Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sunday Salon: Those Crazy Romans

I feel like I've done quite a bit of armchair travelling this week. I spent the first part of the week on a ship heading toward Greenland in icy waters as I finished up Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow (review pending). Brrr! Now I'm in Ireland, having just started The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor. But it hasn't only been books taking me away from the here and now.

Last night we finished watching the second and last season of Rome. Have you seen it? We'd been watching a few episodes here and there, mostly on weekends, for most of January but now it's over. It was quite the ride though. The show certainly had lots of graphic sex and violence (I wouldn't recommend it to anyone bothered by that) but it was really well-done, and it all looked very realistic. I heard that they took a few little liberties with the history but their aim was to be as authentic to the time period as possible and it really did seem so. I thought some of the actors were great too and I loved that it was essentially a British cast. As for the story itself, I have to admit that I don't really know much Roman history. I never studied it in school and had only picked up the odd bits from Shakespeare's plays of all places. So I knew some of the names (who hasn't heard of Caesar? or Anthony and Cleopatra?) but not really any of the politics of the time. In some ways that made it more fun to watch because I didn't know exactly how it would all turn out.

So even though I was never terribly interested in ancient Roman or Egyptian history before, watching this show has got me thoroughly in the mood to read about it. I have both of Michelle Moran's books to read and I'm looking forward to reading them even more now! But I think I may need to get something else from that era too. What would you recommend? I've heard that Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome books are good. Have you read any of them? And do you have any other suggestions of good Roman historical fiction?

This week I also gave in and decided to try Twitter. I'd actually started an account there a couple of months or so ago but had never done anything with it. I'd get the odd email from time to time though telling me that someone had started following me. So I found it quite amusing that without ever uttering a single tweet (not sure I've got the lingo down yet!), I already had 18 followers! LOL. You guys must've had faith in me though, and it's partly thanks to you that I decided to give it a go, so thanks... I think. If you'd like to look me up, I'm tanabata2000 over there.

And on Saturday my blog reached another milestone, its third anniversary. I never imagined when I started that blogging would become such a big part of my life, but I'm addicted now so I think you're stuck with me! And to celebrate my three years of blogging, I'm having a giveaway. I do hope you'll stop by and enter.

Week in Review:
Sunday Salon: Weird Economics
Mailbox Monday
Review: Kissing Games of the World by Sandi Kahn Shelton
Reading Japan: 2008
Friday Fill-ins, Friday Finds
Celebrating 3 years

Have a great week, and happy reading!


  1. I'm at a loss to understand Twitter.

    Note to self: Find out about Twitter this week.

  2. I also really enjoyed Rome. The thing that gets me about the series is that the two soldiers - Vorenus and Pullo - are real historical figures. (They're the only two common soldiers mentioned in Caesar's writings). I wonder what they'd think if they knew someone had filled in the blanks and made a television show about them, two thousand years on.

    As far as Roman books go, I've read Collen McCullough's first, (THE FIRST MAN IN ROME), and I really enjoyed it. I've been meaning to get to the rest for quite a while now.

  3. Three years! Goodness that is a long time! I'm excited for your review of Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow.

    As for Colleen McCullough, I read her book about Cleopatra and thought it was pretty good. I haven't read anything else though.

    Margaret George wrote a great book about Cleopatra that talked about Roman society, Marcus Antonius and of course dear Caesar. It was perhaps my favorite of any I've read on Rome and Egypt.

  4. I haven't watched Rome, but I've heard nothing but good things about it. I have a friend who has the DVDs...I need to borrow them sometime.

    I'm scared to try Twitter, mostly because I can totally see myself spending hours and hours there.

  5. I am looking forward to your review of Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow.

    I had mixed feelings when I first began watching the Rome series, but it grew on me after awhile. I hadn't known too much about the history of the times either, other than the basics and so found it all very fascinating. It spurred me on to do a little research of the times as well since I knew the writers had taken a few liberties.

    Have a great week, Nat!

  6. Congratulation on your blog's anniversary! Woohoo!

  7. I haven't read any of the McCullough books, but I really liked both "I, Claudius" and its sequel "Claudius the God" by Robert Graves. The books were also made into a great BBC miniseries.

    Happy 3rd anniversary!

  8. I read all the Colleen McCullough Rome books a few years ago - I did enjoy them, but they are long books. I've been twittering spasmodically for a short while - I'm SukiCat but my twitters are very boring and I only have 3 followers.

  9. Hmm. I think I've mentioned before that I keep meaning to read Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow. I read The Story of Lucy Gault last year.. I didn't care for it.

  10. I haven't seen Rome, but can recommend Collen McCullogh's seven novel Masters of Rome series starting with The First Man In Rome.
    I also enjoyed Robert Graves' Claudius books starting with I, Claudius, The Ides of March by Thornton Wilder, Memoirs of Hadrian by Margerite Yourcenar and Eagle in the Snow by Wallace Breem. I think Alan Massie also wrote some well reviewed Roman books, but I haven't read them yet.

    And for non fiction, it has to be Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

  11. I've seen a few episodes of Rome, and it was a touch too gritty for me. ;) But I've read part of the Masters of Rome series; they're huge books, and for me the first half is spent being kind of bored and confused, but then the second half is so awesome it makes up for it. :)

    I'm avoiding Twitter, because I don't need more excuses to be on the computer. ;)

  12. debnance - I'm not sure I quite get it either. So far I'm pretty much just talking to myself. LOL. But it's interesting to get updates from publishers and authors.

    Memory - I too wonder what they'd think of how their lives have been portrayed so many years later. I do think it's very fun that they are based on actual soldiers though. I loved the character of Pullo! :P

    saveophelia - The three years has seemed both long and very very short! I came across The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George when I was browsing. It does sound great!

    Nymeth - Rome really was well done. You should definitely borrow the DVDs sometime.
    I haven't spent too much time on Twitter so far and have limited the kind of updates I see so I don't get too sucked in. That's the hope anyway. :P

    Wendy - The show, and especially the characters, really grew on me too. And it has made me want to know more about that time so that's always a good thing I think.

    indigo - Thank you! :)

    Teresa - Thanks! I looked up the Robert Graves books and they do sound good. Maybe I'll see if I can find the miniseries here.

    BooksPlease - Well I'm a follower now too. :)
    Colleen McCullough's books are very long! I'm always a little afraid of chunksters but they're on my wishlist for someday.

    Michelle - Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow was very fun. I'm almost done with The Story of Lucy Gault and I don't really love it or hate it. It's very readable though.

    Sarah - Thanks for the Roman history suggestions. I've made a note of them. If only I could speed read or have several lifetimes to get through them all! :)

    Eva - Yes Rome was certainly gritty and violent. I appreciated that they didn't tone things down and tried to stay true to the time, but it was rather shocking sometimes. :P


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