Books and Reading

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Book Report: Two Boys Kissing

Published September 29, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

I managed to finish reading my book for Banned Books Week after all!  Largely because in addition to being relatively short (it is YA), the last section of the book is one of those things where I couldn’t close the book again after I reached it until I’d finished reading the book.  Anyway, allow me to introduce you to one of last year’s top ten most banned/challenged books:

The cover photo is actually pretty misleading, in that one of the two boys is visibly taller than the other, and the text makes a point of saying that they’re the same height, making their challenge easier.  Oh, wait, I should talk about the book, not the cover!  It’s just something that really struck me suddenly about the cover image, and I had to point it out.

All right, so the book itself.  Probably the first thing anyone says about this book — though it’s not in the official blurb on the dust jacket, interestingly — is that it’s narrated by a Greek chorus of gay men who have died of AIDS.  And it really is, except that in a true Greek drama, the characters on stage can and do interact with the chorus, and the chorus has no idea exactly what’s going on in the characters’ heads.  The “we” narrating this novel — and I think this is the only work I’ve ever encountered with a first person plural narrative voice, btw –know what the characters are thinking and feeling, not because they have some omniscience, but because they’ve been there, having lived through so many of the things these boys are going through, but no matter how much they shout at the boys, no matter how much they try to interfere, they can’t, because they’re dead.  It’s both a mournful narrative voice and also a supremely powerful and even rejoicing one, because while they’re gone and so many of their friends are gone with them, some of their friends are still around, and — much more importantly — the new generation is starting from a better place, with more chance of being accepted by their family and friends.  As to why these men are narrating our tale, I’ll let them give you an idea of that in their own words:

We no longer sleep, and because we no longer sleep, we no longer dream.  Instead we watch.  We don’t want to miss a thing.

You have become our dreaming.

While our narrators can turn their gaze at anyone they want, they choose to show us a handful of gay teens over the course of a weekend.  The two boys of the title, Craig and Harry, are preparing to break the World Record for longest kiss, which will require them to kiss for 32 hours, 12 minutes and 10 seconds.  Because they’re doing it to make a statement — both defiant and naïve, typically teenage — they got permission to do it on the front lawn of their high school, with their friends running cameras to livestream it onto the Internet, and teachers to act as witnesses.  There are also Neil and Peter, a close couple, Ryan and Avery, who only just met at the beginning and hit it off right away, and Cooper, whose story may have grabbed me more than anyone else’s, along with Tariq, a friend of Craig and Harry and whose story gets largely subsumed into Craig and Harry’s.  Some of these boys are out to their friends and family, a few aren’t, and one of them is a trans boy, making his life infinitely more complicated.  Some of the other boys get sucked into the drama around the big kiss, and others remain oblivious to it, caught up in their own lives as most people are most of the time.

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Book Report: TransAntiquity

Published September 26, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

I should be reading the next of the ten gazillion (seemingly) library books I have out for this semester’s research project, but I’m going to write this report on the first one instead, in the hopes that discussing it will help me to process the information and figure out exactly what my topic question is.

So, as you can see, the title of this book is “TransAntiquity:  Cross-Dressing and Transgender Dynamics in the Ancient World,” a title which is actually a bit misleading, as the modern concept of transgender is, well, modern, only a few decades old.  So this is more an approach from the modern perspective, with full understanding (and acceptance) of transgender.  (And this is, of course, the kind of book you don’t want to buy:  it’s priced for library purchases, not individual purchases, over $100 a copy.)

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit that I didn’t actually read this book cover-to-cover.  I’m researching a paper that’s going to be on the definitions of gender (and behavior towards transgressors of those definitions) in ancient Greece and Rome, and so I skipped over two of the essays in this book, because they really did not apply:  one was about Pharaonic Egypt, and the other was about a period I’d more consider to be the early Middle Ages than late Antiquity (y’know, post-600 AD) so it was actually concerned with Christianity’s reaction to gender transgressions, which is a completely different topic.  (Technically, one of the ones I did read also included a lot of discussion of early Christianity, but it also talked about pre-Christian Rome.  Plus…well, I’ll get to it in turn, and you’ll see why I had to read it.)

I’m going to talk about each essay in turn, but I’ll address the book as a whole first, briefly.  This grew out of an academic workshop held at the University of Pisa, and most of the contributors work at universities in Italy and Germany, with a few UK universities thrown into the mix as well.  Consequently, the authors and editors pretty much assume that if you’re reading the book, you must speak all the major European languages, and they don’t translate their French, Italian and German quotes.   (And I always seemed to be reading it in a time and place where I couldn’t just use Google Translate to get a rough idea of what was being said; all I could do was guess based on cognates and my rusty-to-the-point-of-not-really-existing Latin and German skills.)  The constant reminders that I’m just an ignorant American were kind of painful.  (I do want to learn other languages!  I just suck at them.  And have too much else going on in my life to take proper lessons.)

Anyway, as scholars of the ancient world, the authors are hampered by the existing evidence, and can only address what information survives, so behavior that would actually be identified as trans by modern standards is conspicuously absent for the vast majority of the book, because there just isn’t much surviving data to support a discussion.  There’s a lot of talk about cross-dressing, and about men who were labelled as effeminate, and some discussion of women who were labelled as masculine, and what function those labels served in their society.  So it was really useful to my project, but might not be so useful to other research endeavors.

Okay, so now I want to talk a little about each essay, to give an idea what’s in the book.  (Also to help me process the information properly.  What can I say?  I think better via fingers on a keyboard.  That’s just the messed up way my brain is wired.)

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Book Report: A History of Blood and Glitter

Published September 21, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Wow.  This is…I have no words for what this is.  No single words, that is.  I should be able to string together a lot of them to give some vague idea of what this is.

One thing I can say simply, though, is that I sure picked a doozy to finish up the challenge with!  This was my pick for the last remaining challenge, #14, “Read a book about war.”

So, let’s start with a simple idea of what this book is about.  It’s about a war in the fairy city of Ferrum, though the fairies aren’t fighting it:  the gnomes and the tightropers are.  Now, before I get to answering the question you’re undoubtedly asking yourself (i.e. “what the heck is a tightroper?”) let me first dispel a few misconceptions you’re undoubtedly harboring.  First off, that image you’ve got in your mind right now of Tinkerbell?  Wipe it out.  These fairies have no wings, naturally grow glitter in their skin (which flakes off like dandruff), and they’re immortal.  So immortal, in fact, that they can never really die, and are fully capable of feeling any bits of them that become detached from their bodies (including that oft-falling glitter!) and even controlling those bits, if they’re large enough.  So at the start of the book, the heroine Beckan takes her father with her everywhere, because he’s just an eye and an ear in a jar.  And as to those gnomes, if you’re thinking of saccharine little garden statues with pointy hats and long beards, forget them.  Forever.  These gnomes are more like a cross between Tolkienian dwarves and Gollum, only with pointier teeth and long mole-claws for digging.  And they love to eat fairy; nothing is more nourishing to a gnome than fairies, and even a small mouthful will support them for weeks.  As to the tightropers…we never get a very clear description (because our very unreliable narrator already knows what they are and what they look like) but they seem to be very spindly people with a spider-like ability to produce “ropes” out of their mouths.  (And yes, I know that’s not where the webbing comes out of a spider.)

As you may guess from that description, this book is set in a very unusual and rather disturbing world.

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Book Report: Sorcerer of the Wildeeps

Published August 29, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

One more down, this time for Challenge #24 “Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color.”  I know I saw this book suggested somewhere for that challenge, but in a way it kind of doesn’t fit, because there’s only one POV character.  (Though in between chapters there are messages and sections of histories, but the identity and ethnicity of their ‘authors’ are unknown.)  However, I’m counting it anyway, because.

It’s really, really hard to know what to make of this book.  There are a lot of conflicting aspects about it, and from looking at reviews on Goodreads (and I had, in fact, looked at some reviews before buying the book) it’s definitely a book on which there is little consensus amongst readers.  But let’s look at the three major aspects in summary first. Read the rest of this entry →

Book Report: The Story of Hong Gildong

Published August 15, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

For Challenge #17, “Read a classic by an author of color,” I eventually settled on this one.

The back of the book proudly exclaims that “The Story of Hong Gildong is arguably the most important work of classic Korean fiction.”  It’s a tale about Hong Gildong, the son of an important minister by his concubine, which leaves Gildong a second class member of society, unable to climb the usual social ladders, despite his overstated gifts.  He eventually tires of being treated as less than a proper member of the family — he is always complaining “I cannot even address my father as Father and my older brother as Brother” — and leaves home.  Through a series of events, he ends up leading a bandit army, usually only robbing corrupt targets, leading to an inaccurate comparison to Robin Hood on the back of the book.  And that’s only the first half of the book; one thing no one could complain of is that nothing happens in this book.  There are a lot of other things one could complain about, but I’ll get to them later.

There are two very important things to keep in mind when reading this book.  First, this is a pre-modern text, and does not follow the same story rules and expectations that a modern novel does.  Second, it’s the product of a culture very different from a modern Western culture (and in some ways very different from modern Korea as well), so one shouldn’t judge it out of its proper cultural context.

The latter makes it more interesting to read, as it functions as a window into pre-modern Korea (the exact period of its writing is unknown; it has traditionally been dated to the late 16th or early 17th century, but the evidence presented in the introduction makes a very compelling case for dating it to the 19th century), presenting the modern Western reader with various aspects of the culture, particularly in the way people react to each other and their opinions on their own relationships.  The former, however, presents some problems.

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Book Report: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Published August 3, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Yay!  I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while now!  This is for Challenge #15 “Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.”

This was one of many books I discovered through Book Riot’s list of suggestions for books for this challenge, a list I never seem able to find again.  (I’ve already read two of the others, and have a couple more sitting here waiting to be read, and more than that on my unpurchased TBR list.)  The book wasn’t even out yet when they put it on the list, and they summed it up very briefly as two young men off on their Grand Tour of Europe, and I think they put in some kind of expression of the fact that they were each others’ love interests.  Very bare bones suggestion of what the book was about, but it was more than enough to pique my interest, especially since the model on the cover makes me think of Brian Slade.  (Yes, yes, don’t judge a book by its cover, I know.)

So, a more detailed hint at what the plot is would go something like this:

Young Henry Montague — Monty to his friends — has recently been expelled from Eton, and is now being given one last chance to redeem himself.  He’s off on his Grand Tour, and upon his return, will be forced to take over his father’s estate and live a respectable life.  Of course, he’s determined to make the most of his year-long tour of Europe, especially because he’ll be travelling in the company of his best friend, Percy Newton, with whom Monty is intensely in love, though he’s never had the nerve to say so.  (Monty’s sister, Felicity, is to travel with them as far as Marseilles on her way to finishing school, but Monty isn’t particularly interested in that.)  The plans for their Tour have been laid out with care, ending in Holland, where Percy is to attend law school.  Of course, the more carefully laid plans are, the less likelihood that they’ll turn out the way they’re supposed to…

So, a few words on our three main characters.

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Book Report: A Wrinkle in Time

Published July 26, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

I’m still a little conflicted about counting this one.  For Challenge #16, “Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country,” I went to look at a page that had a lot of lists of banned and challenged books.  (I think the lists were from the American Library Association.)  As I was looking at the list of year-by-year challenged or banned books (most of them merely challenged, or banned from school libraries, rather than banned entirely), there were a lot of interesting books, to be sure, but most of them either not quite something I felt like reading, or something I had read before.

Then I ran out of annual lists and looked at the Top 100 banned or challenged books from 2000-2009, and A Wrinkle in Time was on the list (admittedly down about 94 or so, I think), which was already on my TBR list because a) I had picked up a copy on a buy 2 get 1 free sale at Barnes and Noble a while back and b) somehow I’ve never read it before.

It’s hard to know what to say, of course.  This book is a classic of children’s literature from the 1960s, and it’s important to remember both the age of the book and the age of its intended audience.  I don’t have much experience (as an adult) with children’s literature, so while I’m doing my best to keep its status in mind, I’m not 100% clear on what all that implies.  For example, the heroine, Meg, spends most of the novel not really doing a lot and depending on others, but is that because it’s from the ’60s, is that because it’s for children, or is it to give her character growth?  Probably the third one, maybe the first one, likely not the second, but…yeah, dunno.  I like the fact that Meg’s personality doesn’t fit the traditional “feminine” tropes:  she’s good at math (though not so good at most other subjects) and short-tempered, even a little prone to violence.  But there seemed to be a hint of a romance shoe-horned in that was entirely unconvincing, unnecessary, and even slightly inappropriate.  (Not inappropriate due to anyone’s age, mind, just inappropriate to be in the story, because the characters really shouldn’t have been wasting energy thinking about things like that while going through so much else.)

Anyway, the main thing I can think of to say about this book is that it has a huge tone shift about halfway through.  It seems to be a normal(ish) story about a girl trying to cope with her life with a father who disappeared years ago, problems at school, and a differently abled younger brother who has the reputation of being an idiot because the other people in their little town don’t understand him.  Then, suddenly, things become very different, as three mysterious old women take the children and their new friend Cal to rescue their father.  And yet, despite the tone shift, it’s a smooth read and you don’t feel terribly jarred by it.

I kept wondering why it was banned/challenged.  I’m assuming it was probably because of some of the things that happened during the rescue — especially to the younger brother, Charles Wallace, who’s about five years old — but…gah, could be anything.  Those year-by-year lists gave reasons for most of the bans/challenges, and most of them were pretty ludicrous.

One thing I was especially struck by was the initial description of the place they had to reach to find their father.  In places it was reminiscent of some earlier works, but what it mostly reminded me of was the kind of thing you find in much later, purely visual works, like Edward Scissorhands and Eerie, Indiana.  And I’m sure a lot of other places that I just don’t know about.  (The former is probably the more apt comparison than the latter, since the description was about conformity more than anything else.)  So this is a book that’s had a big impact on things that have come after it, and it’s always interesting to see the history of a concept.

Of course, now I’m going to have to read the rest of the series, because it doesn’t come to a very full ending.  But being written for young audiences means it won’t take long to read the rest of them, so that’s not a big deal.

I’ll probably have my next of these posts pretty soon, because it’s quite grabbing me.

Book Reports: Oscar Wilde and Velvet Goldmine

Published July 22, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Several reports at once here.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the edition of The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde that I’ve got on Goodreads, so here’s the closest cover I could find.

The one I have is a Barnes & Noble edition from 1994, long before they were doing the leatherbound thing.  (Which I found at a local used store.)  It’s got this photo on the cover, but a bit smaller, and tinted slightly blue.  And despite that it calls itself “Complete” it isn’t really complete.  The things most people want to read are all there — Dorian Gray, the plays, and the short stories — and there’s a lot of poetry, though I haven’t bothered to look up if it’s all the poetry.  (And it claims to have an introduction by George Bernard Shaw, but what it actually has is a letter from him to an early Wilde biographer recounting his own memories of Oscar Wilde.  Which is far from being an introduction in any standard sense.  It was interesting stuff (and in one place wonderfully useful to me) but not an introduction.)  But there are only a handful of letters and essays.  Which, for most people, is probably not much loss, because most people are likely to only want the fiction, whether in prose or play form.

And no, I haven’t read the entire thing cover to cover.  It’s about 1200 pages, so that’s a lot of reading.  But I have some reports on the individual pieces I have read.  (And I plan to read more of the pieces later.) Read the rest of this entry →

A Few Incidental Book Reports

Published June 23, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Rather, a few mini-reviews of books that aren’t for the Read Harder challenge.  (Even though the first two totally could be.)


First up, A Case of Possession and Flight of Magpies, books two and three of the Charm of Magpies series by K. J. Charles.  (The review of the first one is here.)  You may be wondering, before I get to the mini-review, why these two covers look so different.  Well, that’s because I screwed up.  When I ordered A Case of Possession, I didn’t go ahead and order the third book along with it, even though I knew I’d want to read it.  I did this for logical reasons, because I was sure if I had both, I’d read both right away, instead of reading something else I “should” have been reading.  Then while I was so bogged down in The Story of Egypt, I said to myself “okay, I deserve a treat, so I’m getting the next magpie book!”  And when I went to Amazon, the paperback had gone spectacularly out of print, suddenly costing upwards of $35.  For a book that runs about 120 pages.  I do love these books, but I don’t love them that much.  So I had to get the Kindle edition instead.  Which is better from the “I have no space in this house even for what I already have, let alone anything new” perspective, but it’s just not as much fun to read on my iPad as it is to read an actual book.  Anyway,  these books are hard to review, because they’re very much “more of the same” with the first one.  With the major difference that now our two lovebirds are an established couple, instead of first meeting and becoming involved.  The second two books focus heavily on Stephen Day’s job as a justiciar, the magical equivalent of a police detective, and although the idea is for him to be hunting warlocks who break any and all of the rules of their magical community, in these books that tends to resolve itself into the form of hunting down magical murderers.  We get to meet Stephen’s co-workers, who are also fun and interesting characters, and the Council who oversees things, who are a different sort of interesting and no fun at all.  (Not that they’re supposed to be fun.  They’re the people responsible for running Stephen ragged and giving him grief about it rather than properly thanking him.)  A Case of Possession featured two things especially worth noting.  First, it settled some of the worries I had coming out of The Magpie Lord about the way their relationship was going to play out.  And second, while The Magpie Lord had featured the POV of both men (and even a guest POV from Crane’s manservant Merrick), A Case of Possession was exclusively from Crane’s POV.  Given the story, it really had to be, but the change was surprising, and the POVs went back to normal for Flight of Magpies, the third and final book in the series.  As the final book of a trilogy, it wrapped up a number of loose ends for a satisfying conclusion that really felt like a conclusion.  I don’t feel like these second two books had quite as much world building as the first one, but there was some additional world building, and playing around with what was already there.  Somehow, the sex scenes in these two didn’t seem quite as exciting as the ones in the first book, either, but I guess that’s because the sex had gone from “finally!” to “routine”…er, okay, not “routine” exactly, but…instead of being this explosion of their pent-up desires and a discovery of what the other likes/dislikes/does/doesn’t do in making love, it’s just one more act in a play that’s been going on for a long time.  Yeeeaaaaaahhhhh, that made no sense.  I guess I can’t explain it.  Maybe it’s just me, anyway.

You Are Here:  An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds by Jenny Lawson.  I kind of wanted to put up a book report on this as soon as I got it, but…it’s sort of hard to review, because it’s half coloring book.  Sort of.  Her wonderful drawings alternate with text, some of it funny, some of it advice, some of it impossible-to-sum-up-in-one-word.  I love the drawing style, and some of the text was so funny I nearly cried laughing, while other parts of the text were sobering, or even sorrowful.  It’s something that needs to be experienced rather than described, ultimately.  (BTW, is WordPress dropping blogs from anyone else’s follow list?  When I went to get the URL for her blog, I realized it wasn’t showing up on my sidebar of “blogs I follow” and I started to get worried…but apparently WordPress just removed her from my list in May.  Which certainly explained why it had felt like a long time since I’d seen a blog post from her, but it’s frustrating/alarming to realize that I’ve got blogs just being dropped like that without asking me.  At least one other got dropped, too.  Is there, like, a maximum number of blogs you can follow?)

Just when you thought it couldn’t get more ridiculous than to do a review on You Are Here, then you scroll down and see that the final book in this post is Black Butler Artworks 2.  Because of course.  There’s so much to review here, right?  (If I did emojis on this blog, I would put a winking face with its tongue sticking out here.  But I don’t use them on this blog, so it would be very odd to suddenly start.)  I just finished looking through this yesterday and figured “why not include it?”  (Hey, just be grateful I’m not listing all the manga I’ve been reading!  That would get…actually, that would get pretty embarrassing…)  Inside the eye-injuring houndstooth print covers, this book is chock full of Yana Toboso’s incredible artworks.  Which is great for me, but your mileage may vary.  There are three sections:  full color manga illustrations, illustrations for the anime, and unrelated Toboso art, primarily collaborative illustrations of characters from other intellectual properties.  Thankfully, the pictures are followed up by a few pages of commentary on the images by Toboso, sometimes explaining certain poses or art styles, and usually answering the “who the heck is that?” questions I kept having in the anime section.

I’ve no idea when the next book report will come out, ’cause I’m not sure what I’m going to start reading next.  I was going to read the “classic by an author of color” challenge book next, but I can’t figure out where I put the danged book!  It’s somewhere in this blinkin’ house…I just don’t know where.  *sigh*  I still haven’t decided what to re-read, and what to use for a book on war, either.  So…yeah, no idea what I’ll be reading next, and therefore no idea when I’ll finish reading it to post about it.

(When did my blog become a book review blog?  I don’t recall making that change…but it totally seems to have happened…)

Book Report: The Story of Egypt

Published June 20, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Well, it’s been a very long time since my last Book Report, hasn’t it?  That’s because my choice for Challenge #11 “Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location,” was this:

(Oddly, according to Goodreads, this is the paperback cover, but it’s the image on the cover of my hardback copy.)  So, before I get to the book, let me give a little backstory on why I had this sitting around waiting to be read.  In my family, everyone writes Christmas lists every year, so that gift-giving isn’t a pain in the backside.  Because a list of nothing but DVDs/Blu-rays would be excessively dull, I always make sure to put some books on there, specifically ones that feel appropriate (the one about the mistresses of Charles II, for example, did not seem holiday-appropriate) and usually hardbacks, typically new releases that I find browsing idly at Barnes & Noble.  Last year’s list had a paucity of books at first, but after another browsing, I spotted this one and figured “may as well add it” even though it didn’t particularly scream out that I needed to read it.  So naturally this is the one my mother decided to give me. (Should I have ever expected anything else?)  I chose to read it at this time because the other Christmas gift waiting to be read (which would also have worked for this challenge) is a book about Mycenae that’s about the size of a coffee table.  Not really convenient to read unless you do all your reading at a table, which I don’t.  Aaaanyway, that’s all somewhat irrelevant, so I’m not sure why I’m going into it.

Now, you may be wondering if it would normally take me a month and a half to read a 368 page book.  (The page numbers go up a lot higher than that, of course, but that’s due to the notes and bibliography and such.  The text stops on page 368.)  And the answer is “absolutely not.”  The reasons it’s taken me that long are multi-part.  One, I haven’t had as much time to just sit around reading, due to one thing and another.  Two, because I’m swimming again, I’m not taking baths very often, and I usually read in the bath.  (Why waste water bathing when I take a full shower after getting out of the pool?)  Three, this book was very frustrating to read.

Number three, of course, is the big one.  This is a very heavily researched book, but the author tried her hardest to obscure that fact.  Not only are there no in-text citations or endnote markers, the endnotes themselves are horrible.  Basically, only quotations are cited, and they’re done in the most infuriating way I’ve ever seen.  If you see a quote, you have to turn the back, where you’ll find a list (in order, thank goodness!) of all the quotations, listed by chapter but without any reference back to which page they were quoted on, which then gives you a source, by author’s last name and year of publication only, so you have to flip still further back to find the author’s works in the bibliography to see where it actually came from.  And if you want to know where some of her non-quoted information comes from?  You’re just plain out of luck.  There were many times when I wanted to know what her sources were on things that weren’t quotes, but she didn’t cite them, so for all the evidence she provided, she could have outright made those things up.  (I doubt that she did make them up, of course, but any teacher on the planet would fail her for such miserable citations.)  And when I say there are no in-text citations, I mean it.  Any time she wants to admit she’s quoting someone, she’ll just say “an historian said” or “according to one ancient source”, sometimes being as “specific” as Greek or Roman…but she never gives the historian’s name.  As if anyone would be reading a nearly 400 page book on ancient history who’d be put off at seeing the name Herodotus in the text?  Not giving the names of modern historians I can understand, but avoiding naming the ancient sources is not just annoying, but downright misleading;  knowing something came from Herodotus is very different than it coming from Plutarch, Diodorus, or whoever else.  And given the way these citations were handled, I wasn’t about to sort through them to look up which ancient source said every thing she quoted.  Some of the translations she chose for the ancient historians were entirely inappropriate for modern works, particularly the one for which I’ll present the entire citation:

‘a thieving effeminate ballet boy in curlers’, Cicero in Graves  1968, p. 96.

Seriously?  “Ballet boy”?  Ballet didn’t exist for another 1500 years!  How is such an anachronistic translation appropriate to a scholarly work?  And as to “Graves 1968″…it is not in the selected bibliography.  So what book is it?  Assuming that “Graves” means the classical scholar (and novelist) Robert Graves, one can go to Goodreads and see what he wrote in 1968…and find nothing.  According to Goodreads’ sort by original publication year, Robert Graves had things first published in ’67 and ’69, but not ’68.  So is it a reprint?  Is it someone else named Graves?  Fletcher doesn’t tell us.  (Admittedly, given the decidedly old-fashioned manner of dealing with an ancient Roman insult to a man’s masculinity, it’s almost certainly Robert Graves, and undoubtedly simply something that was reprinted/re-edited in 1968, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that she quotes and cites something without providing the most basic information on the work.  And in this case, she ought to have stated which of Cicero’s works it came from, so the reader could have sought out a more accurate translation if desired.)

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