Sorry for the long post in advance, it’s been a long time since I’ve read a book about museums and antiquities and I forgot how much I love them and how much they make me think!
This book has been on my to-be-read shelf since July of 2011 and I can’t believe I waited this long to read it! I will never forget my first Anthropology class in undergrad and the professor going off on a tangent about the looting of the museums after the fall of Saddam Hussein. It pretty much guaranteed I would be an Anthropology major. (I later switched to cultural anthropology and focused on gender in the media, but still the people were awesome!) The intrigue, the drama, the affairs and the crimes, it could be a spy novel if it were fiction and not fact! This book will count as a bonus book for my 2013 Mount TBR Reading Challenge.
What’s important to note is that this book is not academic, Waxman wrote the book for a general audience and in this she succeeds. There are very few things that would go above someone’s head who doesn’t have a degree or a heavy interest in Ancient History, Anthropology, Archaeology or Art History. She, or her editors, appear to have been very aware of this and kept to the journalistic research intent of the book.
However, this also work against her and ultimately I felt the entire purpose of writing the book got lost. Someone on Goodreads tagged the book as ‘ending goes south’ and that’s an apt description. Waxman keeps building the crescendo and it gets to a point where you just want her to tell you what happens. And then she reminds you that all of this is still happening and things are still changing rapidly totally dampens the bang that could’ve ended the book.
I can’t wait for the next in this series to come out!
When it does, I’m going to re-read the first three all over again because there were so many details I only vaguely recalled AND their just fun reads! (Although this might not happen as The House of Hades‘ scheduled publication is August 2013, but I hope to get the chance!)
From what I do recall from the first two books, this is definitely more action packed and definitely not lacking. However, in the end it was just as much a tease as the others. For the entire book I held out hope that some of the major plot lines of the series would be wrapped up, but only one of them was (which was definitely nice). I was, however, very glad that the seven demigods from the prophecy were finally together and the teen angst in the book definitely added to the plot (although I’ve yet to read an author who does teen angst as well as J.K. Rowling).
What’s great is Riordan is slowly perfecting his new style of writing (third person narration) and I think he’s improved over the last few of his novels. In addition he’s stuck with his strengths of weaving disparate stories (and cultures) together and creating a crazy cacophony of non-stop action.
I am done with all of my challenges for 2012! Upon completion of this book I wrapped up the Back to the Classics Challenge, so keep an eye out for the wrap up post on Thursday; this book also counts for the Classics Club.
I originally chose Lysistrata as my “Classic Play” for the Back to the Classics Challenge, but when I realized how short it was I felt guilty so found this version of the play accompanied by The Acharnians and The Clouds. I had a vague idea of Lysistrata‘s themes and story and I’m glad I read it. The other two I’m pretty sure I could’ve done without. It has been so long since I read an Ancient Greek play that these really were a struggle and although I’m glad I read them, I will not go out of my way at all in the near future to read anymore Ancient Greek works.
My original plan was to go right into reading another book from my Mount TBR challenge list, but as I’m on a stay-cation at Tom’s parents and I didn’t bring the book I had to do some fast thinking on what I could read. I looked through the local library Kindle books and didn’t find anything and remembered I had a NetGalley waiting that would be a light, fun read. I’m definitely glad I decided to read it. It also doesn’t hurt that I feel justified reading a ‘fun’ book as it’s a galley I wanted to review and I’m not just faffing about.
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley from the publisher. This response to the novel is my honest opinion and I did not receive any compensation for it. Algonquin Books is releasing The Art Forgerby B.A. Shapiro on October 23, 2012 of this year.
I requested The Art Forger for two reasons. It tangentially collected two of the places I love together. It’s a small publisher in Chapel Hill, NC (whoop! Go Heels! God I miss that place.) and occurs Boston (where I live and work). It also doesn’t hurt that it’s about one of the greatest legends of Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist, and mentions all sorts of local places and streets that I am familiar with (even if I can’t afford to live anywhere near there).
I stumbled across The Secret Lives of Codebreakers on NetGalley and decided to request a copy as I planned on reading David Leavitt’s The Man Who Knew too Much, and I am glad I did. This book tells the stories of the individuals of Bletchley Park—not just what they were working on, but what they did in their spare time, where they came from and where they went after the war. In essence, it does everything I wanted The Man Who Knew too Much to do about Alan Turing but didn’t.
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley from the publisher. This response to the novel is my honest opinion and I did not receive any compensation for it. Penguin Group USA is releasing The Secret Lives of Codebreakers by Sinclair McKay in September of this year.
My background reading on Bletchley Park was incredibly limited, as in I had a vague recollection of having heard of it before and knew Turing was associated with it and that’s about it. I found this accounting of Bletchley Park to be riveting and I couldn’t put it down for the most part. There were a few things that were off-putting, but overall if this is the only book I ever read about Bletchley Park I feel like I’ve taken something from it. I thoroughly enjoyed the mixture of the history of the war, the technology, the social existence and the personal stories.