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Topic: 2010 H/F Challenge #1 - Pagan Past

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Subject: 2010 H/F Challenge #1 - Pagan Past
Date Posted: 11/26/2009 6:03 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Discuss the book you read for the BCE category.

Read a historical novel that takes place before the Common Era (before the Christian Era). Sample titles include Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin, Black Ships by Jo Graham, The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough (and others in the series).

Date Posted: 12/25/2009 9:32 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,418
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I have been reading The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge, but I don't plan to finish it until after the New Year. This is a very powerful book about the barbaric era of Britain and the conflicts with the Romans. In reading the blurb about the contents, one would think that it is about Boudicca, but she doesn't enter the book as a truly main character until much later. I find this author's style so descriptive. The prose is beautiful. This was another Valli recommendation - thanks, Valli!

Date Posted: 12/26/2009 7:43 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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Jeanne, this one is on my challenge list.  One of my favorite books is "Child of the Morning Sun" by Gedge.  It's the story of Hatshepsut, a female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt.   It was incredibly fascinating; Gedge pulled me into the story and immersed me in Egyptian culture and politics.  In fact, it was one of only a handful of books that ever made me cry.  I can't wait to read Eagle and the Raven!

 

Edited because I can spell Hatshepsut and Pharaoh, but not Ancient.  Go figure.



Last Edited on: 12/26/09 7:44 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/3/2010 5:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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Guess what, Vicky, The Eagle and the Raven made me cry, but what a book! The characters were so realistic; the issues so believable. It really was a great read!

Date Posted: 1/16/2010 4:37 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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I just finished "If I Perish" by Deborah R. Turner for this challenge.  It's the story of Queen Esther.  A beautiful love story and a lot of palace intrigue.  Not only are the main characters well-developed, but there is a full cast of minor characters that you really get to know and care about (or not!).

Date Posted: 1/16/2010 5:56 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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Jeanne, you should just go ahead and start gathering the rest of Gedge's books; they are all good! Her book "Mirage" is my least favorite, but it's still a good, solid book. Go with Vicki's favorite next, Child of the Morning. You won't regret it! ;-)

Date Posted: 1/16/2010 7:46 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,418
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Okay Valli - I'm on it! You know that I have so few books that I absolutely have to do this in order to expand my horizons!!!;)

Date Posted: 1/16/2010 8:49 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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Holy Catfish Valli! Our library doesn't have ANY of her books. Looks like I'll have to check the UBS - none are posted on PBS. Some of the used book prices on amazon are phenomenal! B&N has some used ones that seem to be reasonable - BUT - I have to get some other reading done first, so I will keep an eye out for them .( You must want me to have a TBR list as big as yours.) LOL



Last Edited on: 1/16/10 8:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/16/2010 9:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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Valli, thanks for reminding me (indirectly) of the correct title: Child of the Morning.  ;)  Jeanne, I was checking on Amazon because I wanted to buy this for my Kindle, and I see it will be released in a new edition on April 1st.  It looks like a trade paperback.  (But no Kindle edition.  :/)

Date Posted: 1/17/2010 7:19 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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Vicky: Thanks for the heads up - I will be looking for it. Haven't got my kindle yet because I told DH that I still had TOO MANY BOOKS TO READ ON MY SHELF! At this rate I will never get a kindle.:/

Date Posted: 1/17/2010 8:20 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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Jeanne, I said the exact same thing to my DH and he talked me into it anyway!  (We got one for each of our daughters, and he said, "You know you'll want one too.") 

I've decided my Kindle will be for my keepers, and the classics (because they're cheap/free) and certain books that would be nice to read with a dictionary so close at hand.  Or huge doorstoppers that I don't want to hold or lug around.  (Think Steven KIng's new book, "Under the Dome.") 

My daughter had surgery last week, and it was so nice to read the Kindle in the waiting room; I was almost done with my book, but no worries...I had 10 more with me!  I love that aspect of it!

Date Posted: 1/17/2010 8:42 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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Okay Vicky, That makes a lot of sense. I may have to rethink this!!!

Date Posted: 1/19/2010 4:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,482
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I finished Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran last evening.  It was very good, but really left me wanting more.  I certainly hope she continues to write more about Nefertari and Ramesses.  They were both very interesting and I feel like the author just scratched the surface of the years they spent together in this book.

Date Posted: 1/19/2010 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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Jeanne, I have the same problem as you! I'd love to have some sort of ereader, but I have too many books here that need to be read. I'm really curious about Apple's ereader which is due to be out some time this year, I think. If it does everything I hope for, I will definitely buy one. I have books on my Blackberry and I'm happy to use it during the few times I am stuck somewhere with nothing to read. I don't usually leave the house without a book in my bag though so that doesn't happen often.

Date Posted: 1/23/2010 4:15 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
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I read Morgan Llywelyn's The Greener Shore which is a sequel to Druids (which I really enjoyed) -  set around the time of Julius Ceasar's death.  I didn't like this one nearly as much.  For being 300 pages, not much really happens.  Mostly it's the rambling but sometimes profound thoughts of the cheif druid of a clan from Gaul who have left their homeland and ended up in Hibernia (Ireland).  There were some interesting parts to it, but overall, pretty disappointing. 

Date Posted: 1/24/2010 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,418
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The only Llywelyn book I've read was Grania and that was because it was a BoM read. I thoroughly enjoyed it though!

Subject: My Pagan Past Read - Historical Reading Challenge #1
Date Posted: 1/26/2010 9:56 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,931
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First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough: What a read! As the end came closer and closer I couldn't put it down. McCullough does a wonderful job of character development. Really enjoyed getting to know Marius and Sulla. I did think the book dragged a bit in places but I managed to get through those areas and I'm very glad I did. I recommend this book to any reader of historical fiction. I'm not sure my copy is postable so I listed as unpostable in this reading group for anyone who is interested. If you haven't yet read it, do so now. REK (bigstone)



Last Edited on: 3/15/10 10:35 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/26/2010 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
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REK:  If you ever feel so inclined try the second in this series, The Grass Crown.  I think it has to be my favorite one but all of them are very good.

Date Posted: 1/26/2010 10:46 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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Bigstone, I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! Now, you have this entire fabulous series to look forward to reading in the future! I have seriously been considering doing a re-read of the whole series, mainly because it's been years since I read them and I still haven't read the last installment, "Antony & Cleopatra". My memory is so bad and I think it would be really helpful if I did a re-read, but this series is so long! Plus, the books I have are all hardcovers and they are so heavy and awkward to hold. I'd really love to have this series in trade paperback and then maybe I'd be motivated enouigh to finally begin the re-read. ;-)

Or, is that just an excuse to get my greedy little paws on those fabulous trade paperbacks with the lovely cover art??? Hmmm.....

Somebody should snag Bigstone's offer of the unpostable and give this series a try! You won't regret it!

Date Posted: 1/26/2010 2:07 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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Fabulous series.  I've read the first three books, and I have acquired all but the last in mmp, one trade at a time, through PBS.  I, too, covet the tradepaper and somewhere down the road I may buy them all in tradepaper and post the whole set of mmp as a deal.

Date Posted: 1/27/2010 8:41 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,710
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Plus, the books I have are all hardcovers and they are so heavy and awkward to hold.

 

Kindle....Kindle....Kindle....:D

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 3/18/2010 7:22 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 40,385
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I read Michelle Moran's Nefertit for this category. Where to begin....... The story itself was okay understanding there is jus so much know about them so she obviously has to make a bunch up. I couldn't stand the whining, annoying main characters Nefertiti and Amunhotep. I know there were teens and teens are annoying but this was over the top. I wanted to give the both of them a good kick in the butt. They portralyal very much reminded me of Bella in the Twilight series (annoying teenager you love to hate). I like the way she devloped the other characters Mutny, Ay, Tiye, Panashi but the main characters got hard to read afterwhile. What I did like is she put in a good glossary, map and family tree. That helped a lot. I would give this a 5 out of 10. I have the second book and will probably read it sometime. So it wasn't awful or I wouldn't do that.

Alice

Date Posted: 4/17/2010 11:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,710
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I finally finished my selection for the Pagan Past: Helen of Troy, by Margaret George. I would give it three stars. I really wanted to love this one, but I could never overcome the feeling that the characters were all distant, polite strangers. There just wasn't any emotion involved, and in this story there should have been! It covers Helen from childhood through her death, many years after the fall of Troy.

George includes the gods and goddesses, making them interfere with the character's lives; and yet some of the characters don't believe in the gods. The war supposedly lasted ten years, but this isn't really outlined for us. "Time moves strangely" is the best she does with it. Achilles is portrayed as a madman, and his son is a psychopathic twit. I expected to get into the lives of Helen, Paris, Menelaus...and my expectations killed the story for me, I guess.



Last Edited on: 4/18/10 9:14 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/18/2010 9:09 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I've seen other reviews stating disappointment in Helen of Troy. That's too bad as I would really like to read a good HF book about her. Any suggestions?

Date Posted: 4/18/2010 9:31 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,710
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Genie...no, none. I tried to read "The memoirs of Helen of Troy" by Amanda Elyot, but I just couldn't get into it at all. I did order (and just receive) Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Firebrand, which is Cassandra's story. I love Mists of Avalon, and so I'm hoping for the same kind of story here, in Firebrand.

But...expectations are dangerous! ;)

I would love Pauline Gedge to write Helen's story! And it wouldn't be that far off, as Helen and Menelaus are beset by storms when leaving Troy, and end up in Egypt as "guests" of the Pharaoh for seven years.

M. George has an afterword in Helen, in which she states that Helen was not a real person. Maybe that was her problem; she doesn't see Helen as being real, and thus had a hard time making her readers see her as real. I don't know, but I have to believe the legend is based on a real woman. That's the story I really wanted to read: the real story of Helen.

ETA: Ahh...I see Colleen McCullough has written a novel about Troy, Song of Troy. Wishlist expanded!



Last Edited on: 4/18/10 9:43 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
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