know, I’m American.)
I was really excited to get started on this book, but I have to say I was really disappointed.
Sin in the Second City recounts the story of two famousI was really excited to get started on this book, but I have to say I was really disappointed.
Sin in the Second City recounts the story of two famous Madams of the Chicago underworld, Minna and Ada Everleigh and their eventual fight against the crusade for purity in the Chicago Levee. I was expecting so much more than what I got from this book.
A lot of the information about the sisters was pure speculation on the author’s part and the majority of the book was taken up by the Christians fighting against impurity. It was almost tortuous. The information is there, but the way the book is laid out makes it really hard to get through. There is so much jumping around that I lost focus every time a new chapter was introduced. As soon as I got into a particular story, Abbott changed the subject.
I was also hoping for more juicy details on how the Everleigh Club worked. I wanted information on the harlots, the clients and the sisters’ competition in the district, but instead it felt like I was being bashed on the head with a Bible while actual interesting information was withheld from me.
I do have to admit that reading this book really made me think. The Everleigh sisters’ mission to make prostitution respectable had me reconsidering some of my views. The “butterflies” as the courtesans were called were well taken care of. They were educated, fed well, given clean clothes and lodging and were examined by a legitimate doctor, things that many prostitutes today still don’t have access to. The club didn’t allow drugs, men of ill reputation or ladies who suffered from alcoholism in. Reading that really made me wonder if Amsterdam has the right idea. What if prostitution was legal? Wouldn’t it be safer? Cleaner? There are also issues with feminism. If a woman wants to sell sex, does she have the right? After all, it is her body. Food for thought
So all in all, an interesting topic made quite boring. The organization of the book works against it and the information included isn’t exactly what was advertised.
I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to review this book for you guys, but I am anyway, simply because I’m behind in my reading and I want to have somethingI wasn’t even sure if I wanted to review this book for you guys, but I am anyway, simply because I’m behind in my reading and I want to have something to show for the past few weeks.
This book can be summed up in one word: Boring. And that’s coming from me, a huge history buff. Instead of how the ancient Romans ‘lived and worked’ it was more like ‘a condensed history of the Roman emphasis with an emphasis on their personal lives’ which is so not what I signed up for. I was hoping for some interesting tidbits about the personal lives of the ancient Romans. All I really got was the equivalent to a history lesson from a scatterbrained professor.
Not only was the book just plain boring (honestly Dilke didn’t do ANYTHING to make these cold hard facts interesting) it was confusing! Dilke would constantly make references to books that only he had read and didn’t explain himself. Like ‘so-and-so mentioned so-and-so event in his work So-And-So’ and then not explain what they actually said. (If that makes any sense to you.) If you’re going to reference a specific book, then please tell your reader what the book said. Sorry I don’t have time to read the memoirs of every Roman philosopher that ever existed, nor is it worth it, just to understand your two hundred page book.
If you’re a history buff, looking to learn more about the ancient Romans, then don’t read this. If you’re a history teacher looking to teach your students so they’ll actually learn and appreciate ancient history, then don’t read this either. I don’t think I would recommend this to anyone, unless cold hard facts with no fun involved are your kind of thing.
Cold hard facts are sort of my thing, so I can’t personally give this a horrible rating. So I’ll provide two different ratings.
Personal rating: 3/5 stars For the general public: 1/5 stars
So I was really super excited to start this book and I have to admit I was slightly disappointed.
First of all, the book did start off on a great foot.So I was really super excited to start this book and I have to admit I was slightly disappointed.
First of all, the book did start off on a great foot. The author gave his own personal history of how he started reading and why he fell in love with the art (yes, I consider reading an art. If you read this book you’ll understand why.) which I could totally identify with, but really it descended into organized chaos after that.
The book is divided into a few different sections and those sections are divided into chapters, which are in chronological order. I personally didn’t like this organization. I would have preferred the chapters just to be in chronological order, because I kept getting bounced back and forth between time periods, which really kept me from really getting into the book.
And I know this is ironic, but this book is really wordy. I know what you’re thinking: “Duh, its a book on reading, of course its wordy. What are you stupid? Don’t you know how reading works?” But honestly, it was a little much, even for a voracious reader like myself. Some people probably enjoy wordy books, but I’d rather my literature just get straight to the point.
But onto the positives. I actually learned a lot about the history of the book and the history of reading. I also really liked how the author intertwined his own experiences into the book to make it more personal. I really was able to identify with Manguel. He’s a reader after my own heart. The book also included a lot of pictures, which besides from being something pretty to look at (because who doesn’t love pictures?) they were helpful when Manguel referenced certain pieces of artwork to have the photos right there. In a lot of books, the pictures are all in an insert or stuck in the back, so if you want to reference one, you have to flip back and forth.
So basically, this is a wordy book for wordy people. If you’re a book lover and reader like me I think you’ll enjoy it. There are some really priceless anecdotes in this lovely tome, but it does take some wading through some pretty hefty facts to get to them. For non-fiction lovers and book lovers alike, I think you’ll enjoy this book. But of course, it being ‘A’ history, rather than ‘the’ history of reading, you’ll be wanting more information on at least one of the topics covered in this book.