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What book are you reading right now?

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Re: What book are you reading right now?

Post by Akamanto on Sat May 20, 2017 5:40 pm

Break String SpinElf wrote:Last up was Martin Bernal's controversial Black Athena, Vol. 2.
Oooh, there's a book. What do you think of it?

Personally, I thought it raised some very interesting points that should be considered when looking at ancient Greek civilisation, but I don't think I was persuaded of the extent to which it argues those points (specifically, his use of mythological analysis over hard archaeology). Although, I'm not sure how much of my skepticism is because of the people who introduced me to the books being themselves skeptical... ('~`; )ゞ

Definitely think it's a "must read" for anyone interested in ancient history, anyhow. It's a pretty valuable perspective, even if you don't agree with everything in it.

As for myself, I recently bought the new S.P.Q.R. book by Mary Beard. Kinda missed reading up on stuff like this during my first degree, so thought I'd shell out. And it apparently has a chapter on Cicero, so. ┐(︶▽︶)┌ She can have my money for that alone.


Last edited by Akamanto on Sat May 20, 2017 10:12 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : My emoji...)
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Re: What book are you reading right now?

Post by Break String SpinElf on Sun May 21, 2017 11:09 am

Akamanto wrote:
Break String SpinElf wrote:Last up was Martin Bernal's controversial Black Athena, Vol. 2.
Oooh, there's a book. What do you think of it?

Personally, I thought it raised some very interesting points that should be considered when looking at ancient Greek civilisation, but I don't think I was persuaded of the extent to which it argues those points (specifically, his use of mythological analysis over hard archaeology). Although, I'm not sure how much of my skepticism is because of the people who introduced me to the books being themselves skeptical... ('~`; )ゞ
I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Like you, I'm pretty sceptical of a lot of Bernal's ideas, particularly his re-dating of Hesiod and some of the linguistic reconstructions he posits are unconvincing (though I'm no linguist). I also agree with your point about his use of myth to some extent. Fair enough, there may be kernels of truth to the myths of Danaos & Kadmos coming from Egypt & the Near East, and Epaphos' name does resemble that of the Hyksos rulers called Apepi, though his attempts to find the origins of the names of Greek gods in Egyptian & Canaanite are a little strained. After all, if these gods were introduced by people from those regions, why don't they bear names which are transparently Egyptian or Semitic? It is, however, certainly interesting to contrast & compare the intersections between these myths, the Biblical Exodus story and the Egyptian account of the Hyksos.

However, he covers a lot of interesting ground and I feel that some of the backlash against his ideas has been more than a tad unfair. He's also very readable and not overly "academic" (speaking from the perspective of a layperson). I'm also flicking through the other volumes as well as Lefkowitz et al's responses to Bernal.

@ thread: now going back to more esoteric territory with Terrestrial Zodiacs in Britain: the Nuthampstead Zodiac & the Pendle Zodiac by Nigel Pennick and Robert Lord of the Institute of Geomantic Research. My house is in the latter of these apparently, somewhere in Virgo's head.

Next up is probably The Lords of Avaris by the revisionist Egyptologist David Rohl.

Update (30th May): still finishing up The Lords of Avaris. Enjoyable narrative and enlightening in parts, yet deeply unconvincing all the same.

I'm more excited about the next two I plan to read: Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography by Wayne Horowitz & James S. Romm's The Edges of the Earth in Ancient Thought: Geography, Exploration & Fiction (currently on order - can't wait for it to arrive). More fuel for my mythical geography & cosmology fire! swoon
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Re: What book are you reading right now?

Post by Akamanto on Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:37 pm

Break String SpinElf wrote:However, he covers a lot of interesting ground and I feel that some of the backlash against his ideas has been more than a tad unfair. He's also very readable and not overly "academic" (speaking from the perspective of a layperson).
Pretty much my thoughts, yeah! I like that he challenged a prevailing assumption about the Graeco-Roman world and brought up topics that needed to be considered, even if his arguments aren't completely convincing.

You're also right about "academic" style... I get that Syme and Scullard are important, but... Dang, it's like wading through quicksand of utterly bizarre sentence structure, only to end up slamming head-first in a literal wall of text. Please, I beg of you, have mercy on my inattentive soul... (シ_ _)シ

Speaking of, have you read Peter Heather's or Adrian Goldsworthy's stuff? I find them to be accurate and interesting (especially where they address the accuracy of some of the more common arguments that people still take from Gibbon), but they also don't bombard the reader with heavy stuff. Goldsworthy in particular did a really nice book entitled In the Name of Rome, about several Roman generals across the entire Roman timeline; I thought it was a great intro to the military.

As for myself, I just picked up Michael Axworthy's Iran: Empire of the Mind recently. Can't wait to get into it. ヾ( `ー´)
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Re: What book are you reading right now?

Post by Break String SpinElf on Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:14 pm

Slight change of plan: my next book is a re-read of Douglas Frame's Hippota Nestor. I'm also leafing through Raymond O. Faulkner's The Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts.

Akamanto wrote:Pretty much my thoughts, yeah! I like that he challenged a prevailing assumption about the Graeco-Roman world and brought up topics that needed to be considered, even if his arguments aren't completely convincing.
Absolutely. He makes some valuable points and, though far-fetched at times, his ideas about the Early-Middle Helladic drainage & irrigation systems, the exploits of Sesostris and his notion that the Santorini & Hekla eruptions exerted a profound impact on Chinese thought are extremely interesting.

Plus, his project antedated a variety of more sober works on Oriental influences in Greece during the '90s by the likes of M.L. West, Walter Burkert & Charles Penglase.

Akamanto wrote:You're also right about "academic" style... I get that Syme and Scullard are important, but... Dang, it's like wading through quicksand of utterly bizarre sentence structure, only to end up slamming head-first in a literal wall of text. Please, I beg of you, have mercy on my inattentive soul... (シ_ _)シ
Imagine what it's like for someone with no university education like myself! frustrated

Akamanto wrote:Speaking of, have you read Peter Heather's or Adrian Goldsworthy's stuff? I find them to be accurate and interesting (especially where they address the accuracy of some of the more common arguments that people still take from Gibbon), but they also don't bombard the reader with heavy stuff. Goldsworthy in particular did a really nice book entitled In the Name of Rome, about several Roman generals across the entire Roman timeline; I thought it was a great intro to the military.
I think I've read one or two things by Goldsworthy back in the day but I'll definitely maintain a look-out for their works (though most of my reading is around the glory that was Greece rather than the grandeur that was Rome). Heather concentrates on the end of Roman hegemony in the west and the rise of the Germanic kingdoms, does he not? I have some interest in sub-Roman Britain (though mainly it's reading translations of Taliesin!), so thank you. I am in your debt. Happy
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Re: What book are you reading right now?

Post by Break String SpinElf on Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:42 pm

The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia by Dr. Sam Newton.

Next up: Wade-Gery's The Poet of the Iliad again.
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Re: What book are you reading right now?

Post by ShadowMikoto on Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:51 pm

Ranma 1/2 Chapter 17. Mikoto Minagi Arika Yumemiya
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Re: What book are you reading right now?

Post by Break String SpinElf on Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:14 pm

Just read Barbara Sivertsen's The Parting of the Sea: How Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Plagues Shaped the Story of the Exodus, which had interesting things to say about the matter in hand.

Now starting The Records of the Early Hittite Empire (c. 1450-1380 B.C.) by Philo H.J. Houwink ten Cate. Proper light reading material I don't think.

@ ShadowMikoto: love the new sig btw.
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Re: What book are you reading right now?

Post by ShadowMikoto on Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:45 am

Just finished Chapters 42-49 of Ranma 1/2.

@Break String SpinElf I may have changed my Signature a few times since! ^_^' But thanks!! :D
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Re: What book are you reading right now?

Post by Break String SpinElf on Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:17 pm

Sorry... got distracted by a few chapters from The Dulce Book. Because, hey, who doesn't love the odd conspiracy theory every now & again? Think
ShadowMikoto wrote:@Break String SpinElf I may have changed my Signature a few times since! ^_^' But thanks!! :D
Whoa! You're definitely keeping it fresh dude! I was commending what I assumed was your excellent drawing of Mikoto from the end of last week.
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Re: What book are you reading right now?

Post by ShadowMikoto on Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:14 am

@Break String SpinElf Yes, it was Mikoto! XD A very sad ... Mikoto. I was ... and slightly still am, feeling a little under the weather. Sad
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Re: What book are you reading right now?

Post by Break String SpinElf on Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:34 pm

I am, alas, between books at the moment.

@ ShadowMikoto - sorry to hear that. Here's hoping you're feeling like a champion very soon.
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Re: What book are you reading right now?

Post by ShadowMikoto on Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:57 am

Still on Ranma 1/2 Chapter 49, but I'm also reading through RIN-NE as well now, Chapter 10, Volume 2. !! :3

@Break String SpinElf Thanks! :D
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Re: What book are you reading right now?

Post by Luu Sky Sapphire on Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:53 pm

Because I recently met Tennis superstar - Maria Sharapova in person, I'm currently reading her book "Unstoppable: My life So Far". Awesome book so far; she really was a child prodigy like I had always envisioned her. She worked really hard to come to our country just to dominate the sport with her skill.




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