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.: Books I'm reading

Journal Entry: Sun Jun 8, 2008, 10:44 PM

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Here are a few books I'm reading now, or have read recently:

"The Sociopath Next Door"- Martha Stout

This is a short and very well-written book about garden-variety sociopaths- that is, the ordinary ones who live next door, as opposed to the ubiquitous serial killers you see on TV.   Highly recommended- and you probably know a couple sociopaths yourself.  Pretty freaky stuff.  

"Atticus of Rome"- Barry Denenberg

This is probably the worst children's book I've ever read.  I wrote an extensive review of it here… invite you all to read it and marvel at its pure, unadulterated awfulness.

"Cicero: A Biography"- Elizabeth Rawson  

After struggling through Anthony Everitt's unbearably tedious bio of Cicero, I decided to try this older bio, recommended by other Amazon reviewers.  It's  really much better.   It's not the best bio I ever read- it can't compare to John Guy, Claire Tomalin or Antonia Fraser when she's not on autopilot- but it's a decent, readable overview of C-Ro's life and times.  

"Clodia: A Sourcebook"- Julia Dyson Hejduk

This is a pretty interesting book, about the famous (or infamous) Clodia Metelli, poetic muse, politico, and alleged poisoner, the "Lesbia" of Catullus and the "Ox-Eyes" of Cicero.  This is basically all the compilation of sources about her, with additional commentary, but it's surprising that it's never been done before, because she was either the Madame de Pompadour or the Madame de Montespan of her era, depending on whom you ask.   

I like Ms. Hejduk's writing, but the only false note so far is a footnote on page 157 in which she says, apropos of nothing, "Unlike many fictional works involving Clodia, [Steven] Saylor's 'The Venus Throw' is quite accurate in its treatment of Clodia, Caelius, Cicero and other historical figures."  Now, I used to like Saylor's writing when I was a kid, but it hasn't really held up well after 15 years (as opposed to Gillian Bradshaw).  Saylor's writing is portentous and clunky, while Cicero comes across as a prosy, humorless twerp, and Clodia is a one-dimensional femme fatale.   I'd bet anything that Saylor and Hejduk are buddies...  

  • Watching: "In Plain Sight"
Add a Comment:
cabepfir Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh my, your destroying review is hilarious. :D
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
I'm glad you like it! I had fun writing it. ;P
squirepeanut Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2008
Brava! :clap:
squirepeanut Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2008
oh Barry Denenberg. When I was younger I read some of the books he wrote for the Scholastic's Dear America line and I remember that they were uniformly badly written with bonus violent character deaths. He is indeed worthy of sporking.
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
So, what did you think of my sporking? ;P
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Submitted on
June 8, 2008