BTT- 5 For Favorites

5 For Favorites

1. Do you have a favorite author?

I don’t have a specific, single favorite author, how could you narrow all the great authors into one “best author”?

As to my favorites: I love Jane Austen because, besides being an exceptional writer and pulled back the curtain of the social life for women (and the men in their lives), but she was one of the first and greatest women authors, opening up the doors for the rest of us to follow.

Another favorite author is Stephen King, who was for the longest time the only contemporary fiction writer I read (I’ve only just started reading contemporary fiction in the last year, before that I only read classic literature). King’s amazing ability to build a fantastic and often frightening world within the covers of his novels is mind boggling. BTW, I saw he has a new book out when I visited Waldenbooks yesterday (*sigh* like I NEEDED more books!). Just After Sunset is King’s fifth collection of short stories, and I’m looking forward to reading it 🙂 .

Janet Evanovich is also a favorite. Okay, Stephanie Plum is a fun character and I enjoy her exploits, but seriously, Grandma Mazur keeps me coming back for more… lol, if Evanovich ever wants to end the series, IMHO, she only has to kill off Grandma Mazur. Come on, the geriatric matriarch answering the door in biking shorts? And she shoots the chicken “right in the gumpy”? And Plum Lucky was just plum hilarious from one end of the book to the other… the leprechaun, Grandma in Atlantic City, and Lula’s distraction to allow the others to get away. AND, January 6th is the release date for the new Stephanie Plum novel, Plum Spooky. I’ll be waiting for the store to open, even if I’m the only one in line… lol.

I must include Harlan Coben in my list of favorites, because it was his book The Woods that made me give contemporary fiction a chance. Now, I’m trying to catch up to all the great books I’ve missed…

2. Have you read everything he or she has written?

Yer… No, lol.. of course not… I’m working through reading the Austins, but I’m still in Emma, with Northanger Abbey and Persuasionto go. And I’ve only read the first two of the number Plums and Plum Lucky in the Evanovich bibliography. All of Stephen King? Who in the world has, other than King himself, his wife, son and editor? Yikes! He’s up to, what?, 89 books now? And no, haven’t read all the Cobens either.

3. Did you LIKE everything?

I’ve loved all of what I’ve read, of course… Why else would I have kept reading them and named them as my favorites?

4. How about a least favorite author?

LOL… OMG, there are soooo many. I suppose I should stick to one that a lot of other people like. Hmm… I really can’t say that I have one I hate, and I don’t know about a least favorite, either. I have more of a genre aversion: I don’t read, WON’T read, romance novels, i.e. Harlequin, et al.

5. An author you wanted to like, but didn’t?

I don’t know about an author I wanted to like but didn’t, but Julius Caesar’s Conquest of Gaul was a book I really wanted to like but couldn’t force myself through. Eleanor Roosevelt’s biography was another I just couldn’t gag down, even though I took a hit on my college history grade because of it.

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The Conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar

Title:  The Conquest of Gaul
Author: Julius Caesar
Translated: S. A. Handford
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publish Date: 1982
ISBN: 9780140444339

As the situation was critical and no reserves were available, Caesar snatched a shield from a soldier in the rear (he had not his own shield with him), made his way into the front line, addressed each centurion by name, and shouted encouragement to the rest of the troops, ordering them to push forward and open out their ranks, so that they could use their swords more easily. His coming gave them fresh heart and hope: each man wanted to do his best under the eyes of his commander-in-chief, however desperate the peril, and the enemy’s assault was slowed…

Book II, “The Conquest of the Belgic Tribes, “section 2,
“Piecemeal conquest of the Belgic tribes (57 B.C.),
paragraph 25, lines 6 and 7.

First off, let me preface this review by saying this is not a book I would have ever picked for myself to read. It was a randomly assigned book from Penguin Classics to review. Second, it was not the book originally assigned. The first book had been Fortress Besieged, which I was really excited to get but was unfortunately out of print. And third, I must inform you of the following caveat: I was woefully unable to finish the book. It just was NOT my cuppa.

All that being said, on with the review:

Julius Caesar’s The Conquest of Gaul is basically the battle reports from a general, Caesar, to his boss, the Roman Senate and the people of Rome, detailing the events, names and places of his campaigns in Germany, Gaul and Britiannia. It is not war reportage full of excitement and suspense and suspense, but a simple list of details. For what it is, a historical accounting of the Roman push into northern Europe, it is an excellent, informative book to study. And as you study The Conquest of Gaul, make sure to keep your notepad, pen, highlighters and post-it flags handy so that you can get the most out of it. It would also help to be previously acquainted with the histories of the area and peoples in it before picking this book up as it is dense with names and events that would have been common knowledge for the people of the day, but have lost a lot of meaning in the millenniums that have passed.

For me, the book was intolerably boring, but that’s just a taste thing, however I did learn a great deal. For one thing, Caesar was a brilliant strategist and tactician. He was able to see ways to defeat the enemy that completely amazes me. His confidence in his abilities and that of his men, made him feared and respected by those who attempted to oppose his Rome. Some of the battles were won when the warring tribe was informed Caesar was on his way. They would send envoys of unconditional surrender and a plea of mercy to him before he’d even reached their land. He is, without a doubt, one of the top military minds in history.

Not only was Caesar a brilliant soldier and commander, but he was also a man of dedication and honor. He valued his word and made certain it was upheld. He followed a code of ethics that showed the people of Gaul what a civilized people can be.  Romanization was inevitable under Caesar. Tribes converted from barbarianism and fictionalized feuding to peaceful alliances. It is debated what Caesar’s political motivations were, whether he craved dictatorship or he was truly desirous of Rome’s best interests. I personally believe Caesar was less of the manipulative power-hungry megalomaniac I was taught in school, and more the noble patrician who wanted equality for citizens as opposed to the oligarchic political system of the time. He was the Man of the People who became their beloved Emporer, their first Caesar (as a title and office) of many.

I give Caesar’s The Conquest of Gaul 4 out of 5 stars. It’s informative and a classic, though very dry and it’s strictly text book-style writing bored me to distraction.

Friday Fill-Ins – I Want My Mommy! but I’d settle for Murtagh

1. When I’m sick I’m torn between wanting to be babied and cared for and being the Mom who does the care taking (I want my mommy!).

2. When I take a walk, I think about the book I’m reading and what on earth is the main character thinking doing something so stupid! Idiot!.

3. Money can’t buy happiness but it can sure make misery a lot more comfortable 😉 .

4. Cotton makes me sweat and leather makes me erm… wet 😀.

5. The strangest person/character I’ve had lewd thoughts about was Eragon and Murtagh… at the same time.

6. My favorite color these days is a good, living-thing green because it represents life.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to finishing Confessions of a Contractor… I haven’t finished a book in a week an a half, tomorrow my plans include getting a good chunk of Julius Caesar’s Conquest of Gaul read and Sunday, I want to finish Conquest of Gaul because I won’t allow myself to start my next Twilight book, Eclipse, until I finish Caesar off!