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Reviews Round-Up (Through January 11) January 11, 2010

Posted by rebeccareid in Uncategorized.

The challenge is more than half-way over. You’ve been busy reading! Here’s a round up of what you’ve been reading thus far. Also, check out our November round-up, which had a few reviews to report.

Ancient History

Zee from Notes from the North read The Epic of Gilgamesh (trans. by Andrew George). She thought the story had potential but was disappointed by the translation. Her bottom line? “Good story, bad book.”

It’s Greek to Me

Book Pusher at The Genteel Arsenal read three Theban plays by Sophocles. She was struck by the emphasis on age in Oedipus at Colonus and enjoyed the feminist role of Antigone.

Heather J. at Age 30+ Books (and co-host to this challenge) read Medea by Euripides. Although she didn’t love it, she was delighted by how easy it was to read: “If you are looking for an easy dip into the Really Old Classics, this play might be a good place to start. I expected it to be difficult to read but it was not at all.”

I (from Rebecca Reads) read Medea by Euripides as well, and I enjoyed Medea’s strong (yet extreme) reactions.

Roman Holiday

Richard from Caravana de Recuerdos read The Satyricon by Petronius.  Despite some unfortunate failings, he says it still lives up to the hype, and says in the end it’s a “A ‘naughty’ classic.”

The Middle Ages

Heather J. at Age 30+ Books read The Volusungasaga, a Norse epic. Although there were aspects that irritated, confused, and horrified her about the historical aspects in this epic, she did find it worth reading and enjoyed making some familiar connections.

Eva from A Striped Armchair reread Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (trans by Simon Armitage). She loves the story and only has good things to say about this translation: “Armitage decided to prioritise that alliteration: the result is a delicious rendition that just begs the reader to read aloud. … It’s got a little bit of a Dr. Seuss for grown-ups feel to it, with the word play, but of course the story itself has an actual plot.”

Sari from The View from Sari’s World read some medieval tales for the challenge, including stories that were originally 11th century oral tales and three of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.  She says, “Once again I started a book only to put it down after I finished it.”

Sari from The View from Sari’s World read Ywain The Knight of the Lion, an Arthurian Romance. While she enjoyed it, she did think it was a little over the top at times. Besides, she asks “when did lions roam medieval England?”

The Renaissance

Megan at Working Title read a selection from Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio.  She read about twenty of the stories and says “Having whetted my appetite on a few of the stories, I will definitely go back for more at some point.”

Anni at Almost Insider read The Prince by Niccolo Machievelli. She was surprised it find that it was “an analysis, than a guide for princes.”

Sari from Sari’s Reading Room read Dante’s Divine Comedy and Joseph Gallager’s Modern Guide. She loves Dante, but the guide fell short for her.

Arabian Classics

Eva at A Striped Armchair read The Travels of Ibn Battutah (edited by Tim Mackintosh-Smith), one of the first travel memoirs ever written. Unfortunately, she found it “a huge let-down” because of the racist issues; although it has historical value, it should not be read for “the pure entertainment or armchair travel level.”

Eva from A Striped Armchair read The Arabian Nights (trans. by Husain Haddawy). She says, “I seriously loved this book: I loved being transported to the streets of old Baghdad or Cairo or to somewhere in the desert. Almost all of the stories had my attention, and while the characters have that stock feel of all fairy tales, I still enjoyed them.”

Non-Western Classics

Mel U from The Reading Life read The Tales of Ise by Arihara no Narihara. A tenth century Japanese collection of “Dans” (prose and poetry interactions between men and women), she says it is “very useful and will deepen my appreciation for older Japanese novels” in how it portrays Japanese court life, although it may become repetitive and boring to some readers.

If you have recently reviewed something for the challenge, leave a link on the Review page and we’ll add it to the next round up.



1. Eva - January 11, 2010

Just to clarify, I found it a let-down because it was boring, lol. The racist issues were just one more annoying thing! 😉

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