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Monthly "Reads" > Shomeret's December Reads 2/4

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message 1: by Shomeret (last edited Dec 31, 2010 11:30PM) (new)

Shomeret | 1390 comments 5)The Marlowe Conspiracyby M. G. Scarsbrook (historical thriller) 360 pages. Source: Amazon Started: 12/15 Finished: 12/17

Why Read: The author posted about it on the History Fact and Fiction Group on GR. A thriller dealing with Marlowe and Shakespeare sounded wonderful to me.

Comments: I liked the way this author portrayed Marlowe's personality. He had lovely moments of cleverness and circumvented his opponents in some outrageous ways. He was resourceful, but also lucky in his friends. Many people have ideas about Marlowe that are unsubstantiated. He is widely thought to be gay. This is the only novel that I've read in which he's portrayed as heterosexual. The other idea that he wrote the works of Shakespeare seems impossible to me when you compare Marlowe's work with Shakespeare's. The contrast between the two playwrights is aptly shown in this novel. My only criticism is that I saw where the book was going early on. So I wasn't surprised by the ending. But it was a fun read. I'm rating this B+

6)The Lost Books of The Odyssey: A Novelby Zachary Mason (re-mythologizing)
328 pages. Source: Library Started: 12/17 Finished: 12/19

Why Read: I saw it in the New York Times Book Review and a best of 2010 list. This is like fanfic. It's revising Homer's work, but he's long dead and can't complain. Since Homer's tale dealt with mythology, a different version is re-mythologizing.

Comments: These are short pieces that are different views of events in the Odyssey. My favorite is "Blindness" which is the tale of the Cyclops from his perspective. I thought it was brilliant. Another really good piece was "Alexander's Odyssey" in which Alexander the Great re-examines how he sees himself. The anthology as a whole averages to B+ which is high for an anthology.

7)Death Blowsby D.D. Barant (alternate universe urban fantasy)343 pages. Source: Independent Bookstore Started: 12/20 Finished: 12/24

Why Read: I read the first book in the series, Dying Bites and was impressed by the originality and excellent world building. I read that book because I'd heard that this book deals with comics in a way that sounds very interesting. I was also told on the Urban Fantasy group that I needed to read the first book for background. I listened that time. I don't regret reading the first book, but I was really looking forward to this one.

Comments: This is wow conceptually! There's great use of comic books and comic book heroes in this alternate universe context. It also deals with the power of fiction in general. I'm really bowled over. This is getting an A+. It's the best urban fantasy I've read in 2010 and the best book of December.

8)First They Killed My Fatherby Luong Ung (memoir)Source: Library Started: 12/25 Finished: 12/27

Why Read: This is the memoir of a survivor of Khmer Rouge Cambodia. I first found out about it when I met a local survivor.

Comments: I had misconceptions of what happened in Cambodia during this period. Luong Ung's book set me straight. I now understand the situation much better. Rating A

To Be Continued...


message 2: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 865 comments From your 1st 2 monthly posts looks like you've been enjoying many of your books! Hmmm, so you can be talked into RIO...lol.


message 3: by Ann (last edited Jan 01, 2011 02:17PM) (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14963 comments Shomeret:
These two look good. (well they all do, but I have to have some restraint!) I have been interested in 1970's era Cambodian history since I was a teen and the events involving Pol Pot were occurring; and have always been intrigued by the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare.
Shomeret wrote: "5)The Marlowe Conspiracyby M. G. Scarsbrook (historical thriller) and First They Killed My Father by Luong Ung (memoir)"


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