Thursday, December 1, 2011

November reading

Fleeting Rome: In search of la Dolce Vita [Carlo Levi] - borrowed from the public library. A series of essays by an Italian writer, painter and politician, about the Eternal City. He lived from 1902 to 1972, so witnessed many changes in Italy, and he writes about Rome from the end of World War II to the 1960s. Evocative scenes - you can feel the heat and quiet of the city in August, and sit quietly in the corner of the bar listening to the old men argue.

Lustrum [Robert Harris] - borrowed from the public library. The second novel about Cicero (after Imperium), following his career from when he became consul of Rome, and again seen through the eyes of his slave and secretary Tiro. There is a lot of political intrigue, and very little is black and white at this time when Cicero is at the peak of his power and then sliding into an inevitable decline, and Gaius Julius Caesar is setting up his power base.

The third book in this series should be out soon - I'm looking forward to it immensely!

The Ancient Guide to Modern Life [Natalie Haynes] - one I couldn't resist and had to buy (and may even re-read, which is quite unusual for me). We may have developed plenty of new technologies over the millennia, but people are still essentially the same and interact in remarkably similar ways to the way the ancients Athenians and Romans (and others) did. Plato and Socrates and Aristophanes are still very relevant, and this book has inspired me to delve into some of the classics, which are sadly neglected these days.

Jude the Obscure [Thomas Hardy] - free ebook on my Android phone.I finally finished it! It only took 8 months of a few pages at a time while waiting, usually for children to come out of school or finish activities. Ordinary people living ordinary lives, and failing to find happiness except briefly (and even then it was with a sense of guilt). Duty and honour outweigh love and happiness, and everyone's pretty miserable in the end.

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