Monday, February 09, 2009

My Other Weekend Reading

After I finished reading The Hakawati this weekend, I picked up Mary Renault's The Persian Boy, which I finished this afternoon. (Pesky work. I can't even read while I eat my lunch, so I had to wait until I got home to read the last 90 pages. Grrr.) I seem to be in a mood to read about the history of the region. Even in the book I'm browsing - How To Lose a Battle - I just finished reading an essay on how Darius lost to Alexander the Great.

I'm not as enamored with The Persian Boy as I was with The Hakawati. It was interesting and well written, but I suppose I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't already known how, when, and where Alexander died. Even the writer seemed to lose interest, rushing through cataloging his last six months of life with a quick summary that was neither quick enough or interesting enough to grip me. I found myself skimming. Never a good sign. A little bit of mystery would have made it more bearable. But what could she do? It's not as if she were writing about some unknown person. So if you like historicals, give it a read, but now that I'm done with it, I probably won't give it a second thought.

The Hakawati, though, is lingering.

Next up:

The Other Side of Desire
Cryptozoology A to Z. Yes, cryptozoology. Nessie. Big Foot. Chupacabras. I hope it's written tongue in cheek like the absolutely fantastic Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation (A must read for anyone who writes science fiction. You want to come up with something so alien that it makes people's eyes pop? Well, young padwan, there are stranger things in your backyard than were ever dreamt of in the Star Wars universe.) This is research, people. Really.


Syd McGinley said...

Aw, The Persian Boy is wonderful. I implore you to re-read it one day and focus on Bagoas rather than Alexander. I fell into his story. Writing someone who adores his master became very diferent for me after living in B's head.

Kathleen Bradean said...

Oh, I didn't mean that I didn't like it. It's just that the poor writer was stuck with historical fact that the last months of Alexander's life he was being a good administrator, not a warrior, and the story bogged down at that point. This is a tiny quibble, but if it was Bagoas' story, it should have followed him after Alexander's death instead of ending there. (and I was very good and didn't mention her weird comma usage, which drove me nuts)

Now go read the Hakawati so we can discuss.