Friday, January 5, 2007

Books

We've had a good week here at Hansisgreat! We've been picked up by another partner: BestMaleBlogs.com which is kicking us about 100 new hits per day. We also received a visit from the most distinguished editor in chief of the World Almanac Book of Facts. As you may know, I have a lot of respect and admiration for the staff of the almanac. Very prestigious, like having the President of the US visit. Except I'm happy about this guy. Thanks to you both from your humble servants at Hansisgreat.blogspot.com.
Anyhoo, here's a bit of fun and exciting reading. These are all also period pieces, that is, they take place in a different time and place. Here we go...

Books are rated 1-5 stars, depending on how difficult they are to read, not how good they are. All the books at Hansisgreat are highly reccommended.

* <-----------> ** <-----------> *** <-----------> **** <----------> *****
Easy - - Pretty Easy - - Moderate - - Pretty Challenging - - Challenging

Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean M. Auel
$7.99 at Bn.com ISBN:0553250426
**** (pretty challenging)
Highly unusual romantic fiction. This one actually takes place during the stone age, in which all the characters are primitive peoples. A brilliant and exciting feminist novel, Ayla is orphaned as a young girl when an earthquake kills her entire tribe. She's taken in, reluctantly, by a rival group. Apparently the Stone Age was rough for women: she's repeatedly raped during the course of the book by the brutish caveman Broud. It's always amazing to see a woman triumph in historical fiction; the fact that humanity hadn't even developed pottery and written language yet makes it all the more impressive. It's a bit long, which earned it the "pretty challenging" rating, but it's not a race: take your time to finish this one and you won't regret it.
The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
$7.99 at Bn.com ISBN: 1400079179
** (pretty easy)
Has anyone not heard of this yet? It's been on the bestseller list for about three years now, and was made into a mediocre movie (Hollywood ruins everything) with Mr. Tom Hanks. Here's the gist of it: a mysterious and violent sect of the Catholic church murders to prevent a prominent archaeologist from revealing the details of their secret society. Enter our hero Dr. Langdon, who travels around Europe unlocking hidden codes in a series of artifacts, including Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. This is a fast-paced thriller that I finished in about six hours. The short chapters are perfect for the ADD reader, and the quick-moving story has made it a hit in airports. It's an especially good guy book: full of spies, car chases, and an albino hit-man. Also a selling point: it'll be easy to find other people who've read it with whom to talk about it. Read The Da Vinci Code and then try bringing it up at your next party.
Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiuman
$7.99 at Bn.com ISBN: 0060853980
** (pretty easy)
It's not every day you find a comedy about the destruction of mankind. Two great sci-fi writers teamed up to bring you this funny novel about the end of the world, in which a mix-up in the Antichrist's delivery room sends him home with the wrong family. Especially fun are the ancient prophecies, and the back-and-forth between an angel and a demon as they each try to make their own side win in the final battle. Satisfying, light, and occasionally humorous enough to make you laugh out loud. Fans of the Sandman should enjoy this first prose by Mr. Neil Gaiman.
Naked Olympics
, by Tony Perrottet
$12.95 at Bn.com ISBN: 081296991X
** (pretty easy)
Why did the Ancient Greeks play sports in the nude? As it turns out, it was not at all sexual for them. If you had a nice body, it was just fun to be able to show it off. These are my kind of people! Ancient history and themes of athleticism and good sportsmanship come together in a fun and easy to read format. You'll learn a lot about how the Olympics were formed, and also about what life was like circa 2000 BC. As it turns out, they were more like us than you'd think. Fascinating, funny at times, and striking in how Bronze Age society was similar to our own. Maybe the Olympics in 2008 will be nude. If so, I'd hate to be on the figure-skating team.

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