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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Title:  Augustus
Author:  John Williams
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Performed by:  Robin Field
Publisher/Date:  Blackstone Audio/2011
Dates listened to:  4/29/17 – 5/20/17
CDs/Hours:  12/14.5
ISBN: 9 78144 774538

At one point in his life Octavius Caesar thought he would be touted as divine because his subjects loved him so much.  And he was a great leader and his philosophy rang true.  For example, he felt that in order to lead well he needed to examine and be right with himself.  He even imagined what the mausoleum would look like after his death.
This historical fiction was well researched by Williams and is based upon memoirs, letters and memoranda of Cleopatra, Mark Anthony, Virgil and other communique between various other well-known personages of the time.  Only eighteen years old when his Uncle Julius Caesar is murdered, Octavius inherits rule of the Roman Empire.  Surrounded by men jockeying for power – Brutus, Cassius, Cicero -- the young Octavius works against the powerful Roman political machinations to claim his destiny as the first Roman emperor.  This book tells the story of one man’s dream to liberate a corrupt Rome from the fancy of the capriciously crooked and the wildly wealthy.  I liked that insights from the teachers and other professionals of the time were also included in this story.  And I was pleasantly surprised that I like the book better than I thought I would.  But then Williams is a consummate story- teller, so why wouldn’t I?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

#20 - The Stone Roses - Sarah Gainham

Title:  The Stone Roses
Author:  Sarah Gainham
Genre:  Fiction
Publisher/Date: E. P. Dutton & Co./1959
Date read:  4/24/17 – 5/15/17
Pages:  256

Toby Elyot knew he didn’t like parties and this particular one wasn’t any better.  Yet, he met Miss Andrea Skala, the person he was meant to know.  She was engaged to be married and her fiancĂ© did not seem that interested in protecting her during a crucial time in her life when being wed would save her life and perhaps free her brother, Jan, from the political forces that held him hostage.

Such is the premise of Gainham’s book, set in Prague, Czechoslovakia, during the Russian influence of post-WWII.  The story moves a bit slowly but the suspense is pretty good, and the action intense when called for.  This is a second-to-be-read book of this author I first met in 1968, so it’s been a couple years for me to get around to another book of hers.

Monday, May 1, 2017

#19 - Dolphins - Sarah Albee

Title:  Dolphins
Author:  Sarah Albee
Photo credits:  various
Genre:  kid picture book    599.53
Publisher/Date: Gareth Stevens/2010
ISBN: 978-0-8368-9116-4
Date read:  4/30/17

Again, this second book by an author granddaughter and I had read was a winner.  We learn much about dolphins.  In particular, the names of their acrobatic feats include spyhopping which is when a dolphin pokes their head and sometimes their upper body straight up out of the water to look around and lobtailing which occurs as they slap their tails hard against the surface of the water, making a loud smack.  It could mean that a dolphin is angry or as a warning to other dolphins of danger or to show which male dolphin is in charge.

At the end of the book is glossary of terms, and questions to show what you have learned from reading the book.  This book is part of the Amazing Animals series which includes bears, dogs, frogs, goats and zebras.

As we read the facts about dolphins, soon-to-be nine year old granddaughter confirmed for me what she knew to be fact.  Smart kid!