Top Ten Tuesdays – Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR

Published September 22, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Oh, this won’t be pretty.  Even leaving out assigned reading for class, it’s not a pretty sight…

Anyway, so this is part of  The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesdays event.  The last time I did this, it was for the Summer TBR list.  Well, I actually made a decent dent in the list, it turned out.  Got through books 1-5 (though I’ve yet to write up my reaction to #5) and I’m most of the way through #8.  Over the summer, I also read To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman, plus all too many volumes of manga, so…uh…yeah.  Anyway, the following list is needless to say not so much stuff I necessarily want to read as stuff I’m going to be reading as research for the final papers in my classes.  (Yeah, I’m already researching papers not due until December.  Such is life.)  Some of them should be pretty good reading, despite being research.  I’ll try and focus on those….

The list’s order is pretty random; they’re all of equal importance but all equally my own choices for my papers.

  1. The Female Review:  Life of Deborah Sampson by Herman Mann.  First written in 1797, this is a biography of a woman who dressed up as a man in order to fight in the Revolutionary War.  And lived to tell the tale:  Mann interviewed her in order to write her life’s story.
  2. My Dearest Friend:  Letters of Abigail and John Adams
  3. Letters of a Loyalist Lady by Ann Hulton.  A nice counter-point, I’m hoping, to the more typically repeated pro-Independence point of view that will be expressed in the previous two books.  Also, one of the few primary sources I have for women during the revolutions in the Spanish colonies is a letter from the royalist sister of Simon Bolivar, so there should be a nice parallel there, too.
  4. Virgil’s Empire:  Political Thought in the Aeneid by Eve Adler.  (Assuming that whoever has it eventually returns it to the library, that is.  It’s several days past due at this point.)
  5. Playing Gods:  Ovid’s Metamorphoses and the Politics of Fiction by Andrew Feldherr.  Technically, I’m supposed to be focusing on Virgil, but I want to use contrasting examples of other contemporary poets who treated the Trojan War material differently.  Though in Ovid’s case, it was post-Aeneid, so it’s a bit different than someone like, say, Catullus, writing a generation earlier.  (But I don’t plan on looking at Catullus too closely…)
  6. The Politics of Latin Literature:  Writing, Identity and Empire in Ancient Rome by Thomas N. Habinek.
  7. Reading after Actium:  Vergil’s Georgics, Octavian, and Rome by Christopher Nappa.
  8. Poetry & Politics in the Age of Augustus, edited by Tony Woodman.
  9. Latin American Independence:  An Anthology of Sources, edited and translated by Sarah C. Chambers and John Charles Chasteen.  You have no idea how tough it is to get good primary sources for this stuff in English translation.  Source books like this for the American Revolution exist aplenty (and I’ll be reading bits and pieces of a number of them, let me tell ya!) but English versions of ones for the revolutions in South America and Mexico?  Nope.  Just about zilch, apart from this and a few collections of the writings of Simon Bolivar.  And Bolivar is not likely to be a good source for my topic on how life was for women during the revolutions.  This is, of course, why one normally speaks the language of whatever one studies as a graduate student.  But I’m not planning on making a career in studying Latin America.  I’m focused largely on ancient Greece.  (Admittedly, my ancient Greek is twenty years rusty and was never good anyway, but…I should be able to pick it up again.  I hope.  German will be easier to regain.  And there’s a lot of German scholarship on ancient Greece.  Latin will also be easier to relearn — one of the easiest languages ever, in my opinion — but will not be as useful.)
  10. Sally Wister’s Journal:  A True Narrative.  This one will be hard to read, because it’s in-library-use-only, being over a hundred years old.  But it’s the journal of a “Quaker maiden” and her interactions with the officers of the Continental Army during the early years of the Revolution, so it’s likely to be very informative.  I’ll just have to figure out a time to sit in the library for hours on end reading it.  (Well, obviously, I’ll want to bring along my iPad to photograph any passages that seem important, which will help, but still…it’ll be an unusual experience for me.  But a good learning experience, too.  This is the sort of thing a professional historian is expected to deal with.)

Well, that jumped all over the place, didn’t it?  I should’ve tried to organize it by class, instead of going back and forth from one to the other and back again.  Oh well.  At least this time I’ll actually get to all the books on the list!

After I write that bloody paper for Thursday.


I don’t wanna write it.  It’s awful.  I hate the topic.  And I didn’t understand word one of the reading.  (Hey, I never signed on to study economic history!)

But I’m already halfway done, so I just have to knuckle down and finish it, right?


3 comments on “Top Ten Tuesdays – Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR

  • That last–Sally Wister’s Journal–does sound good. I get a lot of older books from Project Gutenberg (for free), but they don’t have that one. Virgil’s times were fascinating. So much critical thinking going on.


    • Yeah, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in that one. No idea when I’m going to make time to sit in the library all day (or several days) reading it, but… (At least they added a cafe to the library a couple of years ago, so I’ll be able to break off for a snack or a soda without having to cross the whole campus!)

      The one problem with writing about Virgil is the sheer amount of information already out there: I left the library today with five more books to add to my stack, just for that paper. (Though two of them were actually primary sources pre-dating Virgil, but those are important, too.) I decided I’ve officially checked out too many books now, and can’t check out any more until I get through a few of them first…


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