Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mini-Reviews: College Reading Part 3

More brief reviews of the (mostly) nonfiction works I've read for class.
See also: Mini-Reviews: College Reading Part 1
Mini-Reviews: College Reading Part 2

The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt ed. by Ian Shaw
2000; read for Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations
Chock-full of information. Probably THE book to go to for in-depth ancient Egyptian history, at least in terms of non-textbooks and scholarly monographs. However, there was so much dry, specific information that I found it difficult to absorb anything concrete. I think it would work much better as a reference resource to return to for narrower topics.
In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall
1971; read for General Anthropology
It took me a while to get into this book, mostly because the first few chapters were more on the background and very beginnings of Goodall's research. Once she started to personally describe the chimps, however, my interest and enjoyment greatly increased. The stories of the apes read almost like a novel - I'm even looking forward to the "sequel" covering the years after 1971.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
2002; read for fun (yes, it's cheating on the title of this post)
Middlesex wasn't quite what I had expected. For one thing, it was as much historical fiction as it was the story of hermaphrodite Cal. For another, Eugenides's writing didn't wow me. I expected it to be remarkable, given the accolades of this and his other books, and while it was good, it didn't stand out from that of other "literary" novelists. The novel definitely stayed interesting, but it wasn't a stand-out read for me.


  1. Middlesex has been on my TBR list forever. I finally read The Marriage Plot instead, which I liked quite a bit. So I do still intend to get to Middlesex one of these days.
    I think it would be hard to read The Oxford History of anything cover to cover and absorb the information there! But it would be a nice book to keep as a reference.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Susan! I'm looking forward to reading The Marriage Plot - the idea behind it sounds right up my geeky-English-major alley.

  2. Oh wow,"The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt" sounds amazing. I am really fascinated with Ancient Egypt. If you ever want to read a really entertaining yet, well researched historical fiction on ancient Egypt you should check out "Shadow of the Sun" by Merrie P. Wycoff. I am going to the library tomorrow to see if I can find"The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt." Thank you for the recommendation.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion! If you find the Oxford History at the library, I recommend picking up the hardback edition if it's available - I've heard there's tons more pictures, which were quite lacking in the paperback version.

  3. Thanks for the heads up Susanna!