Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Two Good Reads

It's not too late to string up a hammock, take a glass of tinkling icy lemonade with a spring of spearmint, and settle down in the shade for a long, good read.  I recommend two that I found in a thrift store, which is no indication of their enduring charm and value:  The Ptolemies, by Duncan Sprott, Vintage Books, June 2005, and The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Penguin Books, translation 2004, by Lucia Graves, daughter of the great poet, Robert Graves.  Both will have you reaching for your pen and notebook, to write down beautifully crafted and trenchant sentences to savor later:

"A secret's worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept."   (The Shadow of the Wind)

"... and their stories are full of lies, because a story full of lies makes a better story -- Thoth swears it."  (The Ptolemies)

Well, lies and secrets, and each book a healthy dose of magical realism, a marvelous way to beat the heat!

Arsinoe IV, the sister of Cleopatra, whose tomb is believed to be at Ephesus, one of the last of the Ptolemies, a dynasty rivaling the Medici for plots, counterplots, and assassinations.  For the story of the last days of these rival sisters, view "Cleopatra, Portrait of a Killer," from the BBC.

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